The Bizarre, the Gross and the Just Plain Weird


Mandy Moody
ACFE Social Media Specialist

I didn’t have to look any further than my Twitter feed this Halloween to find some truly disturbing and eerie fraud news. From the stranger-than-fiction characters to the Hollywood-like dramatic plots, stories of fraud can leave you feeling many different emotions: shocked, angry, sad or, as fitting for today, really creeped out.

Here are the top three new stories that made me cringe, slightly uncomfortable and even a little nauseous:

Bizarre: An interview with Conrad Black, the Canadian media mogul turned convicted fraudster, began to derail almost as soon as the cameras began rolling last week on the BBC. Reporter Jeremy Paxman repeatedly attempted to make sense of the madness but unfortunately instead had to endure an interview in which Black denied any wrongdoing, praised his own ability to withstand prison and took pride in his control over not “smashing [Paxman] in the head.” Hopefully Black can channel his urges into smashing some pumpkins this holiday.

Gross: Spreading possum urine around your home might not deter eager trick or treaters, but it will keep potential home-buyers a safe distance away. This unsavory practice is typical of a new mortgage fraud scheme: flopping. Homeowners make properties look as unappealing as possible for potential buyers by tactics like preparing fake repair estimates, tearing out cabinets and, yes, even splashing a little rodent urine around the house in hopes of an accomplice buying it at a low price. The accomplice can then flip it in a short amount of time and make a hefty profit to split with the original seller.

Just plain weird: I had to reread this story about a bank robbery case in Austria before it actually sank in. After pleading guilty to a bank robbery almost 20 years ago and serving three and half years in jail, Otto Neuman was returned 51 pounds. Yes, you read that correctly. The bank robber was returned some of the money he stole. And the reason he was returned the money? Wait for it…apparently no one else wanted it! The bank was insured for the money, and the insurance company “had no entitlement to it.” Weird, yes. Ethical, no.

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