Brazen Scams By Engineers Uncovered

from the nice-work-if-you-can-get-it dept

Two separate stories of two different fairly amazing scams by engineers have come out recently. The first one is the more incredible one, and it involves a guy named William Grayson Hunter, who apparently secretly had two separate full time jobs at two different companies, but barely spent much time at either, instead "spending his days at bars, amusement parks and movie theaters," but sent in time cards, including some that billed for more than 24-hours a day. One of his two full-time employers, Aerospace Corp., just agreed to pay the government $2.5 million after it was investigating Hunter's work that was billed to the government at a premium. Of course, there's no punishment for Hunter, who died in 2010.

The other story is a bit more conventional. A network engineer at Verizon Wireless repeatedly used the company's warranty contracts with Cisco to order replacements parts that weren't needed, and then sold them off and kept the money -- which apparently added up to $4.5 million. Like Hunter above, Michael Baxter had interests outside of work:
[Baxter] spent the proceeds on jewelry, cars, international travel and multiple cosmetic surgeries for his girlfriend, prosecutors said.
Apparently, controls and audits on such things have gone out of style.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    A Guy (profile), Dec 14th, 2011 @ 8:29pm

    HAH

    This isn't surprising at all. Engineers are just as prone to dickish, unethical behavior, as anyone else.

     

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    Useless Observer, Dec 14th, 2011 @ 8:34pm

    Trickle down ethics.

     

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    Violated (profile), Dec 14th, 2011 @ 8:44pm

    Both thieves of more correctly a case of fraud.

    So what did that guy who died in 2010 die from? Did he fall off a roller coaster screaming "woo hoo! my stupid boss believes anything I write"?

    I think that death was a case of karma.

    Well events like this will always happen and that is why audits exist.

     

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    Nigel Lew (profile), Dec 14th, 2011 @ 8:46pm

    "Trickle down ethics"

    Heh, well played sir!

    N.

     

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    Not Me, Dec 14th, 2011 @ 8:53pm

    Too much credit

    We used to sit around at work and joke that if an engineer just stopped doing any work, it would take a year or two before the employee was fired. Looks like we gave management too much credit-- they weren't quite that quick.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 14th, 2011 @ 10:49pm

      Re: Too much credit

      It's difficult to verify on-duty hours of staffs in outsourcing firm, especially if the firm is known to offload works of different locations to the same staff.

      I worked for such kind of firm once and there are legitimate cases where I have to switch hour slots allocated to one location to another without timingly notifying my immediate supervisor. (For a record, I worked for organizations at 3 locations at the same period)

       

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    Old Fool (profile), Dec 14th, 2011 @ 9:10pm

    Many years ago I met a man who boasted he had bought his house and a yacht from stolen computer parts.

    He was an engineer and was sent out to repair computers, he would declare the main board defunct, order a new one, fix the minor problem and sell the part. He was never caught.

    Although did I hear he is in now in darkest Peru hiding from the tax man...

     

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    TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 14th, 2011 @ 9:37pm

    Now you see why anyone with brains sends out us technician/trades/crafts type people. We do it right the first time, check the engineer and make sure the parts are all still there if we got there second :)

    Then call up the engineer and ask why there's a Cisco router here with no parts in it and the customer is out of service and he has 10 minutes to replace what he nicked :)

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Dec 14th, 2011 @ 10:14pm

    Sounds like a lot of failure on the part of the employers

    In addition to submitting fraudulent time cards, Hunter falsely claimed to hold a doctorate from Oxford University in England when he had only a high school education, Daniels said.

    Apparently a very poor job at background checks.

    "This person was hired before we had sophisticated methods to verify international degrees."

    Oh, come on. This was 2003, not 1960. How difficult is it to pick up a phone and call 411 for the phone number for admissions and records at Oxford. Or go to their website (which existed in 2003) and grab the number there. Someone got lazy and now they are paying 2.5 million for it.

    When I changed jobs in 1999, my employer, during a background check, managed to contact a manager for a company I worked for 7 years before had that went out of business between the time I left and the time I got hired by the company that did the background check. The manager had been laid off, yet somehow they miraculously found him. I find it hard to believe that in 2003 it was too difficult to verify whether a person received a Doctor's Degree from a prestigious college in England -- its not like Oxford gives out millions of Doctor's Degrees.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 14th, 2011 @ 10:41pm

    I heard similar case in Hong Kong

    There was news regarding someone working at Hong Kong Post Office claim "injury on duty" and then applied for 27 months and got approved because it's backed by doctor's letter.

    He was later found to be employed by a Slaughterhouse during the said period and have been prosecuted.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 14th, 2011 @ 11:42pm

    America Third World Class Service.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 12:12am

    Talking about scams the Universal DMCA scam against the fat bastard from Megaupload is heating up with Megaupload lodging the contract that proves it secured the rights for every and each one of the stars in it and having Universal make artists that didn't even were in the video file DMCA's against the video LoL

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/12/megaupload-contract/

    Oh, this story will be good, someone pass me the popcorn.

     

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    Peter, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 1:39am

    Scam as old as the hills

    I know of a service technician for one security alarm company who spent his days fixing alarm systems by replacing broken components and his nights fitting private houses with security alarms.

    I heard his prices were very reasonable as he managed to keep his material costs low.

     

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    ChrisB (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 6:59am

    Engineer vs. "Engineer"

    Being a "real" engineer, I get annoyed when the term is conflated with technical workers. Mechanical / Chemical / Aerospace / Nuclear / Petroleum / Civil / Computer engineers need to get a 4 year degree (B.Sc.) A "network" or a "software" engineer may have taken a few courses through a website, for all I know. In Canada, at least, only people who have an appropriate degree can call themselves an "engineer". Also, all engineers must take ethics exams and can be barred from practicing engineering (by their provincial association) if they breach these ethics.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 7:25am

      Re: Engineer vs. "Engineer"

      And obviously someone who has no compulsion about lying and stealing from their employer would be very very concerned about an 'ethics' clause from their educational institution (assuming they actually attended one, have a degree, and didn't just make the whole thing up...)

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 9:26am

    Out of style? No, Out of Budget

    Tragically, like quality engineering and maintenance in general, there seems to be a trend of corner-cutting anything that doesn't produce results /now/. I'd argue that this 'engineer' did the best job he could padding out his paycheck.

     

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    Brad (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 11:46am

    I can understand VZW not keeping track of every warrantied part swap — but it's less usual for Cisco to not notice that USD 5*10^6 of supposedly-defective parts (at least) hadn't been returned.

     

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    jack the inspirational story guy, Mar 10th, 2012 @ 10:02pm

    scams unleashed

    its a good thing that these engineers have the courage to open the scams they discovered to the public. they deserved an applause and they have the guts and truthful hearts thats why they have done this good deeds.

     

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