Why Industrial Scale Fraud Is Just So Hard To Hide
People, we need to talk.
Way too many are caught in a media-induced despondency, knowing the presidential election was stolen, in the dark of night, vote counting suddenly stopped, vote counts on the television switched from Trump to Biden – yet each thinks he or she is the only one who saw it.
Why do I feel so alone?
Nobody can hide industrial scale fraud, of any sort, for long: Medicaid fraud, stock manipulation, fake invoices. The bigger the fraud, the harder it is to hide and thus the greater probability it is all going to come out. The words "…this would be the crime of the century" will likely be Tucker Carlson's "read my lips, no new taxes…." a year from now.
Let's talk about industrial level fraud.
It's all over the place.
Our teams uncovered some of the largest Medicaid fraud rings in the country. Doctors, attorneys, chiropractors, groups of recent immigrants all living in the same apartment building in Patterson, NJ. These connections were one of the largest "swoop and squat" insurance frauds ever discovered.
We broke the largest internet auction fraud in history and built the technology that enabled a major tech company to determine that Mary Jones was actually Sam McCarthy and Steven Simms, even though they had not a single field in common.
We know a bit about industrial scale fraud. So do a lot of people.
Remember Bernie Madoff?
Bernie was able to defraud some of the greatest talents in America for decades because he was just a charming guy. Or so they said.
Meet Harry Markopolos. Harry is reported to be a bit of an eccentric, as many fraud investigative types are, and beginning as early as 2001 he started sending the Securities and Exchange Commission materials showing the Madoff stuff was a scam.
Nobody listened. People kept investing. $50 billion of fraud here, so it does qualify as industrial scale even though one guy did all the work. Apparently, Bernie and Harry were not pals so Harry did not get subjected to the Bernie charm. Harry saw the fraud – just like the "Emperor has no clothes" tale we learn as children. Nobody paid attention. It all fell apart because Bernie could not continually increase the scale of a Ponzi scheme. That is the fatal flaw in Ponzi stuff.
Meet Elizabeth Holmes. Liz is the poster child (she was 19) who founded Theranos, a Silicon Valley company who created a machine to spin straw into gold. Or more accurately, a machine that could take a pinprick of blood and diagnose scores of diseases or conditions. Elizabeth Holmes was far more colorful than Bernie Madoff, always being photographed in a black turtleneck with her remarkable blue eyes and blonde hair.
Elizabeth ran an industrial scale fraud. She is now awaiting trial and her counsel is looking to make the insanity defense. Really, no kidding.
The insanity was her board of directors: Henry Kissinger, William Perry (former Secretary of Defense), Mad Dog Jim Mattis, remember him? And rounding out the team with a core Republican, meet George Shultz.
Everything was just going swimmingly for Liz and the team. Google her name and see the adoring press. Except there was this one guy, John Carreyrou, an intrepid reporter at the Wall Street Journal. Acting on a tip, he started digging in and learned the machines not only did not work, the blood tests were faked.
Carreyrou wrote a book and I commend it to you for the details. But what is relevant here is how these famous names, and their lead attorney, David Boies, circled the wagons to essentially deny the allegations. Apart it fell. Investors sued. Board members quit. You know the drill.
What is important in both examples is that smart people who should have known better denied the fraud even when an outside person showed it to them in black and white. Shultz even had his nephew, who worked at Theranos, tell him it was a scam and he believed Liz. Wonder where the nephew is having his Thanksgiving dinner.
Smart people do that. It is one of the best covers for fraud – people will fight their own lying eyes, their own common sense, because they want to believe they were not stupid. They want to believe Liz and Bernie are just great people. So they do.
The problem starts with Harry Markopolos and Carreyrou, and now Sidney Powell and Lin Wood. These people are a major pain in the butt.
First, they won't go away. Second, they keep digging, third, they find stuff, then they pull a thread and they get a starting point.
That one honest person or two, here, are Kryptonite to industrial scale fraud.
When investigating industrial level fraud, the most important part is the starting point. "Why is this thing happening this way?" "This is peculiar." "Hmmmm."
Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and their team are pulling a bunch of threads, starting points. When things start to fall apart, they cascade. First a few clues come in, then a bunch then everything comes loose.
In the early day, which is now, there is a human tendency for many not to believe their lying eyes. The media, all in on this, promote that the Liz and Bernie equivalents are nice people, there is no proof of fraud. That's what Markopolos and Carreyrou heard too.
Witnesses were threatened. Attorneys attacked for probing. Carreyrou saw a bit of that. Even after Carreyrou published his first story about Theranos fraud, the Wall Street Journal management had Liz at one of their events. This is how this stuff works!
In the end, which is not far out, it all comes apart.
It always does. Industrial scale fraud is not sustainable because lies that big just cannot be hidden.
Sidney Powell and Lin Wood aren't going away.
Get some sleep.
Jay Valentine's website is www.JayValentine.com.