Friday, November 20

Programmers arrested in Madoff case

This is quite interesting. Usually the IT folks stay away from fraud and issues like this which are usually created and driven by the front office pukes. If the business gives a programmer a set of business requirements or it provides them with instructions to make changes to programmes, data or workflow, they never question the content, they might question the impact on performance, capacity, capability or usability, but never the content.

Now, obviously, this is coming from the perspective that these two men knowingly participated in the fraud. I quote:

Two computer programmers from Bernard Madoff’s fraudulent investment operation were arrested on Friday on charges of falsifying Mr Madoff’s trading records to make them appear regular and above board.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, the two men, Jerome O’Hara, 46, and George Perez, 43, are accused of having created and updated software programs for one of Mr Madoff’s primary computers – known internally as “house 17”. These programs generated documents that allegedly helped Mr Madoff avoid detection by the Securities and Exchange Commission and a European auditing firm.

In an affidavit submitted by an FBI agent, the two men are alleged to have helped Mr Madoff hide the nature of his activities from his own clients.

They allegedly altered trading records, changed the names of Mr Madoff’s customers, created fictitious order entry and execution reports, generated different sets of account statements for various clients, and produced bogus reports that made it appear as though Mr Madoff was buying and selling stocks on the London Stock Exchange.

The criminal complaint also alleges that the two men threatened to stop participating in Mr Madoff’s scam in 2006, referring to a handwritten note found in Mr O’Hara’s desk that said, “I won’t lie any longer”.

I think we might see this as another nail in the coffin of trust between the front office and IT/Operations. What’s next? All business requirement documents and data changes to be signed off by compliance? Good Lord.

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