Sub-Postmasters wronful convictions

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    Subpostmasters fight to clear names in theft and false accounting caseImage and video hosting by TinyPicMore than 1,000 subpostmasters who claim they were wrongly accused of theft or false accounting could join a class action against the Post Office to clear their names.

    The case could result in a payout of tens of millions to the subpostmasters, who say that a faulty IT system led to accounting shortfalls. Many lost their jobs and were forced to pay back thousands of pounds that had gone missing from their branches, while some were given prison sentences.

    The legal firm Freeths, which is leading the action, said hundreds of current and former subpostmasters had come forward since a group litigation order was granted in January, and that many more might do so before the deadline of 26 July.

    “Our claim goes back to 1999, the year when the Horizon IT system was installed. There are thousands and thousands of subpostmasters out there who may be entitled to join the group claim … the potential pool of claimants is very significant, but we just don’t know how many people will come forward over the next few months,” said James Hartley, a partner with Freeths.

    The claimant group says that the Post Office failed in its legal duty because it held subpostmasters responsible for financial losses before properly investigating shortfalls and failed to inform individuals that their cases were not isolated incidents.

    It is also claimed that Post Office personnel harassed the subpostmasters involved – alleged incidents include Post Office employers acting aggressively while interrogating subpostmasters, and searching individuals’ homes. A review by forensic accountants Second Sight, published in 2015, found the Post Office had failed to investigate irregularities at sub-post offices before launching civil and criminal inquiries.
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    Alan Bates, who set up the campaign group Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance after his contract with the Post Office ended in 2003, hoped the case would bring the Post Office to account. “We want to expose the truth. They’ve had more than one opportunity to come forward and put their hands up and say ‘look, we know there’s things that we’ve not got right’, but we’re going to have to do that through the courts. We just want it known how badly the Post Office has treated people. They’ve ruined lives the length and breadth of this country. It’s not just one person – the subpostmaster – who’s affected, it’s whole families.”

    Scott Darlington, who ran a Post Office in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, received a suspended prison sentence, 120 hours’ community service and a £410 fine after he was convicted of false accounting. He first started noticing problems with Horizon when it reported that he was £1,700 down on stamps. He reported the shortfall to the Post Office and was made to repay the money. “I just thought something will come back – this is far too much for this to be some kind of accounting error.” Six months later he faced a £44,000 shortfall and was accused of false accounting.
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    “I can’t really tell you how bad it’s been,” he said. “My whole life has been turned upside down. Once you have a criminal record, for a start, doing 120 hours of community service that took six months because I was only allowed to do it on a Friday. I was signing on, I was getting housing benefit. I’d been earning £35k a year up until this point. I couldn’t get a job for three-and-a-half years.”

    Parallel to the group litigation order, the Criminal Cases Review Commission is looking at more than 30 cases where subpostmasters received convictions to decide if some were unsafe. If so, they will be referred to the appeal court and could be overturned.

    Tracey Merritt, who was accused by auditors of theft and false accounting at her branch in Yetminster – though they have since dropped the charges – said the Post Office had failed to provide adequate training in Horizon or to give any support when problems occurred. Merritt lost her post office and shop, and faced hefty solicitors’ fees and abuse from some members of the community. She wants her name cleared.

    The Post Office said in a statement: “The Post Office welcomes the group litigation order as offering the best opportunity for the matters in dispute to be heard and resolved. We will not otherwise comment on litigation while it is ongoing. We continue to have confidence in the Horizon system, which has around 78,000 users across 11,600 branches nationwide to process six million transactions a day.”
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    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/09/subpostmasters-unite-to-clear-names-theft-case-post-office

    http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/honley-sub-postmistress-brenda-bodenham-speaks-5753618
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3568762/Post-Office-facing-paying-millions-compensation-staff-wrongly-accused-taking-missing-cash-glitch.html
    https://www.ft.com/content/6b6e4afc-e7af-11e6-893c-082c54a7f539

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhTnKVXLtdM
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVPiHYgjJ2Y
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-9zKpr4mVc

    FLAWED INTERNET COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY. -Sub-postmasters wrongful convictions
    I have had my life savings and mortgage stolen by 4 stockbrokers.
    Alexander Graham Bell the inventor of the telephone never intended telephones to carry internet financial transaction as electronic data over millions of miles of copper line infrastructure. I have nothing against the internet for the sharing of general information.
    With millions of financial transactions sent over the internet each day over millions of miles of copper line inevitably 2 or more transactions sent as electronic data meets simultaneously at the junction of a computer chip set for reprocessing. Both electronic transactions are incorrectly processed at the same time when only 1 transaction at a time should be processed. As a result computer chip set algorithms [programming] become corrupt, further electronic data will follow that corrupt path producing bad/corrupt financial transactions of financial detriment.
    Th builders of personal computers,[PC's] Dell, HP and others acknowledge there is an inherent flaw in internet technology, a recommended remedy for personal computers [PC's] experiencing corrupt data is to reboot the PC [switch off and restart] to reset chip set algorithms [programming] back to default settings. Unfortunatly the remedy is unavailable in all global live streaming financial markets unless the whole of the nations financial systems are shut down.
    The same identical flawed internet computer technology is not only used by all global stock exchanges and stockbrokers but also all the banks EFTPOS, aviation flight centers, national shipping and other commercial applications.
    Banks still use old obsolete Dial up internet because Dial up is free or $1 a month sincreasing profits of at least $50 a month from not providing each broadband internet connection. 2 different incompatible internet technologies, Dial up and broadband of 2 different incompatible band width frequencies running together within the same computer systems resulting in anomalies, glitches, malfunctions .
    Currently there is in the UK a scandal involving the Post Office and its internet computer systems. Since 2000 sub-postmasters were wrongly punished because of flaws in the Post Office Horizon system that left anomalies in financial accounting. In Jan. 2017 The High Court of justice has given leave for a class action for those sub-postmasters who have been wrongly prosecuted and even jail terms for Horizon computer malfunctions.
    Please click on the links provided mto open and view content.
    https://topstocks.com.au/threads/an-important-message-to-all-investors/page-1
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VS_A-l43Wg
    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=directshares+faulty+consumer+product&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b&gfe_rd=cr&ei=ybIfWe2XDKzM8gfuu5rAAg
    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=etrade%27s+faulty+consumer+product&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b&gfe_rd=cr&ei=OrMfWYnyC6zM8gfuu5rAAg
    Mr Nicholas Bilaczenko

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    Nicholas Bilaczenko 21/5/2017
    10 Giles Street East
    Coobowie SA 5583
    ph: 0888528336
    email: bilaczenko@nuskope.com.au

    FLAWED INTERNET COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY [Horizon systems] - SUB-POSTMASTERS AND MISTRESSES WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS.

    I Nicholas Bilaczenko state I have had my life's savings and a mortgage in the amount of approx. $70,000 stolen by 4 stockbrokers, Commsec, ANZ Share Investing formally known as Etrade, directshares and Belldirect.
    I am exposing a Nation whose financial systems run off the back of flawed internet computer technology that produce bad/corrupt financial transactions of financial detriment.
    I have incurred significant financial losses as a result of executed BUY and Sell market orders executing at the wrong share prices, failure to execute Market orders, ticker codes [Company names] not recognized, unauthorized access to other investors financial accounts and market orders, market orders incorrectly directed to the wrong market depth, excessive delays by up to 2 hours for market orders to execute,pre-market and after market auctions failing. At times the electronic share trading malfunctions are so bad that that the Australian Stock Exchange [ASX] has to shut down.
    I charge stockbrokers ANZ Share Investing formally known as Etrade and directshare with racketeering,l similarly I charge the Australian Securities Investment Commission [ASIC] with malfeasance of public office, specifically ASIC turning a blind eye to stock brokers ANZ Share Investing and directshares prohibited trading practices,on going systematic issues and serious misconduct. The charges are supported by a 900 page document consisting of 3,000+ exhibits and 40+ CD videos.
    Stockbroker directshares is an unlicensed Australian Financial Service Provider [AFSP] for the purpose of preventing all investors, share traders, Do It Yourself [DIY] superannuation funds managers and others from lodging a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service [FOS] against directshares.
    FLAWED INTERNET COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY
    Alexander Graham Bell the inventor of the telephone never intended telephones to be used to carry internet financial transactions as electronic data over millions of miles of copper line infrastructure. I have nothing against the internet for the sharing of general information.
    With millions of financial transactions sent over the internet each day inevitably 2 or more transactions sent as electronic data meets simultaneously at the junction of a computer chip set for reprocessing.Both electronic financial instructions are incorrectly processed at the same time when only 1 instruction at a time should be processed. As a result computer chip set algorithms [programming] become corrupt and further financial data will follow that corrupt path producing bad/corrupt financial transactions.
    while these bad/corrupt financial processes can be seen occurring on a PC screen, there is no provisions on global stock exchanges and stockbrokers electronic trading platforms for screen printouts as evidence. Of the millions of world wide web sites live streaming stock exchange and stockbroker electronic share trading platforms are the only sites where there are no provisions for taking screen snap shots.It is the near perfect crime, as most rational persons know a claim for compensation cannot be successful unless the claim is supported by screen snap shots as evidence, most complainants simply wear their financial losses and walk away .It is the first obstacle I have over come.
    It is an indisputable fact that manufacturers of personal computers [PC's] Dell, HP, Intel and others and operating systems developed by Microsoft acknowledge there is an inherent flaw with internet technology, a recommended remedy for persons experiencing corrupt data on their PC's is to reboot the PC [turn off, and restart] to reset the chip set algorithms [programming] back to default settings. Unfortunately this remedy is not available for all global live streaming markets.
    The same identical flawed internet computer technology is not only used by all global stock exchanges, stockbrokers, hedge funds and others but also by all the banks EFTPOS, aviation flight centes, national shipping, and I believe also our Nations defense forces and other commercial applications.
    Mr Nicholas Bilaczenko
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    ATTENTION MARK BARKER

    Nicholas Bilaczenko
    Nicholas Bilaczenko 6 hours ago (edited)
    http://www.computerweekly.com/news/4500256860/Communication-Workers-Union-warns-subpostmasters-of-flaw-in-Post-Office-Horizon-accounting-system
    This type of artificial financial account records, demonstrates Fujitsu's lack of consideration for unseen set of circumstances, while Horizon system may duplicate a financial transaction and records monies that do not exist for what ever the reason by Fujitsu,probably a malfunction it demonstrates and explains a cause of deficits in Sub-Postmasters and mistresses financial records accounting.
    It is called in computer programming 'filter parameters' while Fujitsu uses a duplicating systems for monies that do not exist, there should have been Filter parameters which rejects/declines such non existing monies from showing up on Sub-postmasters and Mistress financial accounts records.
    A filter parameter example is the insufficient funds facility attached to all savings only accounts, EG I have $500 in my account and I attempt to withdraw $600 the insufficient funds facility automatically declines the withdraw as insufficient funds.There is a lack of a filter parameter to decline duplicate financial transactions from showing an amount of monies in Horizon's data base that does not exist.
    From my personal experience with duplication I concur with CWU.

    Kind Regards
    Mr Nicholas Bilaczenko

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-9zKpr4mVc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ2FLuFVGMg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbGGFgh68ZU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J9AiTqtEcY

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Uf0NYo74wE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BRTZI371z0

    1 like
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    Nicholas Bilaczenko 16/6/2017
    10 Giles Street East
    Coobowie SA 5583
    Australia
    email: bilaczenko@nuskope.com.au
    phone: 0888528336

    MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE

    AMENDED SUBMISSION

    1 In relation to Fujitsu's Flawed Horizon Internet technology it is my contentious view that Freeths and IT engineers commissioned by the Criminal Review Commission have incorrectly narrowed the focus solely on Fujitsu's Flawed Internet Computer technology rather than encompass the World Wide Web [WWW.] as being flawed.

    2 There is an inherent flaw with Internet Technology when it is used for the sharing of information, web browsing and surfing the net and that's a good thing. It is only when the internet is used directly and indirectly for financial transactions that the inherent flaw with Internet technology is exposed as bad/corrupt financial transactions of financial detriment.

    3 Fujitsu's Horizon first introduced and implemented in 1998/2000 was adopted on a global basis implemented in an enviroment where there is no government regulation, and before Flawed Internet technology can be fixed, where stems the cause of the flaw must be established, then discover it is an inherent Flaw that can never be fixed.

    4 The financial sector above all others is the most important sector in the world, Flawed internet technology since 1998/2000 encompasses all Global Stock Exchanges,stockbrokers , hedge funds and others, all banks, aviation flight centres, nation shipping, our defense forces and other commercial applications including Fujitsu's Flawed Horizon Internet technology.

    5 It is the narrow focus of Freeths and Criminal Review Commission or rather IT engineers contracted to conduct forensic tracking of Fujitsu's Flawed Horizon systems, and of course the courts will hear from hundreds of Sub-postmasters and mistresses the same identical complaint. The end result is that our society will have to adapt to the legacy of flawed internet technology on a global basis, if not there is the potential for Flawed Internet Technology to bring about the collapse of any nations economy.

    6 One of the 1st steps is to unleash the Financial Sector ability to hold captive the government and its citizens. Fujitsu'd Horizon internet technology was purchased for $1 billion dollars at the tax payers expense of course Fujitsu is denying that there is anything wrong with its product, and POL denies it is not wrongfully prosecuting Sub-Postmasters and mistresses on its own accord but seeking a return of its capital outlay to protect POL's interests.

    7 I do not think the root cause of financial discrepancies between Sub-Postmasters and Mistresses and Fujitsu's Horizon systems is Flawed Internet technology. Rather from my own personal experience with erroneous duplication transactions and monies that do not exist that result in these financial account discrepancies, The root cause is irregular set of financial transactions stems from unforeseen set of circumstances, and the lack of computer written coding referred to as ' Parameter filters' that should have rejected/declined such artificial financial transactions resulting in artificial financial account sums of monies recorded in Horizon systems.

    8 An example of written computer programming referred to as 'filter perameters' is the insufficient funds facilities attached to all savings only accounts. Say I have $500 balance in my account and I intend to withdraw $500, I have erroneously added a zero, the withdraw request is shown as $5,000 the insufficient funds facility automatically rejects/declines that withdraw amount as " insufficient funds" it is this filter parameter which was not written in code that should have prevented no existent cash showing in Horizon systems, that produce these discrepancies.

    http://www.computerweekly.com/news/4500256860/Communication-Workers-Union-warns-subpostmasters-of-flaw-in-Post-Office-Horizon-accounting-system

    9 CWU conducted forensic tracking after this error was complained off, and from my own personal experience with transactions duplications and erroneous financial balances I agree with CWU findings and alert notices issued.

    10 Unfortunately Sub-Postmasters and Mistresses have made to pay for these discrepancies created through no fault of there own. I hope that I have answered what all Sub-Postmasters and Mistresses have asked the how, where and why.

    11 Old antiquated Dial-up internet technology in my opinion should have been scrapped when replaced by broadband technology in 2006, it should have no part in today's modern computer technology. 2 incompatible internet technologies Dial-up and Broadband of different band width frequencies, audio and electric pulse running together in the same systems. It makes no difference whether POL replaces Fujitsu with IBM unless the root cause of the flaw with Internet technology is established, it is a matter of choice of which of the 2 poisons.

    12 I am a self-made expert on Flawed Internet Computer Technology having gathered more than 3,500+ screen snapshots of bad corrupt financial transactions and have produced more than 40+ CD videos.My research began in 2006 for where stems the cause of Flawed Internet Technology, taking 7 of 10 years of daily research of more than 40,000+ hours to discover, and explain in terms that any layperson can understand.
    13 2 or more financial instructions are sent over millions of miles of copper line telecommunications infrastructure as electronic data that is reprocessed at a computer database. Inevitably with millions of financial transactions occurring each day 2 or more financial instructions simultaneously enter a computer chip set, both electronic instructions are erroneously processed at the same time when only 1 electronic instructions should be processed.
    14 As a result computer chip set algorithms [programming] become corrupt, a corrupt pathway is created for all further electronic instructions to follow for processing. Bad, corrupt financial transactions of financial detriment occur.
    15 It is an indisputable fact acknowledged by all PC manufacturers, Microsoft Operating systems, and well-versed computer users that corrupt pathways are an inherent flaw with internet streaming technology. The remedy provided is to reboot [a computer term for turning off and then restarting a PC] resetting the algorithms[programming] back to default processing settings.

    16 Flawed Internet Computer technology is not only used by all global stock exchanges, stockbrokers, hedge funds etc but the same identical flawed technology is used by all Bank EFTPOS[ATM],aviation flight centres, national shipping, our nation's defense forces and other commercial applications including Fujitsu, flawed Horizon internet systems.

    17 I have produced a 1,000 submission containing 3,500 screen snapshots and produced more than 45 CD videos as evidence to support my view.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ2FLuFVGMg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J9AiTqtEcY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbGGFgh68ZU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hvkO86LoOg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Uf0NYo74wE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BRTZI371z0

    KInd Regards
    Nicholas Bilaczenko

    2 likes
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    So sad that our once stable thriving fully owned thriving economy has declined into a corporate nightmare of foreign ownership and debt coinciding with the sell off of our telecommunications and the birth of internet technology . There is no way for any governments to keep track of technological advancements that are owned and controlled by any foreign private corporations , welcome to1984 .

  8. 7.3k
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    http://www.jfsa.org.uk/

    Nicholas Bilaczenko 21/06/2017
    10 Giles Stret East
    Coobowie SA 5583
    AUSTRALIA
    email: bilaczenko@nuskope.com.au
    ph no: 0888528336

    To Alan Bates, James Hartley LLb and Nick Wallis

    This additional submission should be read with the amended submission dated 16/06/2017

    1 I am not a Sub-Postmaster or Mistress, rather a share trader/investor having incurred significant financial losses through no fault of my own, I am exposing flawed internet technology on a global scale, and for this reason I share like many other share traders and investors the same experience as those incurred financial loses as a result of Fujitsu's defective Horizon product that produce corrupt/bad processing of financial detriment.

    2 I have read 2nd Sights report and have experienced and recorded those malfunctions described in that report, incorrect times shown by the time stamps, erroneous duplications of financial transactions and account balances, rejected financial transactions when in fact the transaction was processed,and many other types of electronic share trading platform malfunctions.

    3 In a 7 of 10 year long search for the discovery of where stems the root cause of the flaw in Internet technology of more than 40,000+ hours of daily research and analysis I have made that discovery in 2011/12. I can explain in simple terms that any experienced computer user can understand.

    4 I am the only person who has conducted this type of research, because when new internet technology, dail-up Internet was 1st imposed on its global citizens in 1998/2000 no one conducted adequate and proper trails and testing. When Fujitsu and POL claim the Horizon system was rigorously tested, they mean that from complaints lodged by Postmasters and Mistresses the IT technicians fine tune the Horizon system with patches. Patches that are useless unless the root cause of the Flaw in Internet technology is 1st acknowledged and understood, patches will inevitably result in new types of malfunctions.

    5 I post blogs on the internet investment community read by 10's of thousands of investors under the name of matross and the videos I produce on youtube under my real name.I have warned investors, share traders, and do it yourself super fund managers no to BUY or SELL one share before adding free software the their computer to take screen snap shots as cheap insurance. The same warning applies to all Sub-postmasters and Mistresses that a record back up of all transactions must be installed to Jujitsu's defective Horizon system before any financial transaction is conducted.

    6 All financial institutions,are commission fee based, profits are not effected by malfunctions. When Broadband Internet was introduced in 2006 on a global scale no adequate trials and testing was conducted to see whether Dial-Up and Broadband was compatible. Broadband with a hard ware up date can process up to 100x the number of financial transactions than Dail-up, the servers which once used for Dial-up are the same used for Broadband, except those servers now have to process up to 100x the number of financial transactions, the risk of bad/corrupt processing of financial detriment is 100 x greater, Fujitsu's and POL's breach of fiduciary duty of care.

    7 I have noticed since 1st conducting research in 2006 when Broadband was 1st implemented globally is the exponentially increased in number of malfunctions and the value of each of those malfunctions reported by all global media.In my opinion malfunctions that can potentially bring about the collapse of any nations economies, not when and where this will occur, it is currently occurring. The internet is the sole vehicle for bringing about the Global Financial Crisis [GFC] and the near collapse of the global monitory system.

    8 I am asked why it is that some investors and share traders are experiencing electronic share trading platform malfunctions while others are not while using the same online stockbroker? I explain that larger stockbrokers have multiple dedicated telephone lines for carrying electronic financial data, 1 or more of those lines are carrying corrupt financial data while the other lines are not. POL says that the number of complaints received by Sub-Postmasters and Mistress is small compared with the overall 14,000 users of Fujitsu's Horizon.I say the potential with flawed Internet technology it will eventually effect all Horizon data bases.

    9 I relation to POL's intention to replace Fujitsu's Horizon with IBM, in my opinion, the choice is analogous with choosing which of 2 poisons.

    10 In McCabe v British America Tobacco it was alleged that the tobacco company conducted secret experiments on the commercialization of nicotine addiction knowing that nicotine causes serious health issues and death from cancer. The tobacco companies for decades in civil lawsuits have always had the perfect defence and that is the plaintiff knew that tobacco smoking caused health problems then the plaintiff should have given up smoking.It is beyond comprehension that Fugitsu and POL continue to claim there is nothing wrong with Horizon internet technology.

    Nicholas Bilaczenko

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    Nicholas Bilaczenko
    10 Giles Street East 2/07/2017
    Cooowie SA 5583
    Australia

    ph no: 0888528336
    email: bilaczenko@nuskope.com.au

    ADDITIONAL SUBMISSION

    Dear Mr Alan Bates, Mr James Hartley LLB. Mr Nick Wallis and others

    1 I refer to the submission(s) by a Post Master/Mistress that a discrepancy in Financial record accounts between Horizon data base systems and Postmasters/mistresses is the result of financial records held at the Horizon data base has been altered. Post Office has responded that it is impossible for the Horizon financial accounting record to be altered.

    2 I would have made the same argument as that of the Barrister acting for Freeths, stating that correction input data at either the Horizon database or those Sub postmasters and mistresses can be made. In fact any IT engineer can enter the Horizon database and alter the algorthm (programming) to change financial accounting records. It does demonstrate that Post Office management of the Horizon systems are incompetent.

    3 I have had an electronic contract falsified by a stockbroker for the purpose of concealing flawed electronic share trading platforms malfunctions. The stockbroker entered the Database server and substituted the original contract records with a falsfied records, to complete this fraud the stock broker required to reboot the database computer systems. however failed to do so, so I now have possession of 2 different contract records for the same financial transaction. Once not only Fujitsu's Horizon database computer systems but any electronic financial computer systems are rebooted there will be no record of the original financial transactions.

    4 Mr Alan Bates made a suggestion that an external resolution dispute service is required to resolve the types of disputes that has resulted in the Criminal Review Commission and Group litigation Order. A dedicated external resolution dispute service to not only to Sub-postmasters and Mistresses but also where the general public and investors can lodge complaints against Financial Service Providers in the financial sector, the banks and the financial markets.

    5 The Financial Ombudsman Service FOS] hires part time law students as FOS case managers who lack the professional capacity to examine any complex financial instruments in today's modern financial markets. Similarly FOS adjudicators are incapable of examining the evidence of bad/corrupt processing of financial detriment the result of flawed internet computer technology.

    Nicholas Bilaczenko

    1 like
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    Software
    Fraud detection system with 93% failure rate gets IT companies sued
    The architects of Michigan's maligned MiDAS system called to court
    By Thomas Claburn in San Francisco 8 Mar 2017 at 11:29
    44 Reg comments SHAREImage and video hosting by TinyPicLast week, a proposed class-action lawsuit was filed against the companies responsible for developing and installing MiDAS, the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System.

    The complaint accuses Colorado-based Fast Enterprises, North Carolina-based SAS Analytics, and Illinois-based CSG Government Solutions of negligent product design, and of violating constitutional rights to due process and to protection from unreasonable search and seizure, among other laws.

    MiDAS was proposed ostensibly to help the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) automate the processing of unemployment benefits claims and related filings.

    Through automation, it was supposed to improve customer service, increase data accuracy, improve data security and privacy, and reduce operating costs.

    But the system, which shares its name with a mythological king humbled by greed, did the opposite.

    Deployed in October 2013 at a cost of $47 million, it was insecure, as noted by a prior audit.

    Between October, 2016, and January, 2017, authorized users consisting mainly of human resources personnel at companies using the system could see the names, social security numbers, and wages of people whose payroll is handled by any of the 31 third-party vendors that work with the UIA. Information related to as many as 1.87 million workers was exposed but no determination yet has been made about whether any information was stolen or misused.

    Worse still, MiDAS was designed to find fraud and was coded so poorly that, as the state has acknowledged, it had a 93% error rate when its attempts to identify fraud weren't reviewed by humans.

    These erroneous automated determinations meant that those wrongly flagged, instead of receiving funds, could be directed to pay the state five times the amount claimed. And the system was automated to such an extent that individuals accused of fraud often were not notified until it was too late to challenge the determination and were not provided with a way to respond.

    A federal lawsuit against the state related to MiDAS was settled in February and a separate class-action lawsuit is working its way through the state court system.

    MiDAS "regularly and as a matter of practice determined that eligible beneficiaries committed unemployment fraud without any factual basis," the complaint says. "The programs subjected previous beneficiary payments to renewed automated scrutiny and 'robo-adjudication' of new fraud determinations for past benefits paid."

    Michigan has highest unemployment fraud penalty in the nation at four times the claimed benefit, plus the amount claimed, according to Anthony Paris, an attorney for the Detroit-based Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice. Paris has been involved in litigation against the state on behalf of individuals affected by MiDAS but isn't a party in the case filed last week.

    The state's goal, said Paris, in phone interview with The Register, was to prioritize the classification of unemployment insurance fraud. "I think they did this to deter people from filing for benefits," he said, "so they can say claims are down."

    There have been at least two suicides in the state related to financial penalties arising from MiDAS's accusations of fraud, Paris said, who added that two of his clients had gone so far as to pen suicide notes.

    Erroneous accusations of fraud by MiDAS commonly resulted in fines, often ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, according to the complaint. To collect, the state often garnished wages and seized tax refunds, without due process.

    The state has said over 20,000 claimants have falsely been accused of fraud. According to Paris, the error rate is probably higher than 93%. In over 500 hearings, Paris said he's aware of just two cases of actual fraud.

    "[Michigan] found this was a way to potentially make some money," said Paris, noting that the state's unemployment insurance contingency fund increased from $3.1 million in 2011 to $155 million by December, 2016.

    Michigan has yet to return the funds it has obtained through MiDAS.

    Fast Enterprises and CSG Government Solutions did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development declined to comment on pending litigation.

    The state audit of MiDAS, delivered in February 2016, is damning enough, finding the system insecure and poorly implemented.

    Designed to save the state money, the software ended up forcing the state to hire 22 new administrative law judges to deal with the backlog of appeals and hearings – some 23,000 cases, according to Paris – created by its indiscriminate accusations of fraud.

    "It was a colossal failure on every level," said Paris.

    MiDAS, according to the complaint, was designed "to search for discrepancies in the records of individuals who are receiving, or have previously received, UI benefits and their employers."

    The software looks for any discrepancy between what a claimant declared in required paperwork and information provided by a former employer and assumes that means fraud, said Paris.

    And once it has found a discrepancy, the software embarks on a process that affords implicated individuals inadequate notice and few opportunities to respond, even as it disqualifies those affected from hardship waivers.

    "In many cases, the determination [of fraud] is automated and made by a computer without the benefit of any investigatory review, or human input or evaluation of any kind," the complaint states. ®

    1 like
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