New Record for Workers Disability

Tue, July 24th, 2012 - 5:25 am - By Gordon Basichis

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It’s still a sluggish economy with new indications it may be slowing down even more.  One sign, not a good one, is that more than 8 million workers have applied or are on disability.

According to CNSNews.com….”The 8,753,935 workers who took federal disability insurance payments in July exceeded the population of 39 of the 50 states. Only 11 states—California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina and New Jersey—had more people in them than the number of workers on the federal disability insurance rolls in July.”

The ratio of people working as opposed to people now on disability is now 16 to one.

Employers Dealing With Expenses Fraud

Fri, July 20th, 2012 - 12:45 pm - By Gordon Basichis

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Most people at least know someone who has padded his business expenses and filed for “creative” reimbursements on their expense accounts.  In some cases, employers do not have much oversight.  And in cases with which I have been familiar, often the employers don’t care or turn a blind eye, thinking it’s a better way to offer raises without having to pay the additional taxes and benefits.  In fact, if anything, it’s a tax write-off.

Padding your business expenses can be regarded as a hallowed tradition with some employees.  Having worked in show business for quite some time I have seen some real eye opening indulgences written off on expense accounts.   Things that could be considered business friendly, if at all, in only the loosest interpretation.

According to an article in Fresh Business Thinking….”Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation & Disputes Services team has released research showing employees consider the fiddling of expenses as more serious than stealing physical company property (20%), drinking during work (13%) and breaching of licensing arrangements (10%). Only using drugs at work (33%) was considered the more serious of these offences.

Despite recent high profile prosecutions the research of 1000 middle managers found the exposure to risk remains high, with only one in five expressing zero-tolerance of intentional overstatement.”

So overstating business expenses is quite a consideration.  The Ernst and Young Report reiterates what I noted earlier, that once upon a time, padding expense accounts was overlooked as a viable means of offering pay raises without dealing with the various taxes.   But now, after the economic recession, the practice warrants greater scrutiny.  Even middle level employees have been getting into the act, increasing their personal incomes through fraudulent business expenses.

It should be also be noted that larger amounts of money posted on expense accounts could indicate bribery and kickbacks.  Bribery is embarrassing and, worse, illegal.  All sorts of laws against it.  Which is why it fails to brighten the day of any employer who discover, after the fact that its employees have been caught in a bribery scandal.   When breaking headlines blast this type of malfeasance all across the various news media platforms, you can rest assured business will suffer.

Still, thirty six percent of the UK businessmen would overspend on their accounts if it meant developing new business.

Padding business expenses has always been a two way street, largely for the reasons cited.  Largely, because nearly everybody is doing it.  Only one in five respondents to the survey claimed they have a zero tolerance policy.  And who knows if they are telling the truth?  Twenty-five percent openly said they would tolerate over-billing on expenses as long as it is not out of control.  And seven percent would accept claims that were more than $150.US dollars.

Now this survey was conducted in the UK.  So the question is, are the employees with the UK companies more flagrant, or if there was a similar survey conducted in the United States would policies toward expense padding be  more liberal or more constraining?   I think you can figure out that one for yourself.

Glitches in the Newly Revised Wayne County Civil Records System

Tue, July 17th, 2012 - 3:08 pm - By Gordon Basichis

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For those conducting county civil records as background checks for their employment screening programs, please take note…

The Third Judicial Circuit Court recently upgraded the case indexing system to Odyssey Management System. Now, when conducting a search on the public access terminal, only the first defendant and first plaintiff are showing up in the public access terminal. The potential is huge to miss a case if the subject being searched is listed as a 2nd or 3rd defendant or plaintiff on a case. The court administrator has been notified of the issue and they are diligently working on a solution. In the meantime, the court clerks have offered to assist with civil name searches. While this is necessary to ensure a clean search, turnaround time is sure to be much slower until the issue is permanently resolved.

President Signs Bill Outlawing Synthetic Drugs

Thu, July 12th, 2012 - 1:54 pm - By Gordon Basichis

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For those who conduct drug testing as a background check for their employment screening program, I am sure you are aware of the new synthetic drugs that have reportedly caused some very bizarre behavior.

President Obama just signed into a new law making “Bath Salts,” and synthetic marijuana, known as “K2 or “Spice,”” illegal.

According to the posting by our drug screening partner, Quest Diagnostics,…….”Use of synthetic marijuana is alarmingly high. According to data from the 2011 Monitoring the Future survey of youth drug-use trends, 11.4 percent of high school seniors used Spice or K2 in the past year, making it the second most commonly used illicit drug among seniors.

In 2010, there were 2,900 calls to U.S. poison control centers related to synthetic marijuana. In 2011, there were nearly 7,000 calls and 2,800 calls through May 2012.

For the full article please click on the following link.

The new law will make it easier for law enforcement agencies to take enforcement action against the manufacturers, importers and sellers of these products. However, Federal and State authorities will need to remain vigilant and continue to update their list of prohibited substances as manufacturers continue to make chemical modifications to get around the new legislation. Based on recent information presented at the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT) national meeting in Boston last week, it already appears that some of the latest products have a chemical structure designed to circumvent this latest legislation.”

 

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