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FRAUD / Vol. 75, No. 4 (Winter 2008)

Arien Mack, Editor

The decision to edit an issue on fraud unfortunately reflects the sense of the times we are living in this country. Although it seems highly likely that fraud has always been an aspect of social life, it now seems to have virtually taken over. Instances range from the often harmless fraud of pretending to be someone on the Internet to the far more serious instances of mega billion dollar corporations defrauding their shareholders and causing them to lose their life savings; a high or law government official defrauding the electorate etc.

This article discusses the moral failings of Jewish patriarchs in the Hebrew Bible. The author seeks to understand how the lies, deception and fraudulent activities of the biblical characters Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, can be understood in the context of their roles as leaders of the Jewish people. The treatment of Hebrew women during Abraham's presence in the courts of Egypt and Gerar is framed in terms of the misrepresentation of his relationship with his wife Sarah. Jacob's impersonation of his brother Esau when seeking his father's blessing is also explored.

This article discusses the use of impersonation methods in comedy and social interactions. The association of creating a fake online identity to create the impression of support for one's cause, a phenomenon known as sock puppetry, is noted. The role of impersonation in literature is framed in terms of instances drawn from the books "Ulysses" by James Joyce and "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens. The relationship between the use of typed characters in Roman, Italian, and French drama is related to the development of Shakespearian plays such as "A Comedy of Errors" and "The Taming of the Shrew."

This article discusses the attitudes toward fraud and misrepresentation held by high school and college students in the US during the 21st century. Student responses to the case of Marilee Jones, who was the dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology until it was discovered that she had not attended several of the colleges listed on her resume, are noted. Ideas about the adoption of novel identities by adolescents that were developed by Erik Erikson are described. The development of self-fashioned identities by adolescents through online communities such as Second Life and World of Warcraft is described.

This article discusses the social aspects of election fraud in the administration of democracy in the US. The conflict between the presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election is considered. The role of partisan politics in the raising of questions regarding the integrity of the democratic process in the US is considered. The complications associated with the management of voting by state and local governments are addressed. The history and development of election fraud in the US is considered.

This article compares the responses of the courts and the scientific community to instances of fraud in science and engineering in the United States Case law stemming from a lawsuit filed by Joe Newman against the Patent Office Commissioner Thomas Quigg over the invention of a perpetual motion machine. Efforts by the chemists Martin Fleishmann and Stanley Pons to recreate what they claimed were successful experiments in the fusion of hydrogen nuclei are described. Efforts by a physician named Randell Mills to market so-called hydrino science, another interpretation of Pons and Fleishmann's experiments, are noted.

This article discusses issues relating to health care fraud under the automated payments system for Medicare. The medical economics of health care fraud as an issue in the finance of medical care in the United States are considered. Research by Transparency International indicating that the design of a fee-for-service, public-private partnership based and automation centered claims processing system in the US is open to significant corruption is considered. The limitations of efforts to audit health billing claims and the design of metrics that can accurately estimate the rate of fraud in the health care system are considered.

This article discusses the moral and ethical impacts of insurance claims fraud within the United States. Issues associated with cost shifting in the financing of insurance claims resulting from instances of opportunistic and planned fraud are considered. Varying estimates of the levels and significance of fraud in dealing with automobile, health, and workers compensation insurance are considered. Economic, business ethics, sociological, legal, and psychological approaches to the analysis of insurance fraud are considered. Research into the role of honesty and personal ethics in the determination of public opinion regarding insurance fraud is considered.

This article discusses corporate accounting fraud in the United States including cases involving companies such as Worldcom Inc., Adelphia Inc., and Enron Corp. The prominence of energy and telecommunications companies among those charged with malfeasance during the 2000s is considered in light of their deregulation during the late 20th century. The complicity of the Arthur Andersen auditing firm in the fraudulent transactions carried out by Enron and WorldCom is explored. The development of the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to limit the development of future scandals is explored.

This article discusses the current state of research into tax fraud issues faced by the United States Internal Revenue Service. Issues including the misstatement of personal expenses, income, or the concealment of assets are addressed. The author explores the issues associated with measuring fraud in the general population through the use of surveys, audit data, and indirect methods such as differences between income and expenditure in budget surveys. Psychological issues, referred to as tax morale, are also considered.


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