Larry C. Adams, CPA
Phoenix, Arizona USA
Certified Public Accountant
Certified Fraud Examiner
Telephone (602) 995-8008
January 2000 Topics
Conspiracy of Silence, Mens Rea, Phony,
Roorback, Roumanian Box Trick,
Sling, Sling Back, Subscription Fraud,
Wine Scam, and Zero In
A phony letter almost prevented
a candidate from becoming
President of the United States.
Fraud In Other Words: Professional Jargon and Uncensored Street Slang
By Larry C. Adams, CFE, CPA, CIA, CISA
An agreement, either tacit or
explicit, to disclose nothing about an individual or a situation. The
phrase nearly always refers to disclosing something unfavorable, or even
criminal. For example, physicians often have been accused of protecting an
incompetent member of their profession by keeping quiet.
Christine Ammer, Have a Nice Day - No Problem!, Plume, New York, 1993, p.
Mens Rea (Mens
Latin for guilty mind or
defendant’s mind. The criminal state of mind or intent that accompanies a
crime. Laws require prosecution lawyers to demonstrate mens rea on
the part of the accused. They require proof that the accused intended to
commit the crime. The requisite state of mind varies depending on the
Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases, Oxford University Press, New
York, 1997, p. 257.
Not genuine. Counterfeit. A
fake. A faker. The original Irish word was fáinne. In England it
became fawney, and phony in America. Fawney rig was an Irish
name for finger ring. It became the name of a confidence game in which a
brass ring was sold as a gold ring.
Another favorite ruse of
Irish sharpers was to put a ring with an imitation stone in a public
place. Sooner or later someone would come along and pick up the ring.
Appearing from nowhere, the con artist persuaded or frightened his victim
into paying him to keep quiet about the find. Making off with the hush
money, the swindler would leave the sucker holding a fawney that
seemed valuable but was actually worthless. So many persons were defrauded
that anything fake came to be called fawney.
Garrison, Why You Say It, MJF Books, New York, 1992, p. 149.
A false report issued to cause
intentional damage. A corporate or political dirty trick. A forgery
presented to the public. A falsehood introduced so late in a political
campaign that refutation is difficult. During the election for U.S.
President in 1844, a letter from “an Abolitionist” to a small newspaper
was reprinted across the United States. The letter purported to be a
trustworthy, objective excerpt from Roorback’s Tour Through the Western
and Southern States in 1836. According to this journal, Baron von
Roorback of Germany witnessed that 43 slaves
been purchased in Tennessee for James K. Polk and branded with JKP on
their shoulders. Despite the scurrilous charges, Polk narrowly defeated
Henry Clay. An investigation revealed the baron and the journal did not
exist. The perpetrator of the letter was an author and attorney in Ithaca,
Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories, Merriam-Webster Inc.,
Springfield, Massachusetts, 1991, p. 401-402.
(Rumanian Box Trick)
A swindle in which an innocent
person loses money by inserting it into a changing machine that will not
return the bills or change. Police used this phrase in the 1920s, but the
scam still occurs using modern change machines, vending machines, and
Robert Nash, Dictionary of Crime, Paragon House, New York, 1992, p. 318.
Sling (Sling Back)
An Australian term used since
the 1940s meaning to pay a bribe.
Ayto, Oxford Dictionary of Slang, Oxford University Press, New York, 1998,
A malicious scheme of revenge
in which the perpetrator forges other persons’ names on subscription cards
for magazines, newspapers, and collections of books. In Painesville, Ohio,
was jailed for signing the names of her enemies on subscription cards. Her
landlord, a neighbor, and a job counselor consequently received magazines
and invoices for 350 orders.
Jailed for Subscription Fraud, Associated Press, AOL News, October 8,
Low quality wine is falsely
labeled to indicate it is worth more. Anti-fraud officials in Rome foiled
a plan to pass off six million liters of wine produced in southern Italy
with labels showing the origin as Tuscany in north central Italy - an area
which produces higher quality wine. Each year only 20% of the wine
produced is officially labeled as denominazione d’origine controllata,
which is a guarantee of geographical origin awarded only to high quality
Fraud Squad Swoop on Low-quality Wine Scam, Reuters, September 21, 1999.
To narrow the scope of an
investigation. To aim at or concentrate on a specific person, business, or
thing. To single out a person. This phrase from the 1940s was used by
marksmen demanding accuracy. The sight of a rifle was zeroed or adjusted
so the fired round hits the exact point a marksman aimed at. The shooter
needed no correction to aim at the center of the target.
L. Chapman, American Slang, Second Edition, Harper Collins, New York,
1998, p. 561.
Larry C. Adams, CFE, CPA, CIA, CISA,
is the author of Fraud in Other
Words - 1999 Edition. He is a common sense business consultant in Phoenix,
Copyright 1999 Larry C. Adams.
All rights reserved.
|This article is in the
January/February 2000 issue of
The White Paper, the Journal of the Association of
Certified Fraud Examiners.
Also it is printed in Arizona Fraud Line,
the book - Fraud In Other Words
Magazine Article Archive