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Larry C. Adams, CPA
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March 2002 Topics
Bankrupt, bushing, gyp, jip, gypsy, gippo, gypper, gypster, hawalas, hundis, hundiwallas, pennyweighter, shopgrifting, and touch pattern
 

This article is in the March/April 2002 issue of
The White Paper
, the Journal of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
 

Fraud In Other Words: Professional Jargon and Uncensored Street Slang
By Larry C. Adams, CFE, CPA, CIA, CISA
 

Bankrupt
Insolvent. Unable to pay one’s debts. In ancient Italy, a money-changer conducted his business in a public place in a trading center like Florence or Venice. For the convenience of his customer, the money-changer set up a small bench called a “banca.” For a fee, the money-changer calculated the value of currency received by a merchant dealing with foreign countries, and exchanged it for domestic currency. He also took money from wealthy patrons and lent it to others. Loans were risky because the borrower might lose his life, his goods, and his ship through some disaster. “Rotta” was the term for broken or wrecked, such as a ship. A succession of such misfortunes would cause the financial failure of the money-changer, unable to pay his own creditors. As a penalty, the creditors broke up the money-changer’s bench in public to show he was no longer in business and to warn other patrons that he was “banca rotta.” Medieval Latin later altered the phrase for broken bench to “banca rupta.”
Charles Earle Funk, Thereby Hangs a Tale: Stories of Curious Word Origins, Harper & Row, New York, 1950, pages 26 - 27.
 
Bushing
You won't find a better deal on this car! A bushing scam starts with a higher than usual trade-in allowance.
A vehicle sales scam. Bushing a customer begins with an auto salesman offering a much higher than usual trade-in allowance on a car. The salesman knows the deal will be turned down later by the manager of the dealership. This first offer is so attractive it detains the “mark” and distracts the targeted customer from looking elsewhere. Gradually, the customer is persuaded to trade in his vehicle at a much lower price to complete the bait-and-switch deal.
Walter Wagner, The Golden Fleecers, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1966, page 197.
 
Gyp (Jip, Gip, Gypsy, Gippo, Gypper, Gypster)
A British college student called his servant a gyp because the servant preyed upon him like a vulture to obtain tips.A person who cheats or swindles people. A trickster. A person who is not quite honest. Gyp is the Greek word for vulture. In the 19th century, the Universities of Cambridge and Durham in England provided servants, who attended one or more undergraduates. Students called the servants “gyps” because the gyps found many ways of obtaining ale and tips from them and preyed upon the students like vultures. Gyps made beds, ran errands, helped their young masters over the college walls late at night, and provided other services. Sometimes they ran away with everything they could lay their hands on.
Jordan Almond, Dictionary of Word Origins: A History of the Words, Expressions, and Clichés We Use, Citadel Press, New York, 1985, page 113.
 
Hawalas (Hundis, Hundiwallas)
Hawalas are money brokers who often make hard-to-detect transfers by cell phone.Shadowy money-brokers who operate across Asia and the Gulf of Mexico. Money is lent on the basis of trust; there is no documentation. As many as 200 hawalas can be involved in a single transaction. Many transactions are handled by cellphone. Hawalas have been involved in bribery, money-laundering, and match-fixing of international cricket and soccer games. Hawalas are suspected of secretly transferring cash from the Middle East to terrorists in America. The US State Department advised Pakistan to establish anti-money-laundering measures and anti-hawala counter-measures to curb drug-related and white-collar crimes. About $5 billion passes through these unofficial channels including hawalas in Pakistan.
Luke Harding, “A Bookie, a Fixer and a Captain,” Daily Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg, South Africa, April 12, 2000, http://www.mg.co.za/mg/news/2000apr1/
12apr-cronje-g1.html.

 
Pennyweighter
A pennyweighter stole small quantities of gold. Modern pennyweighters steal bonds and stock certificates.
A person who steals jewelry and small objects by substituting a worthless item for valuable one. A penneyweighter leaves a fake or cheap replacement so the owner will not discover the valuable silver, gold, or diamond item is missing until the thief is far away from the premises. Today, a fraudster might substitute phony bonds or stock certificates for real ones. In mining camps in the 1930s, a pennyweighter was a person who stole very small quantities of gold, as opposed to a “high-grader” who appropriated any big nuggets which he saw in the sluice boxes. In the 18th century, a pennyweight was a silver penny that weighed the same as 24 grains of dry barley-corn (1/20th of an ounce Troy).
Ralph Hancock with Henry Chafetz, The Compleat Swindler, MacMillan Company, New York, 1968, page 293.

 
Shopgrifting
To “rent something for free” by purchasing it at a retailer and then returning it within 30 days for a full refund. The swindler takes advantage of the store and its liberal return policies. Big screen televisions are shopgrifted to watch major sporting events.
New Words in English, Department of Linguistics, Rice University, http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~ling215/
NewWords/page3.html, October 21, 2001.
 
Touch Pattern
Each person has a unique keystroke or touch pattern on a computer keyboard.
A human parameter used by biometric security devices to authenticate a person’s identity and control unauthorized access to high-security computer systems and buildings. Each person has a unique touch on a computer keyboard, just like a piano or typewriter. The patterns are noticeable when the user keys in his name or a sequence of words. The strength and length of the keystrokes and pauses are measurable. The user’s touch on the keyboard is matched and verified by stored codes in the system’s control file. A positive verification will allow access; while a negative verification will deny access.
J. Van Duyn, Automated Crime Information Systems, TAB Books, Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania, 1991, pages 104 - 105.
 
Larry C. Adams, CFE, CPA, CIA, CISA, is an audit consultant in Phoenix, Arizona. His latest book is Fraud In Other Words, Second Edition, 1999. He is a member of The White Paper Editorial Review Board. His e-mail address is fraudwritr@aol.com.
 

© Copyright 2001 Larry C. Adams. All rights reserved.

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