This week, the SEC comes under fire for whistleblower complaints, UPS joins the blockchain bandwagon, and two individuals connected to the MLB are convicted of smuggling.
Who watches the watchmen | Official complaints have been filed against the Inspector General at the SEC. Two whistleblowers went to the Office of Special Counsel, whose mission is to protect federal whistleblowers, with allegations that the IG, Carl Hoeker, mishandled their original complaints. His office found “insufficient evidence” of misconduct and dismissed the complaints. Now the whistleblowers say Hoeker not only dismissed legitimate claims, but also retaliated against them, though it’s not entirely clear how. While the SEC vehemently denies wrongdoing, 2017 is a time when the public is whipping out the magnifying glass on governmental hypocrisy, so the OSC is going to have to have its work cut out getting to the bottom of this.
Blockchain bandwagons | UPS has decided to join forces with the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA), a group aimed at standardizing blockchain-like ledgers for the freight industry. Currently, the data in ledgers have high manual-labor costs—it takes awhile to record, store, and provide the info during compliance audits. UPS is hoping to cut those costs and streamline the process by using blockchain ledgers—essentially storing the data across a network of servers, making it easier for members to access. But these blockchains weren’t really created with logistics in mind, so BiTA has quite the task to standardize it for the industry. Small steps.
Illicit cash cover up | This past June, Logan Melgar, an Army Green Beret stationed in Mali, was killed after an altercation with two Navy SEALs. Now it seems that he may have been murdered after uncovering that the SEALs were funneling cash from funds used to pay informants. When Melgar figured out the scheme, he refused to take a cut. NCIS doesn’t comment on ongoing investigations, but anonymous officials have said Melgar spoke with his wife about the shady deals, and that he’d give her the full story when he got home.
Forged fame | An agent and a baseball trainer in Miami have been officially convicted of conspiracy and smuggling. Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada were found guilty of running a scheme to take prospective players from Cuba to the States with forged papers, then took cuts from their contracts equalling about $230m. One of these players, Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox, actually admitted to eating pieces of his fake passport in fear of being caught with illegal docs. Hernandez and Estrada, who plan to appeal, tried to highlight the number of players they helped to reach the American Dream in court, while downplaying the alleged violence and murder that came with it.
Thanks for reading! Keep your eyes glued to this column for another roundup of the latest news from the wider world of compliance. And as always, please send any questions, comments, or leads to firstname.lastname@example.org.