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Courageous Whistleblowers Reclaim Derogatory Terms As Data Shows 80% of Financial Professionals Stay Silent on Suspected Internal Fraud, Fearing Retaliation

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  • Enron whistleblower, Sherron Watkins, alongside stars of Apple TV’s The Big Conn, Sarah Carver and Jennifer Griffith, reclaim derogatory labels for whistleblowers
  • Concerning new data shows more than half of financial professionals in the UK and US have spotted or suspected internal fraud in their workplaces, yet four out of five stay silent fearing retaliation
  • 32% of professionals in finance have seen whistleblowers victimized behind their back or to their face

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., May 22, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — New data from fraud detection software company Medius shows more than half of financial professionals in the UK and US (56%) have spotted or suspected internal fraud in their workplaces yet four in five (81%) stayed silent. When asked why, 45% of professionals cited the fear of recrimination.

Whistleblowers Sherron Watkins, Sarah Carver and Jennifer Griffith have joined forces to reclaim the derogatory names they were called after reporting serious internal financial fraud.

To help empower others to come forward, the whistleblowers are reclaiming the terms “snitch”, “rat” and “traitor”.

Sherron Watkins is the former Vice President of Enron Corporation who alerted the CEO to accounting irregularities, warning the organization “might implode in a wave of accounting scandals.” Watkins received national acclaim for her courageous actions and TIME magazine named her along with two others as their Persons of the Year in 2002, calling them simply ‘The Whistleblowers.’

Sarah Carver and Jennifer Griffith are the stars of Apple TV’s The Big Conn after they exposed a fraud scheme of more than $550 million while employed at the Social Security Administration. In efforts to silence their disclosures, they experienced multiple acts of severe retaliation and were denied protection. Ultimately, both Carver and Griffith were forced from employment.

Concerns of repercussions are vindicated – the survey reveals the extent to which financial professionals in the UK and US have witnessed negative consequences for whistleblowers firsthand:

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  • 59% have seen whistleblowers subsequently left out of important decisions
  • 33% have seen whistleblowers moved to a different team
  • 32% have heard whistleblowers called derogatory names behind their backs or directly to their face

When asked what would encourage them to flag suspicious activity, 93% of workers surveyed would feel more comfortable doing so if they had more evidence, yet nearly half (48%) said the legal system simply does not adequately protect whistleblowers.

Jim Lucier, CEO at Medius, a leading global provider of cloud-based accounts payable automation and spend management solutions, said:

“White collar crime is on the rise and no organization is safe. Employees are the last line of defense against fraud but confidence to report suspicious activity is declining. AI anomaly-detection technology can provide employees with the evidence and assurances they need to be more forthcoming. Building a culture where employees feel comfortable to report their suspicions could save organizations millions in the long-run.”

Medius works with over 4,000 customers across 102 countries and processes $200 billion in annual spend. It uses the power of AI and automation to detect fraud, the moment invoices are submitted safeguarding against bad actors and potential threats, internal and external.

Sherron Watkins, whistleblower who was called a “snitch” said: “When someone is troubled by corporate wrongdoing and they attempt to sound the alarm, the pathway is uncharted, things happen organically. Normal rational people speak about their concerns with their closest friends and work colleagues, who often suggest staying safe saying “keep your head down, if you must report, go soft, nothing black and white.” Yet black and white evidence is what is needed to get the attention of those in power, either internally or with media or outside watchdog groups to prevent or stop fraudulent activity.”  

Jennifer Griffith, whistleblower who was called a “traitor” said: “Choosing to blow the whistle involves more than just the desire to right a wrong.  It’s about protecting their employers from fraud. However, it’s more often than not seen as causing trouble for the employer, or as a self-serving action to get a financial reward. No one who chooses to blow the whistle expects to have their reputation attacked, their credibility impugned or to lose their job. The cost of ignoring a whistleblowers complaints are far greater than acknowledging that a problem exists and taking steps to fix it.  It’s been 19 years since I blew the whistle and the problems that existed then with the Social Security Administration still exist today. We must do more to protect whistleblowers.”

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Sarah Carver, whistleblower who was called a “rat” said: “The government’s attempt to conceal the fraud resulted in exacerbated damage, whereas a more prudent approach would have entailed immediate acknowledgement and rectification upon initial disclosure. The retaliatory measures aimed at silencing me made me stronger and fight harder to find someone to listen and stop the fraud.”

The billboard advertising campaign runs on Wall Street from Saturday, 18th May to Friday, 24th May 2024.

For more information about how Medius can prevent fraud, visit: https://www.medius.com/whistleblowing/

For more information, please contact:
Fight or Flight for Medius
[email protected] / +44 330 133 0985

This information was brought to you by Cision http://news.cision.com

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Agora acquires Clearshift’s real estate division

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Agora, a provider of real estate investment management solutions, has acquired Clearshift’s real estate division to “reinvent cross-border payments in investment management.”

The division has utilized Clearshift’s international payments infrastructure to facilitate mass payouts and capital investments between foreign investors, asset managers, real estate property managers, and fund administrators.

While the financial details of the acquisition remain undisclosed, Agora will now serve as the division’s primary client-facing interface, offering “user-friendly investment management tools.” Clearshift will retain responsibility for payment execution and compliance functions.

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For existing Clearshift clients, this integration into the Agora platform promises “enhanced capabilities.” Agora’s clients, not currently subscribed to Clearshift, will gain “a transparent solution to foreign exchange activity” that enables “seamless distributions and contributions in any currency worldwide.”

Ari Dobner, CEO of Clearshift, noted, “After years of refining our fund manager payment solution, it became clear to us that our clients would truly benefit from a full investor management solution with seamless payment integration.”

Bar Mor, co-founder and CEO of Agora, added that the acquisition will enhance their platform with “streamlined and cost-effective international payments,” leveraging the “substantial customer overlap between Agora and Clearshift.”

This acquisition follows the recent closure of Agora’s $34 million Series B funding round, backed by Qumra Capital, Insight Partners, and UK-based investment firm Aleph.

Source: fintechfutures.com

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InScope secures $4.3m to revolutionise financial reporting and auditing

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InScope, a newly launched FinTech company, has successfully raised $4.3 million to expand its innovative financial reporting and auditing platform.

According to PYMNTS, the funding round included significant contributions from prominent investors such as Lightspeed and Better Tomorrow Ventures.

InScope is focused on transforming the traditional processes of financial reporting and auditing for private companies. The company leverages advanced technologies, including generative AI and large language models, to automate and streamline the compilation of financial statements—tasks that have historically been prone to errors and required extensive manual effort.

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The new capital will be used to enhance InScope’s platform capabilities. The company aims to shift accountants’ focus from laborious manual tasks to more strategic initiatives, thereby empowering finance professionals with tools to complete reporting and auditing tasks quickly and efficiently.

InScope’s system compiles data from a company’s core systems, such as ERP, along with publicly available information, and transforms these inputs into GAAP-compliant financial and audit documents.

InScope CEO and co-founder Mary Antony stated, “Our technology dramatically reduces the time and effort required for financial reporting and auditing, eliminating the need for outdated manual processes.” Her co-founder and COO, Kelsey Gootnick, also emphasized the transformative potential of InScope, which they conceived out of their own frustrations with existing financial processes.

The company has already begun collaborating with a select group of companies to refine and enhance their financial reporting capabilities. JC Bahr-de Stefano, a venture capital investor at Better Tomorrow Ventures, commented on this partnership: “InScope is already working with a handful of companies to help streamline their financial reporting needs and enable accountants to complete their reporting tasks in minutes instead of months.”

Source: fintech.global

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Citi extends USD Clearing service to Middle East in partnership with Emirates NBD

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Citi has partnered with Dubai-based banking group Emirates NBD to launch its USD Clearing service in the Middle East.

Through this collaboration, Emirates NBD will offer the USD Clearing service, along with its commercial and treasury payment execution capabilities, to corporate and retail clients via its branch networks in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. This service will enable clients to make cross-border USD payments with continuous availability, addressing current payment flow challenges posed by varying transaction cut-off times in the UAE.

“The introduction of 24/7 USD Clearing will support the growth ambitions of our clients by giving them the ability to seamlessly transfer funds in a timely manner without having to worry about cutoffs and holidays,” said Ahmed Al Qassim, group head of wholesale banking at Emirates NBD.

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Following the initial launch, the service will be extended to all Emirates NBD branches in the Middle East and globally, including partnerships with third-party institutions.

According to its website, Emirates NBD currently operates 853 branches in the UAE, Egypt, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UK, Austria, Germany, Russia, and Bahrain.

Shahmir Khaliq, Citi’s head of services, described the collaboration as “an important step in our journey to creating a multibank solution that is designed to deliver an end-to-end, ‘always on’ experience for participant banks and their customers.”

“Our 24/7 USD Clearing service is a clear differentiator in the market,” Khaliq continued. “It demonstrates the full value of our globally leading cross-border payments and clearing capabilities, which enable our clients to make payments faster and in a more efficient and transparent manner.”

Source: fintechfutures.com

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