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Mark Nelson

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Probably Not Google Material

November 15, 2009

One thing we don't see too often in our profession are criminal charges resulting directly from programming work. Proving himself to be a trendsetter in yet another area, Bernie Madoff saw two of his programmers hit with federal indictments last week.

According to the FBI's announcement,  Jerome O'Hara and George Perez are accused of writing programs specifically designed to cover up financial malfeasance. Specifically, they allegedly wrote code that:

  • Changed the names of account holders in order to hide assets.
  • Changed details about trades, including amounts, dates, and transaction numbers.
  • Created false order and execution records.
  • Generated false commission reports.
  • Generated false monthly account statements.

The list goes on and it's quite impressive.

The USDOJ says these two are eligible for up to 30 years in prison, and since Bernie Madoff is already in jail, it may be difficult for them to cut a deal by cooperating with the investigation.

What do you think would be an appropriate sentence for a programmer convicted of this kind of fraudulent activity?

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