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Archive for March, 2023

Speaking to NOW: Pensions About a Corrupt Employer

Video download link | md5sum 9dcf3def0c8beb1a166c52b5ded8b299
Chatting to the Pension Boss About Sirius
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Further to yesterday’s update on Sirius ‘Open Source’ and its “Pensiongate” we can gladly report some progress following escalation to management; this is about tech and “Open Source” employees facing abuse at work, even subjected to crimes

THE Sirius series isn’t quite over and we expect a lot more to be published about the pensions. Expect this to spill over to April as well.

When I started the series in December I didn’t know how deep the rabbit hole would go; it pains me to know that myself and my colleagues got robbed.

Our solid plan to publish some EPO documents (earlier today) have thus been delayed somewhat; today we’ve instead devoted a lot of time to Sirius coverage.

Skyfall's upload imageThe gist of the video above is (it mended up a bit like a podcast of the pension fund’s manager and myself), they now reckon they failed to provide a good service, they recognise the severity of the matter, and things will — or at least should — be progressing a lot faster from now on.

The saddest thing in all this is (there is a lot), it took me almost 3 hours on the phone (I pay for these calls) to finally get to the boss and we’ve already lost about 3 months while Sirius was hiding itself and hiding what’s left of it. This really should have progressed months ago, but NOW: Pensions was uncooperative and unattentive. Since January it kept lying to me and to my wife, who has a plan there too.

NOW: Pensions Won’t Let Me Have My Money, Fails to Apologise for Months of Lying

Video download link | md5sum f78431fd89771a7ee494f43d13e16fb5
34 Minutes With Now Pensions (NOW: Pensions)
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The “Pensiongate” of Sirius ‘Open Source’ (the company which embezzled/robbed many workers for years) helps reveal the awful state of British pension providers, which are in effect enabling the embezzlement to carry on while lying to their clients

THE video above shows how in the company NOW: Pensions “customer” “support” staff is basically just a ‘shield’, making it virtually impossible to speak to people who can progress/resolve things. In a very Kafkaesque fashion they try to pass me from one person to another person without actually making any real progress. No apologies, no information, no reaction.

As it turns out this week, it can be more or less the same in the United States, so it seems like a global issue, a universal pattern.

The recording above was made only after months of frustration and a waste of money, not just time. NOW: Pensions lied to me repeatedly; they already have a history of misconduct and judging by the quality of their service (or disservice) they might go under again — as they did before (until some other company bought them). As per British law, there are cases where pensions can be redeemed early, with up to 55% tax in case of ‘unauthorised withdrawals’ (before age 55). But advisors are spreading misinformation for their own benefit/interests. It also seems clear that redeeming depositors’ money is made incredibly hard. That’s a design flaw, an intentional barrier.

Standard Life Making False Promises About Cracking Down on Pension Fraud and Embezzlement

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The Standard Cover-up
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Standard Life lied to me about investigating fraud committed in their name; to make matters worse, upon contacting them one week later (after they were supposed to get back to me) they’re still not escalating, not even getting in touch, and victims of embezzlement are running out of patience, having already lose their pensions

THE above video gives some background and plays back a conversation I had today with Standard Life. It’s a continuation of the long video (and notes) from 2 days ago. I had the phone with me throughout the above recording and Standard Life simply failed to phone me. They had already failed to contact me a week ago as the manager promised. It certainly starts looking like a pattern.

This time I play the audio without hiding the names of those accountable. Readers/viewers can probably understand why we name them publicly after months of wasted efforts and hours on the phone. The short story is, Standard Life is failing to hold people accountable, knowing embezzlement affected a lot of people. Some time in the next few days we shall explain the significance of this and the ramifications. This passivity isn’t acceptable.

Audio: Sirius Never Paid the Pension Provider, Staff Was in Effect Defrauded

Video download link | md5sum fadf7fcdfd1c9473e9ab4e8ebfed252e
Sirius Pension Crimes
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The company known as Sirius ‘Open Source’ has stolen money of many workers; today we share audio of management at the pension provider admitting behaviour to that effect

THE news will be full of discussions about banks later today. People cannot access their own accounts, businesses cannot pay their workers, and — as just noted — two or three banks have already been suspended (some over the weekend). The time seems right to continue with our series about how Sirius plundered not just my pension but also colleagues’ or, as it seems on the surface, put the pension money in its own pockets (I can think of 3 people who conspired to do this) instead of a pension fund, in effect embezzling workers and falsifying payslips. As readers may recall from December, there were incidents of payslips not being sent out at all (for long periods of time, including for months before I resigned).

Over the next few weeks we’ll share more information about what happened. The lesson for the general public is, check whether what employers say about pensions is true and get in contact with pension providers to verify you’re not being lied to (validation of claims is imperative).

Of all the payslips I do have, in about 60 of them I have evidence of pensions being contributed to; but that’s false, as the company did not pass the money and former colleagues were similarly embezzled. Played out in the video above (from a 55-minute audio) is 0-1:20, 1:50-, 2:30-5:40, 11:50-20:00, 21:18-22:08, 22:15-, 26:30-36:30, 39:40-, 41:55-51:00, 51:10-. I basically skip the pauses (waiting on the line), some personally-identifying details/codes and towards the end I note that even though the manager said she’d contact me “today” (6 days ago) it never happened. They don’t seem to consider embezzlement impacting many employees important enough to deal with (just yet). Seeing the nature of the news right now (failing banks), it’ll probably be hard to compel them to prioritise our case at this time.

In some ways it feels like 2008 re-enacted, except now they blame Russia, China, pandemic, “crypto” etc. As for Sirius, the company will probably vanish soon. Will any of the managers who conspired to steal money be prosecuted (or held accountable some other way)?

Unearthing Crimes of Sirius ‘Open Source’

Video download link | md5sum c00ff3859f267c20af0e44af8b6a439c
The Series on Sirius Crimes
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Today we start a string of videos and short texts about the company my wife and I left in December (we resigned just over 3 months ago); as it turns out, the company had been committing crimes for years before we left

THE “Pensiongate” mini-series is becoming a lot more extensive and far longer than we first estimated. We find out more and more things as one scandal helps unfold another. As such, this morning we started a dedicated Wiki page, Crimes of Sirius Open Source — a complementary subset of Sirius ‘Open Source’, which started back in December.

The video above explains the motivation and emphasises that we’ll try to cover this a lot in the form of videos, delivering perhaps a dozen more parts, including bits of evidence. Video will be a convenient means by which to deliver the material in a privacy-respecting matter.

It’s sort of sad that we’ve come to this, but if you deal with people who defrauded not only you but also your colleagues, then it becomes imperative to speak out and do something about it. Some people have asked me to pursue a legal opinion on this. As a side note, several people say they love the term “Mr. Kink”, which does not infringe anyone’s privacy yet says a lot.

The journey required to write the series is mostly free — free as in beer/gratis. The material is in the public domain, e.g. the Companies House. It’s free. Except all the times we phoned pension providers — quite an expensive endeavour when you do it for 2-3 months. The upside is that along the way we learned a lot about how the system works and how it is abused. It’s cheaper to learn that on one’s own. For instance, when my wife and I demand the money from both our accounts the providers are pretending it’s not possible (it is; with the high tax applied) and if they say no, or intentionally mislead clients, one can threaten to sue (we shared a record to show how they obstruct people who exercise their legal rights). But upon further inspection it turned out to be a lot worse because the money had already been stolen. So where is all that money now? Put aside and used for the 4-person DisneyWorld trips?

When You Report a Crime to the Police (and You’re Not Very Rich and/or Famous)

Video download link | md5sum 8f727fe7c8e05b24b7df5efabd365817
The Police Ping-Pong
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

I recently became aware that money had been stolen from me. It was confirmed to me some days ago. I decided to report this to the authorities; failing to do so may result in any remaining money vanishing from the thieves’ account. The video above does not go into the details of the case (like this series about Sirius ‘Open Source’); instead it explains how the police handles the report.

Sadly, even in 2023 the police is looking for ‘low-grade’ thugs and people it can apprehend in the streets, not business people that it can arrest at their office. The police believes and trusts money. Culture is very much the same. “I saw X on TV, X is not in prison, hence X is probably innocent” is false logic when it comes to high-profile people, who rarely get arrested because they simply “own” the system and have expensive lawyers.

Cops are good at arresting poor people, whom they deem rather defenseless and easier to convict. But this leads to a sense of helplessness for victims of crime where the perpetrator is rich and powerful. Sometimes the cops are almost making them feel “guilty” for reporting white-collar crime because this “wastes time”; it’s not a simple physical job like arresting a person after forcibly knocking that person to the ground, based on nothing at all; I saw that done by a cop from my window just months ago… attacking an innocent bystander and then arresting him for apparently nothing. I wish I had this recorded. I wanted to report this (yes, reporting cops’ misbehaviour to the police itself), but I could not find suitable contacts.

My deep cynicism about cops isn’t new and it was the result of experiences that I covered here before. It ranges from tactless to truly irresponsible. For instance, their failure to despatch people to deal with an actual crime likely resulted in the perpetrators proceeding to yet more crimes. Basically they don’t help when it’s truly needed and I’ve experienced this firsthand, it’s not based on hearsay. This scenario is unacceptable; it’s very frustrating and disappointing because we pay them! We pay their salaries and their performance (or returns to us) does not seem to matter much.

In the above video what I have is the police (on the line) passing me from one person to another person and then the police asking me to phone the police. There’s also a barrier which serves to keep out the poor (no access to police) due to financial constraints. Think along the lines of, “too poor to report the crime”…

They’re taking advantage of that; they’re making poverty a curse and wealth a prerequisite for “access to cops”.

The crime that I reported to them is a real crime and not very outlandish. But this sort of scenario is not in the ‘script’, so they pass me on and on; passing from one colleague to another colleague is a hallmark of incompetence — the thing I experienced in the past. And just like cyberattacks 15+ years ago, these people don’t know what I’m talking about. They’re trained to just deal with very basic things; yes, they listen, but they do not actually solve crimes and punish the perpetrators.

What kind of system is this? Towards the end it feels like they convery a message like, “get off the line, you’re too poor to matter to us, your taxpayer-funded police is there to guard the rich and powerful” (and you’re not important enough).

We’re going round and round and they look for excuses to dismiss or redirect the report. For instance, they cannot refer me to the suitably-trained division (like they’re different “companies”). Why should I phone people in the City of London to report a trivial case of theft?

What if I was poor, confused, insecure, shy, confused/traumatised and barely literate? Being eloquent isn’t enough either, as confidence isn’t the same as wealth or “importance”.

Anyway, this time (for the first time) I documented my experience with the police in the form of audio.

It’s a problem not unique to the UK. As a friend reminded me this morning: “Louis Rossmann has started a series on trying to get some state agency to clarify or fix its records. The process goes beyond byzantine and is really more Kafkaesque. It’s not that the New York state is so clueless that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, the individual hands don’t even know themselves what they are doing. The recordings he provides are really strange and if they are in anyway representative of the population then the US has collapsed already…

Large Pension Provider in Great Britain Alleges That Sirius Didn’t Deposit Workers’ Pension Money in the Pension (Sirius Does Not Deny)

Summary: Sirius ‘Open Source’ is likely to have committed very serious fraud and criminally stolen money from its workers; today we expose some of the more preliminary findings from a 3-month investigation

THIS part of the series is “long in the making”, so to speak. It took many long calls, distant contacts, meticulous correspondence and subsequent analysis to prepare. Today we present more of an overview and some time soon — likely later this week — we’ll release a lot of audio. It’s hard to tell how long this sub-series will be as that’s highly dependent on numerous leads. The short story is, Sirius isn’t denying the allegations. These allegations are very serious and the consequences profound (like several years in prison). Sirius is now existing on “borrowed time”; the CEO left very recently and the so-called ‘founder’ is in hiding. He works double shifts, trying to salvage what’s left of the company he claims to have founded (we doubt this, based on documents presented here before).

The index at the top explains how this relates to a pension provider, which we had no choice but to publicly name (and shame). I sent them about 10 E-mail messages, but I never received a reply or a phonecall as I asked (I said this was very urgent — not a lie by the way!). It seems they’re rather afraid of this case, fearing perhaps that it’s a major liability in light of various scandals (which I explained to them in very clear terms several times so far this year).

So far we’ve involved close to 10 people in three pension providers. Many people are aware of this case, including a pension provider that has some past as a client of Sirius. We decided to make complaints only after all other avenues had been exhausted and advised people to transfer pensions in order to secure them from future fraud.

In the process we did manage to get numerous letters, including formal documentation. We started chasing the pension providers, insisting that they need to cooperate (get reply or shame them, unfortunately, for basically covering up fraud). After several pension checks (not the Tracker) we could finally see disparities; where the money vanished is less of a mystery over time, as we assume that the company might as well have used pension payments in payslips to deceive staff. That’s a very serious crime. And to compare to statements, as per the formal balance, means that the discrepancies become evident.

As it turns out, others experienced the same thing. “I emailed the office a few years ago, xxxxxxx responded,” to quote one former colleague, and xxxxxxx “said xxxxxxx would try and find out but never did.”

“If you saw the other stories,” I responded, “you’ll see that a lack of response in Sirius says a great deal. That says a lot and [is] so very typical!”

When it comes to the pension lapses, I had to escalate 4 times before even receiving any response at all (a face-saving reply). This is covered in detail. The same is true for paylips that stopped coming.

“xxxxxxx is employed to cover up for xxxxxxx,” I said. “That’s xxxxxxx actual job. Lots of examples of that.”

New material will emerge while we prepare future parts of the series, but the cat is out of the bag and we’ll report any progress with the ongoing inquiry, which has been preliminarily escalated to the police. If it’s not progressing, we should open a case and report to the Pension Regulator as well. Some of them are too slow to act and we cannot wait for too long because Sirius will be bankrupt soon.

The company itself is trying to hide. The CEO of Sirius has just left, so time is at the essence. Just before he left, or one month ago, I sent the following message: “Please provide the full address to send legal papers to. Not the address of the accountant of Sirius or the address of your accountant (which you also registered your business with). Failing to provide the full, real address will result in further escalation and potentially class action lawsuit, with former employees involved and clients fully informed. I shall expect a reply by Tuesday, February 7th.”

Sometimes they pretend that the E-mails they don’t like to receive simply got “lost in the mail”, so I asked later on: “Any response? Did my message get lost in your ‘spam box’? Again? I’ll give you until end of Tuesday.”

He left the company some time later, without uttering a single word. If they are still not answering very simple E-mails, we should consider a class action lawsuit. They know they did something, so they try to keep quiet, hoping not to give away any clues.

Half a day ago I asked the last remaining chief if what the pension provider tells me is true. I wrote:

Dear xxxxxx,

I spoke to numerous managers at xxxxxx for 3 months. They reached the conclusion that myself and colleagues never had any money deposited there — money taken for “Pension” off of our salary, as per the payslips for 5+ years. This suggests pension fraud and an actual crime. I assume, moreover, that yyyyy (as Director and spouse) was fully aware of this. In the name of journalistic integrity I must first ask you if this is patently false — a chance for you to comment in your defence. A lack of reply can be interpreted as implicit admission of guilt.

To paraphrase what you said in a call back in November, “it doesn’t look good.”

This message was received but not answered; it’s not a “no comment” per se but a refusal to even comment or issue a self-defending statement. Due to the nature of the job, he certainly saw that message and chose to hide. E-mails to the address of the departing CEO are bouncing (from Google oddly enough! Is it outsourced as well?), so they’re not even routing E-mails to the former CEO. Is anyone left to run the ship?

In the above message it is noted that yyyyy was a spouse of the ‘founder’ and a Director at the time, so she knew what was going on and she, unlike her former husband, is based in the UK and isn’t a fugitive in the US. Can she too be held accountable?

The last CEO, who bullied my wife, left very recently. He probably knew nothing about this (or wasn’t complicit) because he was not inside the company at the time, but maybe he could see paperwork or was given verbal memos about this taboo subject. Maybe the inquest has, in its own right, motivated the departure (fear of being held accountable when a real address was pursued).

In the above, the main point is, they hide and they do not reply to any email that doesn’t serve their interests — a years-old issue.

In the next few parts we shall present hard evidence (audio also) of the crime. Unless managers at a very large and reputable pension provider lied to me (which is improbable; too risk for them to do this), the mini-series may become rather long (already close to 10 parts). It should be noted that so far we’ve only scratched the surface. We have a lot of recorded material to publish and we shall work with British authorities on this matter.

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