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Archive for April, 2023

The Crimes Went Too Far, Police Doesn’t Go Far Enough (So Far)

Video download link | md5sum 936bb02a9a75a1b377910fe67756870d
Tackling Sirius Fraud at the Police
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The managers at Sirius ‘Open Source’, who don’t even use GNU/Linux and who steer away from Open Source, stole a lot of money from many GNU/Linux engineers and were reported to the police; but it’s rather revealing and telling that the police does not prioritise prosecution against white-collar criminals (cops would rather deal with poor shoplifters and such)

Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed [or] defrauded,” says the site at actionfraud.police.uk, which Greater Manchester Police asked me to go to. So 8 days ago I did and my expectation was that they would be slow to progress. As noted in the video above, it’s not just about myself as other former colleagues are victims of the same crime and they too are chasing this.

This video may seem unrelated to tech, but one must consider what Sirius ‘Open Source’ is and what it claims to be. This is turning out to be a massive embarrassment in the UK because clients of Sirius ‘Open Source’ (scare quotes intentional) were some of the very largest public institutions in the UK and elsewhere. What if they realised that a firm that calls itself “Open Source” is managed by people who reject Open Source and who engage in fraud against engineers who do in fact insist on Open Source? What would these large public institutions in the UK think?

One Week Later Still No Action by Action Fraud

I am sorry to hear you have been a victim of crime. Thank you for taking the time to report to Action Fraud. Your report has been sent to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) for review.
We know it’s a case of fraud. Fraud took place and action is now needed. Many people affected. Will police get its resources assigned to tackle fraud?

Summary: The crimes of Sirius ‘Open Source’ were reported to the authorities; as expected, the authorities are in no rush to investigate and prosecute, which is why so many people out there (in most countries) have become cynical about police and cops

PUBLIC officials in the US are once again bailing out (instead of punishing) rogue banks, so now is a good time to catch up with this series.

Victims of serious and expensive crime are involved in the above (not just yours truly). It’s a crime that went on for years. We wait for law enforcement to flex some muscles, but with slow response times like these much patience is needed. Here’s the full text from the screenshot above:

Dear Mr schestowitz,

I am sorry to hear you have been a victim of crime. Thank you for taking the time to report to Action Fraud. Your report has been sent to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) for review.

Experts at the NFIB will examine the information you provide. Where possible, the information is also matched against other available data in order to enrich and corroborate the details of the fraud. An assessment will be made as to whether there are viable lines of enquiry that would enable a law enforcement body, such as the police service, to investigate. The NFIB aim to provide you with an update on your report within 28 days.

Please be assured that by contacting us you are giving the police vital information they need to protect you and others. The information you have provided may be used to disrupt criminal activity and inform prevention advice and campaigns.

You should keep safe any evidence which you feel may be important. We continuously assess the content of individual and linked crime reports, if you set up an online account, you can use this to add additional information.

If you have any queries regarding this letter please visit www.actionfraud.police.uk/FAQ. If you would like more information on how to protect yourself from fraud and cyber crime, please see the guidance at www.actionfraud.police.uk/support_for_you.

We value your feedback, please visit this link and complete the survey:
www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CSATREP

Yours sincerely,

Head of Action Fraud

For real-time alerts and prevention advice follow Action Fraud https://www.facebook.com/actionfraud/”actionfraud” or https://twitter.com/actionfrauduk “actionfrauduk”

Notice their use of HTML (with images embedded) and how they’ve managed to outsource themselves Surveymonkey, Twitter, and Facebook. Maybe they should look into Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, not give them more business.

“I think it might not be too expensive to take them to court,” a colleague told me, as “the problem maybe enforcement of any judgement.”

We need action.

Sirius is broke, its UK CEO left weeks ago (actively hiding past association with the company right now), and enforcement against someone who is “in hiding” would be hard. We spoke about this with a lawyer last year. He agreed that it would be rather futile suing a company that can barely even present anything in a British court.

Either way, unless the authorities show they’re willing to tackle fraud, public perception may grow that authorities are apathetic, complicit, or passively sympathetic towards crime.

If the company that claims (or claimed) to be a “leader” in Open Source in the UK is behaving like this, readers of Techrights deserve to know.

Pretending to be American Company When All the Staff is in the United Kingdom

Video download link | md5sum 123a41526a6d53bb9f2378df84318c7c
Envisioning Bankruptcy
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The story of last summer at Sirius (it started in late spring) is told now in retrospect, based on about 5 hours of recordings (3 meetings); it didn’t work out as the managers had hoped/planned and instead the company’s last chief is now doing double-shifts (16 hours in a row!), basically trying to make up for extreme understaffing amidst a clients exodus; the CEO left last month as well, so he seems to have become unemployed after sinking the ship he rode on

MY final year at Sirius ‘Open Source’ was last year and it was already getting pretty awful. There was lying, deceit, and cover-up. Managers were pretty much predicting doom (without saying it out loud) and they had already silently robbed past staff.

The video above has a period of long silence in it because, for the first time, I forgot to unmute myself after playing back what a manager said last summer (90 minutes after the start of this recording). People can hear right from the horse’s mouth that things were getting really bad, no matter how much lipstick was put on the pig. The silent bit hopefully didn’t cover anything too critical (which wasn’t repeated later, but it’ll serve as a lesson for future videos regardless).

‘Fantasies’ of Sirius became more commonplace, and this wasn’t limited to just discussing “re-infrastructuring” and other ‘big words’. After taking notes or listening to suggestions from staff they eventually did what they planned all along. In other words, nothing has been implemented since then that wasn’t premeditated. Previous suggestions were rejected… despite never-ending options put forth by staff.

It’s regretful that I lost part of what I said due to the muting lasting too long; this is probably the first time I lost audio since last summer when we recorded about Belarus/EPO (a bad mouse button was to blame back then).

Anyway, as a side note I recall how one of the romantic partners of a manager (he has several) kept suggesting that we should lower the already-low salaries of people who work all night long and are highly qualified, have high seniority or have long served the company during a year of massive inflation (about 10% in the UK!) while leaving in tact the salary of her girlfriend, who covers daytime. This person does not seem to have any understanding of the law; when people work overnight the salary must be a lot higher than in daytime/Office Hours. Sometimes it’s better to be quiet than to say out loud something foolish if not illegal.

But that’s not “the” crime; it’s just a side issue for a company that became “petty thief” (very big thief).

This is the last part of this mini-series. We hope it has helped explain what happened last year without naming any people or revealing any clients.

How Sirius (Mis)Handled a Crisis in 2022

Video download link | md5sum e6d79ef1efc46c2747184e07504811b1
Sirius Plans That Never Materialised
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The gross mismanagement of Sirius ‘Open Source’ is a longstanding issue; it goes back to 2019 and it culminated in growing levels of deceit, set aside fraud aspects, so today we take a look back at another meeting from 2022

LISTENING to audio from almost a year ago (we have about 5 hours of audio from last summer; this was shared with staff), it now seems clear that Sirius ‘Open Source’ had a lot of fantasies while drifting further and further away from… well, ‘Open Source’.

In the start of summer (2022-06-01) we had a second meeting (out of 3 in total) about the future of the company and studying it in retrospect it’s easy to understand [crer 168114 witch-hunts], scare tactics etc. Colleagues were subjected to threats and were isolated from their peers. They deemed this approach “evil” (direct quote).

Much of the ‘meat’ of the meeting starts a long time after the start with staff that’s actually technical (and actually doing all the work, even 24/7) raising questions while the others repeat the same talking points. Basically, managers (which at that point where like half of all the staff) were discussing many options and presenting each. They collected suggestions from staff and eventually threw all of them out. Staff was a bit surprised that after these consultations every suggestion from the staff was rejected. Every single one of them!

One of the self-appointed managers (no relevant skills whatsoever) was discussing the scoring criteria — e.g. what will be assessed in appraisals. She was only reading the script/presentation. It’s highly probable she was fully aware of the pension fraud and she may have directly participated in that. An opportunistic career-climbing narcissist. The discussion continued about criteria e.g. sick leave (my wife and I never took even one day off for illness/feeling unwell) and one colleague was so uncomfortable about the meeting that he left his microphone on mute and turned off the camera for the entire meeting.

As noted in the video above, the company lied about a lot of things, including new roles, hiring in the US, new clients in the US and so on.

The Inside Story of Sirius ‘Open Source’ Pretending to be American

Video download link | md5sum 8ce515754e59d043a723d0590817c9ce
Sirius Situation
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The second part of Sirius ‘Open Source’ Fantasy (an ongoing series; there are two series about Sirius running in conjunction at the moment) deals with what happened 11.5 months ago; the above video is a longer version of the text below

ABOUT a year ago, some time in April, Sirius privately admitted it was having issues. It was trying to spin those as a strength. The person who likely participated in defrauding staff (she saw those fake payslips for years) sent a misleading message. It was soon followed by a misleading online “meeting”.

The above video does not play back any of that “meeting”, but it is summarised by noting that the company was planning to move to the US… (that never happened!)

Staff raised concerns about a number of different issues. The talking went on and on for nearly 2 hours, nothing is interesting enough to single out, but what we have discussed about the meeting since then was likely summarised here back in December and January. We’ll try to avoid repetition. Some of the later parts will be more interesting.

The Plan That Never Materialised (Sirius Corporation in 2022)

Series parts:

  1. YOU ARE HERE ? In 2022 the Company Was Already Too Deep in Debt

Video download link | md5sum 5955a4f5328798df162f089486615507
Sirius in 2022
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: A look back at what happened in Sirius ‘Open Source’ last year

THE last year of Sirius (CEO left already) is easy to recall in light of an old recording of a 2-hour meeting. After the company had secretly plundered its own staff it was desperately chasing clients while abusing and underpaying staff, as we explained before.

In the name of “cost savings” (nope!) it adopted “clown computing” and then it let go of a physical office. It was changing servers by getting rid of its own. Everything it had left was a virtual asset… there were no physical assets left. Such facts have been mentioned since, even in the meeting, which brought up potential clients. It’s worth noting that these clients never became actual clients of Sirius and the company was trying to rebrand or reinvent itself as SiriUS (it was pronounced Sir… US).

The manager who left last month was basically reporting to staff, showing his graph presentation while talking about sales, engineering, infrastructure, outsourcing, support, projects etc. Of course it all become a complete disaster. Almost an hour in he was summarising the re-infrastructuring process — something that never happened.

I first considered leaving the company in 2019 (after the likely illegal contract-signing, then the NDA and the bullying), but last year I was already sure I’d leave. That the company secretly plundered members of staff is something that wasn’t confirmed until this year. Now we work towards accountability (prosecution).

Crimes of Sirius Open Source Reported to the Police

Series parts:

  1. YOU ARE HERE ? Sirius Crimes Reported to British Authorities, Formally Registered With References (Many Victims), Here’s What It Means and What Happens Next

Meme on crime: The secret ingredient is crime.

Summary: Sirius is a good case study, especially for longtime insiders; Techrights investigates what it takes to deal with white-collar crime, starting with evidence-gathering to investigation and prosecution (maybe we’ll have some mugshots to share at the end)

PENSION fraud seems rather common in the UK. Companies like pension providers profit from it. It seems to be happening routinely. So much so that it is a special category with loads of options. How many people in the UK report pension fraud each year? Probably a lot.

The crimes of Sirius ‘Open Source’ go beyond pension fraud, but we’ll focus on pensions here. Sirius isn’t so unique in this regard, but there are points to note. The CEO escaped the company last month, but people below processed the payslips with fake claims of pension payments adding up. These payslips were basically lies. The company, Sirius, offered us a pension that did not exist. This was done not just to me but also to my colleagues; there are similar letters sent to them too, with accompanying payslips to demonstrate the glaring anomaly.

For over 5 years the company deducted money, for “pension” (arranged by Sirius, with alleged contributions of its own), but the money was not given to the pension provider, as formally confirmed by the pension provider itself (final response issued and challenged a week ago).

The company kept deducting for “pensions”, for another about 4 years, after it no longer even had any records with the pension provider (see letter).

The company refused to talk about this, even when inquiries came from former staff a long time ago. Now the company is in hiding, without a physical office. The company’s CEO abruptly left last month (when all this was exposed and verified by the pension provider).

There are at least 3 people who participated in this embezzlement. It must be acted upon urgently as they may be hiding money and tampering with evidence.

As we noted a day ago, there’s an upcoming series about the deception as the company may have engaged in debt/tax dodge/bankruptcy. All those pertinent shells of the company can be connected to a secret deal with Bill Gates, signed with an NDA in 2019. They basically use a legal contract to hide potentially illegal deals. NDAs are legally dubious, especially where the D refers to disparagement rather than disclosure.

I’ve had a lot of time to speak to other victims of this. “Mine is pretty much the same,” one of them said regarding the trail of documents. “So it looks like basically nothing ever got paid in to the Standard Life scheme and our contributions were never made from the start, they were just kept instead. I think the only way to get anything back would be to sue Sirius and/or wait for the police to investigate.”

The police is already investigating. “I have most of my payslips so I can prove I was making contributions,” said a former colleague, “have you already provided similar to the police?”

Well, the police will find out there are too many victims to ignore.

If you phone the police, as I have a few months ago, you quickly realise they don’t want to deal with such crime and instead ask you to report to Action Fraud. It won’t be cheap. It is based in the City of London and would likely progress very slowly as it’s not “strategic” or “high priority” to them. However, now that we have a lot more letters and many victims they cannot simply brush this aside. I’ve got more than just the payslips with me. With cooperation at Standard Life perhaps they can get a detailed list of all the victims and manage to get in touch with all of them.

So what happens next? Stay tuned for Part II.

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