In this post I discuss the ramifications (yet again) for an Association in deep doo-doo over Universal Currency. The problem has arisen from my revelations of fraud within their accounting system. Their handling of the crisis mimics their getting into the crisis – nobody appears to be actually flying the plane!
Pilots are taught that no matter what problems they are facing they must always fly the plane. Everyone loses if no one is flying the plane. Likewise in business (or in this case an Association). The worst thing that a business can do is to ‘not fly the plane’ especially in times of crisis. In a business sense this means getting critical information fast, then making decisions and communicating this to the key people MORE than you did before not less. IRTA has been totally silent – Members are making buy and sell business decisions on marketing spiel derived from fraudulent data.
Nobody is Flying the Plane
With their silence and inaction over the last week, IRTA is simply not flying the plane . . . they have cruised into the current mess and they are cruising to almost certain destruction unless somebody very quickly steps into the cockpit and starts flying the plane.
More than a week ago I blogged about fraud at Universal Currency. I followed it up with a second post detailing figures and nine areas of concern – all deductions taken from their own figures. The core accounting system is out of balance by some $200k and that deception is deliberate – the only way that this can occur is by the system Administrator (IRTA) deleting data, hiding data or falsifying data.
This is outright fraud plain and simple. I also explained to UC Members how they too can log in, add the debit and credit balances and prove that fraud for themselves. Unbelievably, even to this day the unbalanced figures still are there for all to see!
I identified eight other areas of concern over bad debt; operations that have clearly not complied with their own ByLaws and many more problems that reveal unethical practice. I assessed the currency to be over-valued and suffered the ignomity of being called a liar, having hidden motives and more by the President of IRTA Annette Riggs in Alternative Currency forums AND then supported by another IRTA Board Member Rob van Hilten telling the world that not only was I wrong but that he had checked the figures himself. Insanity!
After all this, IRTA has successfully landed itself with a defamation lawsuit (BTW I have this currently under way with urgency); has not addressed any of the issues in any material manner (not exercised any Right of Reply with my blogging, nor entered into any rectification or audit process); and has gotten UC Members asking really important questions with no answers forthcoming except for the defamatory statements. This is all lunacy!
Now, as I announced in my latest post, the technology people have confirmed that things are not right under the hood. Their words:
Having completed [a] summary internal audit of Universal Currency we too have concerns over many aspects of the account conduct and activities of Universal Currency Inc.
That’s damning, and just disgusting that they should have been put in the position that they were [me threatening to sue them for complicity in a fraud]! Here you have the people who have access to the raw data going to their lawyer who probably said essentially,”Terminate IRTA’s contract but MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GROUNDS for doing it!” And the results of their own audit . . . essentially, “Yes! There’s fire under that smokescreen”.
Strong, professional, ethical leadership would have stepped up to the mark on DAY ONE stating that they took any complaints seriously that they would be looking into the claims and setting a time and date for reporting back to the industry (and their members). I don’t begrudge anyone having personal relaxation time but there are times especially in a crisis where a strong leader cancels vacations or personal matters to deal with it. Not so IRTA*. This is just more very poor judgement from a leader all to willing to take the credit when things go right but very absent when things don’t.
IRTA’s response with misleading defensive sales-spiel from their President then its total silence is totally irresponsible. Going quiet indicates that they have probably taken legal advice and been told to SHUT UP so that they don’t make any bigger fools of themselves than they already have. The problem though is that while this may be good legal advice in handling a potentially costly law-suit it is THE WORST advice for a crisis situation in an organisation in choas, largely operating in the dark, with accusations of corruption and incompetence being leveled at them daily. This is incredibly irresponsible conduct too when you consider that the Universal Currency is a MONEY SYSTEM and that mismanagement affects peoples’ pockets directly.
It’s way too late for President Annette Riggs or Executive Director Ron Whitney to regain any credibility. They and others on the team have:
- Ignored my repeated warnings of fraud – for 10 days
- Struggled to find out how I knew the Member balances – but I had already told them
- Slandered me in public forums accusing me of lying, having hidden motives and more – a massive dose of ‘foot in mouth disease’ if ever there was such a thing
- Ignored my request for a suspension in trading and remained silent for more than a week while members could continue to trade with an over-valued currency
- Got their technology partner digging into the raw data for their own legal defence only to find that they’ve found validation of the core finding that things are not right under the UC hood, and
- Have landed themselves with a defamation lawsuit and potentially more legal dramas down the lines.
All this, only weeks out from an annual conference, and trying to cope with a Bartercard IPO and a revolutionary software contract that was exposed only after Bartercard went to press with their IPO! Talk about problems!
I think that GETS is right when they say:
… we strongly recommend to the board of IRTA (as the current custodians of the UC ) to consider suspending all trading activity conducted through the Universal Currency Inc. trading platform, and initiate a full independent audit of Universal Currency Inc. and all its activities forthwith.
We also strongly recommend that any remedial actions be transparent and made available to the IRTA/UC members to help rebuild the trust and confidence in the brand IRTA/UC.
An audit . . . transparent . . . of course!
IRTA’s legal counsel Carl Steinbrenner will need to make that call in order to bring some sense into the equation. It may have to be “over my dead body” from the current Executive, but that’s Steinbrenner’s call. Sometimes you’ve just got to make hard calls like I had to, and like GETS had to . . . when there’s something wrong, and it’s got into the public domain, it is VERY hard to deal with it by way of obfuscation and deception.
A forensic accountant could do it. Any auditor could do it. Clearly GETS has done it. I’d like to see their report BTW. That document would be just as valuable as the secret minutes of the Board meeting that [might] show who voted to endorse the secret Bartercard exclusive endorsement deal. Any number of UC Members could do it . . . conspiracy theories aside, I could even do it . . . it doesn’t matter who does it as long as it is all out in the open but the key thing is to start flying that plane or there will be a real disaster coming from this whole thing. By my calculations they’ve got 14 days to
get that plane flying again sort it all out or they’ll be blood.
As I keep saying, this is not a personal thing for me – it is a truth and transparency thing. If IRTA and UC can get the data problem fixed by revealing those hidden accounts and explaining the dubious accounts/transactions/conduct, then take a hit from those revelations then they could have a system and currency to die for.
In my next posts I will be discussing my defamation case, going into a few examples of nepotism and how the current conduct of Universal Currency not only makes a mockery of the UC ByLaws but flies in the face of natural justice. I will show how the elite have milked the system for personal benefit in more ways than one, and share my ideas for not only getting UC back on track, but kicking some real life into it.
* According to a forum post, Annette Rigggs enjoyed a small vacation in the middle of the crisis.
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