back to article We all hate Word docs and PDFs, but have they ever led you to being hit with 32 indictments?

They are potentially the two most popular file formats in the world – Microsoft Word's .DOC and Adobe's .PDF. And it's fair to say they have caused millions of people billions of hours of frustration. But spare a thought for lobbyist and Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort, of Virginia, for whom translating from one format to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's a worrying implication

    Which is that the bank did (or would normally) accept emailed electronic documents as proof of income or assets. I suppose bankers are the most over-rewarded, least competent trade on earth, but after all we've seen, is it still the case that a few token alterations can create a document that the buggers trust?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: There's a worrying implication

      The banks probably trust the "big kids" who have power and influence more than the rest of us. And they see a big profit for large (<$1,000,000) loans. Let's not even get into the implications that political types (or those on the edge or hangers on) can give them some influence for future favors or legislation.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: There's a worrying implication

        "And they see a big profit for large (<$1,000,000) loans. "

        Borrow a few thousand from a bank and can't pay it? Your problem.

        Borrow twenty million from a bank and can't pay it? Banks problem.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: There's a worrying implication

      Printed documents are no better. Your printer is probably as good as the one the bank uses to print statements, just a lot slower.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: There's a worrying implication

        well, consider this:

        a) you go to your bank because you NEED MONEY, because (for some reason) you didn't earn enough and there are expenses

        b) The bank checks your CURRENT income and says "no we cannot lend you money because you actually NEED it right now"

        Now, the bank WANTS to lend you money, because you make THEM money when you pay it back. So what happens normally? Well, they make a decision based on you, your history, how much of your money has flowed through their bank, what your credit rating is, and so on. THEN they give you an approval based on "all of that", sometimes coaching you to 'fudge a little' so they can "sell you the loan".

        This is just business as usual, in reality. The banks want you to pay them because they'll lose money if you don't. But sometimes stupid-regs just "get in the way" and so the loan officers know how to 'adjust' things accordingly to make it work. And it does. And we move forward, pay our bills [most of the time], and everybody's happy, and nobody outside of the bank and customer REALLY NEEDS TO KNOW the details of that process.

        Added: business loans and lines of credit are a bit different than mortgages...

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: There's a worrying implication

        " just a lot slower"

        Maybe when banks used Line printers and SOHO users had a daisywheel or MX80 DMP. It might not be true now with a leased Nashutec copy/print/scanner on the network.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: There's a worrying implication

          Maybe when banks used Line printers and SOHO users had a daisywheel or MX80 DMP.

          They were already switching to high-speed laser printers when I was in FS, so around 1990. And I mean high speed. I was told the (Siemens, IIRC) beast in the basement at a payrolling provider did triple-digit pages per minute. They were doing the payslips for a significant part of the Dutch workforce at the time, which would amount to somewhere between one and two million statements printed per month for just that one task. Banks would have similar machines, probably multiple even.

          The, ehm, paper tray took what appeared to be shipping pallets with specially packaged paper (couldn't get a close look, I was working on a VAX in a different part of that basement, fenced off from where the printer was, but the sysadmin told me a few things about it)

          1. DougS Silver badge

            It isn't worrying

            While it is easy to edit documents you send the bank (and you could do the same with paper documents by editing an electronic version and printing it...) the thing that stops you from doing it is that it is considered bank fraud, which is a felony. Probably wire fraud if you send it electronically and they can add some more charges if it crosses state lines, etc.

            There are a lot of crimes that are easy to commit but most people don't because of the consequences if they get caught. But desperate times make for desperate men...

    3. Hugh McIntyre

      Re: There's a worrying implication

      Last time I applied for a mortgage here the bank required permission to get the IRS to send them a copy of recent tax returns (note: not me giving them a PDF or printout of the return). If this bank had done the same they would presumably have found out exactly whether the income matched, not just relied on a PDF or printout that the applicant might have edited.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: There's a worrying implication

        In the UK the banks accept scanned payslips, PDF bank statements etc for electronic submission. They have to.The number of banks pushing 'go paperless' and the rise of internet banking means that people are expecting electronic document submission. We'll see, of course, if the new laws opening up financial records to third parties will mean that in future a mortgage or loan application will mean downloading a company's verification tool.

        Oddly the identity checking system seems way, way more advanced than the document checking system. For example, one major internet bank requires that you use a webcam to image your passport or photo driving license (nothing else will do), using image recognition software to ensure that every bit of the captured image is readable at a high level of certainty, then you have to, within a minute, place your own face into the webcam view, and it then checks THAT for image quality before sending the pair of the images off as a combined and encrypted pair. It only runs on some browsers, and it seems to have a preference for inbuilt web cams - a USB plug in one didn't work for me.

        It's a pain in the arse having to get the photo ID documentation, but one can get around that by posting a certified copy of the documentation in - it just belies having an internet bank in the first place.

        1. Justin Case
          Unhappy

          Re: There's a worrying implication

          My driving licence is paper and I don't have a passport. Guess I'm stuffed, then?

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: My driving licence is paper and I don't have a passport. Guess I'm stuffed, then?

            Yep. Been through all of that myself. Had to get a passport in the end. Took months and months due to changes to the passport regulations, all that business about grandparent's place of birth etc. You wouldn't think that would matter for the UK - it's almost as bad as someone of Pakistani descent trying to get a visa to visit India. Interviews, retake your photographs (and the price of the photo booth in the passport office... talk about creaming a captive audience), phone calls to your sponsors etc. And that's for a 40ish year old WITH a UK birth certificate, a NI number, a 20 year plus continuous employment history, UK bank accounts etc etc.It was just a lost passport and a destroyed birth certificate from years ago that was holding it all up.

        2. rh587 Bronze badge

          Re: There's a worrying implication

          In the UK the banks accept scanned payslips, PDF bank statements etc for electronic submission. They have to.The number of banks pushing 'go paperless' and the rise of internet banking means that people are expecting electronic document submission.

          And more to the point, it's not just banks going paperless. Companies are using e-payslips where each employee has a login and can view their payslips, P60s, etc.

          Last time I applied for a mortgage it was using payslips that I printed myself. They could contact my employer's accountants for verification I suppose, but there exists no "original" payslip in terms of the traditional anti-tamper envelope that we're all familiar with.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There's a worrying implication

        This is now required by law in the US. It was implemented after the housing market collapse when the

        small mortgage companies were handing out Ninja loans (No income no job approved) to people like candy because the big banks would still buy the paper anyway a week later.

    4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: There's a worrying implication

      Not an implication at all. The loan officer wrote back saying the P&L document looked doctored and could Manafort please send a clean copy.

      From the loan officers point of view the idea is to get the commission. Reporting that the documents are obvious forgeries is some one else's responsibility.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: There's a worrying implication

        The loan officer wrote back saying the P&L document looked doctored and could Manafort please send a clean copy.

        Mumble mumble BleachBit mumble Acidwashing mumble. And hey, clean as a whistle.

    5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      Is anyone else thinking "And I would have gotten away with it if not for those pesky kids."

      Sorry, just couldn't resist.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's a worrying implication

      "I suppose bankers are the most over-rewarded, least competent trade on earth, but after all we've seen, is it still the case that a few token alterations can create a document that the buggers trust?"

      First, loan officers are responsible for the loans that they issue. If a loan officer has a loan go bad, the bank will scrutinize how that happened. I know a loan officer that approved a mortgage against property that did not exist, based on falsified title documents. They were heavily investigated, and no longer are in that position. Banks are also very suspicious of personal relationships between loan officers and clients, so they save all email and record all phone calls. Loan officers can't use personal cell phones at work.

      But banks will give load officers a considerable amount of latitude to make decisions, as banks need to make loans in order to make money. That is, until things start to go bad, in which case they are out of a job.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There's a worrying implication

        banks need to make loans ignorant customers in order to make money.

        Fixed it for you. I'd say that the majority of a bank's income is based on keeping customers stupid, because I have seen some stunts by banks attempting to bamboozle end users that were truly jaw dropping. I have absolutely zero respect for most banks, because they're all at it, so I also have no compunction to switch banks when it suits me, and God help them if any of them wants to be creative.

  2. Lee D Silver badge

    Could have just bought Nitro PDF or the proper Adobe Acrobat and edited it directly, though, couldn't you?

    The purpose of PDF is to act as the "final version" of something and reversing/editing is more difficult than necessary only for the expense of the software licence to do so.

    I imagine that a few cryptographic signatures in the PDF would mess things up nicely and provably, if anyone actually bothered to use those, though.

    But as stated - if an emailed PDF is accepted as proof of income nowadays, without other verification, then holy cow I could be a billionaire.

    It is a sad state of affairs that all my bills, bank statements, payslips and tax confirmations are supplied to me as PDFs, but not one of them is properly signed as takes seconds in any kind of PDF creation software. Where any kind of editing - whether with proper software or not - would break the cryptographic signature as I don't have the private key necessary to sign it as someone else. And NOBODY knows that or uses it, despite it being no more complicated than the SSL icon in your browser.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Myself and my office-mate been trying to get cryptographic digital signatures for PDFs adopted by my workplace for over two years. They think it's too complicated, and prefer to stick with audited email through Microsoft Office. They can't even create a PDF form to use without signature. Permissions and logins is good enough for them. If something needs filling in or signing, you print it, complete and sign it, scan it, return it. Seriously... they're living in the stone age. Whilst simultaneously forcing us to adopt entirely new working practices to replace established and evolved ones and telling us we've got to change because change is good. They are inept. Totally inept. Demand the highest levels of regard for digital security and GDPR etc etc, yet they planned to send round an IT audit team with just an email warning that "people will be asking to install software on your machine" and that if you have an administrative login, to let them. No list of names, no photographs, no nothing. So I said no - we will install the software and do the audit for you. That's not acceptable, they said. We've got home office licensed areas and we're not even letting you in through the door, I said. You have to, or we'll turn off your network, they said. In that case, not until we've vetted the people doing the audit, and you will be accompanied at all times. Bring your workplace IDs and a second form of photo ID with you. Your memory sticks will be scanned before and after use on the floor, by a member of our own IT staff.

      Trying to tell us about security, indeed. Bunch of incompetent b*******.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        TRT on digital signatures

        Crikey. One process that we're saddled with is involving forms that must be repeatedly scanned, stored, extracted, printed, signed, scanned, emailed, printed, signed, scanned, emailed back, stored, extracted, printed, signed, scanned, stored. Etc. endlessly.

        Eventually it's hundreds of illegible grey-smudge pages with a file size closing in a GB. They switch from email to FTP to move the stinky mess around.

        .: Humans are stupid. []

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          There's a few steps missing

          One process that we're saddled with is involving forms that must be repeatedly scanned, stored, extracted, printed, signed, scanned, emailed, printed, signed, scanned, emailed back, stored, extracted, printed, signed, scanned, stored sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat and recycled as firelighters.

        2. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: TRT on digital signatures

          Humans are stupid.

          Well, maybe not all. But certainly those who have passed the Peter Principal threshold (which basically includes any suits in a Fortune 500 company in the US).

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: TRT on digital signatures

            I don't mind humans being stupid. Really, I don't. They are. Why deny it? What I do mind, though, is when they claim to be professional or competent or otherwise beyond error. It's a form of hypocrisy and that's the thing that grinds my gears above all else. The IT directorate bleating on about cyber security endlessly then expecting absolute trust and a different set of rules for their staff, or shirking any sort of hard work that would actually mean they comply with the best practises that they are proscribing... it's like the local priest preaching hell and damnation and putting, literally, the fear of God into the little kids from the pulpit, about paedophiles and original sin and how buggery condemns you to burn in eternal fires... then bending their favourite choirboy over a chair in the vestry and blessing their ring with their rod and staff thy comfort still.

      2. EarthDog

        That reminds me of a story. I was working on a project for a large government organization. We were accepting a new app from a 3rd party and learning the system. The system could run a official report and then save it off. Well it saved it off but for 2 problems; the document which was an important legal document was neither locked nor signed. Which of course meant it could be easily tampered with. I was working QA on that one and flagged as a security breach (said government agency was paranoid about security).

        We went to the vendor and asked for a fix. They considered it no big deal. One person went so far as to say "EarthDog cares about it but no one else does". Once our customer found about it they was rather upset.

        That lack of professionalism is why I hate working in software.

    2. Danny 14 Silver badge

      word supports PDF for reading and writing. has done since 2013. Word 2013 does a reasonable job at taking apart most pdfs. especially ones saved or printed from word (ie via dopdf etc)

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge

      I imagine that a few cryptographic signatures in the PDF would mess things up nicely and provably,

      How about a dash of Smart Blockchain?

    4. EarthDog

      Yes, you can add a digital check sum to it. If the version changes, the checksum changes. It allows you to track versions.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Yes, you can add a digital check sum to it. If the version changes, the checksum changes.

        What would a non-digital checksum be? Real-valued?

        Checksums are trivial to forge. For tamper resistance you need a digital signature, HMAC, or other mechanism that (strongly) incorporates some secret not available to the forger.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      PDF

      "The purpose of PDF is to act as the "final version" of something and reversing/editing is more difficult than necessary only for the expense of the software licence to do so."

      Nope! That's how some people use it, but remember, the "P" in PDF stands for "portable", not "permanent".

      Yes, your average accountant thinks a pdf cannot be altered in any way, but we know better.

    6. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      What are the chances I could self sign my bank statement of "£1,000,000" with the cert from Barclays Ba|\|k?

      Other hidden characters are available.

  3. Someone Else Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    But spare a thought for lobbyist and Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort, of Virginia, for whom translating from one format to another has led directly to the imposition of no less than 32 US federal indictments for fraud and conspiracy.

    No! I have more important things to do with my thoughts than waste them on that fetid pile.

  4. beep54

    I have no sympathy whatsoever for this gang of criminals. The quicker they are brought to justice, the better for us all.

  5. Someone Else Silver badge
    FAIL

    Well, you see, now there's the problem...

    But the bookkeeper was a stickler for the rules and said they couldn't really add income to a statement before it was received.

    Ahhh, so now we get to the crux of the whole problem! Manafort and Gates made the colossal mistake of hiring someone with a moral compass and ethics to be a bookkeeper for a company that has neither.

    You fuels! That'll learn ya!

    1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Well, you see, now there's the problem...

      That's the Catch-22 for criminals-if you hire an honest bookkeeper, they refuse to "adjust" the figures, but if you hire a dishonest one, they adjust the figures and then run off with your (cough) money. You could try hiring a stupid bookkeeper, but that brings some new problems.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Well, you see, now there's the problem...

        That's the Catch-22 for criminals-if you hire an honest bookkeeper, they refuse to "adjust" the figures, but if you hire a dishonest one, they adjust the figures and then run off with your (cough) money.

        So difficult to get good staff these days.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well, you see, now there's the problem...

          "That's the Catch-22 for criminals-if you hire an honest bookkeeper, they refuse to "adjust" the figures, but if you hire a dishonest one, they adjust the figures and then run off with your (cough) money.

          So difficult to get good staff these days."

          Correction:

          So difficult to get good 'dishonest' staff these days. :)

          Although you would have to be 'Very very stupid' to be in any way involved with something 'Dodgy & Financial' when you are likely to be the 1st suspect !!!

      2. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

        Re: Well, you see, now there's the problem...

        Simple solution I've seen: have two bookkeepers. One keeps a clean set for the tax man and banks, the second - paid in cash - tracks the kickbacks "donations" and cash income. Make damn sure these guys never meet.

        Guess Manafort was too cheap to do a proper job.

        Pro tip: if you find yourself in a situation where you DO know both bookkeepers, GTFO.

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Well, you see, now there's the problem...

          "Simple solution I've seen: have two bookkeepers."

          An Italian gentleman I used to know said that every businessman needs five sets of accounts: One for the government, one for the bank, one for his wife, one for his mistress, and the little book he never lets out of his sight.

          If you're going to go bent, do it properly.

          1. eionmac

            Re: Well, you see, now there's the problem...

            This is not a fallacy. As I was "trusted", once when I visited to an Italian firm, I was asked to witness the owner's signature to four or five 'sets' of accounts. Each told a different story for the firm's results for that year I believe, but then I only saw the signature page, not the detail pages. My witnessing his signature was true, the contents of the previous pages was unknown to me.

            1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

              Re: Well, you see, now there's the problem...

              "This is not a fallacy."

              I try never to post anything that is not actually true (unless for deliberate effect). I may make small alterations to protect the guilty but never of important facts.

              I've been in the interesting position of having two Italian companies each tell me their rival wasn't to be trusted and that their accounts were fraudulent, and I suspect both were telling the truth. The trick is to go with the one who gets the biggest welcome in the best restaurant.

        2. Mike 16 Silver badge

          Re: Well, you see, now there's the problem...

          Movie Recommendation: "The Accountant" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2140479/

          which covers this situation. The title character has many skills appropriate for his client base.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well, you see, now there's the problem...

        You just hire Arthur Andersen.

        ..or you did....back in the day.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: Well, you see, now there's the problem...

          You just hire Arthur Andersen.

          Accenture nowadays. With that stupid accent-like sign over the capital A.

          The other large accountancy firms are probably just as good, eh, bad.

  6. Dr. Heinrich Backhausen

    Well, that is the meaning of PDF: don't change. Coming from a deep UNIX (not this kiddies' OS Linux),

    I'm used to the Interleaf suite of document processing (as opposed to poor/pure word processing like Word). Acrobate Professional allows some editing (sorry, I didn't use for some years, so I might not be uptodate). So, if if somebody doesn't keep his editabel version: SORRY!! It's a little bit like 'Top Gear': you are Jeremy Clarkson or ....

    1. Hugh McIntyre

      @ Dr Heinrich Backhausen

      Re: "Acrobat Professional allows some editing (sorry, I didn't use for some years, so I might not be up to date"

      The full Acrobat has an option for "convert this PDF back to Word", in fact. You can't convert back to other formats such as Excel or PowerPoint, but back-to-word works locally.

      1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

        Re: @ Dr Heinrich Backhausen

        @McIntyre

        Yes, Acrobat can convert pdf back to doc. I have done it regularly. I am a proof reader for the magazine published by a small voluntary organisation. The Editor sends early drafts of the mag to us as pdf from her desktop publisher, but I want to run the text past the Word spellcheck.

        First one should use the Acrobat facility to add tags. With tags in place, the Word output is less disjointed. Running headers and footers are eliminated, but page breaks still seem to be a problem. If they split a sentence, Word complains there is no capital letter for the first word on the next page. Material in text boxes often seems to get corrupted. However, the exercise does manage to spot a useful number of faults in the draft text.

        Recently, after using Word 2013 for over three years, I learned that it could import pdf as text, that can then be spellchecked. This yields better results than export from Acrobat. But it seems to want pdf from dtp programs, rather than from OCR programs; the latter come through as graphics, not text.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: @ Dr Heinrich Backhausen

          Ah, but the problem is, if you're a bit short of dosh in the first place, how do you get a loan to pay for a full copy of Acrobat? ;)

          OK, I know, a bit of a tongue in cheek poke at Adobe's relatively new SaaS licensing model, and I know Acrobat Pro does have a more traditional licensing option available - the only part of the suite that does, I think. But still, it's worth a cheap shot about the price of Adobe software now. Suits some customers, but not us for sure.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: @ Dr Heinrich Backhausen

            "But still, it's worth a cheap shot about the price of Adobe software"

            Don't you mean an expensive shot?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ Dr Heinrich Backhausen

            re. how do you get a loan to pay for a full copy of Acrobat?

            simples, you tell your assistant to "get it" from that torrent site, and they'll do it for you.

        2. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: @ Dr Heinrich Backhausen

          I'd use pdftools to dump the text then run it through a text-based spell checker such as aspell --- but then I still prefer to LaTeX to Word, so I may be a dinosaur.

        3. keith_w

          Re: @ Dr Heinrich Backhausen

          @123

          Scanned documents are images and thus stored at the image layer of a PDF rather than the Text layer. You generlly need to use OCR to convert them back to text

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: @ Dr Heinrich Backhausen

            Scanned documents are images and thus stored at the image layer of a PDF rather than the Text layer. You generlly need to use OCR to convert them back to text

            Unless they were OCR'd after scanning, of course. Back in the day I did a fair bit of scan-and-OCR in academia (for purposes permitted by copyright, AFAIK - mostly archival stuff and/or with the holder's permission). We did the OCR immediately and saved as plain text for storage and transmission reasons.

            These days when most people think nothing of sending an email with a multi-megabyte attachment to a hundred recipients, "just scan it and send it as an image" is no doubt the most common case.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      WTF?

      Manafort and Gates were using Windows anyway

      Coming from a deep UNIX (not this kiddies' OS Linux),

      And the OS matters for pdf's, being datafiles created and modified by programs running on a variety of OSes, including but not limited to Windows, MacOS, *BSDs, several current and non-current Unixes as well as Linux, exactly how?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Sympathy for the devil

    I'm sure there's a good story to be told of Manafort's dodgy dealings. But this kind of sneering piece isn't it. You're going to end up making me sympathetic to Trump's team, and that's worrying.

    1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      Re: Sympathy for the devil

      This Reg article, and other recent articles, show that el Reg have forgotten the old journalistic maxim: truth is sacred, comment is free (but they should be kept separate).

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Sympathy for the devil

        "el Reg have forgotten the old journalistic maxim"

        I think the el Reg's maxim is truth is sacred, comment is free, biting all hands equally is priceless.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Sympathy for the devil

      You're going to end up making me sympathetic to Trump's team, and that's worrying.

      Just remember that the devil is a man of wealth and taste. Unlike the Orange Turnip.

  8. DCFusor Silver badge
    Happy

    What

    Does this have to do with Russian election meddling?

    Is telling a lie to a bank now a federal crime?

    We wouldn't have had the last crash were that generally enforced.

    Cute sarcasm, but gheesh, in any other situation it would be more fun to point out how this long and expensive investigation is totally off course and only leading to the usual things rich people regularly get away with - on both sides of the aisle, and out of politics too.

    Why should we count indicting people who will never see a day in court, much less jail, or testify as resolving an investigation that somehow proves that with a tiny fraction of the $ and people of either legit campaign somehow swayed and election because if you think about it, that means they are WAY smarter than the smart Americans running the show, and that the voters are complete boobs.

    Do you like being called a boob? I don't.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: What

      Why should we count indicting people who will never see a day in court, much less jail, or testify as resolving an investigation

      Many times, people take a plea bargain to avoid a trial and much more than the charges coming out, I'm thinking Rick Gates struck a deal to provide more info in return for a lighter sentence and possibly to avoid more charges which seems to happen in these kinds of cases.

      It's very possible Manafort is going to take a big fall or he'll see the light, do a deal on his own and end up providing testimony/evidence on someone else.

      Popcorn anyone?

    2. InfiniteApathy

      Re: What

      Seems HIGHLY appropriate, somewhat NSFW, and if you listen really carefully you might catch

      Putin singing along with the chorus:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bEGLbCNRqw

      I remain hopeful that this investigation will continue to follow the money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What

        @ InfiniteApathy

        Tim Minchin is great. Thanks for sharing that.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What

      Yes. These individuals were at the epicenter of the dealing with the Russians

      Yes. And it has been since 1872. What they did is, among other things, wire fraud, see 18 U.S.C. § 1341

      I guess you don't understand how this kind of prosecution works. Mueller will go after relatively small fish who had big access, and squeeze them to give up the goods on their bosses. I guess Manafort didn't roll with what they have on him already, so they decided to bring out something heavier. I don't imagine Mueller is anywhere near to to done, either. Sooner or later Manafort or Gates will flip on their superiors, who undoubtedly have more serious skeletons. And then Mueller will squeeze and flip them too, until he gets to the top.

      We're talking here about the guy who rolled up the Gambino mafia family. Trust me, he knows what he's doing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What

        Ah yes, Mueller is being a good little tool for the Clintons. Maybe we should follow the money and see what he is receiving and where from.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: What

          I believe financial and commercial fraud actually IS a federal crime, isn't it?

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: What

          Ah yes, Mueller is being a good little tool for the Clintons.

          Hmmm. Interim Deputy Attorney General under Bush I, then nominated for the position of FBI director (also under Bush I) and appointed shortly after. Being interviewed by Trump[0] for (again) the position of director of the FBI, then appointed special prosecutor by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. Doesn't add up to being a Clinton tool, really.

          [0] doesn't actually count for much, given the quality of the Orange Turnip's picks.

    4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: What

      There is more to the story not covered in this article. Manafort is accused of using laundered money from Russia to hire EU politicians to lobby congress.

    5. Snorlax
      Alert

      Re: What

      @DCFusor:"Does this have to do with Russian election meddling?

      Is telling a lie to a bank now a federal crime?"

      Gates and Manafort have been indicted for 32 counts of tax and bank fraud.

      Here's the indictment: https://www.justice.gov/file/1038391/download

      So the answer to your second question is 'Yes'. Al Capone went to prison for tax evasion too...

      To address your first question, Gates and Manafort attended a lot of interesting meetings concerning Russia, Ukraine, etc. The FBI will be interested in hearing what went on, for obvious reasons. Leniency on the fraud charges will no doubt be used as a carrot...

    6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: What

      Does this have to do with Russian election meddling?

      Simple, it's called following the money. Mueller was given a wide brief for the investigation and doing what he was trained to do. This is why the nation's first son-in-law is also coming under scrutiny for equally shady dealings. All this is building up to an investigation of the Orange One's dealings: remember the subpoena to the Deutsche Bank. We might well get to see those tax returns (in PDF or Word)…

  9. Big-nosed Pengie
    Headmaster

    "Pled"?

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      The wisdom of crowds can be interesting. (It's about grammar, please ignore the surreal spelling mistake.)

      https://abovethelaw.com/2011/12/grammer-pole-of-the-weak-pleaded-v-pled/

    2. Scroticus Canis
      Holmes

      Pled?

      OED : Pled - North American, Scottish, or dialect past participle of plead.

      Might be in the OED but I agree it isn't English.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Pled?

        I pled for my freedom.

        You pled the court spare your life?

        Sounds fine to me. Although maybe not quite correct in the use in the article. Besides, it's in a quote.

        Maybe he's just a miserable pleader.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Pled?

          Sounds like he may have pled all over the indictment....

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Pled?

        "but I agree it isn't English."

        Since this is English we are talking about, your opinion doesn't count for much. (Nor does the OED's for that matter, but they take more care to reflect actual usage.) English is the poster child for the notion that a language is whatever comes out of the mouths of people who are mutually intelligible and call themselves native speakers.

        "pled" is acceptable if enough people say it is, otherwise not.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pled?

        Actually it is more English than 'pleaded', which is an American simplification.

      4. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: Pled?

        And some of us are Scottish, pal, and along with Mr Rab C. Nesbitt Esq we speak the Queen's English.

        See I was born in north Ayrshire and that is close enough so that Mr Nesbitt and Co's language is perfectly intelligible to me. My wife, born near Southampton, begs to differ. I no longer sound like Mr Nesbitt though having been ripped from Ayrshire's bosom aged but 6 and taken to the South Seas where I did obtain a thorough education.

        Pled is a perfectly good past participle and as another has pointed out is the original English. Pleaded being an American re-import. Oh and since the Kingdom of Scotland and Scots Law are older than England as a coherent polity we have priority in the matter, pal.

    3. Snorlax
      Headmaster

      Pled

      @Big-nosed Pengie: ”Pled”?

      ‘Pled’ is perfect acceptable in the legal world, specially in Scots law.

  10. ExpatZ

    So what does any of this have to do with Russia?

    Oh yeah, it doesn't. It is what it always has been: a fishing expedition.

    Thanks for the new cold war a55h0les.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I suggest a visit to Cyprus, it is educational

      You have never been to the Cypriot Soviet Republic haven't you? I even get answers in Russian nowdays when I book a holiday there using Booking.com. Not in English and not even in Greek.

      Mueller is doing what every good detective should be doing - following the money. We still do not know if there will be a big Bear holding the strings at the end, but it is quite likely.

      What is also quite likely is that the Great Hair-Organization-Challenged One has very similar finances. So we are now watching dress rehearsal to biggest fraud investigation in history. That in itself is worth some popcorn.

      Just to be clear - I would like to see the same investigation into the Ukrainian mob donations to Clinton and Blair foundations. So that things are fair and square.

    2. Qwertius

      Thank you ExpatZ,

      Notice how many Soy-Boys & Special Snowflakes hate us ?

  11. cloudguy

    Information in a criminal in investigation is asymmetric

    Well, Special Prosecutor Mueller knows more than the people who receive subpoenas. Persons of interest lawyer up before being questioned. Lawyers tell their clients not to lie to the FBI and not to lie before a Grand Jury because lying is a slam dunk for prosecutors and you will go to jail. People facing indicted who think they have long lives ahead of them don't want to spend the next 30 years behind bars. When charged the number of counts is usually high enough to convince them they should plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for their complete and truthful testimony. With every "plea deal" Special Prosecutor Mueller can increase his overall information putting remaining persons of interest at a more considerable disadvantage because they don't know what Special Prosecutor Mueller knows now that he didn't know before.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Special Prosecutor Mueller

      When he backs you into a corner, you feel like a lemon.

    2. Qwertius

      Mueller is a snake.

      BTW Boys & Girls.... it seems to have escaped your attention -- but this is the same Robert Mueller who acted as go-between for Hitlery & Obama - re the illegal Uranium One Deal. He actually acted as a 'courier' in that he traveled to Moscow to hand deliver samples of Uranium to the Russians. Its in Wikileaks. Jeff Sessions is going to send him to jail very very soon.

  12. redpawn Silver badge

    Just Wow

    He needed help to convert a Word document back into a PDF. With this administration we are all doomed.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Just Wow

      You want an administration that knows how to properly cover its arse leaving no tracks?

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Just Wow

      With this administration we are all doomed.

      To be pedantic: neither Gates nor Manafort are, or were, part of the administration, just part of the campaign. But looking at the actual members of the administration, they appear to be selected on the same criteria, credentials and relevant experience as Manafort, Gates, 'coffeeboy' Papadopoulos, 'obvious anagram' Reince Priebus and the others who have already, eh, left.

  13. Herby Silver badge

    Just remember...

    Lying in and of itself doesn't get you in trouble.

    Getting caught lying usually does.

    Then there are BOFH disciples. Neither applies.

  14. arctic_haze Silver badge
    Holmes

    What it has to do with the Trump's Russian connection?

    Everything. This is a good showcase of how prosecutors break the vows of silence in criminal conspiracies. I'm stashing up popcorn and await next episodes!

  15. Snorlax

    How the mighty have fallen

    Funniest thing of all is that Gates claimed in a court filing the other day that he doesn't have the money to pay his mortgage this month. This from a guy who claimed he was worth $28mil back in November...

    I hope he goes to federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison

    Great article by the way Mr. McCarthy

    1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

      Re: How the mighty have fallen

      No downvote b/c I agree that it's a great article and that Manafort got himself into a serious jam. But I cannot support the notion that sexual exploitation of convicts is a legitimate approach to punishment in a supposedly civilized society.

      That being said, his class ends up going to a minimum security country club instead of the hellish club fed that would await the rest of us.

      1. Snorlax

        Re: How the mighty have fallen

        @Chairman of the Bored:"But I cannot support the notion that sexual exploitation of convicts is a legitimate approach to punishment in a supposedly civilized society."

        Feel free to downvote me if you don't agree with me.

        The phrase is used in Office Space to describe the type of prison the guys thought they would end up in; a hard time, rape in the showers, no frills prison. Maybe that's where Gates, Manafort & co need to serve time, rather than the holiday camp they'll inevitably end up in...

        If that offends you, so be it.

        1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

          Re: How the mighty have fallen

          No downvote. I understand your sentiment entirely and I'm sickened that we have holiday camps for the wealthy and sheer hell for the rest. But I've know too many sexual assault victims to wish that on anybody. Maybe we can compromise on a hard labor regime? Maybe make these bastards earn their keep by patching holes in roads, cleaning up harbors, etc?

  16. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Not fake news

    Even here, in El Reg, we get comments that are so defensive of Trump that they fly in the face of reason. It's a worrying sign of the times that people now routinely feel able to defend their chosen views by ad hominem attacks and flagrant misdirection away from the evidence. Not logical debate. Not reason, but pure name calling. Deliberately " Giv(ing) a dog a bad name" tactics. It seemed to start with the "birthers" trying to claim that Obama was a secret Muslim. It's not the slander that's so scary. It's the flight from reason- as in a paranoid belief that anything that even comes close to, say, being Moslem friendly by stocking Halal meat is a conspiracy to turn the USA away from Christianity - as if that was even remotely probable. Or that any suggestion that stopping Americans from buying military grade armaments is the start of the beginning of the end of what Americans call democracy. Next stop putting microchips in everyone's brains. Or that vaccination is "Big Pharma" trying to poison their country to make sales. Or Chemtrails..

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemtrail_conspiracy_theory

    1. HereIAmJH
      Joke

      Re: Not fake news

      Next stop putting microchips in everyone's brains. Or that vaccination is "Big Pharma" trying to poison their country to make sales.

      It's obvious, they're using vaccines to insert nano chips into all of us that communicate with cell phones (not just your own cellphone) to report all your activities to the gov't. Why do you think the flu is so bad this year? Not only that, but they can use them to monitor your respiration and blood pressure to see how you are responding to those activities. IE they know if you're a True American or simply just pretending to enjoy Trump rallies or Fox News.

      1984 is so '80s.

      Oddly, I really do have foil on my grocery list today.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Accrual revenue recognition versus waiting on invoices

    A corporation that I know is making a change right about now. They're going to start "recognizing revenue" based on immediate "accrual". For example, somebody's subcontracted Labour hours actually expended, reported monthly. They're not going to wait for the invoicing paperwork.

    This recent change is explained as being "a new accounting standard." Everyone is changing to accrual method, right now.

    What's weird is that the accrual information might be gathered from subcontractors somewhat informally. By telephone, or email. The formal data is the invoice, months later. The immediate accrual data will be less reliable.

    But they want to lean forward, grabbing this one-time couple-of-months of extra revenue recognition, at the cost of being leaned forward forevermore; always going back to adjust the previous accruals to match the later invoices. Endless explanations. Endless added work. For a one-time boost to revenue.

    Acknowledge in advance that I may have some details wrong.

    Also, this accrual change doesn't justify making a special fake report for your bank.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Accrual revenue recognition versus waiting on invoices

      Isn't that part of what killed Carrillion. "We'll earn £4 billion at the end of this four year contract, so let's write that up as a billion this year, and another the next..."

  18. EastFinchleyite

    Open Source Amee

    (apologies for the pun. Couldn't resist)

    If these boys had used FOSS Libre Office and the ODT/ODF file formats they wouldn't have had all these problems. Very easy to convert to and from pdf.

    Furthermore, as no-one else uses them in the US, I reckon that the FBI would still be scratching their collective heads wondering what they are.

  19. stephanh Silver badge

    how to lie with PDF

    Using a vector drawing program (e.g. Inkscape):

    1. Put some text "Alice promises to pay Bob $1000". Convert to image.

    2. Overlay some text "Bob promises to pay Alice $1000". Set stroke width to zero, fill to transparent.

    3. Save as PDF.

    Presto! A PDF document which appears to read "Alice promises to pay Bob $1000", but, when converted to text, reads: "Bob promises to pay Alice $1000".

    I am sure all you BOFHs will have creative applications for this.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: how to lie with PDF

      Decades ago, I had a one-line subroutine to pack BASIC programs with backspaces. End result was up to 100% independence of LIST output and RUN results.

      LIST

      10 PRINT "No"

      RUN

      Yes

      For those following along at home, here's the trick.

      10 PRINT "Yes"; REM \\\\\\\\\\\ "No"

      The subroutine needs to scan memory replacing the placeholder characters (e.g. "\") with ^h. Tokenization may require tweaking number of placeholders to align correctly during LIST. Then Delete the one-line subroutine. What's left is insane source code.

      This concept of packing source code with hilarious backspaces likely has much wider applications than just 1980-era BASIC.

  20. Spanners Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Management Type

    I wonder of he was a particular type of manager I have dealt with in the past.

    I am sure that other people have come across them too, The, expensive suit wearing, idiot who feels that he is better than anyone who works in or with IT because he (don't recall females of this type) is basically a PHB gone bad - laughs at the little people who don't have is particular type of education and wouldn't be able to plug an Apple Lightning cable in the right way up!

    He certainly was not aware how email works...

  21. Qwertius

    Notice how it has nothing to do with Trump

    Lame~Brain Mueller is being sued over this crap - for over-extending his authority.

    Manafort is going to take Mueller & his henchmen to the cleaners. LOL

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pray you saved the PDF in a way that enables you to copy-paste that text back into a new Word doc

    if and when that fails, download a trial OCR, run, re-format the output, done.

  23. m-k

    It looks like your browser is unable to display ads …

    and the options are:

    Whitelist us

    Purchase ad-free access

    ...

    where's the 3rd option?!

    THERE!

    "those (...) who (...)

    done.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It looks like your browser is unable to display ads …

    and the options are:

    Whitelist us

    Purchase ad-free access

    ...

    where's the 3rd option?!

    THERE!

    "those (...) who (...)

    done.

  25. Beachrider

    Manafort and the pre-2014 Ukraine...

    Manifort is interesting because of his Yanukovych-Putin connection. He offered to work 'for free' for Trump's campaign in June, July and August of 2016. These document 'forgeries' are conceded by Gates in guilty plea. The 'accepting' of forged documents appear to be a quid-pro-quo agreement with a Bank Manager in Michigan, we will see. There is CLEARLY nothing 'truthy' about a document, just because it is a PDF.

  26. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    PDF signatures?

    I did a social experiment: at the time of the experiment I worked for a really huge org with an absolute fetish for signature chains. Big, big govt. Anything you can imagine required at least five electronic signatures in a PDF - no matter how inane. Personal record was needing 15 signatures to operate an FCC part 15 transmitter outdoors. FFS! Oh, where was I?

    Experiment? On every document I created I made damned sure my electronic signature was invalid. Hundreds of documents. I made sure Adobe would scream about signature errors on every opening. Care to guess how many times a question was raised? That's right... nada!

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019