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Fraud Rule: Clear Your Home Computer Before You Start Phony Trading

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The news that the police have seized French rogue trader Jerome Kerviel's personal computer reminds us of a important rule of criminal behavior: don’t have anything incriminating on your home computer. We’re not just talking about a spreadsheet detailing your phony hedges. Anything that is even embarrassing to you or your friends and family can—and probably will—be used against you by the authorities. Legal culpability or admissibility is no guarantee of safety. Emails about an illicit affair? That’ll end up in the papers. Awkward conversations about a drunken weekend? You’ll be hearing about that on the evening news. Huge collection of music downloads? You're not only a rogue trader, you're a copyright pirate. That'll make the news. The point is to drive the accused to confess, by almost any means necessary.
We can hope that this kind of abusive prosecution might someday be stopped. By hoping isn’t a strategy. Erasing your hard-drive is.
SocGen trader's PC seized from brother's flat [Reuters]