Half the team at the heart of the RBS disaster WERE in India

Chiefs warned repeatedly on quality of offshored work

Exclusive Cost-cutting RBS management had halved the team within which the banking group's recent data disaster happened, sources have told The Register. The sacked British employees were replaced by staff in India, and there had been concerns about the quality of the work done in India for a lengthy period prior to last week's catastrophe.

Mishandling of batch schedule data while backing out of an update to CA-7 batch processing software last week caused the disruption [1] that led to 16.9 million customers at RBS, Natwest and Ulsterbank being frozen out of their accounts for days, and ongoing issues in some cases.

The actual CA-7 software support team is wholly based in the UK and according to our sources, RBS has not cut that team.

However the batch scheduling team in the UK was cut, and certain of the jobs taken from the UK were made up with staff from RBS's Indian offices at Technology Services India [2]. Though there were competent people working there, our sources said quality of work from India was patchy and that they had raised these problems with RBS management for the past two years.

Batch scheduling and why it's important

Batch scheduling is intrinsic to the process of the nightly data crunching performed by CA-7. The batch scheduling team prepare and schedule data for input into CA-7, gathering it from RBS's systems.

One source said:

The batch team was about 60 guys ... they ran applications that chose the jobs that ran - maintaining the CA-7 schedule, not the CA-7 support ... There were no redundancies in the CA-7 team but the batch support were taken down to about 30.

A second source told us that all UK-based RBS IT teams in areas considered non-critical had suffered redundancies of 50-70 per cent, depending on the individual teams. In many cases the headcount in the cut departments was maintained by hiring staff in RBS's Technology Services India.

The job advert we have previously reported [3] for a CA-7 consultant in India would have been for the batch scheduling team, not for the CA-7 software support team itself. These screen grabs of a CV from LinkedIn, supplied to us by the cantankerous blog [4] (the information has now been taken down) confirm that RBS runs at least one batch scheduling team in its offshore branch in India.

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This meant RBS lost experienced employees familiar with their complex mainframe systems:

On the batch team a lot of them were lifers, had been working on that for many years.

As noted in previous Reg stories, it is understood that the error was made when backing out of an upgrade from CA-7 v11.1 to v11.3. The CA-7 upgrade took place at the weekend of 16/17th June and a problem was noticed on Monday which prompted a back-out from the upgrade on Tuesday night. In the back-out, an "inexperienced operator" made the wrong move and the day's data was wiped from the system. This created the backlog that has taken so long to clear.

Quality problems with work from RBS India

Both sources told us that though RBS's Technology Services India branch contained very competent people, the quality of work from there was patchy, and team managers frequently flagged up problems from about the quality of the work from India.

In several cases it was hard to recruit enough staff with the right skills.

"Team managers were struggling to get enough qualified staff, and were forced to take on people they had previously rejected. They were forced to take them to keep headcount," one source says. "People were considered to be fine technically but inexperienced."

A second source backed that up: "They obviously learn UNIX at uni but they don't know about IBM mainframes."

As a result there seemed to be frequent issues with the work performed. "We experienced great frustration" said one source, "some teams were great, but many we found we couldn't trust or struggled with."

One of our sources described an instance where he had overseen an upgrade to one of the bank's important systems (not the batch processing in this case) and described how the whole team involved in RBS UK and RBS India had to collaborate on the upgrade plan and the back-out plan:

I sent an email about the back-out plan [to the team in Technology Services India] and had to send it to them three times. All they had to do was copy and paste something into the back-out plan. In the end I had to get the quality control guy to cut and paste this into the back-out plan document. It took three emails just to copy and paste something.

The same source said that he was disappointed, because he been loyal to the company for years and felt that this mistake was very avoidable:

"It could have been prevented if the management had listened to us."

Asked for comment, RBS supplied The Register with this statement:

We have been clear we will fully investigate the causes of this incident. We hope people will understand that right now our complete focus is on fixing this problem and helping our customers.

The management and execution of batch processing is carried out in Edinburgh as has been the effort to recover and resolve this issue.

 


Posted in:   Tags: ,
Tunnel Rat posted on June 28, 2012 09:18

Thanks to fellow Insurgents who passed this news about "Kumar" along:

A tale that starts with gummi bear shots in a Dewey bar and ends with a suicide in a New Jersey hotel
By Sean O’Sullivan and Jesse Paul
June 23, 2012, 8:58 a.m.
The Daily Times/Dellmarva Now [Gannett]


Hours before she turned up dead in a Dewey Beach motel room, Danielle Mehlman was at a nightspot in town with Pawan Kumar – the man authorities believe later killed her – doing gummi bear shots with a Wilmington couple and showing off jewelry given to her by Kumar.

Dan Caputo and his fiancée, Cheri Duvall, said they did not sense any issue or tension between Mehlman and Kumar, although they were a bit puzzled at the exact nature of the couple’s relationship.

Caputo said at one point, they referred to Kumar as Mehlman’s “boyfriend” and she quickly corrected them to indicate he was not.

“She didn’t consider the relationship dating,” Caputo said. “She said, ‘he likes to buy me things,’ and showed us this jewelry, a gold necklace and two bracelets. She said right in front of him, ‘I’m not having sex with him, I’ve got a boyfriend.’ ”
Caputo said that it didn’t seem as if Mehlman was being mean, that she was matter-of-fact about it.

Hours after having drinks with Caputo and Duvall at Jimmy’s Grill, Mehlman’s body was discovered in a room at the Atlantic Oceanside Motel, the first homicide victim in Dewey since the resort incorporated 31 years ago.

Kumar’s body was discovered about 24 hours later at a motel in New Jersey, an apparent suicide.

Interviews with Caputo and Duvall, and with the cabbie who drove Kumar from Dewey to Wilmington, provide a picture of events in the hours before and after Mehlman’s death.

Caputo said due to the fact it was late on a Sunday, they were just about the only people in Jimmy’s Grill besides the bartender, which is apparently why Mehlman struck up a conversation with them at the bar. “She was a bit more tipsy than him,” Caputo said, but Duvall said she did not appear to be drunk.

From the conversation, Caputo said he understood that Mehlman and Kumar had only known each other a short time, perhaps a week.

“I never got a clear explanation as to how they met,” he said, or why she was down at the beach with a man she did not consider to be her boyfriend.

“I think he thought there was more going on in the relationship than she did,” Caputo said, adding that he had difficulty understanding what Kumar said due to his accent.

Kumar, a citizen of India, was in the United States on an H1 B work visa, said Harold Ort, in a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Newark, N.J. The News Journal was unable to determine where he worked or how long he’d been in the country.

Mehlman, who was from Bensalem, Pa., told Duvall that she was a schoolteacher, and media reports said she was a teacher at Planet Abacus Charter School in Philadelphia. Site Director Claudia Lyles said Mehlman had previously worked at the school but did not work there this school year.

“She was not here during my time here,” Lyles said. “I’ve been here since the end of November.”

Mehlman worked occasionally at the The Oasis, a gentleman’s club on Essington Avenue just outside of Philadelphia, according to a manager and dancer there. The manager, who identified himself to a reporter but asked that his name not be used, said Mehlman hadn’t worked there long, but once every few weeks would work the 9 p.m.-2 a.m. shift.

The manager said she “was a very sweet girl. She really hated to [work at Oasis]. She was very beautiful, and we hate to lose her. She didn’t cause any problems.”

A Delaware State Police detective visited the club as part of the investigation into Mehlman’s killing, the manager said.

At Jimmy’s Grill, Duvall said she chatted with Mehlman about where to go and what to eat in Dewey Beach. “She was really friendly and told me she was a schoolteacher.

We ‘friended’ each other [on Facebook],” she said, adding Mehlman took a picture of them with her cellphone and promised to send it to them over Facebook.

“While we were sitting there, she showed me a couple of texts from a guy she said she really did like,” Duvall recalled, saying the text was “something about ‘Where are you, I want to see you.’ ”

But, Duvall said, Mehlman reiterated in regard to Kumar, “I’m not going to have sex with this guy because I don’t love him,” but she added that Kumar was next going to take her to buy a Coach purse.

“I guess close to 9 p.m., they said they were going to the Starboard and they wanted us to go,” Duvall said. She and Caputo begged off. “We left and went home [to a beach house] and that was the end of it,” he said.

“Nothing seemed out of the ordinary,” Duvall said, adding she now regrets not going with them to the Starboard. “I have this strange feeling that maybe we should have gone.”

“She really wanted us to go,” she said.

About 10 hours later, just after 7 a.m., Beach Ride Taxi in Lewes got a call from someone who wanted a ride to the Wilmington train station. When dispatch asked him for his name, the man said, “you have my number, that is enough,” according to 56-year-old Jim Allen, owner of Beach Ride.

Allen himself went out on the call and arrived at Old Inlet Bait and Tackle nearly four miles south of the Atlantic Oceanside Motel to pick up his fare. He found a man, whom he later identified to police as Kumar, waiting outside with two plastic bags filled with clothing.

Allen said he immediately recognized the man.

“I saw [Kumar] get thrown out of the Starboard at 10:30 the night before while I was dropping off another fare,” Allen said. “I saw him in the parking lot [with] the bouncer grab[bing Kumar] and pushing him out like ‘you’re not welcome here.’ ”

Allen asked Kumar to show him proof that he had cash to pay for the ride, at which point the passenger pulled out a fistful of bills. Allen asked him how he had gotten to the tackle shop, but Kumar refused to answer.

As the two started heading North on Del. 1, Kumar changed his mind about where he wanted to go and told Allen to take him to 3120 Naamans Road –Kumar’s last known address, according to police – which he said was his parents’ apartment.

“I could barely understand his English, his accent was so heavy,” Allen said. “I asked him to write down the address so I could put it in my GPS. He kept asking every 10 minutes how far away we were.”

Allen tried to strike up a conversation, which, he said, was “like trying to pull teeth.”

“[Kumar] said he was down visiting friends and that his car had broken down,” Allen said. “He told me that his parents owned two businesses in Wilmington and that he had a sister who was in law school at Widener.”

Kumar said that he had only been in the United States for two weeks and was heading back to India on July 1 to attend medical school, Allen said.

At about 9:40 a.m., the pair arrived at the Stratford Apartments complex in Brandywine Hundred, where Kumar paid the $344 fare, with no tip, and Allen drove away.

“He just seemed very, very nervous,” Allen said. “He was disheveled and had the same clothes on as the night before. You could tell he hadn’t shaved.”

At around 10:45 a.m. Monday, a housekeeper at the Atlantic Oceanside Motel in Dewey Beach found Mehlman’s body in a ground-floor room. Police said she had been stabbed multiple times.

A couple staying in the motel said that it was a quiet night and they didn’t see or hear anything unusual.

Sometime after he was dropped off in Brandywine Hundred, Kumar made his way to Belleville, N.J., just north of Newark, according to police.

On Monday night, Kumar checked into the Belleville Motor Lodge and told the clerk he would be checking out the next day, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. When he failed to check out on Tuesday, employees tried to contact him and found the door to his room was locked.

Belleville police were called and found Kumar’s body in the room and a suicide note, said Deputy Chief Mark Minchini. The medical examiner attributed his death to an overdose.

“There was no information that [Kumar] had any specific links to Belleville that would explain why he went there,” said Katherine Carter of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

State police confirmed Thursday that Kumar had used the cab service to reach Wilmington and said they had investigated evidence in Allen’s car and had spoken to Caputo.

Sgt. Paul Shavack of the Delaware State Police said despite the fact that the suspected killer is dead, an aggressive and thorough investigation is continuing. He said they are still proceeding as if it was a criminal investigation and plan to release the details when it is complete.

Looking back,Duvall said she gets a sick feeling and wonders if Kumar was thinking or planning about what he would later do.

Caputo wonders if Mehlman’s off-hand comment dismissing her relationship with Kumar – and stating that she would not have sex with him – set Kumar off in some way. “I just keep thinking back and wonder if we never had that conversation,” he said.

The couple said they did not realize the importance of their Sunday night meeting until Tuesday when they picked up a copy of The News Journal and read about a murder in Dewey Beach. Caputo then went to delawareonline.com to read more.

That’s when he saw the picture of Kumar released by police and called over his fiancée.

Their first reaction was that it looked just like the person they had met. They didn’t realize it actually was him until they read the story and saw the names.

“When I saw the picture and read the article, I just started to get tears in my eyes,” Duvall said. “Really, it just puts a big lump in my stomach. We really had a good time and planned on keeping in contact. She was so nice.”

http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20120623/NEWS01/120623007/DELAWARE-Dewey-Beach-murder-final-hours


Posted in:   Tags:
Tunnel Rat posted on June 17, 2012 22:06

I first blogged about Srinivas Doppalapudi back in July 2010, after he was charged with slumdog slave trading.  At the time, his collaborator lawyer said that this scumbag merely made mistakes with his paperwork. As was the case with Apex Technology Group, warnings about this douchbag's crimes were being posted on the Internet long before the U.S. gov't got on the case.  Like Apex's Sarvesh Kumar Dharayan,  Srinivas even tried to use the same tactic of filing a DMCA takedown notice in an attempt to silence his victims.

Now this Indian fucker gets to sit in jail until his sentencing and eventual deportation, which is a good thing. 

       
Wilmington, Del. – United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III, announced Srinivas Doppalapudi, a 45 year old citizen of India, in the United States with permanent legal residency (green card) status, pleaded guilty today District Court Sue L. Robinson to visa fraud and money laundering.  Doppalapudi’s sentencing has been tentatively scheduled for a date in September.
 
According to statements made and documents filed in court, from March 2007, through September 2010, Doppalapudi submitted 33 fraudulent H-1B visa applications.  In entering his guilty plea to visa fraud, Doppalapudi admitted that from March 2007 through September 2010, he operated several businesses which variously applied for H-1B visas and that on 33 occasions he submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, service contracts which were false, in that, no such agreement or contract existed and the contracts bore the forged signature of one of the purported parties.  Most of the aliens in whose names Doppalapudi requested H-1B visas were in the United States on student visas which were about to expire.
 
During the period in question, Doppalapudi wire transferred more than $1 million dollars from his business bank accounts in the United States to a bank account in India.  Doppalapudi’s guilty plea to money laundering relates to his transfer of funds, criminally derived from his visa fraud scheme, from his business accounts to his personal account.
 
Upon entering his guilty plea, the prosecutor asked that the Court to revoke the defendant’s release on bail and to detain Doppalapudi pending sentencing, which Judge Robinson tentatively scheduled for September.  The government advised that Doppalapudi was facing certain deportation upon sentencing and had no incentive to return to sentencing.  The government further argued that detention was warranted due to the following: during the commission of the offense he wired transferred in excess of $1 million dollars from his U.S. bank accounts to a bank account in India; that his business website listed offices in India, Singapore, and Canada; and on nine occasions from 2008 through the date of his arrest in July 2011, he had traveled internationally.  Edmund D. Lyons, Esquire, counsel for defendant, opposed detention, noting that for the last 11 months following his arrest Doppalapudi had been on house arrest with electronic monitoring and fully compliant with all conditions of release.  Judge Robinson granted the government’s motion and detained without bail  Doppalapudi pending sentencing.
 
Visa fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1546(a), and money laundering, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1957, each are punishable by a maximum penalty of ten years’ incarceration and a $250,000 fine.
 
The “H-1B Specialty Workers” visa program allows an employer to temporarily employ a foreign worker in the United States on a non-immigrant basis in a “specialty occupation.”  Current laws limit to 62,000 the number of such visas that may be issued annually.  The H-1B visa application process is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee.  Accordingly, it is the employer, not the employee, who applies for the H-1B visa.  If the employer’s application is granted, the H-1B visa is issued to the employer, not the non-immigrant employee.  H-1B visas are issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service and are valid for a period of employment of up to three years.  Thereafter, the employer may seek an extension to this status, for up to a maximum continuous period of six years.
 
Those employers petitioning for H-1B visas may not lawfully engage in the practice of “speculative employment,” a term used to describe a circumstance in which petitioner does not have an available employment position, but still files a visa request on behalf of a foreign worker.  In doing so, the petitioner speculates that, at some point in the future, the petitioner may be able to secure the foreign worker a job.  In filing such paperwork, the petitioner fraudulently represents that a specific job opportunity is presently available, when, in fact, it is not.
 
Those employers petitioning for H-1B visas also may not lawfully engage in the practice of “benching workers,” a term used to describe a circumstance in which petitioners engages in speculative employment and then after the non-immigrant worker makes himself/herself available for work, the employer places the worker on “the bench,” that is, in an apartment for otherwise, without pay, while the worker awaits a job placement or searches for his/her own job placement.
 
The prosecution was a result of a joint investigation by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations; the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service – Office of Fraud Detection and National Security.


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