About

TelevisionWeek is teaming up with TV industry veteran Marianne Paskowski. The blog will give Marianne a forum to convey her deep knowledge of the industry and pass along some of the juicy morsels she's hearing on the grapevine. Marianne has covered the TV industry from the inside out and top to bottom, and TVWeek's readers are bound to benefit from her sharp eyes, ears and wit. TVWeek.com invites readers to jump online, chime in and pick Marianne's brain on the latest industry news.

Categories

Marianne Paskowski



Peacock Net Not Preening Its Feathers Today

January 25, 2007 6:21 PM


I was stunned to learn today that former NBC Universal Treasurer Victor Jung, 34, was arrested and charged with scamming more than $800,000 from his former employer.

First: Why is he a former employee? I don’t know today. Do you?

The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York reported that he would be arraigned in New York late today. Jung reportedly created a fake account to wire transfer funds last year to his own accounts.

So how did he do it under this now-mandated era of fiscal scrutiny? Nobody is really talking about this, and I find it hard to believe that NBCU didn’t have the proper safety nets in place to detect and protect against this sort of crime. Something smells here.

So much for corporate transparency, a la the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. So how do businesses protect against this odd ilk of corporate abuse in the future? Or was it just a hole in the safety net at NBCU that the S-O act was supposed to protect against?

Need the financial people to weigh in here.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.tvweek.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1395

Comments (47)

Andy Samet:

If NBC had no prevention or detection mechanisms in place, then how did this guy get caught? No oversight mechanisms are foolproof. Laws, as tough as they might be, do not magically eliminate crime. Criminals, oddly enough, continue to demonstrate a disturbing willingness to break them. And that's the bottom-line reality. Systems are only as effective, and as trustworthy, as the people who run them. Any executive requires at least some level of authority in order to get his or her job done, and any level of authority is potentially subject to abuse. But something went right this time. A bad guy got caught.

Marianne Paskowski:

Andy,
I hear you. NBCU had safety nets, but not good enough. S-A has been in place for years. And you are right: a bad guy eventually got caught.

Thanks for writing, appreciate your wisdom,
Marianne

Marianne Paskowski:

Postscript:

I don't know the answer that I am posing. Because Vivendi, a corporation based in France still owns a piece of NBCU. So is the U.S. entity operating under Sarbanes-Oxley regs? The reason I ask is I used to work for a Dutch owned entity here in the states, and that company was given a three year extension to comply with S-O. Hmmm.

Don't lose any sleep over this, but I happen to be a stickler about the topic of corporate governance, or the lack of it. I actually know someone who was fired, hauled into court over a so-called S-O infranction. This person, sued back and got all of his/her legal fees from the company that fired this soul caught in the S-O net.

So please comment and shed whatever clarity you have on the topic.

Jeff Mulligan:

Marianne,

The guy responsible for writing the rules was the guy what done it---hardly that unusual in cases of corporate embezzlement. At least the scam wasn't widespread among several key executives, and sanctioned by a Big Six auditor, as were the shananigans at Enron. Not spotting something that big right away would have been a real embarrassment to NBCU, not to mention cause for suspecting even more tomfoolery by higher-ups.

Jeff

Cruiser:

Yea, Marianne, why is the guy a "former."

Looks like a set up to me. The heat gets close to some biggies so they pin the tail on the donkey they fired (or whatever happened to the dude) the month before. And the palooka left a credit card trail? Spare me. He should of watched some NBC crime shows. Well, he'll now get some time to watch in the big house.

Cruisin not Bruisin

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Jeff,

Hear what you're saying, but we just don't know. This stuff broke just today. You are totally ignoring my Viveni angle and the rules of engagement here.

Take care,
Mariannne

Marianne Paskowski:

Oy, Cruiser,
Sometimes, I think you are insane. I did not say they, NBCU, set this guy up. But in my earlier comments, I knew someone who was , for all the wrong reasons.

So let's say," om," take a deep breath, and wait to see what NBCU says, particulary about the stake Vivendi owns in the company. And if that actually matters in S-O regs.

Agree? Friends? Whatever?

Marianne

The key phrase I think here is "unauthorized" wire transfers.

Having been involved in multiple Sarbanes Oxley assessment and implementation projects, these practices put in place are only as good as the environment that enforces and monitors the process.

In this case, it could easily have been avoided by requiring seperate requestor and authorizers on all wire transfers over a threshold value. For a company like NBC, I can imagine that a few hundred thousand dollars could have been initially viewed as immaterial.

So the next time that the auditing and finance folks get up in arms over "segregation of duties", they are really simply saying that one that single person has too much power and is putting the company at risk for similar public debacles.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Toby,
Thanks for sharing your experience with S-O. Just learned something I didn't know.
Regards,
Marianne

Marianne Paskowski:

Postcript:
Jung is out on bail for $250,000. Stay in touch, especially the S-O pros.

Marianne

I don't know how this really happened. NBCU follows the SOX guidelines religiously. One thing I can say for sure. Victor was the best vp i've ever known. This news is a rude shock to me..really wish this wasn't true.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Annonymous,

Well, he's free on bail. So many pieces moving on the chess board at NBCU.

Thanks for weighing in,

Marianne

Annonymos:

What exactly do you mean by "was the best" you've known?
What was it that he did better than others.
Thanks.

Marianne Paskowski:

Annonymous number one this is a question to you from someone we will call anonymous number two. Can we be a little more creative with the nicknames here, my head is spinning.

thanx, m

Jeff:

It is apparent that anonymous number one knew Victor Jung professionally, perhaps even at NBCU.
Can number one tell us about Victor Jung’s personality?
Thank you.
Jeff.

Marianne Paskowski:

Thanks Jeff. We're still waiting anonymous number one.
Marianne

Well let me tell you this guys. How many of you have bosses who are actually your role model? When you actually think that if you'd ever reach that position you want to be exactly like him/her? I know in todays corporate world this is a rare case...well Victor was an exception to this. Its true that i knew Victor professionally. I would like to describe him as the most down to earth and a cool person who wanted himself to be involved in everything from top to bottom and gave equal attention to all. Listen Guys, I can say a lot of good things about him but I really don't want to get into details here. But personally if you ask my opinion ...I care a damn about what he did (If he did it in the first place as they still haven't proved it) For me hes still the coolest x boss ever.

Marianne Paskowski:

Anon,
You pose a tough question. . That's like expecting one person to fulfill all of your needs and that's why we have a circle of friends, family, spouses, lovers, dogs, aquaintances, tennis partners, etc.

But I have had two bosses who were pretty darn close.. So I guess my composite perfect boss would be someone who is a role model, someone who gives feedback, positive and negative and someone who is not a micromanager but is there when you need him/her.

OK readers, anyone have the perfect boss out there? And why do you say that if you are lucky enough to have one?

thanx

Marianne

Timo:

Something does not smell right. The amount is too low and the guy is not a top executive at NBC. He may have been involved in some scheme but it was probably initiated and run by a big wig there. The scheme was busted and the small guy took the hit so the big guys at NBC and BIG GE can hush the issue and distract people so it does not spiral out of control and taint the image of one of the most successful corporations in the world - My 2c

Marianne Paskowski:

Timo,

Dunno. With S-A accounting corporate America trys to nip this stuff in the bud. But I do know others, falsely accused, fired, and later exonerated.

Thanks for your two cents. And I hope all the bean counters are keeping up with this blog, and explain themselves. Trust me. They will not.

For now,
Marianne

Annonomous#3:

I find annonomous #1’s comments interesting. I just Googled Victor’s name and came upon this site. I also worked with Victor, and knew him quite well. There are skeletons in his closet. While he was a ‘cool’ guy, he was also insecure and starving for attention. While I hate to admit it, I am not surprised by this. Thinking back over many years…I think he’s guilty. But, I also expect a very interesting defense.

Annonomous#3:

By the way, to Timo's point, Victor was not such a big fish. He was doing well, but was only 34 and was well layered. He was not in his job at NBC too long. You are correct that it is amazing...seems stupid, to do this for such a small amount. For that I believe there will be some other dirt...but I am sure this is not a broader issue. GE does have controls, and in this case the controls got the man. It is a sad story for a young family.

Marianne Paskowski:

Update: Sources say two more heads to be severed over this mess at NBCU. Don't know who they are. Do you?

Marianne Paskowski:

Tramadol:

So do you know anything? This certainly doesn't sound like a Rainbow mess or heaven forbid Adelphia mess.

So are my sources right about two more accusations coming from NBCU with this Victor affair. Thanks for keeping me on the trail.

Regards,
Marianne

Jeff:

There are more skeletons than the closets in jung's house.
He was the meanest and the most abusive punk and a bully.
That's why he got caught.
SOX you say?! SOX doesn't have "punk controls" as of yet.
How it really happened? Hmm.. I bet the truth will come out in court.
Oh, someone just said I shouldn't wager more than a buck on this one. Lol.
P.s.
Anonimous1, ha ha. Do I know you?
Jung, a classic case of a corporate bully, thrived on hiring and promoting mediocrity.
More to come... perhaps.

Astounded_GE:

I just stumbled onto this site and love the very interesting commentary. I too worked for Victor Jung. It is a sad story since I got to know him personally and professionally. I hope the truth will exonerate him, but he may brought this onto himself. He lived "lavishly" but he was also the most generous and fair person I have ever known. If you betrayed him... then he was this biggest bully and punk ever. I am guessing that he is a simple fall guy for the problems at NBC and GE. Rumor has it that the NBC leadership has been dysfunctional and they have been working frantically covering up other messes and potential scandals with other key executives.... thus the recent exodus of executives either quietly or publicly. I am not rooting for Victor but hope he gets through this episode. He has worked for many key executives at GE so besides the skeletons in his closet, there are probably many other skeletons in GE that he knows about... As for the SOX question, it seems odd that this was not identified in the audit process, sounds like a cover up and potential setup. For what I know 2 signatories are required to initiate wires at NBC/GE... and many finance folks rigorously monitor over account recs and expenses. So sounds fishy to me ... anyone else fall asleep at the wheel... What about the CFO and Controller?

Jeff:

Astounded_GE, you sound like an attorney for jung or perhaps someone who has personal experience with jung's "generosity".
As far as "truth will exonerate him", don't hold your breath.
It'll get only worse from here.
P.s.
"If you betrayed him… then he was this biggest bully and punk ever."
So I guess you are one of the the faithful? Good for you.
Care to elaborate on the generosity statement? :)
Post on.

Astounded_GE:

Jeff - I am not an attorney for jung nor will I elaborate in great detail about his generosity. All I would devulge is that he gave me fair raises, recognized me for my contributions, and gave me a birthday card and nominal gift when no other boss bother to so in my 24 yrs with GE. You seem to have a thing for Victor... so this is a matter between you and him. The Victor I knew cared for all levels of employees... and like any human being, when someone stabs you in the back multiple times... as I observed done onto him, one may turn into a bully or punk to defend himself. If Victor did in fact do the allegations against... shame on him... but look at all the other GE executives who did steal from the company/shareholders... and not go to jail ... I do not wish any harm to him...he deserves some community service as a penalty... I am sure this wait before the trial is grueling enough.

Jeff:

Astounded_GE.
Was it NBC Victor or GE Victor that you are describing?

Astounded_GE:

Jeff.
I was describing GE Victor. Why does this matter? Are you an employee of the General?

I concur with the comments made by Jeff. More fish to be fried. Only catch is that many finance and legal folks at NBC are scrambling to cover up something bigger as it pertains to the SOX controls. Seems like some other execs may have been on a scheme to mis-represent the residuals paid to artists in order to make the numbers.

As to Marianne's question on Vivendi implications. As a US registrant company, NBC Universal had to abide by the SOX deadline of a US company which was sometime in 2006. But little did does the public know but NBCU failed its SOX requirements in 2006, despite the Jung incident.

Having interacted with Jung, I am a bit surprised at the indictment. But every one the potential of a double life. I just hope he survives this episode. Coming from someone like me who is an NBC'er outside of the glass house.... he seem to have treated everyone from the porter to the kitchen staff to his direct reports fairly... someone must be out to get him. He always seem the type to help even us old Broadcast Ops guys.

George R.:

Does anyone have an update on the case? When is the next legal step in the process. After reading this I am very interested in finding out what happens.

I heard through a colleague that he is sitting in Manhattan Correctional awaiting trial.

Marianne Paskowski:

Wow, guys, having been scawling done far enough so have totally missed this latest exchanged. The most shocking thing to hear from this lively give and take was the allegation that NBC (because of the Vivendi connection, remember overseas joints had more time to get into compliance, I know, used to work for one) was that NBC was not in compliance as recently as 2006.

Where's there's smoke there's fire. And to WHo cares: I heard he was on bail, not sitting in a Manhattan Correctional unit awaiting trial. Has something happened here that we don't know about?

To all,
mp

lynn c:

does anyone know how his family is doing? He has a wife and a young baby. Also any insight into motive - and whether there were other insiders helping him? It could not have been a one man job.

great_news_?_:

Anyone has any news on this case?
Thanks!

Marianne Paskowski:

I havenot heard a peep. Weigh in if you have please.

Classmate:

Wow....this is what I get for Googling friends/acquaintances on the web. I went to middle school and high school with this guy. I am so shocked at this news. I always knew Victor would be successful in his future career and I understood he was doing very well, but I had no idea it would come to this. Victor was always one of the smarter kids in school. A bit nerdy and shy at first, but he sought the "in" crowd at school, seemed to transform over a summer into a high school tennis star, and was well-liked. That being said, his intellect and charisma may have played a part if these allegations are true.

While my heart goes out to his wife and young daughter, I certainly hope that this case plays out fairly in court, and justly so. I have also built a career in finance and my professional life revolves around SEC requirements and SOX reporting, so it just baffles me how these infractions could have occurred repeatedly in any publicly traded company. But then again, I am not part of the "Gentlemen's Club" that exists in a lot of companies at the top of the house.

fishbone:

I heard from someone the trial will be on July/11 (or 13?) but can't find any news on the web on this. Does anyone know any further? Thanks!

fishbone:

+ also remember, read somewhere back in January he was sucked some 6 month before... meaning around last summer. (why? if the news on this potential crime broke out in Jan 2007 only? what did NBC do between last summer & this Jan?)

GE Shareholder:

Anyone have an update on this trial? I find it very interesting and am not sure what the true outcome is but would like to closely follow it. I see someone named Lynn C wrote, is that the CFO of the company or someone just impersonating her? Some of you seem to have a lot of knowledge and know of Victor, why don't you explain more of your thoughts. I'd like to hear true opinions, if you worked for him what was his generosity? I heard he'd throw parties at clubs on Little 12th street, etc.

More interested in the update of this trial considering it has been over 2 years now.

Ex NBCU:

Victor Jung was sentenced today (December 11, 2008) to 1 year and 1 day. Sentence does not seem to match the crime. His Treasury Manager received a sentence of 21 months.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Ex,
Thanks for the update, NBCU sure kept this one quiet. m

I was present at the hearing yesterday... and it was a circus. Jung expressed remorse... far better than his co-conspirator... Walsh who was a babbling baffoon... blaming everything on his boss... when in fact they were partners in crime. Jung took it like a man... and the NBC lawyer was an idiot reading a statement from the clueless CFO Lynn Calpeter who tried to interpret federal sentencing guidelines and asked for no credit for cooperation... what an idiot... the "winner" maybe Jung... who to the NBC lawyers looked surprise... when the Judge said that he also cooperated with a Campaign Finance case, and 2 other unrelated cases.... perhaps Jung had something else up his sleeve... his 25 family and friends were present as well as what seem to be foreigners visting from another country... I bet there is more beneath the surface here... and definitely kudoos to Robert Morvillo who gave a Perry Mason like opening statement that got the court room sobing for sorrow for Jung... who i observed was a weezing baby too.... Thats NEW YORK for you kids... DDD

Marianne Paskowski:

Ex,
I find it hard to believe that Jung and Walsh could pull this off alone.

But considering the amount wasn't that much in terms of today's hedge fund scandals, maybe his sentence is fair.

Didn't Martha Stewart get busted for far less, served time, not much, little perp walk, ankle bracelet, etc.

Jung won't do the full sentence, m


Dan S:

Victor is somebody I've known for a long while. He is a totally corrupt person, through and through. I'm not surprised at all that he did this, I expected that he eventually would. I AM surprised that he got caught. He's not a stupid person. I think that deep-down, he wanted to get caught because he knew his life was an out-of-control mess. As for being a nice boss....well, look how he sold out the accountant James Welch. And I guarantee he sold others out too - how else would he have gotten a 1 year sentence for stealing $1,000,000? Oh well, at least he won't ever work in a public company again - unless you count McDonalds....

Ex NBCU:

Victor has his own Company it appears:

Employer: V Global Holdings, Inc.
Position: President & CEOTime Period:August 2006 - PresentLocation: New York, NY
Description: Diversified Company with Financial and Operational expertise in Financial Services, Real Estate and Media Industries.

Established as an advisory company to early stage and late stage companies, the firm has been instrumental in fund raising, strategy and financial planning, business development and operational controls for its clients.

Since its inception the firm has provided advisory services to over $500MM in transactions.


I wonder if his clients know about his recent sentencing? Also, I wonder if Victor has started serving the 1 year and 1 day?

Post a comment