Category Archive: Statistics

Aug 29

Excel Default Settings Can Cause Significant Analysis Errors

A recent study published in the scientific journal Genome Biology describes a concerning error rate in genetic studies caused by default settings in the commonly used spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel.  The default cell formatting option in Excel will inadvertently convert gene symbols to dates and floating-point numbers. Examples include: gene symbol SEPT2 (Septin 2) is converted by …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2016/08/excel-default-settings-can-cause-significant-analysis-errors/

Jul 20

SEC Utilizes Big Data And Statistics To Target Trading Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced its first fraud charges derived from tracking behavior using data analytics of large volumes of investment advisors’ trade allocation detail.  The enforcement target is Welhouse & Associates Inc. and its owner Mark P. Welhouse. Mr. Welhouse is accused of “cherry-picking”, a practice whereby one improperly allocates option trades …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/07/sec-utilizes-big-data-and-statistics-to-target-trading-fraud/

Jun 30

Supreme Court To Address Use of Statistics For Class Action Certification

The April 2013 Supreme Court decision in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, No. 11-864, was a profound change benefitting companies facing class action lawsuits.  The Court held that a plaintiff seeking certification must establish through “evidentiary proof” that damages can be measured on a class-wide basis.  Individual damage issues can defeat class certification where those issues …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/06/supreme-court-to-address-use-of-statistics-for-class-action-certification/

Mar 07

Business Audit Rate Will Move Even Lower

With its budget continuing to shrink, the IRS is looking at even lower audit rates for the coming tax season.  The number of agents is current at under 12,000, the lowest number in the last decade. This related article provides additional info on IRS audit rates.

Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/03/business-audit-rate-will-move-even-lower/

Jan 21

Mathematical Rule Uncovers Several Hundred Thousand Dollar Fraud

An article recently published in the Wall Street Journal details how “the law of first digits”, also known as Benford’s Law, can uncover fraud. Benford’s Law, named after a 20th century American physicist, states that in nearly all real-world distributions of numbers the frequency of ones, twos, threes, and so on, in the first digit …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/01/mathematical-rule-uncovers-several-hundred-thousand-dollar-fraud/

Jan 15

How Likely Are You to Get Audited?

Tax season is gearing up, an annual source of tension for many Americans. The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) looms in the background, with a mission to “Provide America’s taxpayers top-quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all”. Yet the benevolent vibe of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2015/01/how-likely-are-you-to-get-audited/

Feb 28

Identity Theft Tops Consumer Fraud List

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) released the agency’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2013, which summarized consumer complaints.  There were over 2.1 million complaints reported in 2013.  The following table summarizes the top ten types of complaints filed in 2013:   Category No. of Complaints Identity Theft 290,056 Debt Collection 204,644 Bank and Lenders 152,707 …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2014/02/identity-theft-tops-consumer-fraud-list/

Jan 13

Is the Stock Market Usually More Generous During the Holidays?

Last year was phenomenal for investors in the stock market. The S&P 500, for example, generated total returns exceeding 26%, the highest annual return recorded since the tech bubble of the mid/late 1990s. These positive returns likely had investors in a positive mood going into the holidays, which might explain why returns during the “Holiday …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2014/01/is-the-stock-market-usually-more-generous-during-the-holidays/

Nov 27

Artificial Intelligence Solves the Perennial Whodunit of Unsigned Judicial Opinions

n-grams by Supreme Court Justice

An academic article published this year by the Stanford Technology Law Review demonstrates how machine learning and natural language processing techniques can provide new insights within the study of law. Machine learning, a technique developed in the field of artificial intelligence, typically uses computer algorithms to identify (i.e. “learn”) patterns in large datasets. In many …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/11/artificial-intelligence-solves-the-perennial-whodunit-of-unsigned-judicial-opinions/

Nov 12

Statistical Sophistication Would Have Provided a Different Liability Answer

Economists and other financial experts are often hired to assess damages, assuming liability.  However liability can sometimes be established or disproven based on statistics. For example, in a recently affirmed case involving employment discrimination, the application of a simple method failed to provide the Court with information that would likely have changed their decision.  The …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/11/statistical-sophistication-would-have-provided-a-different-liability-answer/

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