Yet for all the volunteers, Mr. Ortiz still thinks his biggest challenge may be convincing Spain’s corrupt officials that there actually might be something wrong with them.

“They are people with money and power — and we are struggling against this idea that they can get away with anything and don’t actually need the help,” he said.

For that, the government turned to Sergio Ruiz, a prison psychiatrist in the southern city of Seville who helped design the program. Dr. Ruiz said that in addition to getting participants to recognize their flaws in group therapy, inmates would eventually be asked to participate in “restorative justice” sessions where they would ask for forgiveness from their victims.

Dr. Ruiz explained he had been surprised at the outset when he searched the scientific literature and found almost nothing on rehabilitating white collar criminals. Psychiatrists had studied murderers ad nauseam, Dr. Ruiz explained. But few had ever bothered to get inside the mind of the shady functionary who swindled the public garbage fund.

So Dr. Ruiz decided to run a study of his own. He asked for volunteers from three groups — white collar prisoners, violent criminals and a “control” group of ordinary Spaniards — and surveyed each on their values and beliefs.

The results surprised everyone, he said.

“We think of these people as ruthless, but that’s not how it is,” Dr. Ruiz said of white collar criminals. “They have the same system of values as any ordinary citizen.”

Instead, Dr. Ruiz said, corrupt minds have a unique capacity to create exceptions to their own rules, what cognitive psychologists sometimes call “moral disengagement.” They have intricate ways of explaining away their misdeeds as somehow benefiting others rather than themselves.

And Dr. Ruiz found dangerous levels of two other traits in the fraudsters.

“Egocentrism and narcissism,” he said.

At first glance, Mr. Alburquerque, the corrupt notary in Córdoba who volunteered to be rehabilitated, doesn’t appear to have much of either. He’s mild-mannered and speaks in hushed tones even in the loud hubbub of the penitentiary. It’s hard to imagine that he pocketed nearly a half-million dollars before he was caught.

“Here, one has to take responsibility,” he said, admitting he had been wrong.

But there’s more to the story, Mr. Alburquerque said.

While sums of money may have disappeared under his watch, he had always made sure his employees were highly paid, unlike many other notary offices, he said. He had even attempted to return much of the fraud money before he was caught. Anyone in Córdoba could attest to the fact that he was a key member of the city, he added.

“I have an advantage over other mortals, but not all, in that I can sleep five hours less than others,” he said of his work ethic. “Always what I’ve done is worked and studied.”

They are words that Yolanda González Pérez, the prison warden, says she’s heard before from other white collar criminals who haven’t fully accepted their crimes.

“They tell themselves ‘I’m not as much of a criminal as the others are,’” she said.

But Mr. Ortiz, the director of the Spanish prison system, isn’t worried. He’s ready to roll up his sleeves with Mr. Alburquerque and other participants who might be willing to rethink their old ways.

Maybe a breakthrough will come early on, when according to a summary of the rehabilitation manual, psychiatrists will begin the process of “therapeutic alliance” to form a bond with the corrupt officials.

Or later on in week five, when the inmates “will finally take on the subject of developing humility and empathy.”

It takes patience to change someone, Mr. Ortiz said.

“We can be working months in these sessions,” he said. “We just keep at it with the prisoners and we’ll see when the fruit is ripe.”

José Bautista contributed reporting from Madrid.

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India’s Black Market Preys on Desperate Covid-19 Victims

NEW DELHI — Within the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak, few treasures are more coveted than an empty oxygen canister. India’s hospitals desperately need the metal cylinders to store and transport the lifesaving gas as patients across the country gasp for breath.

So a local charity reacted with outrage when one supplier more than doubled the price, to nearly $200 each. The charity called the police, who discovered what could be one of the most brazen, dangerous scams in a country awash with coronavirus-related fraud and black-market profiteering.

The police say the supplier — a business called Varsha Engineering, essentially a scrapyard — had been repainting fire extinguishers and selling them as oxygen canisters. The consequences could be deadly: The less-sturdy fire extinguishers might explode if filled with high-pressure oxygen.

“This guy should be charged with homicide,” said Mukesh Khanna, a volunteer at the charity. “He was playing with lives.” (The owner, now in jail, couldn’t be reached for comment.)

this month that “the moral fabric of the society is dismembered.”

Over the past month, the New Delhi police have arrested more than 210 people on allegations of cheating, hoarding, criminal conspiracy or fraud in connection with Covid-related scams. Similarly, the police in Uttar Pradesh have arrested 160 people.

“I have seen all kinds of predators and all forms of depravity,” said Vikram Singh, a former police chief in Uttar Pradesh, “but this level of predation and depravity I have not seen in the 36 years of my career or in my life.”

have swooped in to connect those in need with lifesaving resources.

The ad hoc system has limits. Vital supplies like oxygen are still stuck in bottlenecks, and people keep dying after hospitals run out. Vaccine and pharmaceutical makers can’t keep up. Politicians in some places are threatening people who publicly plead for supplies.

Infections and deaths are widely believed to be many times more numerous than the official figures indicate, and in hospitals across India, all the beds have been filled and people are dying for lack of oxygen or medicine.

Accusations by one doctor in Madhya Pradesh have gone viral. The doctor, Sanjeev Kumrawat, said he tried to stop a local activist for India’s governing party from selling access to beds in a government hospital where he works. “We all know that to get a bed is a big struggle all around,” Dr. Kumrawat said in an interview. “Government resources are to be distributed equitably and can’t become the property of one person.”

thousands of vials of fake remdesivir during a bust. A tipster led them to a factory where they recovered 3,371 vials that were filled with glucose, water and salt.

Many other doses had already been sold and maybe even put into patients’ bodies, the Gujarat police said, posing a public health risk of unknown scale.

Those who turn to the black market often know they are taking a gamble.

Anirudh Singh Rathore, a 59-year-old cloth trader in New Delhi, was desperately seeking remdesivir for his ill wife, Sadhna. He acquired two vials at the government-mandated price of about $70 each. He needed four more.

Through social media, he found a seller willing to part with four more vials for about five times that price. First, two arrived. When the second two were delivered, he noticed the packaging was different from the first batch. They had been made by different companies, the seller explained.

The Rathores had their doubts, but Sadhna’s oxygen levels were dropping and they were desperate. Mr. Rathore said they gave the doses to the doctors, who injected them without being able to determine whether they were real or fake. On May 3, Ms. Rathore died.

Mr. Rathore filed a police report and one of the sellers was arrested, he said, but he has been racked with guilt.

“I have the regret that probably my wife would have been saved if those injections were original,” he said, adding that the police had sent the vials to be tested.

“People are using the crisis period for their own benefit,” Mr. Rathore said. “This is a moral crisis.”

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British Fraud Unit Is Investigating Gupta and Greensill

The scion of a business family, Mr. Gupta established a metals trading business in the 1990s while a student at Cambridge University. In 2015, he turned his attention to the production side, going on a buying spree of steel and other metal plants in Britain, and later in other countries like Romania, France and the United States.

The loss of financing from Greensill has posed a serious threat to Mr. Gupta’s businesses, which employ around 35,000 people, including 5,000 in Britain. Mr. Gupta has been scrambling to find new financing to save these businesses, but the disclosure of a high-level fraud investigation could complicate these efforts.

The British government has rejected a request for 170 million pounds (about $240 million) to support the Gupta businesses, citing their “opaque accounting,” according to another parliamentary committee that is investigating the businesses and the British steel industry.

A spokesman for the Gupta companies said the group “will cooperate fully” with the Serious Fraud Office investigation and that the group was “making progress in the refinancing of its operations.”

A spokesman for Greensill did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While Greensill and Gupta had interests across the world, some of the strongest repercussions of the Greensill collapse have been in Britain, where former Prime Minister David Cameron served as a senior adviser to the financial company.

Mr. Cameron has faced withering criticism for his lobbying of senior politicians and officials on behalf of Greensill, often using emails and WhatsApp messages to make appeals to the highest ministers, including Rishi Sunak, the chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. Cameron has said he should have used more formal means of communication.

At a video appearance before a parliamentary committee investigating the Greensill collapse on Thursday, Mr. Cameron appeared to show little contrition despite sharp criticism from lawmakers, one of whom characterized his dozens of approaches to government figures as “more like stalking than lobbying.”

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As Trillions Flow Out the Door, Stimulus Oversight Faces Challenges

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers have unleashed more than $5 trillion in relief aid over the past year to help businesses and individuals through the pandemic downturn. But the scale of that effort is placing serious strain on a patchwork oversight network created to ferret out waste and fraud.

The Biden administration has taken steps to improve accountability and oversight safeguards spurned by the Trump administration, including more detailed and frequent reporting requirements for those receiving funds. But policing the money has been complicated by long-running turf battles; the lack of a centralized, fully functional system to track how funds are being spent; and the speed with which the government has tried to disburse aid.

The scope of oversight is vast, with the Biden administration policing the tail end of the relief money disbursed by the Trump administration last year in addition to the $1.9 trillion rescue package that Democrats approved in March. Much of that money is beginning to flow out the door, including $21.6 billion in rental assistance funds, $350 billion to state and local governments, $29 billion for restaurants and a $16 billion grant fund for live-event businesses like theaters and music clubs.

The funds are supposed to be tracked by a hodgepodge of overseers, including congressional panels, inspectors general and the White House budget office. But the system has been plagued by disagreements and, until recently, disarray.

released a scathing report accusing other Treasury officials of blocking him from conducting more extensive investigations.

Mr. Miller was selected to oversee relief programs managed by the Treasury Department, but the agency’s officials believed his role was to track only a $500 billion pot of money for the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending programs and funds for airlines and companies that are critical to national security. Mr. Miller said that Treasury officials were initially cooperative during the Trump administration, but that after the transition to the new administration started, his access to information dried up.

After Mr. Miller’s requests for program data were denied, he appealed to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which ruled against him last month. His team of 42 people has been left with little to do.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans. But federal oversight experts and watchdog groups say the exact scale of problems in the $2 trillion bipartisan stimulus relief bill in March 2020 is virtually impossible to determine because of insufficient oversight and accountability reporting.

Mr. Miller has been pursuing cases of business owners double dipping from various pots of relief money, such as airlines taking small-business loans and also receiving payroll support funds. The Small Business Administration’s inspector general said last year that the agency “lowered the guardrails” and that 15,000 economic disaster loans totaling $450 million were fraudulent.

The Government Accountability Office also placed the small-business lending programs on its “high risk” watch list in March, warning that a lack of information about the recipients of aid and inadequate safeguards could lead to many more problems than have been reported. The report identified “deficiencies within all components of internal control” in the Small Business Administration’s oversight and concluded that officials “must show stronger program integrity controls and better management.”

proposal to revamp many, but not all, of its procedures.

Oversight veterans and some lawmakers say they want to see a more cohesive approach and more transparency from the Biden administration.

“It is just staggering how little oversight there is,” said Neil M. Barofsky, who was the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program from 2008 to 2011. “Not because of the fault of the people who are there, but because of the failure to empower them and give them the opportunity to do their jobs.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, said she had pushed hard for more oversight last year because she believed that Trump administration officials had conflicts of interest. Despite improvements, she said, the Biden administration could be doing more.

“I kept pushing for more oversight — we got some of it, but not all of what we need,” Ms. Warren said. “We are talking hundreds of billions here.”

She added: “The Biden administration is definitely doing better, but there’s no substitute for transparency and oversight — and we can always do better.”

programs intended to speed $25 billion for emergency housing relief passed last year.

Watchdog groups are wary that speed could sacrifice accountability.

Under Mr. Trump, the Office of Management and Budget, which is responsible for setting policy in federal agencies, refused to comply with all the reporting requirements in the 2020 stimulus that called for it to collect and release data about businesses that borrowed money under the small-business lending programs.

To some observers, Mr. Biden’s budget office has not moved quickly enough to reverse the Trump-era policy. Instead, Mr. Sterling’s team is working on a complex set of benchmarks — tailored to individual programs included in the $1.9 trillion relief bill — which will be released one by one in the coming months.

stymied by disagreements about a program to prop up struggling state and local governments.

Its legally mandated report to Congress was delayed for weeks, and a member of the panel, Bharat Ramamurti, accused his Republican colleagues of stalling the group’s work. Mr. Ramamurti has since left to work for the Biden administration, and the five-person panel now has three commissioners and no chair. Its latest report was only 19 pages.

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Fake Comments on Net Neutrality Rollback to Cost Companies Millions

Internet service providers funded an effort that yielded millions of fake comments supporting the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of so-called net neutrality rules in 2017, the New York attorney general said on Thursday.

Internet providers, working through a group called Broadband for America, spent $4.2 million on the project, Attorney General Letitia James said. The effort generated roughly nine million comments to the agency and letters to Congress backing the rollback, almost all signed by people who had never agreed to the use of their names on such comments, according to the investigation. Some of the names had been obtained earlier, in other marketing efforts, officials said. The agency approved the repeal in late 2017.

Broadband for America’s members include some of America’s most prominent internet providers, like AT&T, Comcast and Charter, as well as several trade groups.

Supporters of the repeal regularly cited the number of comments opposing the rules. Investigators said Broadband for America had “commissioned and publicized a third-party study” of how many comments were being submitted, and then briefed F.C.C. officials on their findings as part of their push.

net neutrality rules, which forbade them to block content, slow it down or make people pay more to deliver it faster.

Ajit Pai, then the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, announced a plan to repeal the rules in April 2017. Around the same time, Broadband for America started to pay providers of lead generation services millions of dollars to generate comments at the F.C.C. and letters to Congress supporting the repeal.

Investigators said Broadband for America had acted to give Mr. Pai “cover” to repeal the broadband regulations. The internet providers have staunchly opposed attempts to regulate the industry for years, including by pushing for Congress to approve weaker rules instead.

In total, about 18 million of the 22 million comments sent to the F.C.C. during the debate over the net neutrality rules were fake, the investigation found. More than nine million fake comments were filed at the F.C.C. supporting the rules, arguing that repealing them would leave consumers paying more for a slower internet, according to investigators. A 19-year-old computer science student was responsible for more than 7.7 million of them.

The activist group Fight for the Future and several news outlets raised early concerns about the possibility that some of the comments were fake, after individuals whose names appeared on messages to the F.C.C. said they had not signed on to them.

“The public record should be a place for honest dialogue, but today’s report demonstrates how the record informing the F.C.C.’s net neutrality repeal was flooded with fraud,” Jessica Rosenworcel, the agency’s acting chairwoman, said in a statement. “This was troubling at the time because even then the widespread problems with the record were apparent.”

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Has Vitaly Borker, Online’s Biggest Bully, Returned?

Not so fast, a representative at Eyeglassesdepot replied. The company had already generated a postal label to send her glasses. She owed $9.95. When she declined to send a penny, the representative said Ms. Kuczynski would be reported to a collections agency. Would she, the representative then asked, be willing to set up a phone call with the company’s sales team and chief executive?

“Then the phone rings,” said Ms. Kuczynski, recounting the story recently. “I was so amazed. It was Easter Sunday and this guy had taken time out of his day to harangue me about $9.95.”

She hung up, blocked the number and posted a negative review on Trustpilot. Soon after, Eyeglassesdepot posted a reply that stated, “This is a fake customer posting from a competitor repair website. We have identified the culprit.”

Beneath those words were Ms. Kuczynski’s home address and cellphone number.

She started looking into Eyeglassesdepot and found other consumers enduring similar ordeals. One of them is Melanie Craddock, of Kernersville, N.C. In early April, Ms. Craddock’s name, address and credit card number — including expiration date and three-digit authorization code — were posted by Eyeglassesdepot on Trustpilot, beneath her unhappy tale of buying, then returning, a pair of fake-seeming Versace sunglasses to the company. In a recent interview, she said she and her husband were worried about what else Arsenio might do in retaliation.

There were negative reviews on other review sites, but Trustpilot was the one that seemed to worry Arsenio the most. Trustpilot, which recently went public, has a total of 120 million reviews on its site, and a new review is added every two seconds, a representative said.

Arsenio told furious customers that he would deflect attention from their biting reviews by posting raves that he or an ally had written. (“Burying your bad review under all the good ones,” he wrote to Ms. Beringer in late December.) Trustpilot offered little more than an auto-reply email when Ms. Kuczynski pleaded for the deletion of her home address.

Soon after Trustpilot was alerted to the bogus review claims and the doxxing episodes, the site’s staff found that more than 60 Eyeglassesdepot reviews — about 40 percent — were fakes, which they deleted. Trustpilot sent the company an email asking that it “cease and desist” from writing fake reviews.

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Has Online Retail’s Biggest Bully Returned?

Not so fast, a representative at Eyeglassesdepot replied. The company had already generated a postal label to send her glasses. She owed $9.95. When she declined to send a penny, the representative said Ms. Kuczynski would be reported to a collections agency. Would she, the representative then asked, be willing to set up a phone call with the company’s sales team and chief executive?

“Then the phone rings,” said Ms. Kuczynski, recounting the story recently. “I was so amazed. It was Easter Sunday and this guy had taken time out of his day to harangue me about $9.95.”

She hung up, blocked the number and posted a negative review on Trustpilot. Soon after, Eyeglassesdepot posted a reply that stated, “This is a fake customer posting from a competitor repair website. We have identified the culprit.”

Beneath those words were Ms. Kuczynski’s home address and cellphone number.

She started looking into Eyeglassesdepot and found other consumers enduring similar ordeals. One of them is Melanie Craddock, of Kernersville, N.C. In early April, Ms. Craddock’s name, address and credit card number — including expiration date and three-digit authorization code — were posted by Eyeglassesdepot on Trustpilot, beneath her unhappy tale of buying, then returning, a pair of fake-seeming Versace sunglasses to the company. In a recent interview, she said she and her husband were worried about what else Arsenio might do in retaliation.

There were negative reviews on other review sites, but Trustpilot was the one that seemed to worry Arsenio the most. Trustpilot, which recently went public, has a total of 120 million reviews on its site, and a new review is added every two seconds, a representative said.

Arsenio told furious customers that he would deflect attention from their biting reviews by posting raves that he or an ally had written. (“Burying your bad review under all the good ones,” he wrote to Ms. Beringer in late December.) Trustpilot offered little more than an auto-reply email when Ms. Kuczynski pleaded for the deletion of her home address.

Soon after Trustpilot was alerted to the bogus review claims and the doxxing episodes, the site’s staff found that more than 60 Eyeglassesdepot reviews — about 40 percent — were fakes, which they deleted. Trustpilot sent the company an email asking that it “cease and desist” from writing fake reviews.

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Ole Anthony, Scourge of Televangelists, Dies at 82

Ole (pronounced O-lee) Edward Anthony was born on Oct. 3, 1938, in Saint Peter, Minn., about 70 miles southwest of Minneapolis. He grew up in Wickenburg, Ariz., a town 60 miles northwest of Phoenix that once billed itself as the “dude ranch capital of the world.” His father, Rudolph Anthony, left his family soon after the move, and Ole and his sister, Sandra, were raised by their mother, Edna (Norell) Anthony, a nurse who ran a retirement home.

Mr. Anthony’s sister died in 2019. He had no immediate survivors.

His childhood, he said, was marked by drug abuse and crime, both petty and felonious — at one point he and a friend set fire to a 40-foot-tall wooden cross outside Wickenburg. He joined the Air Force in 1956 after being offered the choice of military service or prison.

Mr. Anthony was trained in electronics, and in 1958 he was sent to an island in the South Pacific, where he was supposed to watch a small nuclear test many miles away. But the explosion was much larger than expected, and the radiation left him with scores of knobby tumors throughout his body.

He left the military in 1959 and took a job with Teledyne, a defense contractor. In a 2004 profile in The New Yorker, he told the journalist Burkhard Bilger that he had continued his work for the Air Force, sneaking behind the iron and bamboo curtains to install long-range sensors to detect Chinese and Soviet nuclear tests, though a later investigation by The Dallas Observer, a weekly newspaper, called that claim into question.

Credit…via Trinity Foundation

Mr. Anthony moved to Dallas in 1962 and became involved in Republican politics, working on campaigns and, in 1968, narrowly losing a race for the State Legislature. He was, by his own account, living large, with a luxury high-rise apartment, a $70,000 annual salary (about $550,000 today) and a rotating series of girlfriends.

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