Vice declared this “worse than the college admissions scandal” which is a stretch, if I’m honest.
Competitions are results based: Steven Bradbury won a gold medal for speed skating in 2002 despite having been in last place–by quite a large distance–for the entire race [x]. Especially when it’s the first competition of it’s kind for the participating judges (as per the official announcement regarding the discovery of the fraud), and it is not required for the algorithms to be made public, it’s not at all surprising that no one looked for misconduct; I, too, try and assume the best of people and boy does it come back to bite you when you’re wrong.
The dude says they will return the prize money and H2O.ai is working with the NPO. So, the whole thing is a damn shame but at least some good is coming of it.