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Stingy News Article Link

Hey, buddy, want a share?
04/25/05 Permlink | Crime
"Stockholders of collapsed companies get calls from purported brokers they don't know offering to exchange the now-worthless shares for stock in a promising or even blue-chip company, or for cash. According to regulators, a surprising number of call recipients bite at these overtures. The result: a second loss for investors. That's because the callers never deliver anything of value--they often cough up nothing at all--but always insist on some kind of upfront payment before they effectuate the swap. Trying to find the broker becomes near impossible after the investor pays the fee."



More articles on the same topic . . .

The FBI pump-and-dump scam
07/18/14 Permlink | Crime
"So the main lesson here is, if you want to run a pump-and-dump scam, the FBI is not a great partner. That or "just don't run a pump-and-dump scam," I guess, take your pick. There are other lessons, though. One is how strangely close this all was to being legal."

Cynk and short selling
07/12/14 Permlink | Markets Crime
"If you spot what you think is a penny stock pump-and-dump scam, don't short it! It might be a trap!"

Stock promoters make inroads
03/22/14 Permlink | Crime
"Several finance websites have published articles by guest contributors who were allegedly paid to promote the stocks they were writing about, raising ethical concerns."

Optimism and credibility of stock spam
01/12/14 Permlink | Academia Crime
"This study examines attention-driven investment decisions using a sample of firms essentially unknown to investors prior to becoming the target of a stock spam campaign. We show that the market reaction to spam varies predictably with the content of the spam message. Spam date returns and volume are significantly higher for stocks targeted by spam emails containing optimistic target price projections bundled with ostensibly credible information quoted from a previously issued company press release. There is also some evidence that disclaimers in spam messages reduce, but do not eliminate, the market response. Attention effects also contribute to spammers. selection of stocks to target and to spam.related enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission."

Concrete Equities fraud
03/08/12 Permlink | Crime
"Viewers of the early seasons of CBC's Dragons' Den will remember the oft-repeated ad wherein an improbably young, somewhat swarthy company president touted the safe, superior returns of an investment company called Concrete Equities. Between static promo shots of office buildings, Vincenzo De Palma extolled the security of investing in income-producing real assets in lazy diction, as if an up-and-comer like him lacked the time to pronounce every consonant. But Concrete Equities was the entrepreneurial reality show's lead sponsor, and that lent it a sheen of respectability. Had the producers at the CBC put the company's management in front of the Dragons, they likely would have discovered De Palma and Co. were neither licensed nor qualified to market and manage a portfolio of real estate investments. Following a two-year investigation, he and three other principals in Calgary-based Concrete Equities were disciplined in January by the Alberta Securities Commission - including the largest fine ever imposed on an individual in the province - for having sold investments without being registered, and lying to investors. But their comeuppance didn't occur before they had raised $118 million from 3,700 people and come close to losing it all."

Scammers no match for sense of humour
10/24/11 Permlink | Crime
"Rob received a call from "Jim" in India. Jim launched into his spiel: Rob's Windows operating system was infected. Rob told Jim he has no windows. Jim insisted that he did. Rob deadpanned that his computer had no windows...nor doors."

Grandparents scam
10/06/11 Permlink | Crime
"Last week my 83-year old mother almost became a victim of the "grandparent scam." She picked up the phone and the caller said he was her grandson. When she asked if it was Charles, my son, the caller said yes. Mom sometimes has trouble hearing on the telephone, but she said it sounded just like him. As we later found out, he gave her the classic story. He said he had an accident with a rental car in Montreal and was in jail. He said needed $4,000 wired via Western Union to his court-appointed lawyer to be released and provided a name. The caller asked my mother not to call either my husband or I as we would be too upset. ..."

The roots of the Sino-Forest mystery
09/03/11 Permlink | Crime
"Part of what is so astonishing is that Sino-Forest and its business activities failed to arouse serious suspicions or concerns with most investors until June of this year when a short seller named Carson Block and his firm, Muddy Waters LLC, first levelled accusations of fraud against the company."

Betting against flimsy Chinese firms
08/31/11 Permlink | Crime
""Historically, stock scams are promoters promoting stories. The actual numbers will tell a more truthful story," he said. "If it's a mining company and there is nothing in ground and the numbers don't lie. The people do. The trick here is that the numbers are made up.""

Madoff of the Midwest
08/02/11 Permlink | Crime
"The indictment charges that from 2005 to 2009, Durham masterminded a Ponzi scheme that defrauded 5,000 investors in Fair Finance out of some $207,246,329, of which only a fraction may be reclaimed. If convicted, Durham and his alleged conspirators could each face 45 years in prison and $3 million in fines. The case is due to go to trial next year, and the court has registered not-guilty pleas for the three defendants, all of whom declined or did not respond to interview requests. But from interviews with numerous associates, a profile of Durham, who Indianapolis has taken to calling the "Midwest Madoff," has emerged. In retrospect, Durham's alleged fraud is almost as impressive for its size as for how obvious it should have been."

Catch and release
07/22/11 Permlink | Crime
"Spencer Lanthier, who serves on a variety of boards, recently asserted during a speech in Toronto that, despite recent advances in regulation and enforcement, large frauds still unfold in Canada largely with impunity. He claimed this country has "the weakest standards of enforcement in the G8." Other critics routinely call for speedier investigations, more charges and more serious punishments. Even IMET superintendent Dean Buzza concedes that his units haven't lived up to expectations. "We overpromised and underachieved," he says."

Nothing for money
07/22/11 Permlink | Crime
"While the major stock exchanges, securities regulators and police have made significant progress in the past dozen years purging the old-style boiler rooms and pump-and-dump schemes from the public markets, the marketing of suspect securities continues to thrive in the private domain. Typically, a company advertises or otherwise promotes a particular venture to investors, usually at a fixed price and for a fixed term. At the end of the term, the asset (usually real estate) is meant to be sold, and investors get their money. Sometimes, it begins producing an income stream for the investors. At least, that's how it works in theory."

A dirty business
06/25/11 Permlink | Crime
"In the language of hedge funds, Galleon's strategy was to "arbitrage reality" with the consensus on the Street - to find information about a given company that diverged from Wall Street's view, allowing Galleon to cash in when the company's stock price rose or fell."

The audacity of Chinese frauds
05/27/11 Permlink | Crime
"Frauds and audit failures can, and do, happen in many countries, including in the United States. But the audacity of these frauds, as well as the efforts to intimidate auditors, stand out. If investors such as Goldman Sachs and Hank Greenberg cannot fend for themselves, something more needs to be done if Chinese companies are to continue to trade in American markets."

U.S. Arrests Online Seller Who Scared Customers
12/12/10 Permlink | Crime
"Federal law enforcement agents on Monday arrested a Brooklyn Internet merchant who mistreated customers because he thought their online complaints raised the profile of his business in Google searches."

Toyota hybrid horror hoax
03/14/10 Permlink | Crime
"Journalism schools are supposed to teach that skepticism is paramount. "If your mother says it, check it out," goes the old adage. Yet comments on Web sites across the country reveal that practically everyone thought the Prius incident was a hoax--though they couldn't prove it--except for the media. They have been as determined to not investigate Sikes' claims as Sikes was to not stop his car. It's a Toyota media feeding frenzy and the media aren't about to let little things like incredible stories and readily-refutable claims get in the way."

Quadrophobia: rounding of EPS data
02/13/10 Permlink | Accounting Crime
"We hypothesize that earnings management causes quadrophobia, the under-representation of the number four in the first post-decimal digit of EPS data. We demonstrate that quadrophobia is pervasive, persistent, and follows economically rational patterns. Consistent with analyst coverage being a determinant of earnings management, quadrophobia increases (declines) when companies gain (lose) analyst coverage, and is more frequent when earnings are close to analyst forecasts. Persistent quadrophobes are more likely to restate financials and to be sued in SEC proceedings alleging accounting violations. Quadrophobia, even if itself legal, therefore appears to signal a propensity to engage in problematic accounting practices."

Earl Jones: In Trust
02/06/10 Permlink | Crime
"Disgraced Montreal financial advisor Earl Jones awaits sentencing for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded his investors of $50 million for more than two decades. The fifth estate investigates Jones' life, how he created his scheme and how he was able to get away with fraud for so long."

Paying zero for public services
01/30/10 Permlink | Crime
"For people to speak up against corruption that has become institutionalized within society, they must know that there are others who are just as fed up and frustrated with the system. Once they realize that they are not alone, they also realize that this battle is not unbeatable. Then, a path opens up - a path that can pave the way for relatively simple ideas like the zero rupee notes to turn into a powerful social statement against petty corruption."

Institute for Financial Learning Ponzi Scheme
12/03/09 Permlink | Crime
"Predictably, mostly elderly people seem to have been the biggest victims of this scam and it is outrageous that crimes such as this that are so devastating on so many people does not seem to result in punishment that fits the severity of the crime."

How to catch a fraud
11/11/09 Permlink | Accounting Crime
"One indicator was particularly telling, and it's surprisingly obvious: number of employees. For companies that didn't commit fraud, the change in revenue and the change in employees stayed within about 4% of each other. For fraudulent companies, the difference was 20%."

Learning to love insider trading
10/25/09 Permlink | Markets Law Crime
From the what could possibly go wrong file, "Want to keep companies honest, make the markets work more efficiently and encourage investors to diversify? Let insiders buy and sell"

Is 'honest services fraud' a bogus charge?
10/25/09 Permlink | Law Crime
"Critics of the law say it unfairly gives prosecutors a way to bring vague charges when they can't build a case for more conventional crimes like bribery. "It's been very, very broadly applied," says Patricia Pileggi, a former U.S. prosecutor who is now an attorney with the firm Schiff Hardin in New York. "It's useful to prosecutors because they are not required to prove that somebody got a tangible, monetary benefit" from their actions."

Bond, Fake Bond
10/22/09 Permlink | Bond Crime
"It sounds like something out of a summer caper flick: Two men carrying Japanese passports were apprehended trying to enter Switzerland from Italy via commuter rail in June. The men looked out of place on the train, which tends to carry low-income manual laborers. That was enough to raise the suspicions of the Italian authorities, who detained the passengers and rifled through one of their briefcases. Inside was what appeared to be $134 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds labeled with denominations of $500 million and $1 billion. (This despite the fact that the Treasury has never produced bonds in denominations greater than $100,000.) Later this summer, history seemed to repeat itself when Italian authorities intercepted another cache of false T-bills from the Philippines destined for the United States worth an alleged $116 billion. Why on earth would anybody create fake Treasury bonds - in such eye-popping denominations?"

Galleon case ushers in wiretaps
10/17/09 Permlink | Crime
"U.S. prosecutors who used wiretaps to make their insider trading case against billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, founder of hedge fund firm Galleon Group, said they will use similar tactics to fight future crimes on Wall Street."

Freedom Investment Club wavering on ruin
09/25/09 Permlink | Crime
"The Vancouver-based Freedom Investment Club has turned into a tar-pit for its 5,500 members. Far from providing them with financial freedom, it has bound them with debt, foreclosure action and the prospect of losing their entire investment."

Ego and the CEO
08/27/09 Permlink | Accounting Management Crime
"Which is the biggest red flag for a potential accounting fraud: Bad corporate governance, an overinflated share price or too many stock options? None of the above, according to a new study by researchers from three Canadian universities. They argue that the biggest risk factor for fraud is a CEO with a truly oversized ego."

Las Vegas' medical mafia
08/21/09 Permlink | Law Health Crime
"Prosecutors charge that a group of top Las Vegas plaintiffs lawyers and doctors, with the 64-year-old Awand at its center, conspired in an audacious fraud. The participants appeared to act independently but instead colluded. Unwitting accident victims were recruited as plaintiffs and then persuaded to undergo serious, sometimes needless, surgeries. The procedures, in turn, helped inflate the size of personal-injury claims. The result was multimillion-dollar insurance settlements, even for dubious cases, and lucrative fees for the doctors, the lawyers, and, of course, Howard Awand."

See no evil and pay no penalty
07/10/09 Permlink | Crime
"For years, Beazer Homes USA was much more than a builder of houses. It was a veritable crime wave. The company defrauded buyers, particularly poor people being sold homes they could not afford. It defrauded the federal government by getting government-guaranteed mortgages for those buyers. It created subdivisions now dominated by dozens of foreclosed homes. And while it was at it, Beazer lied to shareholders about how much money it was making. First, it lied by claiming it was making less than it was. Then it lied by hiding losses when the housing bubble began to burst. To keep the lies going, the government says, the company prepared fraudulent documents to mislead its auditors."

You've got blackmail
07/02/09 Permlink | Zweig Crime
"My advice: If AOL comes after you, then go after AOL."

More brazen than Madoff?
04/05/09 Permlink | Crime
"In a year of fabulous frauds, the one that glitzy Manhattan attorney Marc Dreier has been charged with is in some ways the most fabulous of all."

Stanford attorney's exit 'screams fraud'
02/19/09 Permlink | Crime
"Regulators pounced days after a lawyer at the Antigua bank at the heart of the case 'disaffirmed' everything he had told authorities. 'The attorney's withdrawal is a massive red flag' that 'screams fraud,' said Peter Henning, who teaches criminal and securities law at Wayne State University in Detroit."

$8 Billion fraud
02/17/09 Permlink | Crime
"The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Robert Allen Stanford, the chief of the Stanford Financial Group, on Tuesday of conducting 'a massive ongoing fraud' in the sale of about $8 billion of high-yielding certificates of deposit held in the firm's bank in Antigua. Also named in the suit were two other executives and some affiliates of the financial group."

Marbella's billionaire spent bribes
01/07/09 Permlink | World Crime
"As an urban planning adviser in the sun- drenched Spanish resort town of Marbella, Juan Antonio Roca had after- tax income of less than 150,000 euros a year. When he was arrested for corruption in March 2006, police seized assets worth 2.4 billion euros ($3.4 billion), including a century-old palace in Madrid, a country estate equipped with a helipad overlooking the Rock of Gibraltar and a stud farm guarded by a tiger."

Why we keep falling for financial scams
01/03/09 Permlink | Crime
"Intelligent people have long been ruined by frauds. Psychologist Stephen Greenspan, who specializes in gullibility, explores why investors continue to be swindled -- and how he came to lose part of his savings to Bernard Madoff."

The Perfect Ponzi
12/15/08 Permlink | Crime
"As the investigations into Bernie Madoff's gigantic Ponzi scheme continue, one thing is becoming clear: The reason it lasted so long and got so huge is that it was superbly executed."

How can you spot a wall street crook?
12/13/08 Permlink | Crime
"The key concept here, developed by MIT professor and noted hedge-fund theorist Andrew Lo, is "serial correlation." Simply put, serial correlation is the degree to which each month's returns in a fund mirror the results of the month before. A fund that returns the exact same amount every month is perfectly serially correlated. Madoff's returns were strikingly consistent month after month, year in and year out. That kind of performance - a nice, smooth line going up no matter what the market does - is a really good sign that you should look more closely."

'Financial psychopaths' wreak havoc
12/13/08 Permlink | Crime
"Two of the most remarkable frauds in the history of finance were exposed this week. They are just beginning to unravel and as such we don't fully understand the magnitude of the crimes. But already I can tell you they are of epic, even cinematic, proportions. This is really from the "can't make this stuff up" school of news. These two miscreants aren't just every day corner-cutters, they are world-class whack."

'Illegal' glacier investment juiced returns
12/12/08 Permlink | Crime
"His funds were the envy of the imploding hedge fund sector, managing to deliver a 159-per-cent return so far in a year marred by the worst bear market in decades. Now Otto Spork, a former dentist, is facing allegations that the fund's returns were juiced by unsubstantiated valuations in several underlying investments in Icelandic glaciers."

Top broker accused of $50 billion fraud
12/12/08 Permlink | Crime
"Bernard L. Madoff, a former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market and a force in Wall Street trading for nearly 50 years, was arrested by federal agents Thursday, a day after his sons turned him in for running what they said their father called "a giant Ponzi scheme." The Securities and Exchange Commission, in a civil complaint, said it was an ongoing $50 billion swindle, and asked a judge to seize the firm and its assets. "Our complaint alleges a stunning fraud that appears to be of epic proportions," said Andrew M. Calamari, associate director of enforcement in the SEC's New York office."

Help wanted: compliance officer
10/04/08 Permlink | Crime
"In these trying times, it will come as a great relief to many to learn that there will be at least one new hire on Bay Street between now and Christmas (2009). The subject of this post is a little unusual for PrefBlog, but I.m just trying to help out and spread the news of a vacancy. And besides, this is hilarious."

Lawyer finds gaping hole in securities law
07/26/08 Permlink | Law Crime
""Allowing a member to resign and therefore escape sanction for improper acts committed while a member of a [self-regulatory organization] can hardly be said to protect investors. ... Certainly, the public would have less confidence in capital markets where sanctions for misconduct could be avoided by a simple letter of resignation," Judge Carnwath wrote."

Trader, father, veteran, convict
06/11/08 Permlink | Crime
"As famous CEOs marched off to jail, so did lots of guys like Craig Gile. The Citigroup trader had a wonderful life - until the Feds decided to make an example of him. Was it fair?"

The siege of State Farm
05/05/08 Permlink | Government Law Crime
"For State Farm Insurance - the nation's leading auto and home insurer - coping with once-in-a-lifetime disasters is everyday business. Risk analysis is what it does, and its actuarial staffs are prepared for every eventuality. Almost. When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, it infamously brought a storm surge the likes of which the nation had never seen, causing more flood damage in one event than all the storms combined for as far back as there was data (37 years). Even that risk State Farm had anticipated. What it hadn't foreseen was that the storm surge would gut the home of a plaintiffs lawyer named Richard F. "Dickie" Scruggs, as well as those of his family, friends, and neighbors in Pascagoula, Miss. Scruggs was someone who could render all of State Farm's actuarial calculations irrelevant, because he had the power and know-how to force it to rewrite its contracts retroactively. He had been the scourge of Fortune 500 companies for two decades, precisely because he tended to change the rules of any game he chose to play."

Hijacking the Hermitage Fund
04/07/08 Permlink | Fund Government World Crime
"Corruption, intimidation, robbery, violent assault, forgery, large-scale fraud. No, not the subject of the latest John Grisham novel, but sensational allegations, made public Apr. 4 by Hermitage Capital Management.until recently the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia. In a detailed and damning report, titled Criminal Justice.Russian-Style, Hermitage alleges the fund's Russian subsidiaries have fallen victim to an elaborate con designed to defraud the fund of hundreds of millions of dollars. The most sensational part of Hermitage's allegations is that the attempted larceny was carried out with the direct connivance of officials in the Russian police. Hermitage alleges the police seized documents and equipment that were instrumental to the attempted fraud, which involved bogus court cases based on forged documents, the aim of which was to sue Hermitage subsidiaries for hundreds of millions of dollars. "The most shocking thing is not that there are corporate raiders in Russia who attempt to steal your shares," says Jamison Firestone, managing partner of Firestone Duncan, Hermitage's law firm. "The shocking thing is that the police worked hand-in-hand with them, and actually performed the theft of the documents so that the corporate raiders could then do their work.""

Buyers' revenge
03/28/08 Permlink | Debt Real Estate Crime
"Analysts predict that as many as two million homeowners could enter foreclosure this year, caught by a slowing economy, falling house prices and, in many cases, adjustable mortgages with rates rising from high to higher. In Las Vegas, 1.9% of homes in the Las Vegas area were in the foreclosure process in January, almost triple the rate of a year earlier, according to First American CoreLogic Inc., a Santa Ana, Calif., real-estate and mortgage data company."

Societe Generale reports EU4.9 billion trading loss
01/24/08 Permlink | Crime
"Societe Generale SA said bets on stock index futures by a rogue trader caused a 4.9 billion-euro ($7.2 billion) trading loss, the largest in banking history. Jerome Kerviel, 31, was the trader responsible, the Paris- based bank said today. Societe Generale plans to raise 5.5 billion euros from shareholders after the loss and subprime- related writedowns depleted capital. The Bank of France, the country's banking regulator, is investigating the alleged fraud."

Inside a stock fraud
01/13/08 Permlink | Crime
"His signature moves involved purchasing public shell companies and manipulating their shares in what the industry calls a "pump and dump" operation. The scheme, one of the oldest forms of stock market fraud, is a favourite of con artists. In Mitton's version, he would find a shell company, set up a personal network of buyers and sellers, release "news" and then direct the network's trading in company shares. The idea was to artificially create investor interest and trigger a jump in the company's stock price. Network players would unload any shares they held and pocket the profits before regulators, brokerages and average investors realized anybody had duped them. In the aftermath, Mitton usually left a trail of misery for victims who suffered everything from financial ruin to family breakups and humiliation."

The match king
01/01/08 Permlink | Crime
"If Birgitta is the patron saint of Europe, Kreuger was the patron saint of sinners; he was arguably the most brilliant and ambitious swindler who ever lived. In the first three decades of the 20th century, he built up an industrial empire founded on the most humble of innovations, the Swedish-made safety match, that lit a fire of speculative excess around the world creating, then burning through, fortunes that would be measured now in the billions."

Con artists turn shell companies into cash
12/27/07 Permlink | Crime
"Oklahoma lawyer John Heskett logged onto his computer one day in late June, 2005, to check out an inactive shell company owned by his clients who were considering using it in a business deal. What he saw made no sense. "I saw this wild trading going on, and I couldn't imagine why," he said. "I was in total disbelief. I knew there could not be that many shares in the market, not even close, not even 1/100th of those shares in the market ... I had to pinch myself and say, 'Am I crazy?' " After some online searching and a few phone calls to the company's transfer agent, Mr. Heskett contacted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to report a bizarre crime: Someone, he said, had stolen his client's public company. Sixteen months later, the SEC and the British Columbia Securities Commission announced they had reached settlements with two Canadian men who admitted to illegally taking control of Greyfield Capital Ltd. and arranging to have 600 million new shares issued using the company's ticker symbol. Surprisingly, the unusual case is not the only one of its kind in Canada or the United States. Regulators say corporate identity theft has become another twist in the world of securities fraud, where criminals seem to find endlessly creative ways to dupe investors." [Another great day for Canadian regulators.]

Why the OSC so rarely gets its man
12/02/07 Permlink | Government Crime
"Bruce McLaughlin took millions of dollars from the company he led to pay off personal debts. That was the conclusion of a court-appointed accounting firm that looked into suspicious transactions at Mississauga property developer Mascan Corp. The findings of the audit pressured the Ontario Securities Commission to take legal action on behalf of Mascan's minority shareholders. That was 23 years ago. The case is still on the OSC's books, listed on the commission's website under 'Current Proceedings.'"

Why white-collar crime team fizzled
12/02/07 Permlink | Government Crime
"Today when the enforcement team makes the news, it's usually because of its dismal track record. Instead of reaping glory, the vaunted police squad is becoming a public whipping boy in the debate about Canada's perceived tendency to let white-collar crime go unpunished."

Canada's losing war against white-collar crime
10/05/07 Permlink | Crime
"The system is pretty much non-existent. You can fix something that is hemorrhaging, but if the body is already lifeless, you have to start fresh. We need politicians to admit that the system is broken from the top to the bottom. Canadians have to understand that we have a two-tiered justice system, where people with money can play the system. Show me a person who has gotten any sort of satisfaction from going to the authorities after being victimized by a white-collar fraud.who got their money back in a timely fashion and didn't go through a lot of grief. I can't think of a single person like that."

New credit card scam
09/23/07 Permlink | Crime
"The caller asks you to look for seven numbers on the back of your card. He reads you the first four, which are part of your card number, and asks for the last three - the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. When you give the security numbers, he says, "That is correct. I just needed to verify the card has not been lost or stolen and you still have it." The scam is effective because you say very little. The caller already has your credit card number, your address and the issuer's name and gives you all the information - except for the one piece he wants."

Scam alert
09/11/07 Permlink | Crime
"Pratkanis says these telemarketers gain victims' trust by calling often, boosting their self-esteem and by bad-mouthing their children and other watchdogs. He offers some tips for countering a relative's allegiance to scammers and protecting against repeated rip-offs."

Stealing from the dead
08/11/07 Permlink | Crime
"In March 2006, the Tennessee board that regulates cemeteries got a five-page complaint, in neatly penned cursive longhand, from Geraldine Story, an elderly Memphis woman. Story's husband Ralph had died on January 22. In preparation for that day, he and she had each, more than thirty years earlier, purchased prepaid funeral services from the Forest Hill Funeral Home in Memphis, to make sure that each's burial expenses would not be a burden to the other or to their families. Six hours before her husband's wake, however, Story learned that the casket would not look anything like the bronze one promised in the contract. Instead, it would be made of brown painted wood, with "a single latch on the lid that resembled a cheap tool box," as she wrote. If she wanted an upgrade, the least expensive alternative would run $3,995.00. She bought that one, of course, but after the funeral she followed up and was eventually told by a candid funeral home staffer that the funds set aside to fulfill her contract had been "skimmed off the top several times," and now the home was stuck with more than 13,000 "pre-need" contracts just like hers with no way to pay them. "He said they had to operate the way they are doing," she wrote, "or go out of business in two months and we don't want that, do we?" The then-unraveling scam that victimized Ms. Story turned out to be worse than that, even. The same folks who looted Forest Hills, according to Michigan authorities, were also looting trust funds from 28 cemeteries in that state (including the final resting places of Rosa Parks and Henry Ford)."

Crooks with deep pockets
07/22/07 Permlink | Crime
"Berger's case is one example of how difficult it can be for authorities to track down white-collar fugitives. They have advantages that more typical criminals lack, including ties to foreign countries, advanced degrees, and barrels of money that can help secure safe havens. Berger, now 35, was born in London and grew up in Salzburg, Austria. He managed hundreds of millions of dollars out of Park Avenue offices in New York before authorities charged him with misleading investors about his stockpicking prowess. Even as he reported stellar returns to his backers, Berger was hemorrhaging more than $400 million by betting against Internet stocks in the late 1990s. Using his connections and his persuasiveness, Berger was able to avoid legal authorities for years."

The OSC fraud squad
07/10/07 Permlink | Government Crime
"Wow. Stop the presses. Suspected scam artists are being asked to take a two-week summer holiday. Meanwhile, the organizations in question are still lining up potential suckers."

Imperfect union
04/05/07 Permlink | Crime
"Lies, kickbacks, union corruption and tens of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains are among the accusations laid out in a lawsuit that's likely to strike fear in the hearts of labor leaders and financial executives across the country."

Big insider-trading bust
03/02/07 Permlink | Crime
"The case involves allegations that hedge funds bought information about impending rating changes on stocks from an executive at UBS, got tips about upcoming corporate mergers from a former Morgan Stanley compliance officer, and paid a Bank of America broker for the right to get shares in hot initial public offerings. There's even a charge that some day traders, who had gotten wind of the alleged activities, were shaking down other traders for money to keep secret their role in the purported insider-trading scheme."

New backdating scheme rips off stockholders
01/10/07 Permlink | Crime
"It's tempting to roll your eyes at the latest options backdating news - more evidence that in certain ways American executives are still the world's most creative. But in fact it's worth a closer look, because this type of conniving, which involves backdating exercise dates rather than grant dates, is different and in some ways worse. Bizarrely, while this book-cooking appears to be a tax scam, it may actually leave the U.S. Treasury better off than if the executives had been honest. What it reveals most strongly is some executives' utter contempt for their shareholders."

Partners in crime
09/26/06 Permlink | Crime
"The SEC figured out that many of the stocks were involved in mergers or acquisitions -- and that Merrill Lynch had worked on each of the deals. "It was an aha moment," says Markowitz. "It looked like there was a constant leak out of one of the biggest banks in the country." About a week into the investigation, Melissa Coppola, an SEC forensic accountant, came into Markowitz's office. While the Merrill Lynch explanation worked for five of the stocks the group traded, it didn't for the 22 others. Then Markowitz remembered an old scam he'd heard about: "Were any of these stocks mentioned in Business Week?" he asked. When Coppola checked, she unlocked much of the rest of the case."

Fat cat sleaze escapes our outrage
09/22/06 Permlink | Crime
"We are in the midst of a slimy, sleazy, putrid scandal of corporate self-dealing and cronyism. It points up just how elitist and corrupt the power-suited set of the corporate boardroom can be. And it is widespread. Over 100 companies -- major corporations -- have been implicated so far. And yet ... where's the outrage? C'mon. Even a dead man was getting a piece of the pie."

Suspicions and spies in Silicon Valley
09/11/06 Permlink | Crime
"HP has now admitted to spying on its own directors' personal phone records in order to root out a leaker. It did so by using private investigators who engaged in "pretexting - calling up phone companies and impersonating directors seeking their own records. HP late last week additionally admitted to spying on the phone records of nine journalists, including at The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, some of which date to 2005. HP's Dunn stands accused of orchestrating the investigation. Perkins quit in a rage over the surveillance and wants Dunn out as chairman; HP is painting him as an angry traitor with a vendetta against Dunn. Lying, spying, name-calling, finger-pointing - all of it is a tragicomedy that Shakespeare might've penned had he gotten an M.B.A."

After Enron, corporate wrongdoing still thrives
05/31/06 Permlink | Crime
"Now, it would be nice if the Lay and Skilling convictions marked the end of this kind of fraud. The terrible part is that it's still going on in a huge way. Lately, investigative reporters at "The Wall Street Journal," aided by university professors, are discovering that top executives at some of the biggest companies in the nation are looting their companies in an almost unbelievably brazen way."

A broker battered
10/14/05 Permlink | Crime
"The boss of Refco, one of America's leading futures brokers, has been arrested on fraud charges a couple of months after the firm's successful flotation. The scandal may damage the reputation of an industry that has lately begun to forge an image of respectability"

Sharks in the housing pool
08/25/05 Permlink | Crime
"Deed thieves, property flippers, equity strippers -- these con artists are duping banks and homeowners, and there are lots of them"

Deep Throat's lessons for whistle-blowers
06/05/05 Permlink | Crime
"Plenty of folks have taken Mark Felt's lonely path since Watergate days. Here's a look at what it takes to successfully reveal wrongdoing"

Zero to a billion in two years flat
05/27/05 Permlink | Crime
"Bob Rusko got an eerie feeling when he first stepped into the office of Portus Alternative Asset Management Inc. It was midnight on Friday, March 4, and Rusko's team had been trying to get into the company's two offices in downtown Toronto all evening. Portus had been put into receivership by an Ontario court that afternoon and Rusko, a senior vice-president at KPMG Inc., was named receiver. Things had gotten off to a bad start. The landlord at the company's main office wouldn't let Rusko's people in. Another team had gone over to Portus's other office, located a few blocks away on the 69th floor of First Canadian Place. This time no one stopped them. Rusko joined them. When he opened the door, he couldn't believe his eyes. The place had been stripped bare. There were no phones, no computers, no paper. Even the paintings had been ripped from the walls, leaving small gouge marks where the nails had been. Just about the only thing left behind was an empty tequila bottle."

Blame lenders, not thieves, for identity theft
03/11/05 Permlink | Crime
"Now that intruders have raided a second big consumer database, we're bound to hear lots more calls for increased federal oversight of the companies that buy and sell our personal information. What will get far less attention, unfortunately, is the fact that these incursions wouldn't be so incredibly damaging to consumers' finances if lenders didn't make that information worth stealing in the first place."

Anatomy of an ID theft
11/22/04 Permlink | Crime
"Five months rolled by without incident, but then the red flags popped up in rapid succession. A call from her bank, Wells Fargo, inquiring about her application for a line of credit. The same question from Chase, where she had no accounts. Then a message from a local Ford dealer, who said he hoped to see her later that day with the additional paperwork they had discussed. Harding knew nothing about these transactions. Instead, she realized, she had become a victim of one of the fastest-growing crimes in the U.S.: identity theft."

Spitzer sues broker, insurers
10/14/04 Permlink | Crime
"New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer Thursday sued Marsh & McLennan Cos., the world's No. 1 insurance broker, for steering unsuspecting clients to certain insurers in exchange for lucrative payoffs."

Our dirty secret
09/14/04 Permlink | Crime
"The Vancouver Stock Exchange may be gone, but shady promoters have found safe havens -- off the radar of regulators -- to prey on naive investors"

Don't be hooked by the Internet's biggest fraud
09/08/04 Permlink | Crime
"They call it 'phishing:' Crooks use official-looking e-mails and fake Web sites to get your personal data, then steal from you. Here's how to protect yourself."

22 ways to foil credit card thieves
08/26/04 Permlink | Crime
"You probably won't end up paying the bill, but a stolen credit card can still cost you big in time and aggravation. Here's how to protect yourself online and off."

Your financial secrets are headed overseas
08/22/04 Permlink | Crime
"More credit, mortgage and tax files are being handled abroad. Nothing suggests your data are more vulnerable -- but an identity thief 10,000 miles away is virtually untouchable."

Homes fall prey to identity thieves
08/15/04 Permlink | Crime
"With a record, hot real estate market, the scum -- often in organized rings -- have set their sights on our homes."

Internet fraud
08/15/04 Permlink | Crime
"The scams usually begin with an e-mail telling you that you urgently need to address some matter in one of your financial accounts. Here's how to avoid becoming a victim."

Recovering from identity theft
08/09/04 Permlink | Crime
"If you suspect your identity has been stolen, act fast as time may not be on your side."

419ers morph into Murder Incorporated
07/19/04 Permlink | Crime
"It's easy to dismiss Nigerian 419 advance fee fraudsters as a bunch of chancers who prey on the gullible and the greedy and occasionally get lucky. After all, a fool and his money are soon parted, and the victims of these scams have brought financial misfortune on themselves, isn't that right?"

Suits on the lam
06/27/04 Permlink | Crime
"Corporate chiefs wanted by the law can run, but can they hide?"

Top 10 investing scams
06/12/04 Permlink | Crime
"Someone's always ready to empty the pockets of the investor who's overly eager for outsized returns. Here are the most prevalent schemes."

Thieves don't quit
04/21/04 Permlink | Crime
"The G-men were all over Terry Dowdell. But their feverish efforts didn't stop him from running a $120 million Ponzi scheme."

Stock scams are back . . . in your inbox
03/17/04 Permlink | Crime
"The wonder of e-mail stock scams is how many investors still fall for them."

"A Domino Effect" at Computer Associates?
01/28/04 Permlink | Crime
"The feds' probe of accounting irregularities at the software company may be working its way to CEO Sanjay Kumar and co-founder Charles Wang"

Inside Operation Boris
12/05/03 Permlink | Crime
"It looked like a routine traffic accident on a wet Long Island highway. But it led investigators to a gigantic fraud they're calling the Big Organized Russian Insurance Scam."

Unequal justice: Can the NYSE police itself?
11/05/03 Permlink | Crime
"A small transgression can get a broker banned for life, but a well-connected floor specialist who costs investors millions may get just a slap on the wrist."

Inside out
10/30/03 Permlink | Crime
"When it comes to filing insider trading reports, the rules are somewhat sketchy"

Counterfeit new $20s debut
10/29/03 Permlink | Crime
"Less than a month after the release of new $20 bills with features designed to deter forgeries, counterfeiters are already at work."

How safe is your identity?
09/21/03 Permlink | Crime
"Identity theft is the latest trend in consumer fraud. PhoneBusters, an anti-fraud group set up by the Ontario Provincial Police, says there have been about 8,817 reporter incidents of identity theft across the country this year, up from 8,178 for all of 2002. The value of these thefts has risen to $14.1-million so far this year from $8.8-million last year."

Why your ID is such easy picking
08/16/03 Permlink | Crime
"With Social Security numbers so commonly used on insurance and health-care cards, a stolen wallet can easily lead to a much bigger headache."

Catch me if you can
08/16/03 Permlink | Crime
"The hunt for an eBay scammer. Jay Nelson ripped off buyers on eBay and Yahoo until the Feds put him behind bars. We catch up with him in prison, where he'll be until 2007."

Fake bank site part of Nigerian scam
04/18/03 Permlink | Crime
"They're certainly persistent. Another flavor of the well-known Nigerian scam has popped up, this one even more elaborate than the familiar e-mail solicitation. The scam appears to target former recipients who were initially drawn in by an e-mail offer, but abandoned the scheme half-way through. To ease potential victims' fears, scam artists have set up a fake online bank, and even deposited funds into a bogus account there."

Fake escrow site scam widens
12/18/02 Permlink | Crime
"Six months later, the scam has widened considerably, and it now appears to be among the most successful Internet cons ever. By taking advantage of Net auction winners' inherent trust of escrow sites, the con artists are stealing as much as $40,000 at a time from big-ticket auction winners. Their total take may well reach into millions of dollars so far. And while federal authorities, including the Department of Commerce and FBI, are investigating, there seems to be no way to slow down the con artists."

If it sounds too good to be true
12/16/02 Permlink | Crime
"I shall not dwell on the painful, embarrassing and lingering consequences of the Internet investment "bubble", but rather set out below some of the more popular ways in which attempts are made to part us from our money"

Was the IPO frenzy rigged?
11/14/02 Permlink | Crime
"Remember those high-flying stocks sold for the first time in the 1990s, the ones that soared from $20 a share to $100 a share in hours? Some insiders now say the great price leaps for these "initial public offerings" - IPOs - were the result of insider agreements designed to force prices artificially high. The scam is called "laddering.""

U.S. seizes Tri-West assets
11/08/02 Permlink | Crime
"Approximately 400 Manitobans invested in Tri-West. The club required investors to invest in units of US$1,000 for a period of one year with a return of 10% per month. A referral program was also part of the scam, whereby investors could make more money if they referred people to the club."

Caveat investor
10/26/02 Permlink | Crime
"Bad investment decisions, corrupt brokers and tax reassessments can occur whether the investor is a near-retirement schoolteacher or a crusty day-trader."

New technology, old scam
10/23/02 Permlink | Crime
"Sometimes, in this scam, the sucker's money is simply taken out of his account after receiving the necessary access codes. More traditionally, the fool is to be separated from his money in a follow-up conversation, after he goes for the bait, in which he is told that he has to advance some money because of a glitch in the transfer of the loot."

Special report on scams
08/23/02 Permlink | Crime
"Too Good To Be True: Stratospheric returns touted by promoters attract investors by the thousands, but along with those big promises come huge risks and potential for big losses."

As phony as a $3 bill
02/12/02 Permlink | Crime
"With all the recent news about con men operating phony businesses, I was struck by a curious item I came across on eBay. It was a $3 bill from the Salem & Philadelphia Manufacturing Company of New Jersey, dated 1828. It wasn't the $3 amount of the note that caught my attention, as notes from that period came in many amounts that have long since gone out of style. It was the issuer, the Salem & Philadelphia Manufacturing Company. From my reading of the newspapers of the day, I recognized the issuer to be one of the many scams of that time, indeed, one of the more audacious."

The Stingy News Weekly

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