This week, March 3rd – 9th, is the fifteenth annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW). Yes, it is an important time to spread awareness of common scams and problems that consumers encounter. But more importantly, it is an opportunity for us to reflect on what exactly “consumer protection” means. The White House issued a Presidential… Continue Reading
Bet you saw this one coming. The plot thickens. We learned last week that SAC Capital Advisors conducted “the most lucrative insider trading scheme ever,” allowing the fund to produce returns of 30% for the last twenty years. As a result of the scheme’s discovery, Mathew Martoma, a former SAC portfolio manager, was charged with… Continue Reading
We’d like to think a natural disaster like Superstorm Sandy brings out the best in people, neighbors helping neighbors, communities working together for the common good, but, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. As cleanup efforts commence, scam artists will start to crawl out from underneath wherever they’ve been hiding. County Commissioners and Attorneys General… Continue Reading
National whistleblowers get a lot of media attention, but we seldom hear about the smaller whistleblowers–those who report crime and corruption within their local governments. The Washington Times, a local DC news source, recently offered a glimpse into the frustration and retaliation that awaits those who have the courage to come forward and blow the whistle… Continue Reading
The United States filed suit against banking and mortgage giant Wells Fargo Tuesday, for allegedly lying to the Federal Housing Administration about mortgages Wells Fargo approved during the housing boom. Not only did Wells Fargo approve mortgages for people who would not likely be able to pay them, they told the FHA that the mortgages… Continue Reading
A client of mine from several years ago recently forwarded me an online news report that an old adversary, Jon Harder, had been indicted in U.S. District Court in Oregon for money laundering, mail and wire fraud, and other charges. At one time, Harder ran an empire of more than 300 assisted living centers throughout… Continue Reading
It isn’t only the big banks and corporations that cause headaches for consumers. Even the savviest person can fall victim to a good scam. Every once and a while it’s a good idea to remind yourself what to watch out for. Have you ever had a contractor show up at your door unannounced? Did you… Continue Reading
Breaking news. The Regulators knew as far back as 2008 that the LIBOR rate was being manipulated. This latest development in the metastasizing Libor scandal is mighty disturbing. The esteemed New York Federal Reserve Bank, on the regulatory “front line” for policing the banking industry, released documents that showed regulators in both the US and… Continue Reading
We haven’t heard the last of the Libor rate scandal yet. As the days pass, the victims of Libor rate fixing are coming forward. Cities, municipalities, pension funds, and hedge funds are lining up to sue more than a dozen of the banks that are involved in setting Libor. These include, of course, Bank of… Continue Reading
Wow! Peregrine Financial Group, also known as PFGBest has filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy and regulators say nearly $215 million is missing (that’s right, missing) from the firm. Believe it or not, there’s a silver lining – at least we know the money is missing. You may remember the collapse of MF Global, where regulators… Continue Reading
An old scam seems to be on the rise again: advertisements disguised as “invoices” for products you never bought. In one case it was an extended warranty for my car. The mailing had the exact mileage of my vehicle and even the price I paid for the car. To make matters worse, the envelope was… Continue Reading
It is tough being the little guy in the fight, and consumers are certainly that. But perhaps we are just realizing our slingshot in this David versus Goliath struggle for fairness–whistleblowers. And they are also realizing themselves.
Gretchen Morgenson yet again brings attention to a case of Main Street getting the short end of the stick. She was sanguine in her appraisal. In case you forgot, this was the case where banks flagrantly failed to comply with the most basic requirements governing mortgage foreclosures: If you thought this was the deal that… Continue Reading
Yes, this is America and everyone is entitled to make a living. But pushing risky bonds on five Wisconsin school districts while failing to disclose the risk crosses the line. Even the often silent (and slow to react) SEC agrees and has filed a civil complaint against Mr. Noack and his firm, Stifel Financial.
As the economy becomes more global, it’s not just Fortune 500 companies that have a presence or connection with overseas markets and currencies, but it’s businesses as small as a local travel agency specializing in Australian travel or an online retailer selling products made in France that are vulnerable to swings in the value of the U.S. dollar… Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame folks for this innovative way to hedge exchange rate dependency, but they are lambs to the slaughter for the bevy of shady dealers out there.
It pains me to put this prediction on the record, but here goes: Armstrong’s growing legal problems, stemming from accusations that he participated in systematic doping while riding to seven consecutive Tour de France titles, are going to overtake him in the end. He’s going down.
No doubt consumers may rely on those BBB ratings and spend hard earned money on a product or service that not only doesn’t deserve an A+, but one that they wouldn’t purchase if they knew the truth. How does that foster trust in the marketplace? Finally, what’s the incentive of doing a better job when companies can get an A + without even going to class?
Forget the theatrics of the opening statement. Most cases are won or lost before trial. Over the strenuous objections of Mr. Rajaratnam’s attorney John Dowd, Judge Howell allowed the prosecution to introduce 2700 taped conversations. He will more than likely be found guilty of something.
Barofsky serves as a model for the kind of person needed when the government gets in the business of giving away taxpayer money and lots of it: someone who has the character and credibility to be taken seriously and who will work doggedly to protect our money.
Let’s look at some of the details of JPMorgan’s acquisition of Washington Mutual from the FDIC. Warning: these new details may not be safe for children.
Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover; payment for that Harry Potter DVD from Amazon.com or tickets to a Redskins game from StubHub and many more legal products and services. But lucky you: The reach of “plastic” can also be used to purchase counterfeit and illegal products. Yep.
WAMU’s complicity in the scheme resulted in the defrauding of millions of dollars from thousands of investors. Berk Law, the Law Offices of Keith L. Miller, in tandem with Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy filed an action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of victims of a… Continue Reading
The culture of Bank of America appears to place profits over compliance October 23, 2009 A Complaint filed yesterday in Federal District Court in Tampa, Florida alleges that Bank of America was at the center of yet another Ponzi scheme. The operator of this scheme, 27 year-old Beau Diamond, defrauded hundreds of investors from Florida… Continue Reading
Con artists love money transfers because they enable them to receive their marks’ money before their victims even know that they have been swindled.