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    A California Democratic party leader who was central to a wide-reaching corruption investigation in Anaheim involving the proposed sale of Angel Stadium has agreed to plead guilty to attempted wire fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday. Melahat Rafiei, 45, previously secretary for the California Democratic Party and a member of the Democratic National Committee, was a well-known political consultant in Orange County. California Secret retreats and a powerful ‘cabal’: Corruption probe reveals who really runs Anaheim Records from an FBI probe show how business interests run the Orange County city home to Disneyland and the Angels. In late 2019, according to a plea agreement filed in federal court Thursday, Rafiei told a commercial cannabis company owner that she would work to pass a marijuana related ordinance in Anaheim that would benefit the business, in exchange for a payment of at least $300,000. What she didn’t tell the client was that she was already working on an ordinance on behalf of other people. Rafiei also told the client that she would give $200,000 of the payment...
    Former CFO Allen Weisselberg leaves the courtroom for a lunch recess during a trial at the New York Supreme Court on November 17, 2022 in New York City.Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images Former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg is set to be sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to multiple tax crimes as part of an investigation of former President Donald Trump's business empire. Weisselberg, 75, is expected to be sentenced to five months in jail, and could end up serving less than that when factoring in time off for good behavior. He is expected to begin serving his time at New York City's notorious Rikers Island jail following his 2:15 p.m. ET sentencing hearing before state Judge Juan Merchan. The former CFO is also expected to be sentenced to pay nearly $2 million in taxes and penalties and serve five years of probation, NBC News and other outlets reported. Weisselberg pleaded guilty on 15 counts last August, more than a year after he and several of Trump's business entities were charged in what prosecutors called a "systematic"...
    Former President Donald Trump cheated on his taxes, according to investigative financial journalist David Cay Johnston. Today, the House House Ways and Means Committee released Trump’s tax returns from 2015 through 2020. In three of the six years, Trump’s taxable income was zero. This means he paid no income tax in three of the years, and just $750 in 2016. “Over the six years, he paid $776,126 in net federal income tax,” Johnston wrote. “That’s just half of one percent of his positive income,” he added, noting, “The typical tax rate for Trump’s income class is more than 25%.” Johnston says that Trump lowered his income taxes by claiming “huge business expenses despite having zero revenue.” Put another way, Trump said his businesses spent a lot of money just to make no profit. “Trump received more than $154.2 million in wages, interest, dividends, capital gains, and pensions over the six years when he ran for president or lived in the White House,” Johnston wrote. “Despite this huge revenue stream, Trump reported minus $53.2 million in Adjusted Gross Income, the last...
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Former President Donald Trump fumed he was the victim of a “witch hunt” after his company was convicted of criminal tax fraud in New York on Tuesday. A jury in Manhattan found two separate Trump Organization companies guilty of tax fraud charges over the falsifying of business records. Prosecutors argued former company CFO Allen Weisselberg received fringe benefits dating back 15 years that were designed to evade paying taxes. Trump and his family were not named in the case, but the former president raged at the verdict in a statement he released Tuesday evening. “MANHATTAN WITCH HUNT!” Trump wrote. “Disappointed with the verdict in Manhattan, but will appeal. After looking at millions of pages of documents, over many years, much to the detriment of record setting murder and other forms of violent crime that are taking place in New York City, the Government was able to get an employee to ‘plea’ in order for a very reduced sentence.” Trump continued: This case was about Allen Weisselberg committing tax fraud on his personal tax returns, etc., with he...
    Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images. After more than a day’s deliberations, a jury found the Trump Organization guilty of all 17 counts charged against it by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. The charges against the family real estate empire led by former President Donald Trump included charges for tax fraud, a scheme to defraud, conspiracy, and falsifying business records, according to The New York Times, and centered around a years-long effort by the company to provide top executives with valuable benefits — off the books and without the IRS taking its cut — including “fancy apartments, leased Mercedes-Benzes, even private school tuition for relatives.” Former Trump Org. CFO Allen Weisselberg pled guilty in August and agreed to testifying against the company. His testimony did not implicate Trump, and thus far, neither the former president nor his adult children who have had roles in the business have been charged, but the prosecutors’ arguments repeatedly mentioned Trump as a key player in the scheme. As reported by CNN: Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told the jury in closing arguments that Trump “explicitly sanctioned” tax fraud and...
    A dock master at a yacht club in the region is facing charges after allegedly falsifying business records. Derek Sutherland, age 49, of Broadalbin in Fulton County, was arrested Wednesday, Nov. 30, following an investigation by State Police. Troopers were contacted in October 2022 by a representative of the Schenectady Yacht Club, located in Clifton Park in Saratoga County, where Sutherland was working as a dock master. Investigators determined that Sutherland forged multiple invoices bearing company letterhead, falsely documenting hours he had not worked. He also submitted the invoices to an insurance company requesting direct reimbursement, police said. Sutherland is facing charges of first-degree falsifying business records and third-degree insurance fraud, both felonies. Following his arrest, he was issued an appearance ticket to the Clifton Park Town Court on Thursday, Dec. 8. 
    Hackers linked to China's government stole at least $20 million in U.S. Covid relief benefits, including small business loans and unemployment funds, across over a dozen states.  The cyber crime was the work of a hacking group called APT41 based in Chengdu, according to the Secret Service. Those officials and experts told the outlet that other federal probes of pandemic fraud also seem to point back to foreign-state hackers. It wouldn't be the first time that hackers linked to China's government have caused security headaches in other countries.  The fraud linked to APT41 being in mid-2020 and spanned 2,000 accounts with more than 40,000 financial transactions - and the agency has been able to recover about half of the stolen funds, according to NBC News. Officials could not confirm whether the hackers still had access to state government networks after being discovered.  Hackers linked to China's government stole at least $20 million in U.S. Covid relief benefits, including small business loans and unemployment funds, across over a dozen states RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Original 45-year-old...
    As the criminal tax fraud trial against former President Donald Trump’s private business comes to an end, one moment in court on Thursday summed up the absurdity of the Trump Organization’s defense strategy of blaming their problems on a chief financial officer gone rogue. It came when prosecutors pointed out how outlandish it was for the company to scapegoat Allen Weisselberg after he pleaded guilty—even as it continues to pay him handsomely and its lawyers refer to him as a member of “the family.” “You know what the most unusual thing in this case is? The same day he finalized the terms of the plea, he had a birthday party in Trump Tower! Maybe if he hadn’t agreed to testify against the Trump Organization, it would have been a bigger cake,” said Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass. As he spoke, some jurors couldn’t help but smile and hold back laughter. The prosecutor’s comment touched on what turned out to be the trial’s most memorable surprise: that the same guy who was booted off the company’s many global executive boards had...
    The CEO of the failed Blended Festival claims he’s not a fraud and that his event’s Instagram page was “hijacked,” as dozens of vendors and artists remain unpaid after his disappearance. The wine and music festival was set to rotate through four cities this year, but it only made it to Nashville before Sean Evans went off the grid, declining to answer texts and emails and at one point saying he’d had a “heart attack.” In an email to staff on Nov. 14, Evans pushed back against claims that he made off with the money collected from wineries, sponsors, and fans as well as the money still owed to artists, some of whom had already made travel plans for this year’s planned dates in Austin, San Diego, and Tampa. “I have in no way acted fraudulently nor have I benefited in any way from the disaster, quite the opposite,” he said in an email to employees and contractors obtained by Page Six. Evans added that his festival’s “social media accounts were, and still are, illegally hijacked… seemingly as an...
    The U.S. Department of Justice announced charges against 10 defendants in multiple states in connection with multiple business email compromise (BEC), money laundering, and wire fraud schemes that targeted Medicare, state Medicaid programs, private health insurers, and numerous other victims and resulted in more than $11.1 million in total losses. “These defendants defrauded numerous individuals, companies, and federal programs, resulting in millions of dollars in financial losses to vital federal programs meant to provide assistance to those in need,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “We pledge to continue to work alongside our federal and state partners to investigate and prosecute those who engage in fraud and money laundering activities resulting in financial and psychological harm to members of our communities.” “The Criminal Division and our partners are committed to holding accountable those who seek to line their own pockets through sophisticated business email compromise and money laundering schemes targeting public and private health insurers as well as individual victims,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the...
    The U.S. Department of Justice announced charges today against 10 defendants in multiple states in connection with multiple business email compromise (BEC), money laundering, and wire fraud schemes that targeted Medicare, state Medicaid programs, private health insurers, and numerous other victims and resulted in more than $11.1 million in total losses. “The Criminal Division and our partners are committed to holding accountable those who seek to line their own pockets through sophisticated business email compromise and money laundering schemes targeting public and private health insurers as well as individual victims,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “As these cases demonstrate, we will work tirelessly to combat fraud affecting Medicare and Medicaid, which are vital in providing health care to millions of Americans, including some of our most vulnerable citizens.” The charges stem primarily from BEC schemes in which individuals posing as business partners are alleged to have fraudulently diverted money from victims’ bank accounts into accounts they or co-conspirators controlled (sometimes through...
    A federal jury in St. Paul on Tuesday afternoon awarded $564 million in damages in a lawsuit filed in connection with Twin Cities businessman Tom Petters’ Ponzi scheme – the largest recorded jury verdict in Minnesota. Tom Petters  The jury ruled that BMO Harris Bank must pay $484 million in compensatory damages and nearly $80 million in punitive damages to the bankruptcy trustees handling Petters’ case. An estimated $400 million in prejudgment interest, dating back to when the case was filed in 2012, means BMO Harris could be liable for about $1 billion, said Doug Kelley, the bankruptcy trustee overseeing the recovery of funds in Petters’ $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme, the biggest financial crime in Minnesota history. Kelley filed the lawsuit against M&I Bank in federal bankruptcy court in St. Paul in 2012, alleging aiding and abetting fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and civil conspiracy.  M&I Bank was acquired by BMO Harris Bank, a subsidiary of BMO Financial Holdings, in 2011. Kelley said bank officials were complicit in Petters’ illegal operations by ignoring multiple red flags as they handled his...
    Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Sioux City, Iowa. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.A New York judge on Thursday evening ordered that an independent financial monitor be appointed to keep tabs on Donald Trump’s business empire while state Attorney General Letitia James pursues her $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against the former president. The judge ordered the unusual move after James’ office argued that the Trumps couldn’t be trusted not to hide assets or shift them outside of the court’s jurisdiction while the legal battle plays out. Following a hearing Thursday morning, New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron agreed with James and ruled that until further notice, Trump must give him two weeks’ notice and obtain the court’s approval before moving any significant assets. Engoron ordered the monitor be appointed in order to ensure Trump complies with those restrictions. And, Engoron added, Trump will have to pay for the monitor himself. The judge said the monitor would...
    A San Jose father and son duo were charged for their alleged participation in a $4 million scheme in which they avoided paying worker’s compensation insurance premiums for their employees, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. Edgardo Cabrales Sr., 61, and his son, Edgar Cabrales Jr., 36, were each charged with five counts of insurance fraud. Prosecutors said both men are owners of two San Jose commercial cleaning companies: Pine Building Maintenance and Network Facility Management. The DA’s office said the pair failed to report employee wages in order to save $4.2 million on insurance premiums, securing insurance for only some of the workers at Pine Building maintenance, and failing to get any insurance for employees at Network Facility Management “even though most of their business was operated through NFM.” Edgardo is expected to be arraigned in December, while Edgar was arraigned this week. Both are facing potential prison sentences, fines and restitution, prosecutors said. “Workers’ Comp insurance is money that is used to help injured employees get medical care and stay financially afloat while they recover,”...
    The former owner of several check cashing businesses in New York is heading to federal prison after admitting to a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme. Long Island resident John Drago, age 58, of Central Islip, was sentenced to four years behind bars Friday, Oct. 21, in federal court in Central Islip. It followed his September 2021 guilty plea to fraud charges, in which he admitted to illegally structuring financial transactions and evading payroll taxes at several of his Long Island businesses. Federal prosecutors said between January 2010 and October 2013, Drago told employees to cash multiple checks in a single day for certain customers without filing the required Currency Transaction Report (CTR), which financial institutions must file for all transactions exceeding $10,000. He also had employees inform certain customers who presented individual checks in amounts exceeding $10,000 to return with multiple smaller checks to avoid the reporting requirements, prosecutors said. Altogether, the scheme resulted in more than $9.5 million in check cashing transactions that were concealed from the IRS, according to investigators. Drago also admitted that between April 2012 and July 2013,...
    Getty A gavel “Southern Charm” viewers saw Naomie Olindo working on her clothing company, L’Abeye, in past seasons, but some noticed that there was no mention of it during season 8. On October 20, Page Six reported that Olindo had just been sued by her former business partner, Virginia “Ginny” Cox, for fraud and breach of contract over Cox’s departure from the company. The lawsuit, which was filed by Cox in Charleston on September 19, claims that the “Southern Charm” star used “deceptive tactics” to control the business, misappropriated finances and prevented Cox from finding another job after she was “terminated” from L’Abeye. Cox’s lawsuit requests a trial by jury on 14 causes of action such as breach of contract, dissolution of partnership, intentional interference with a contract, fraud, and defamation. Olindo’s attorney told Page Six that the claims in the lawsuit are “false and misleading” and were “made by a disgruntled former employee.” The statement added that Olindo would not be commenting further on “pending litigation” but would be “filing a formal response to these allegations that...
    More On: naomie olindo Leva didn’t talk to Craig for months following ‘Southern Charm’ finale fight Madison LeCroy claims Thomas Ravenel and Olivia Flowers hooked up Leva Bonaparte explains why she re-followed Madison LeCroy after feud Hannah Berner: Lindsay Hubbard is the ‘meanest person I’ve ever met’ Naomie Olindo’s former business partner is suing the “Southern Charm” star for fraud and breach of contract after she was allegedly ousted from their fashion company, L’Abeye. In the complaint exclusively obtained by Page Six, Virginia “Ginny” Cox claims Olindo, 30, used deceptive tactics in order to maintain control of the business, misappropriate funds and even keep her from landing a new job after they parted ways. The former retail store manager and buyer — who filed the lawsuit in Charleston, S.C., on Sept. 19 — says that the reality star approached her to come on board this joint venture as a co-owner with 50 percent stake in early 2018 because of her background in fashion. At the onset of the apparel...
    OAKLAND — A woman who owned an Emeryville tax preparation company has been sentenced to 366 days in federal prison after pleading guilty to filing a false tax return, court records show. Traci Austin, 44, of Brentwood, was sentenced Oct. 5 by U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam, who also ordered Austin pay back $183,303 to the IRS. Federal prosecutors charged Austin last year with filing more than 40 false tax returns and accused her of hosting an illicit “tax school” where budding tax preparers could learn that tricks of the tax fraud trade. In court records, prosecutors said Austin’s company,  Emeryville Tax Services, operated mainly in Emeryville and Berkeley and that she “willfully aided in the submission of at least 42 tax returns that contained some combination of false dependents, and false Schedule A itemized deductions for unreimbursed employee business expenses” from 2016 to 2019. Prosecutors asked for an 18-month prison term. Austin’s attorney, Leeds Disston, wrote in a sentencing memo, wrote that Austin was motivated by “a desire to help her clients who were generally poor and to benefit...
    Last November, officials began comparing the list of local PPP recipients with those facing felony charges, since those accused of a felony are ineligible for PPP loans. Despite that restriction, investigators found that 25 names overlapped. As of Wednesday, 15 of the names on that list had already been rearrested, and warrants for the other 10 had been issued. Those who have been arrested are: Adrian Bailey, Maria Beach, Adrian Clark, Walter Duncan, Antwan Godfrey, Jacques Harris Jr., Makhi Jones, Monroe Lincoln Jr., Anthony Love, Ronald Neal, Victoria Orasco, Jarvis Perkins, Ryan Reddick, Reginald Rogers Jr., and Jesse Tucker. Those who have yet to be served are: Cristian Ambriz, Sonjre Childs, Tommie Crockwell, Raven Johnson, Matthew Millirons, Jeremy Moffete, Darron Prince, Maurice Robinson, Eric Tyler, and Donte Wash. At least some of the suspects had allegedly been in Will County Jail on felony drug or weapons charges when they applied for the PPP loans, but all are now facing a bevy of new charges, some including wire fraud, loan fraud, and theft. Investigators believe that such fraudulent schemes have occurred...
    MSNBC guest Tristan Snell, an attorney, commented it appeared former President Donald Trump’s company was “running a fraud business” after he and his family were sued Wednesday. New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a civil suit against the former president and his three eldest children earlier in the day. James said her office had unearthed evidence the family and executives in the Trump organization inflated the value of some of its assets to secure favorable loan terms. James said the “fraud” occurred before Trump was elected president. “Today, I filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump for engaging in years of financial fraud to enrich himself, his family, and the Trump Organization,” she stated. “There aren’t two sets of laws for people in this nation: former presidents must be held to the same standards as everyday Americans.” On Wednesday’s The ReidOut, host Joy Reid welcomed the news and convened a panel to discuss it, stating: I want to put on the screen what the civil suit against Donald Trump entails, what they want, that’s repaying $250 million in what they’re...
    (CNN)The New York state attorney general filed a sweeping lawsuit Wednesday against former President Donald Trump, three of his adult children and the Trump Organization, alleging they were involved in an expansive fraud lasting over a decade that the former President used to enrich himself.In the more than 200-page lawsuit, Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, alleges the fraud touched all aspects of the Trump business, including its properties and golf courses. According to the lawsuit, the Trump Organization deceived lenders, insurers and tax authorities by inflating the value of his properties using misleading appraisals.Read: New Yorks civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump and family members"These acts of fraud and misrepresentation were similar in nature, were committed by upper management at the Trump Organization as part of a common endeavor for each annual Statement, and were approved at the highest levels of the Trump Organization -- including by Mr. Trump himself," the lawsuit states.Trump and his children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, are named as defendants in the lawsuit. Allen Weisselberg, former CFO for the Trump Organization,...
    New York Attorney General Letitia James unveiled a civil fraud lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and three of his adult children Wednesday for the Trump Organization's manipulation of its asset valuations. James is calling for Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump to be barred from serving as "an officer or director in any corporation" or similar entity in New York. Furthermore, she is calling for Trump and his business empire to be barred from "entering into any New York State commercial real estate acquisition or from applying for loans" in New York for the next five years. James also revealed that her office uncovered evidence that the Trump Organization violated multiple state laws and is referring the matter to the appropriate agencies. NY ATTORNEY GENERAL INVESTIGATING TRUMP TEASES 'MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT' "Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization repeatedly and persistently manipulated the value of assets to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company," she explained during a...
    Rashaad McFadden/Getty Images New York attorney general Letitia James filed a civil fraud lawsuit against former President Donald Trump on Wednesday. CNN reported, just ahead of a press conference from James, that the lawsuit appeared on court records and included both Trump and his children as defendants. Trump and his real estate business have been under civil investigation for more than three years. The long-running probe has focused on the financial practices of the Trump Organization. Trump has denied wrongdoing and relentlessly attacked James. New York’s attorney general, a Democrat up for re-election in November, is also suing Trump’s children — Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka — who have all worked at the Trump organization. Earlier this month, James rejected a settlement offer from Trump’s lawyers, setting the stage for a lawsuit. A lawsuit could have serious consequences for Trump and his business. Per the New York Times: If the case goes to trial and Mr. Trump loses, a judge could impose financial penalties and restrict the former president’s business operations in New York — all potentially in the midst...
    The New York Attorney General is suing former President Donald Trump, his adult kids, and their family real estate company, capping off a three-year investigation into what her investigators deemed rampant business and tax fraud. The lawsuit, revealed at a press conference with New York AG Letitia James Wednesday morning, seeks to block the Trumps from serving as business executives and slam the Trump Organization with a whopping $250 million in fines. This story is developing and will be updated.
    The trial of former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has just opened, with the potential to rock the political scene of the Central European country. The case revolves around whether or not the billionaire businessman, 68, illicitly used small business funds amounting to approximately $2 million to develop a hotel attached to his multibillion-dollar business empire 15 years ago, according to the Guardian. The trial is highly controversial due to Babis's political standing, as the former prime minister is the head of the populist ANO party. ANO holds a wide lead in opinion polls, according to Bloomberg, and Babis is likely planning to run for president in January. Czech billionaire and former Prime Minister Andrej Babis, second right, stands at the beginning of his trial, at the Prague Municipal Court, in Prague, Czech Republic, Monday, Sept. 12, 2022. Former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis is going on trial in a $2 million fraud case involving European Union subsidies. The case involves a farm known as the Stork’s Nest that received EU subsidies after its ownership was...
    Four are facing federal charges for running an elaborate email scheme to steal personal information from their victims in Maryland, according to the Department of Justice. A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging four with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft US Attorney Erek Barron announced. Those charged: Raissa Kaossele, 22, of Baltimore; Damilola Ojo, 29, of Pikesville; Victor Ojo, 28, of Edgewood; Jamelia Thompson, 29, of Pikesville. It is alleged that between April 2016 and May 2019, the four executed a “business email compromise scheme” that involved them compromising the email accounts of their victims by sending fraudulent payment instructions to financial institutions or business associates to misappropriate funds. The indictment alleges that the four also used the stolen identifying information of individual victims to obtain Employer Identification Numbers and state business certificates in the name of shell businesses.  They also allegedly obtained legitimate checks written on the accounts of payor business victims and made payable to payee business victims. In certain cases, the four also allegedly altered the...
    A Capital District man who admitted to taking advantage of COVID-19 relief programs is heading to federal prison. Rensselaer County resident Hector Sanchez, age 30, of Rensselaer, was sentenced to 70 months - or just under six years - behind bars Monday, July 25, in federal court in Albany. It followed his prior guilty plea in March 2022 to charges of defrauding pandemic-related unemployment insurance and small business loan programs. Federal prosecutors said Sanchez raked in more than $131,000 by submitting false unemployment insurance claims to the New York State Department of Labor using the personal information of other people. He also admitted to obtaining a $12,500 loan via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for a non-existent car wash business. The federal program was established to provide economic relief to small businesses and other entities that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of his guilty plea, Sanchez agreed to pay restitution to the state of New York and the PPP lender. US District Judge Mae D’Agostino ordered that his federal prison sentence be served consecutively...
    By Kelsey Butler | Bloomberg The Federal Communications Commission has ordered phone companies to stop carrying traffic related to robocalls about scam auto warranties. US voice service providers must now “take all necessary steps to avoid carrying this robocall traffic,” or provide a report outlining how they’re mitigating the traffic, the FFC’s Robocall Response Team said in a statement on Thursday. The calls are coming from Roy Cox, Jr., Aaron Michael Jones and related companies and associates. “Consumers are out of patience and I’m right there with them,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in the statement. The group appears to be responsible for making more than 8 billion unlawful prerecorded calls to Americans since at least 2018, per the FCC statement. The operation is also the target of an ongoing investigation by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and a lawsuit by the Ohio Attorney General. Related Articles Business | California man admits role in $25 million fraud scheme that used bogus tax returns for pro athletes and PPP loans Business | California man receives over 11 years in prison for $27 million...
    “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jennifer Shah has admitted to running a decade-long telemarketing scheme that tricked thousands of victims, including some New Yorkers, into bogus investment opportunities. Shah, age 48, of Utah, appeared in a federal courtroom in Manhattan on Monday, July 11, where she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing. Federal prosecutors said between 2012 and March 2021, Shah trafficked “lead lists” of potential victims that her co-conspirators used to convince victims to pay thousands of dollars for “coaching” and “business services.” Many of the victims were over the age of 55 and had previously made an initial investment to create an online business with other participants in the scheme, according to prosecutors. Shah sold the leads to other participants knowing that the victims would be defrauded and that they were lied to about how much money they would earn after buying the services, prosecutors said. “These victims were sold false promises of financial security but instead Shah and her co-conspirators defrauded them out of their savings...
    “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jennifer Shah has admitted to running a decade-long telemarketing scheme that tricked thousands of victims, including some from New Jersey, into bogus investment opportunities. Shah, age 48, of Utah, appeared in a federal courtroom in Manhattan on Monday, July 11, where she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing. Federal prosecutors said between 2012 and March 2021, Shah trafficked “lead lists” of potential victims that her co-conspirators used to convince victims to pay thousands of dollars for “coaching” and “business services.” Many of the victims were over the age of 55 and had previously made an initial investment to create an online business with other participants in the scheme, according to prosecutors. Shah sold the leads to other participants knowing that victims would be defrauded and that they were lied to about how much money they would earn after buying the services, prosecutors said. “These victims were sold false promises of financial security but instead Shah and her co-conspirators defrauded them out of their savings...
    A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging a fired Baltimore civilian police employee once eyed as a homicide suspect with stealing his defunct business' tax prepare's identity to try to get COVID relief money. Dana Lamar Antonio Hayes, Jr., 37, submitted several bogus Economic Injury Disaster Relief(EIDL) loan applications and several Paycheck Protection Plan(PPP) loan applications to the Small Business Administration and two banks between March 2020 and Oct. 2021, according to the Department of Justice.    Hayes had been fired from his position as the chief of fiscal services for the Baltimore Police Department in April, according to a report by 11 News.  An expunged gun charge from 2019 was allegedly missed during his background check. Shortly after his firing, Hayes denied any involvement in a 2020 homicide in which he was not listed as a suspect, In relation to the fraud charges, Hayes submitted an EIDL loan application on behalf of his forfeited and recently revived company, D&L Investment Properties Inc. Hayes allegedly claimed to have company expenses of $15,000 and equipment costs of $35,000 when the company had...
    Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Lev Parnas was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison on Wednesday for fraud and campaign finance offenses. He must also pay $2.3 million in restitution. Parnas, 50, was convicted of campaign finance violations in October and pleaded guilty to fraud in March. He founded a company called Fraud Guarantee, which he said protected its clients against fraud. Instead, the company was a fraud. In the plea agreement, Parnas copped to wire fraud conspiracy and admitted he gave investors false information about the business. The company once hired former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani as a consultant. At the time, the firm was seeking to do business with wealthy Ukrainians seeking influence within the Trump administration. Giuliani was Donald Trump’s personal attorney. Fraud Guarantee paid Giuliani $500,000. Parnas hoped for leniency on the grounds that he cooperated in the congressional investigation into Trump’s efforts to get the Ukrainian government to investigate the business dealings of the Biden family. According to the Associated Press, one victim hopes Giuliani, who was not charged in the case, would return the money...
    NEW YORK (AP) — Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani who was a figure in President Donald Trump’s first impeachment investigation, was sentenced Wednesday to a year and eight months in prison for fraud and campaign finance crimes. Parnas, who had helped Giuliani connect with Ukrainian figures as part of a campaign to dig up dirt on President Joe Biden’s son, had sought leniency on the grounds that he’d helped the Congressional probe. But prosecutors said the Soviet-born businessman’s aid was in response to a subpoena and deserved little credit. They had asked for a sentence of more than six years. Instead, they asked the judge to focus on a jury’s finding that Parnas used the riches of a wealthy Russian to make illegal donations to politicians who might aid the launch of a legal recreational-marijuana business. An October conviction also supported a finding that he made illegal donations in 2018 to jump-start a new energy company. In March, Parnas pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud, admitting that between 2012 and 2019 he conspired with another...
    A 61-year-old former stockbroker from Chino Hills pleaded guilty to running a $3.2 million investment fraud scheme that deceived more than 100 victims, federal prosecutors said Tuesday, June 28. Robert Louis Cirillo never invested the victims’ money, instead spending it on such personal expenses as a trip to Las Vegas, a Jeep and an Alfa Romeo and credit card payments, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release. He also conspired to defraud an elderly man out of nearly $400,000 through a “relative-in-distress” scheme, authorities said. Cirillo pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud, one count of filing a false tax return and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He faces a maximum of 43 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 6. Prosecutors said Cirillo targeted low-income Hispanic victims. From 2014 to 2021, he told them he would invest their money in short-term construction loans that would bring them returns as high as 30% in a 90-day period, the DOJ said. Cirillo showed his victims phony bank statements purporting to show growth...
    Former Theranos COO Ramesh "Sunny" Balwaniarrives at the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Federal Court with his legal team on March 16, 2022 in San Jose, California.Justin Sullivan | Getty Images SAN JOSE, Calif. -- In a harshly worded closing argument, prosecutors on Tuesday said former Theranos COO Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani "wasn't a victim, he was the perpetrator of fraud" in the company's downfall, while his attorney blasted the government's case calling it inconsistent. The closing statements capped a three-month-long trial where the government alleged Balwani acted with his ex-girlfriend and business partner, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, in a multi-million-dollar scheme to defraud investors and patients. "Mr. Balwani had a choice to make," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Schenk said. "He could watch Theranos fail, he could watch his girlfriend's business collapse, or he could pursue it differently. Mr. Balwani at the time knew that Theranos was not generating money and would not generate any revenue by being honest with people." In his four-hour closing argument, Schenk relentlessly attacked Balwani's credibility at Theranos and linked him to multiple parts of the business....
    Reality TV star Todd Chrisley saw his on-screen image ripped apart this week when he and his wife, Julie, were found guilty of running a years-long fraud conspiracy by a jury that saw his ex-business partner confess to helping the couple with their crimes, while also claiming he had a gay affair with the father-of-five. Chrisley, 53, who is best known for starring in the USA Network reality series Chrisley Knows Best alongside his wife and their children, is facing up to 30 years in jail after being convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and tax fraud. The dramatic conclusion of the trial was matched only by the shocking testimony given by Chrisley's former employee-turned-lover, who told the court in May that he had a year-long gay affair with the reality star in the early 2000s - while they were both married to their respective wives.  So who is the man who brought down Chrisley and his long-cultivated public image as a devout Christian and devoted family man?   Mark Braddock, 57,...
    SANTA CRUZ — Santa Cruz business owner Jaimi Jansen on Friday pleaded guilty to charges related to the distribution of fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards, and homeopathic medicine that she claimed would provide lifelong immunity against COVID-19. According to the federal complaint filed April 19, Jansen, owner of the integrative health and wellness center, Santa Cruz CORE, distributed homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets and fraudulent Center for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccination record cards to approximately 170 recipients from May to July 2021, for which she collected about $19,500 and profited $14,000. Jansen’s case is tied to criminal charges against Julie Mazi, of Napa, who pleaded guilty in April to selling the pellets and false vaccination cards to approximately 300 people. According to the federal complaint, “Jansen served as a distributor for Mazi, a naturopathic doctor based in Napa, and aided and abetted Mazi’s scheme by purchasing the homeoprophylaxis pellets and false and fraudulent CDC COVID-19 vaccination record cards and reselling them to third parties.” Jansen appeared before Senior District Judge Charles R. Breyer on Friday  in San Francisco with her lawyer,...
    The owner of a Massachusetts plumbing company will spend more than a year behind bars for overbilling customers for work he never performed and engaging in a near $1.5 million tax evasion scheme, federal authorities announced. Prosecutors said that plumbing contractor Jared “Jay" Derrico, age 35, of the town of Boxford in Essex County, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion and two counts of mail fraud in February. In addition to his prison time, Derrico was ordered to forfeit $315,000 and pay $1.45 million in restitution to the IRS. According to the US Attorney's Office, “the Court deferred imposing a fine, pending further proceedings to determine restitution to the victims of Derrico’s fraud scheme.” Between 2015 and 2019, Derrico operated a plumbing business known as Derrico Services or The Pipe Surgeon until he lost his license. During that time, prosecutors said that Derrico routinely overcharged his customers for plumbing, maintenance, and construction work he performed and billed...
    More On: todd chrisley ‘Chrisley Knows Best’ stars Todd and Julie Chrisley to stand trial in Atlanta Todd Chrisley wants to join ‘RHOBH’ cast Todd, Savannah Chrisley support her ex Nic Kerdiles after suicide attempt Todd and Julie Chrisley have ‘bonded’ over weight loss Todd Chrisley’s former business partner alleged the reality star cheated on his wife, Julie Chrisley, with him and that they paid off a blackmailer to keep the affair a secret. Mark Braddock testified in the Chrisleys’ ongoing federal fraud trial in Atlanta Tuesday that he and Todd, 53, were intimate for about a year in the early 2000s, Business Insider reported. After the alleged affair ended, Braddock said the two men continued a friendship until 2012 that he likened to a “brotherhood.” During that time, Braddock worked for Todd’s foreclosure management company, Chrisley Asset Management, and he testified that they began to receive anonymous texts threatening to expose them for fraud and their alleged dalliance. Braddock testified that one text read, “Pay cash and we’ll shut up,” according to the report. He claimed he then...
    Reality TV star Todd Chrisley had a gay affair with his business partner who later helped him commit fraud, then tipped off cops after their romance went sour, a court heard.  Mark Braddock and Chrisley, 53, reportedly had an affair in the early 2000s before breaking it off. Braddock testified in court that after the affair ended, the pair stayed friends and formed a 'brotherhood.'   But that platonic alliance ultimately blew up in 2012, when Chrisley threw Braddock out of his office and threatened to call the police on him, Insider reported.  Braddock, who had to tell his own wife about the affair before testifying, turned the Chrisleys into the FBI for tax fraud and told the jury on Tuesday that he didn't want to be talking about his affair.  Braddock has also been given immunity from prosecution.   After the affair ended, while Chrisley's former flame worked at Chrisley Asset Management, he claims an anonymous source sent text messages threatening to expose the relationship and his boss' fraud.  The alleged texts said: 'Pay cash and we'll shut up.'  Chrisley and Braddock...
    A Texan actor who played the red Power Ranger in the 1990s TV series and films has been arrested and charged with fraudulently obtaining COVID-19 relief loans. Jason Lawrence Geiger, 47, starred in the films under the stage name Austin St. John. He was arrested on Tuesday, and remains in jail awaiting a hearing in Plano on Monday. Geiger was one of 19 people charged for participating in the scam, which saw $3.5 million fraudulently obtained. The scheme was ran by Michael Hill aka 'Tank,' 47, and Andrew Moran, 43. The two ringleaders recruited others to use 'an existing business or create a business' to apply for the loans, part of the $349 billion federal CARES Act, designed to help struggling businesses during the pandemic. Jason Lawrence Geiger, 47, starred in the Power Rangers films and TV series under the stage name Austin St. John. He was arrested on Tuesday and charged with COVID loan fraud Geiger was one of 19 people arrested for their role in the $3.5 million scam Geiger (far left) is seen with the other original Power...
    A woman who operates a mental health services business in Colorado Springs allegedly stole $240,000 from Medicaid through fraudulent billings, according to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Martha Sutherland, of Front Range Mental Health and Summit Assessments, submitted Medicaid claims and was paid for psychological testing services that never happened, according to an AG’s office news release. Sutherland is charged with theft and cybercrime, both felonies, the release said. Related Articles Crime and Public Safety | Woman serving life sentence for murder charged with heading $2 million COVID-19 fraud scam Crime and Public Safety | Santa Cruz business owner caught in federal COVID-19 fraud-related case scheduled to change plea Crime and Public Safety | Woman charged with faking credentials as dental hygienist in South Bay Crime and Public Safety | California’s seniors lost an estimated $10.9 billion to fraud in 2020 Crime and Public Safety | Fraud targeting California’s seniors spiked in 2020 “Medicaid provides essential health care services for many of our state’s most vulnerable residents,” said Phil...
    The owner of a consumer products testing company in Rockland County will spend years in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud customers out of millions of dollars by reporting fake lab reports over more than two decades. Rockland County resident Gabriel Letizia, Jr., age 72, the owner of AMA Laboratories in New City, admitted conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of misbranding products in May 2021 for bilking his customers out of more than $46 million. On Wednesday, May 18, US Attorney Damian Williams announced that Letizia, a New City resident, has been sentenced to 60 months in prison and must pay $1,440,238 in restitution. In addition to his prison term, Letizia was also ordered to forfeit $46.2 million. "AMA purported to test the safety and efficacy of cosmetics, sunscreens, and other products on specified numbers of volunteer panelists for consumer products companies," prosecutors said. "Clients of AMA used the test results to support their claims that their products were safe, effective, hypoallergenic, or provided a certain Sun Protection Factor (SPF), including after exposure to...
    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California dismissed a securities fraud and defamation lawsuit filed by a Tesla investor against CEO Elon Musk, one of Musk’s a supporters and Tesla. In an order filed Thursday, Judge James Donato threw out the lawsuit by the investor, Aaron Greenspan, who runs a legal document website. Donato wrote that the lawsuit had failed to make plausible legal claims. Donato had previously dismissed the case in June, but he offered Greenspan the opportunity to file another complaint on federal legal issues. The judge wrote that claims such as defamation that were made under California law would be taken up later as warranted. In Thursday’s order, Donato dismissed all of Greenspan’s case, which was originally filed in 2020. Related Articles Business | Elon Musk praised by President Bolsonaro in surprise trip to Brazil Business | Elon Musk accused of sexual harassment Business | Elon Musk proves once again that the rules don’t apply to him Business | Elon Musk loses $12 billion in a day as...
    Hunter Biden and his firm raked in $11 million over a matter of five years from his work as an attorney and a board member of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma and his work with a Chinese businessman now accused of fraud.  The findings raise questions of national security and corruption and also possible legal issues, as some wonder why the president's son was accepting work with energy firms despite no experience in the field.  Documents indicate that Biden blew through the money even faster than it was coming in-- expenditures found on his hard drive show that the president's son was spending an eye-popping $200,000 per month on things like luxury hotel rooms, Porsche payments, dental work and cash withdrawals from February 2017 to October 2018, according to an analysis of Hunter Biden's abandoned hard drive by NBC News.  In a February 2017 divorce filing, Biden's ex-wife Kathleen Buhle's attorney called the couple's outstanding debts 'shocking and overwhelming' and divulged that they owed $313,000 in back taxes. According to the filing, the couple had bounced checks to their housekeeper and...
    SANTA CRUZ — A Santa Cruz business owner facing federal COVID-19 fraud-related charges is scheduled to modify her not-guilty plea in a U.S. District Court hearing next month. In a complaint filed in the Northern District on April 19, Jaimi Jansen, 40, was alleged to have sold fake COVID-19 homeopathic cures and fraudulent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccination cards. Jansen is the founder and CEO of Santa Cruz CORE Fitness + Rehab, with locations in Santa Cruz and Watsonville but has stepped down from the chief executive role during the criminal case, according to her attorney, Peter Leeming. “This has nothing to do with Santa Cruz CORE itself,” Leeming said Monday on behalf of his client. The federal complaint alleges that Jansen participated in fraudulent activity from May to July 2021. It goes on to allege that Juli Mazi, a naturopathic doctor based in Napa, engaged in health care consultations with Jansen and employees of Santa Cruz Core, where Mazi sold the pellets and fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards. Mazi directed her audience to fill out the cards...
    Hunter Biden is trying to settle the Justice Department’s probe into potential tax fraud, money laundering, and violation of lobbying laws, the New York Times reported Tuesday. Trump-appointed U.S. prosecutor David Weiss has been weighing for months whether there is sufficient evidence to indict Hunter. But time is running short. The probe is wrapping up after years of investigation. Hunter is hoping to settle the investigation without criminal or civil charges, the Times outlined : The criminal investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes and international work appears to be coming to a head. Justice Department prosecutors have met in recent weeks to discuss whether to move forward with the case. In the coming months, the department is expected to make a final decision about whether to bring criminal or civil charges, or to reach some sort of settlement that could include a significant fine. […] The allies prefer that the president’s son continue to keep a low profile and follow exactly what his primary defense lawyer, Chris Clark, tells him to do. They want Hunter Biden to do whatever he can to settle the matter with the Justice Department...
    The relationship started on an online dating site. Katsumi Iwasaki was enthralled by a person who claimed to be a US soldier stationed in Damascus, Syria. They quickly fell to emailing “sweet things,” Iwasaki said. The 81-year-old San Francisco man had been living alone after his partner of 22 years died of lung cancer, and the budding relationship “made me feel like I had a bright future.” After a few months of corresponding in late 2016, the person, who said his name was “James Lopez,” mentioned the gold – $1 million worth. Lopez needed money to ship a cache from Syria to San Francisco for safekeeping, he said. “I was lonely and looking for a friend, and whatever James said I think I trusted,” said Iwasaki, who began wiring increasingly large chunks of his retirement savings to Lopez, though the pair had never met. The person claiming to be Lopez promised he would split the gold when he visited San Francisco, said Iwasaki, but neither the gold nor Lopez materialized. Pictured is Katsumi Iwasaki’s document submitted to...
    BUTLER, Pa. (KDKA) – A Butler man is behind bars after police said he scammed several people out of thousands of dollars. As many as four victims came forward to say they paid Billy Abrams to do home improvement projects that he never finished. READ MORE: Westmoreland County Couple Accused Of Endangering Their Kids Given Tentative Deal (Photo: Butler County Prison) The victims hired Abrams and his company Billy’s Plumbing and Heating. All of them paid upfront and said Abrams either didn’t finish the jobs or even start them. “I thought I recognized the name but I wasn’t sure, but then the next thing I know, the address came up and, ‘wow that’s across the street,’” one neighbor said. Neighbors of Abrams told KDKA’S Shelley Bortz they’re shocked to hear that he has been charged with numerous felonies. Most on the quiet street in Butler said Abrams was nice and kept to himself. “He never bothered me and I never bothered him and he was always nice to me,” another neighbor said. State police in Butler said they received...