scams

Are you Wall Street veteran, bank CEO, or otherwise high-ranking member of the financial services industry? Are you pretty good at the finance-y part of your job but totally lost when it comes to technology, specifically the vast and utterly confusing world of social media? Do you want to shell out $60k to not exactly learn how to navigate sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and the like, but walk away with the ability to produce a crude drawing of Facebook’s homepage? Consider today your lucky day: according to the Journal, there are now numerous scams willing to take your money…

Fearful their companies will fall behind because top bosses don’t have a firm grasp of technology or digital media, senior managers are taking lessons on how the Internet works. Some firms are pairing individual leaders with young mentors, while others are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach the entire c-suite how to use social tools that most of their entry-level employees use without a second thought. The goal isn’t for the CEO to parse the difference between a “like” and “share” on Facebook or take a spin on the company Twitter account, though that is covered, too. Rather, instructors and managers say, a basic understanding of the digital landscape helps leaders make better decisions about what to invest in, as well as how to talk about it. In the past 18 months, teams of senior staffers from companies including American Express Co., NYSE Euronext and PepsiCo Inc. have gone to the Manhattan classrooms of General Assembly, which offers courses in coding and product design, to learn how to analyze data and think like a tech entrepreneur. A two-day program can cost $60,000.

…and in exchange, teach you how to: Read more »

For one Maine couple, the allure of James Philbrook’s pitch proved too irresistible. In fairness to Philbrook, the money the scam generated in part went to paying off the debts of a buddy’s kid who also struggled with staying on the right side of the law. As for the selection of Electra, one can hardly quibble with a line of thinking that went “I saw this hot young thing on a TV Guide in the mid-1990s.” Read more »

Frank DiPascali, for one, knew it was a fraud from his first day on the job. Didn’t stop him from working there for another 38 years, but the point is, he knew what was up from the beginning, Dipascali said today in court. Read more »

For twenty or so years, depending on when you believe The Legitimate Years stopped and The Illegitimate Years started, Bernie Madoff ran a massive Ponzi scheme, ripping off thousands of clients of billions of dollars. But screwing over people and leaving many of them with nothing was not all Madoff accomplished in that time. He also taught his employees the finer art of fraud and, according to prosecutors, the five students currently on trial learned a thing or two under The Professor. Read more »

Yesterday afternoon, federal prosecutors charged Fredrick Douglas Scott, the self-described “youngest African-American hedge fund founder in history,” with engaging “in a wire fraud conspiracy to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors1,” which he used to buy Caramel Macchiatos, stay in hotels with views of the Holland Tunnel, and bail his friends out of jail.2 At this time, there appear to be several inconsistencies with the stories Scott has told clients and friends, which include:

  • The claim he manages $3.7 billion.
  • The claim he makes $96,000/year (“[Scott] filled out a financial affidavit claiming his salary is $96,000. Scott then told pretrial services he makes $200,000 but takes home only $50,000 a year, prosecutors said. Scott’s personal account at TD Bank showed over $700,000 “flowing in and out,” but as of April 30 his ACI Capital Group account was overdrawn by $91.24.”)
  • The claim his in-laws were his get out of jail free card (“Scott [has said] his wife’s parents have ‘Italian diplomatic status,’ and he boasted to the FBI that if he got in trouble, she would be his ‘ace in the hole.’”)

Will we find out that the above weren’t so much lies as misunderstandings in the days to follow? Maybe! At this time, however, the most pressing issue Scott may want to resolve would be that of his representation, which is currently not returning his calls. Read more »

Last week the SEC settled a securities fraud case with one Ziad K. Abdelnour, CEO of Blackhawk Partners, for a $25,000 fine and a five-year ban from the securities industry. The fraud was not exactly hard to recognize: anyone who, while claiming to represent “a purported private equity ‘family office,’ solicited investors to invest in trading programs that purportedly yielded returns of up to 600% in as little as seven days, with no risk,” is overcompensating. (For: fraud.)

But Abdelnour’s fraud was even more obvious; he basically said right on his website – under the bold heading “WARNING ON SCAMS” – that what he was selling was a scam. As the SEC puts it, his “website also discouraged prospective investors from heeding Commission and FBI warnings about private placement programs, stating:”1

WARNING ON SCAMS
It is very common to find on the internet so many web-sites, or message boards/links to so-called official documents, or reports of the “Financial Authorities” warning the public that this business ‘does not exist’ and any of these offers are always scams. The reports in question could have been written by the SEC, FBI, ICC or any of the regulatory authorities. . . . You should all understand that most people that work at banks, securities houses, accountant firms, etc., have no insight into this kind of trading, and they are very eager to listen and comply with everything by the authorities. So if SEC, FBI and others say that this is all a scam, then they believe so.

For all you nay-Sayers and disbelievers out there who are looking for evidence that this kind of trading exist[s]; try to learn and understand monetary history and banking and you will understand that this can, in fact, work- in theory. You don’t have to run around and try to find evidence, because unless you have USD10M to test it for yourself, then you need to rely upon others who are vouching. So we suggest that you find out the truth yourself, without listening to what others are saying.

Who are you going to believe: an SEC/FBI fraud warning, or some guy asking you to trust him with $10 million? The choice is clear. Read more »

It’s hard to resist Pam’s cogent economic analysis. It’s also hard to resist an “exciting online free global marketplace.” Called FrogAds.com, no less! Sounds legitimate. Read more »