President of ice cream manufacturer pleads guilty to $1.8 million fraud, tax crime
Department of Justice, 16 July 2021
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Timothy L. Miller, 55, of Gahanna, Ohio, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of wire fraud and two counts of filing a false income tax return. Miller was charged by Bill of Information on April 26, 2021.
According to court documents, from July 2015 through December 2017 Miller was president of Big Drum USA LTD, an ice cream manufacturer located in Columbus, Ohio. Miller fraudulently withdrew $1,797,127.49 from a Big Drum bank account. The withdrawals consisted of the purchase of cashier’s checks made payable directly to casinos, debit card transactions involving hotels and casinos, and cash withdrawals in Ohio, Nevada, Utah, Iowa, Pennsylvania, California, and Ontario, Canada. Miller concealed his actions by logging the transactions as “petty cash” or “loans” in the ledgers of Big Drum. Continue reading “Article: President of ice cream manufacturer pleads guilty to $1.8 million fraud, tax crime”
Kroger closed grocery stores rather than give workers a $4 raise. Now it’s padding shareholders’ pockets with a $1 billion stock-buyback scheme.
Paul Constant , 16 July 2021
Back in February, I wrote about the national grocery chain Kroger’s announcement that it was closing low-performing stores in Seattle and Long Beach, California, after the two cities passed laws requiring grocery stores to pay their front-line workers additional $4-per-hour “hero pay” during the pandemic.
“Giant corporations love to use splashy intimidation tactics like this to create fear-inducing headlines, which help to peel support away from worker protections,” I wrote then, adding, “But make no mistake: Even though Kroger’s press releases suggested that the grocery business relies on ‘razor-thin’ profit margins, Kroger has been making a ridiculous amount of money during the pandemic.” Continue reading “Article: Kroger closed grocery stores rather than give workers a $4 raise. Now it’s padding shareholders’ pockets with a $1 billion stock-buyback scheme.”
Ten Long Island Residents Charged in Nationwide Identity Fraud Scheme
Law Firm Newswire, 12 July 2021
Thirteen people and three corporations were charged on a 108-count indictment in relation to a nationwide synthetic identity fraud scheme that netted over $1 million from financial institutions. Authorities believe the defendants also amassed a credit limit of hundreds of millions of dollars across the United States.
The scam’s alleged mastermind was Adam D. Arena, 43, of Corona, California. He is facing multiple counts of grand larceny and money laundering, among other charges. The other defendants, including ten residents of Suffolk County, Long Island, were charged with grand larceny. Three corporations were charged with money laundering. Continue reading “Article: Ten Long Island Residents Charged in Nationwide Identity Fraud Scheme”
RSF man dealt $337 million fraud, DOJ says
Special to The Grapevine, 10 July 2021
The United States District Court for the Northern District of California this week unsealed an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in San Francisco charging Rancho Santa Fe resident Racho Jordanov with conspiracy to commit trade secret theft and wire fraud, international money laundering, and related charges including obstruction of justice.
Jordanov was the co-founder and former Chief Executive Office of JHL Biotech. He was charged along with Rose Lin, another of the company’s co-founders and former Chief Operating Officer Continue reading “Article: RSF man dealt $337 million fraud, DOJ says”
Robinhood Says U.S. Demanded Access to CEO Tenev’s Phone Records
Jesse Westbrook, 02 July 2021
Robinhood Markets Inc., dogged by fines and regulatory scrutiny, revealed several new inquires from state and federal watchdogs as it seeks to sell shares in one of the year’s most anticipated public offerings.
Among the fresh disclosures made in its registration statement: U.S. prosecutors demanded access to Chief Executive Officer Vlad Tenev’s mobile phone, New York is poised to penalize the brokerage for alleged money-laundering lapses and brokerage regulators called it out for not reporting trades. Continue reading “Article: Robinhood Says U.S. Demanded Access to CEO Tenev’s Phone Records”
What’s Behind The Massive Fluctuation In Natural Gas Prices?
Irina Slav, 30 June 2021
The Texas Freeze was one of those unprecedented events that have the potential to upend the way things are done, in this case, in power utilities. The crisis, which saw natural gas prices rise from two-figure to four-figure numbers, prompted an in-depth look at Texas’s grid and electricity market, and measures to ensure it never happened again. Now, gas prices are on the rise again, and many of the February bills have not been paid yet. Disgruntlement is building up across the swathe of states affected by the freezing cold spell in February. In California, people are being warned their bills are going to rise higher.
“I cannot for the life of me understand how we saw it go from $2 to $1,200 and back down to $2 in the span of the week; that’s not real,” Garry Mize, the Republican chairman of the utilities committee in Oklahoma’s House of Representatives, said recently, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal. Continue reading “Article: What’s Behind The Massive Fluctuation In Natural Gas Prices?”
Seniors Lost $1 Billion to Cybercrime in 2020: FBI
Nancy Bilyeau, 17 June 2021
People over 60 were the special targets of COVID-19-related Internet schemes and financial fraud in 2020, with 28 percent of the total fraud losses sustained by seniors, according to the FBI.
These Internet fraud schemes reaped approximately $1 billion in losses purely from seniors in 2020, the FBI said in a report released Tuesday.
“This represents an increase of approximately $300 million in losses reported in 2020 versus what was reported by victims over 60 in 2019,” said the report. Continue reading “Article: Seniors Lost $1 Billion to Cybercrime in 2020: FBI”
MindGeek Execs and Owners — Along With Visa and Colbeck Capital — Hit With U.S. Lawsuit
Michelle Celarier, 17 June 2021
Thirty-four women who claim they are victims of Pornhub filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against the company’s secretive Canadian parent, MindGeek; its owners and executives; Visa, which processes payments for the porn site; and hedge fund Colbeck Capital, which underwrote a debt financing for the company.
“MindGeek is a classic criminal enterprise run, according to those who know it best, ‘just like the Sopranos,’” according to the complaint, written by Mike Bowe, partner at Brown Rudnick, who is representing the plaintiffs in the case. Continue reading “Article: MindGeek Execs and Owners — Along With Visa and Colbeck Capital — Hit With U.S. Lawsuit”
2 Indian-Americans among six charged in Silicon Valley insider trading ring
The Tribune, 16 June 2021
Two Indian-Americans were among six members of a Silicon Valley trading ring against which the US’ Securities and Exchange Commission has slapped charges for generating nearly USD 1.7 million in illegal profits by trading on the confidential earnings information of two local technology companies.
According to the SEC complaint on Tuesday, Nathaniel Brown, 49, who served as the revenue recognition manager for Infinera Corporation, repeatedly tipped Infinera’s unannounced quarterly earnings and financial performance to his best friend, Benjamin Wylam, 42, from April 2016 until Brown left the company in November 2017. Continue reading “Article: 2 Indian-Americans among six charged in Silicon Valley insider trading ring”
Wife of ‘El Chapo’ Pleads Guilty to Drug and Laundering Conspiracy
Patricia Hurtado, 10 June 2021
The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman pleaded guilty on Thursday to narcotics trafficking and money laundering conspiracy charges, almost two years after Guzman was sentenced to life in prison.
Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, has been in U.S. custody since she was arrested at Dulles International Airport in Virginia in February, accused of helping her husband operate the multibillion-dollar Sinaloa cartel and aiding his escape from a Mexican prison through an underground tunnel.
She pleaded guilty, in federal court in Washington, to conspiring to distribute illegal drugs in the U.S. and to launder money, and to engaging in transactions with a foreign narcotics trafficker.
Coronel, a U.S. citizen born in California, admitted working for the drug empire in a scheme that began around the time of her marriage to Guzman in 2007 and ran to the end of 2019. Guzman was convicted of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, as well as on drug trafficking and firearms charges, as leader of the cartel.
As part of a plea agreement, Coronel faces nine to 11 years in prison, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
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Vatican financial crime charges are due to lack of experience
Anna Fero, 09 June 2021
On May 17, 2021, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the Climate Commitment Act. The legislation creates a market-based, economy-wide cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state. The legislation includes provisions ordering the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) to “consider opportunities to implement the [cap-and-trade] program in a manner that allows linking the state’s program with those of other jurisdictions.”
Until now, California has been the only state with a greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program. California’s program began operation in 2013, and has been linked with Québec’s cap-and-trade system since 2014. Now, Washington’s new cap-and-trade legislation paves the way for a Washington-California linkage agreement. Continue reading “Article: Vatican financial crime charges are due to lack of experience”
As Ransomware Hackers Sit On Millions In Extorted Money, America’s Military Is Urged To Hack Back
Thomas Brewster, 05 June 2021
In just two months last year, the FBI watched three companies pay hackers wielding ransomware called NetWalker millions in Bitcoin to get their hacked data back. While that seems like a big win for the cybercriminals, it also gave investigators in the U.S. and elsewhere a new roadmap for tracking and prosecuting them.
Netwalker was a ransomware-as-a-service crew, similar to DarkSide and REvil, whose tools were used in the attacks on Colonial Pipeline and JBS, which led to gas and food shortages across America in the last month. The creators of NetWalker rented it out to other cybercriminals, who would find a way to break into a company and then deploy Netwalker to lock up the victims’ files. Only the key the Netwalker crew controlled could unlock that data. Since it emerged in 2019, its myriad victims included universities, healthcare bodies and government departments, making close to $50 million in that time. Continue reading “Article: As Ransomware Hackers Sit On Millions In Extorted Money, America’s Military Is Urged To Hack Back”
Cleaning House: Combatting Money Laundering
Martin Cheek, 02 June 2021
Money laundering, for the general public, is the stuff of gritty dramas like Ozark or the notorious dealings of Pablo Escobar and El Chapo. In popular culture, it is depicted as an activity to be done in the dark of night with neatly-stacked wads of cash deposited into duffel bags. The reality, however, is much more banal, with most money laundering occurring in the guise of an unremarkable series of transactions designed to obfuscate the trail for any who might be inclined to investigate.
The real estate sector has long been a favorite of money launderers, as the lack of regulation and use of shell companies have enabled them to “wash” a large quantity of cash through the system in one transaction. The truth is that nobody really knows how much money is laundered through real estate—not least because much of it currently goes undetected. This opacity might serve shady operators well, but it can have catastrophic effects on the rest of the economy, as the 2008 housing crisis demonstrated all too devastatingly. Continue reading “Article: Cleaning House: Combatting Money Laundering”
Feedzai’s Financial Crime Report: Fraud rises by 159% Year on Year
Feedzai Inc, 02 June 2021
SAN MATEO, Calif. and LONDON, June 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Feedzai, the world’s leading cloud-based financial crime management platform, has announced its Quarterly Financial Crime Report , an analysis of over 12 billion global banking transactions from January – March 2021. The report identifies trends in spending and in fraud attempts to show that this past quarter, as consumer activities increased, fraudsters attempted to hide their fraudulent transactions in legitimate banking. In fact, combining all banking fraud – internet, telephone, and branch – attacks grew a whopping 159% in Q1 2021 compared to Q4 2020.
Online banking made up 96% of all banking transactions and it accounted for 93% of all fraud attempts in Q1 2021. This leaves in-branch and telephone banking to make up the remaining 4%. And while the numbers are smaller, in-branch banking did increase by 442% this quarter compared with the last as a result of eased lockdown restrictions as businesses begin to open for trade. In addition, telephone scammers upped their efforts and the report shows a 728% increase in telephone banking fraud. Continue reading “Article: Feedzai’s Financial Crime Report: Fraud rises by 159% Year on Year”
House Hearing: Only Jamie Dimon’s Microphone Mysteriously Malfunctions During Pivotal Questioning
Pam Martens and Russ Martens, 28 May 2021
CEOs from the six largest banks on Wall Street testified under oath yesterday before the House Financial Services Committee. But only one CEO, Jamie Dimon, had an ear-piercing electronic sound emanate from his microphone, which blocked out the sound of his voice, when he was asked key questions by two separate members of Congress.
The situation was so bizarre that Congressman Juan Vargas, a Democrat from California, said this about the episodes: “It reminded me of the movie ‘Young Frankenstein.’ Every time they said ‘Luther’ the horses would get scared. Every time they said ‘Jamie Dimon,’ the computers would get scared.”
The first episode occurred after Congressman Al Green, a Democrat from Texas, told Dimon that two of the banks previously purchased by JPMorgan Chase had used slaves as loan collateral and at one point, after calling in a loan, the bank actually owned 1,250 slaves. Green asked Dimon: “Will you atone in the form of recompense,” and “what will you do for your banks owning human beings…?” Continue reading “Article: House Hearing: Only Jamie Dimon’s Microphone Mysteriously Malfunctions During Pivotal Questioning”