Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for:
Stolen credit cards — A Costa Mesa man has been convicted of identity theft and other federal crimes related to the theft of credit cards from Vietnamese immigrants living in Southern California. A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted Hung Van Tieu, 62, of conspiracy, credit card fraud and identity theft. The charges carry a sentence of two to 32 years in federal prison. Tieu was part of a team of con men who called credit card companies in 2010-11, impersonated customers and asked for new cards to be mailed to addresses on file. The team intercepted the cards from the mail and used them to run up more than $100,000 in purchases of luxury goods, including Rolex watches, and to withdraw thousands of dollars at Las Vegas casinos, including the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand.
Weight-loss supplement — As part of a crackdown on companies promoting bogus health claims, the Federal Trade Commission settled charges brought against three people and two companies for deceptively advertising a supposed weight-loss supplement ingredient. The settlement imposes a $22.5-million judgment against David J. Romeo and two New Jersey companies he controlled, Nutraceuticals International and Stella Labs; the judgment will be suspended when Romeo forfeits a vacation home in Vermont and assigns to the FTC the right to collect on $635,000 in business loans owed to him, the agency said. The FTC also banned Nutraceuticals International principal Craig Payton from marketing any foods, drugs or dietary supplements. A $4-million judgment against Nutraceuticals International marketing executive Deborah B. Vickery has been suspended because of her inability to pay, the FTC said. The marketers were part of a scheme that supplied manufacturers of weight-loss supplements with a substance they claimed was derived from a plant native to southern Africa known as hoodia. The individuals and the companies have been barred from making any more deceptive claims.