Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.
Personalized T-shirts — The Better Business Bureau is warning that a company that sells made-to-order T-shirts has pocketed consumers' money without delivering the goods. The consumer group said it has received more than 100 complaints from consumers who said they paid Personally Yours for personalized T-shirts but did not receive them and could not get refunds.
"When making online purchases, the best recourse consumers have is to pay by credit card," said Robert Crockett, chief executive of the BBB serving Southern Nevada. "In the event of fraud, non-delivery, or non-communication with a business, consumers can dispute charges with their credit card company to try to receive refunds."
Ponzi scheme — A federal grand jury in San Francisco has indicted two people on charges related to a $129-million Ponzi scheme. The indictment alleges that William Wise, 62, and Jacquline Hoegel, 55, sold certificates of deposit with "guaranteed" returns of sometimes more than 16%.
Wise and Hoegel said the money would be used to make foreign investments, but instead was stolen by Wise and Hoegel and used to make interest payments to early investors, the indictment said. Law enforcement officials caution that investments that offer "guaranteed" returns or returns far in excess of market rate are often red flags for fraud.
Mortgage fraud — A mother and daughter have been sentenced after pleading guilty to federal charges involving mortgage fraud. Susan Levy, 70, a Tucson real estate agent, and her daughter, Risa Levy, 44, had pleaded guilty to wire fraud and making false statements in applications for a mortgage loan insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Susan Levy said in a plea agreement that she made false statements to qualify for loans on two Tucson properties, which both ended up in foreclosure. She also said she submitted a false pay stub in a third loan application to make it appear that her daughter had a job when she was unemployed.
Her daughter acknowledged that she signed a false statement that said she was employed and earning more than $2,300 a month when she was not employed. Susan Levy was sentenced Tuesday to eight months in prison and ordered to pay more than $700,000 in restitution. Risa Levy was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay more than $83,000 in restitution.