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Scam Watch: Memorial Day, foreclosure rescue, investment scheme

May 06, 2012|By Stuart Pfeifer
  • A Gulfstream private jet lands at Santa Monica Airport.
A Gulfstream private jet lands at Santa Monica Airport. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles…)

Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.

Memorial Day – Memorial Day has become an opportunity for criminals to target veterans as well as active duty military and their families, the Better Business Bureau said in a recent bulletin. Older veterans are often targeted by scammers this time of year, the BBB said. "The unique lifestyle of our service members makes them prime targets for scammers," noted Brenda Linnington, director of the BBB’s military division.  "It’s imperative that we educate our service members and ensure that the support we give to them equals the effort they make every day on behalf of us." Some scams target service personnel and their families directly, while others go after people attempting to contribute to military charities. "Donors need to watch out for questionable charities that raise funds on behalf of military organizations," said Art Taylor, president of the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance. Another scam to watch out for involves a telephone call in which a criminal poses as a Veterans Administration representative and asks for credit card, bank or other financial information, the BBB said.

Foreclosure rescue – An Austin, Texas, man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison following his conviction on charges related to a foreclosure-rescue scam. Frederic Alan Gladle pleaded guilty in January to bankruptcy fraud and identity theft, admitting that he operated a scam from 2007 to 2011 that raised $1.6 million from victims. Prosecutors said Gladle, 53, recruited homeowners who were in danger of losing their homes and told them that he could delay foreclosure for $750 a month. He then submitted false documents in bankruptcy courts, adding his clients' homes to unrelated bankruptcy cases, temporarily delaying banks' efforts to foreclose on the homes, prosecutors alleged. U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel sentenced Gladle on May 3 to 61 months in federal prison.

Investment scheme – A man who stole more than $30 million from investors by falsely claiming that his private company was about to be acquired by  Microsoft Corp.  has been sentenced to 22 years in federal prison. Mouli "Samuel" Cohen was convicted in November on numerous counts of wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion related to the scheme involving his company, Ecast Inc. Prosecutors said Cohen knew his company was not going to be acquired by Microsoft. He used investors’ money on a host of extravagances, including luxury homes, extravagant vacations to Italy, France and the Caribbean, and $6 million to lease private jets, prosecutors said.

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