March 29, 2012 |
SACRAMENTO - An elected state tax collector wants to save strapped California motorists money by freezing the sales tax on gasoline whenever the pump price jumps above $4 a gallon. The idea, said George Runner, a Republican member of the State Board of Equalization, is to put a few bucks back in consumers' pockets rather than provide a small windfall to local governments. Gasoline prices in California averaged $4.33 on Wednesday, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
March 26, 2012 |
You must remember this: That as time has gone by, the Oscar-winning 1942 romantic melodrama "Casablanca" has become one of the most treasured movies of the 20th century. To celebrate its 70th birthday, Warner Home Video is releasing the classic on Blu-ray Tuesday in a handsome collector's set that features a new high-resolution digital restoration, 14 hours of bonus material and even a set of coasters. Winner of three Academy Awards — best film, director (Michael Curtiz) and screenplay (Julius J and Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 9, 2012 |
A Los Angeles-area wine collector who became so influential in the rare vintage market that he drove up prices worldwide has been charged by federal authorities with fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in loans and attempting to sell $1.3 million in counterfeit French Burgundy. Rudy Kurniawan, 35, was arrested Thursday without incident at his Arcadia home by FBI agents assigned to the Los Angeles office after a years-long investigation by the FBI Art Crime Team. In an indictment unsealed Thursday, the Indonesian national was charged by the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan with three counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud.
February 27, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Telephone collection calls Callers posing as law enforcement agents, lawyers and debt collectors have been placing random telephone calls and demanding that victims immediately repay nonexistent debts, the Internet Crime Complaint Center said in a recent bulletin. The callers claim to be collecting debts for groups such as United Cash Advance, U.S. Cash Advance, U.S. Cash Net or other firms, according to the center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.
February 22, 2012 |
Federal regulators warned of a new scam in which so-called phantom debt collectors harass people into paying bills they don't even owe, typically preying on Americans already burdened with financial problems. Officials said Tuesday that they had shut down a Villa Park operation that they alleged in a lawsuit fraudulently collected about $5 million in phantom debts. In a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission, a court froze the assets of American Credit Crunchers, an affiliated company called Ebeeze and their owner, Varang K. Thaker.
February 20, 2012 |
Pamela Johnson of Orange is one of many people who have recently received notices from a debt collector called West Bay Acquisitions over supposedly unreturned Hollywood Video DVDs. The video-rental chain's parent company, Hollywood Entertainment, was purchased by an outfit called Movie Gallery in 2005. Five years later, Movie Gallery went out of business, selling its portfolio of outstanding customer obligations to West Bay Acquisitions. Johnson, 68, said she was "dumbfounded" to receive a notice the other day saying she owes $24.43 for several DVDs that she rented from Hollywood Video in 2009 and never returned.
February 16, 2012 |
The regulatory bill is finally coming due for debt collectors. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced new rules that for the first time would place large debt collectors and credit reporting companies under Uncle Sam's thumb. This is the most far-reaching proposal so far from the agency that was a key agenda item for the Obama administration. “Our proposed rule would mean that those debt collectors and credit reporting agencies that qualify as larger participants are subject to the same supervision process that we apply to the banks,” Richard Cordray, the director of the bureau, says in a statement.
November 3, 2011 |
Amazon.com Inc. for years has fought state efforts to force it to collect sales taxes from its customers. Now, instead of battling the tax man, the company is looking to profit — by hiring itself out as an Internet tax collector. In an abrupt about-face, the company is now offering to handle sales-tax chores for merchants who sell products through its site for a fee equivalent to 2.9% of the taxes collected. The optional service, which is set to roll out Feb. 1, will be offered to Amazon's third-party vendors in all 50 states.
October 25, 2011 |
An acclaimed Los Angeles artist who has sued a prominent local collector to enforce the California "resale royalty" law could get his day in court long before the plaintiffs in class-action suits filed last week against Christie's and Sotheby's. Artist Mark Grotjahn has sued collector Dean Valentine to recover a 5% royalty for three artworks that Valentine resold. The case, which has been quietly working its way through the courts for nearly a year, now has a trial date in March.