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Consumer Fraud

BUSINESS
May 24, 2006 | From the Associated Press
More than 2.8 million people in the U.S. paid to obtain credit cards, claim sweepstakes winnings and get in on lucrative investments that turned out to be too good to be true, officials said Tuesday as they announced hundreds of arrests in an international investigation. Authorities in five countries have arrested 565 people in fraud schemes that netted more than $1 billion.
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BUSINESS
January 10, 2006 | From Associated Press
More than a thousand customers didn't receive items they had ordered from a company that does business through Amazon.com Inc., forcing the massive online retailer to offer refunds. Amazon.com spokeswoman Patty Smith said Monday that the outside seller, which is listed as "Mygreatchoice," received outstanding customer ratings when it first began selling on Amazon.com in July. But Amazon.com noticed a big decline in customer satisfaction starting in late November. Seattle-based Amazon.
NATIONAL
May 28, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
A man who sent 850 million junk e-mails through accounts he opened with stolen identities was sentenced in Buffalo to as much as seven years in prison for forgery, identity theft and falsifying business records. Atlanta-based Internet service provider Earthlink Inc. said it hoped the sentence and an earlier $16.4-million civil judgment against Howard Carmack would deter other spammers.
NATIONAL
January 23, 2004 | From Reuters
Americans reported losses of $437 million last year to identity theft and fraud as scam artists made themselves at home on the Internet, according to federal statistics released Thursday. The Federal Trade Commission said it received more than half a million consumer complaints in 2003 as scam artists financed their spending sprees with other people's credit cards and hucksters sold nonexistent products through online sites.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 28, 2003 | H.G. Reza, Times Staff Writer
An Orange County home builder was charged Wednesday with diverting $340,000 in construction funds for his own use and unlawfully selling homes at a development in Altadena that was left unfinished. Timothy N. Roberts, freed on $175,000 bail after surrendering to authorities, will be arraigned Oct. 2 and could face up to 13 years in prison if convicted on all 16 felony counts, said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
BUSINESS
July 21, 2003 | Michael Hiltzik
Proprietors of ethnic restaurants and auto repair shops across the state undoubtedly breathed a sigh of relief when California authorities put the Trevor Law Group out of business.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 27, 2003 | Monte Morin, Times Staff Writer
State Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer filed a lawsuit against a Beverly Hills law firm Wednesday alleging that the lawyers used the state's Unfair Competition Law to extort cash settlements from thousands of small businesses under the guise of consumer protection. Lockyer, who described the action as a "delicious irony," filed the suit under the same law that the Trevor Law Group used when suing more than 2,000 auto repair shops and about 1,000 restaurants.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 6, 2003 | Nancy Vogel, Times Staff Writer
Lawmakers sought advice Wednesday on how to prevent what experts called the fastest-growing crime in California and the nation -- an epidemic of identity theft. The pervasiveness of the fraud was perhaps best illustrated by a San Francisco prosecutor whose credit card numbers were taken twice -- each time as he traveled to give speeches about preventing identity theft. "Ironic, huh?" said Jerry P.
TRAVEL
February 2, 2003 | Beverly Beyette, Times Staff Writer
The Federal Trade Commission calls them "trip traps," tickets to Heartbreak Hotel. They are the too-good-to-be-true vacation offers that flood mailboxes, fill the Internet or are pitched by fast-talking telemarketers: "Hello. You have been chosen to receive our spectacular luxury dream vacation...." The FTC cautions consumers to beware of unsolicited offers, which may be fraudulent moneymaking schemes perpetrated by fly-by-night operators.
BUSINESS
January 23, 2003 | Kathy M. Kristof, Times Staff Writer
Consumer fraud complaints soared 73% last year and identity theft -- the stealing of personal information and using it to run up bills or commit crimes in someone else's name -- accounted for the lion's share of the growth, the Federal Trade Commission reported Wednesday. California was the leader in the number of cases, with more than twice as many fraud and identity theft complaints as any other state, according to the FTC.
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