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Investment Fraud

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BUSINESS
October 3, 2000 | E. SCOTT RECKARD, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Former Lincoln Savings & Loan boss Charles H. Keating Jr. won a final victory Monday before the U.S. Supreme Court, defeating attempts to reinstate his 1991 state court conviction on charges of swindling elderly investors. Without comment, the high court refused to reopen the case, leaving intact lower court rulings that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito had allowed a flawed prosecution.
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BUSINESS
August 6, 2013 | By Walter Hamilton
In an age of rampant online investment fraud, it's almost refreshing that the latest scam involves only a telephone. Federal regulators are warning investors to beware of scammers pitching high-yielding certificates of deposit. The thieves pose as brokers of a big-name investment firm, then coax victims to reveal financial data so they can steal their identities and loot their bank accounts. The twist is that the scammers steal money the old-fashioned way: by calling unsuspecting victims on the phone.
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BUSINESS
October 28, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Grandparent scam -- This scheme has been highlighted before in this space, but it's so common it's worth sounding the alarm again. There have been numerous reports about bad people trying to trick older Americans into giving them money by calling and pretending to be relatives, often grandchildren, who are in desperate need of money because of a fabricated emergency. In some cases, it can be for bail or to repair a car. Consumer advocates caution that anyone who receives such a call should ask questions that an imposter would not be able to answer correctly -- the date of their mother's birthday or the city they were born in, for instance.
BUSINESS
October 28, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Grandparent scam -- This scheme has been highlighted before in this space, but it's so common it's worth sounding the alarm again. There have been numerous reports about bad people trying to trick older Americans into giving them money by calling and pretending to be relatives, often grandchildren, who are in desperate need of money because of a fabricated emergency. In some cases, it can be for bail or to repair a car. Consumer advocates caution that anyone who receives such a call should ask questions that an imposter would not be able to answer correctly -- the date of their mother's birthday or the city they were born in, for instance.
BUSINESS
July 3, 1997 | From Associated Press
A campaign of enforcement and consumer education programs to combat an ever-increasing array of sophisticated high-tech investment scams was announced Wednesday by federal and state regulators. Called "Project Field of Schemes," the effort is aimed at new types of investment fraud involving such areas as movie production, Internet "shopping malls" and snail ranching--as well as old standbys like pyramid schemes and conventional telemarketing fraud.
BUSINESS
December 24, 2009 | By Martin Zimmerman
Federal regulators said Thursday that they obtained a preliminary injunction against two Southern California men accused of defrauding investors who put nearly $10 million into a fund to invest in mobile home parks. A lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission says Heath M. Biddlecome, 41, of Carpinteria diverted nearly half of the money raised and used it for so-called day trading. The suit names as defendants Biddlecome; his firm, California Wealth Management Group of Culver City; and William C. Tak, 43, of Newport Beach, a senior vice president at the firm.
BUSINESS
August 11, 2006 | From Bloomberg News
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint in federal court Thursday alleging that a 29-year-old Manhattan Beach man defrauded investors of more than $22 million in retirement funds through a real estate scam. Jon W. James sold stakes in a series of real estate companies he promised would generate returns as high as 24%, the SEC said. He held free dinners and retirement planning seminars to get more than 90 investors to transfer money to the companies from their IRAs.
BUSINESS
July 28, 2000 | Bloomberg News
Fifteen former executives and employees of D.H. Blair & Co., a defunct Wall Street securities brokerage, were indicted on charges of defrauding investors out of tens of millions of dollars, partly by manipulating stock prices, in a scheme that ran from 1989 to 1998, the Manhattan district attorney's office said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 12, 1997 | COLL METCALFE
Three men have been indicted on charges ranging from mail fraud to conspiracy in connection with two businesses that attempted to dupe a number of Southern California investors out of their money, federal authorities said.
BUSINESS
August 30, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Michele Wein Layne decided on a career change 17 years ago when she was at her office at 10 p.m. poring over a mind-numbing legal document. Layne was an up-and-coming corporate litigation lawyer at a big Los Angeles law firm. But the grueling hours and unrewarding work left her miserable. She wanted something more meaningful, and soon after joined the Securities and Exchange Commission's local office as a lawyer fighting investment fraud and insider trading. After a series of promotions, she was chosen last month to lead the 150-person office.
BUSINESS
August 22, 2012 | By Andrew Tangel, Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK - They've called from pay phones. They've had furtive meetings at hotels and even a church. On internal government documents, they go by code names like Mr. X. For the last year, whistle-blowers deep inside corporate America have been dishing dirt on their employers under a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission program that could give them a cut of multimillion-dollar penalties won by financial regulators. A new bounty program has been an intelligence boon to the securities industry regulator, which has struggled to redeem itself after failing to stop Bernard Madoff's epic Ponzi scheme and rein in Wall Street before the 2008 financial crisis.
BUSINESS
December 12, 2011 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Computer virus — The Federal Trade Commission has started mailing refunds to 300,000 consumers who were victims of a scam in which they were tricked into buying unnecessary software to remove nonexistent viruses and spyware from their computers. The perpetrators of the scheme caused ads to appear on victims' computers, informing them that a "system scan" had detected viruses and other threats that needed to be removed immediately.
BUSINESS
November 14, 2011 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Social Security — Thieves have been impersonating Social Security Administration employees in an attempt to steal seniors' personal information, the AARP said in a recent bulletin. The con artists contact seniors by telephone, claiming to be updating their records. They ask for seniors' Social Security numbers, birth dates and bank account numbers, the AARP said. Consumers should never disclose such information over the telephone to strangers, the AARP said.
BUSINESS
January 17, 2011 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Not easy being green ? The Federal Trade Commission said it reached a settlement with Tested Green, a company that issued "green" environmental certifications to businesses for as much as $550. According to the FTC, from February 2009 to April 2010, the company sold certifications that were "worthless" because Tested Green never examined the businesses. The FTC said Tested Green also deceived customers by citing endorsements from the National Green Business Assn.
BUSINESS
December 13, 2010 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Telemarketing fraud The FBI wants to help you avoid giving your money to criminals on the telephone. Once you fall victim to telemarketing fraud, you'll almost certainly never get your money back. Before you buy, the FBI recommends that you take these precautions: Don't buy from an unfamiliar company, ask for written material by mail and check out companies on the Web. Websites for the Better Business Bureau, the state attorney general and the National Fraud Information Center are good places to start your search.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 3, 1992 | MICHELLE QUINN
Charles J. Francoeur, sentenced to 7 2/3 years in prison last week for his involvement in a major investment fraud scheme, was allowed to remain free on $250,000 bail Friday while he appeals his conspiracy and theft convictions. Arguing for his client's release, attorney William Maxwell said Francoeur, of Agoura, is not a danger to society or a flight risk. Maxwell said substantial issues regarding his client's conviction would be raised on appeal.
BUSINESS
September 16, 2010 | Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Beverly Hills financial advisor Stanley Chais made a fortune serving as Bernard L. Madoff's connection to Southern California's rich and powerful. He hobnobbed with Hollywood elite, won praise as a generous philanthropist and kept homes on both coasts. These days, the 84-year-old Chais spends the bulk of his time shuttling from one medical appointment to the next, tormented by an ongoing federal criminal investigation and myriad lawsuits that could ruin him financially. Eight months have passed since the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan disclosed that it was considering criminal charges against Chais, but there has been no indictment and little explanation of where the case stands.
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