April 19, 2013 |
A Laguna Niguel man admitted defrauding online auction giant EBay Inc. out of potentially millions of dollars in a scheme of “cookie stuffing,” which is a lot less savory than it sounds. Brian Andrew Dunning, 47, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in federal court this week, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said. Dunning faces a fine and a possible jail sentence. Dunning admitted that between May 2006 and June 2007, he engaged in a scheme that caused EBay to pay him commissions for generating Web traffic to EBay that was achieved through fraudulent means.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 24, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - The most courageous politician in California - probably the nation - is a Berkeley city councilman, Gordon Wozniak. His gutsy act: proposing that the government tax email. Yes, sacrosanct, time-gobbling, out-of-control email. "I got a lot of nasty emails nationally," he says. "You are making Berkeley look really silly," one person wrote. Another called him "the epitome of a communist - you and all your commy liberal idiots. " Wozniak, however, is certified brainy - a retired nuclear scientist, a futurist who, he admits, may be ahead of his time about taxing email.
March 16, 2013 |
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - In Afghanistan, Tonya Long, a 13-year Army veteran, approved military cash payments to Afghan drivers of "jingle trucks," the colorful transport trucks that carry supplies to U.S. bases. Last week, Staff Sgt. Long stood in the dock in a federal courtroom here and read aloud from a statement she had written on notebook paper: "I cannot express how sorry I am … I chose to betray my country and my family. " She did not ask for mercy, she told a judge, "because I don't deserve it. " Long, 30, had pleaded guilty to stealing at least $1 million and shipping the cash in hundred-dollar bills to the U.S. in the guts of hollowed-out VCR players.
February 20, 2013 |
Not since an outbreak of mad cow disease a dozen years ago have Europe's food industries been embroiled in a crisis the likes of this past month's discovery of horse meat masquerading as beef in prepared-food entrees sold across the continent. The controversy over mislabeled meat in millions of frozen dinners, pastas, stews, goulashes and chilis took a turn for the worse this week when Nestle, the world's largest food company, found horse DNA in some of its products. And testing of meals yanked from store shelves and freezers in Britain and Germany has turned up traces of phenylbutazone, commonly known as bute, a powerful equine painkiller deemed harmful to humans.
February 7, 2013 |
A sportswriter here at the paper responded to a tweet from basketball star Lamar Odom to enter an online sweepstakes for a free trip to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. And guess what? She won. "I turned it down," my colleague told me. "It was a scam, right?" It's something I get asked a lot. And usually, there's no question about the scamminess of online sweepstakes. The Federal Trade Commission says it gets thousands of complaints every year about bogus contests and lotteries.
February 3, 2013 |
If researchers at the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending are on target when they say the country is only halfway through the foreclosure crisis, many more people are going to be conned out of a great deal of money trying to save their homes. But it doesn't have to be like that. And it won't be if Uncle Sam has his way. The government is coming down hard on swindlers who cheat owners willing to try almost anything to avoid foreclosure. In December, for example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took steps to shut down two alleged loan-modification mills that the agency says bilked people out of more than $10 million.