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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 21, 2014 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO -- A retired San Diego police officer and the owner of a Washington, D.C.-based election services business have been charged with conspiring to funnel more than $500,000 of illegal contributions from a Mexican businessman into San Diego campaigns, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday. Ravneet Singh, 41, owner of ElectionMall Inc., and retired police detective Ernesto Encinas, 57, conspired to funnel the money into independent committees supporting candidates in the mayoral elections of 2012 and 2013, among other elections, according to the complaint.
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BUSINESS
January 13, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- Bernice Tingle, 67, lost her life's savings of over $1 million to a convicted Bay Area Ponzi scheme operator, who's now serving 46 months in federal prison. The retired phone company manager says she now barely gets by on the income she has left. But state tax collectors came after her for $84,000 in taxes on the paper profits that she never got. The debt now is $135,000 with interest and penalty charges. Tingle got some relief from the IRS, thanks to a ruling helping victims of the more infamous Ponzi schemer Bernard L. Madoff.
BUSINESS
January 13, 2014 | By Shan Li
Five German brewing companies were fined millions by German authorities for colluding to fix prices between 2006 and 2008. The companies -- Bitburger, Krombacher, Veltins, Warsteiner and Barre -- have been ordered to pay a combined 106.5 million euros (about $145.5 million), along with seven people "personally involved" in the price fixing scheme, according to a statement from the Federal Cartel Office. The collusion started in joint meetings between national breweries, which first agreed to price hikes for their draught and bottled suds, the authorities said.
BUSINESS
January 7, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay $1.7 billion to resolve a Justice Department investigation into its role in Bernard Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. The giant Wall Street firm, which served as Madoff's primary banker, acknowledged that it failed to alert authorities to suspicious activity in Madoff's accounts as required under federal law. Prosecutors with the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York agreed to defer a criminal prosecution in exchange for the monetary penalty, which will be forwarded to victims of the Ponzi scheme.
BUSINESS
January 7, 2014 | By Walter Hamilton and Stuart Pfeifer
When Bernard L. Madoff's Ponzi scheme was revealed five years ago, the big question was whether he pulled off the jaw-dropping crime by himself. Madoff stubbornly claimed to have acted alone, but it became clear Tuesday that he got a significant assist from one of the world's premier financial institutions. JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to pay $2.6 billion for ignoring numerous warning signs that could have exposed the $17.5-billion fraud years earlier. Internal emails showed that JPMorgan employees repeatedly questioned the towering investment returns that Madoff claimed to be notching.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 20, 2013 | By Nardine Saad
Kate Upton is pretty excited about substantive feature film debut in "The Other Woman. " The two-time Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model, who's appeared in "The Three Stooges," "Tower Heist" and a bevy of viral videos, gets ample screen time and high-billing in the Nick Cassavetes comedy about infidelity, scheming mistresses and sweet revenge. The film also stars two other hot, blond funnywomen: "Bad Teacher's" Cameron Diaz and "This Is 40's" Leslie Mann, both 41. "Had so much fun with these girls- #LeslieMann and @CameronDiaz Check it out!
BUSINESS
December 18, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
A year ago, activist investor Bill Ackman rocked Wall Street with a $1-billion bet that shares of Herbalife Ltd., the Los Angeles seller of weight-loss and nutrition products, would slide to zero. Herbalife was a "pyramid scheme," bound to be undone by regulators and destroyed, he told the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets Dec. 19. Herbalife shares plummeted 42% in the next five days, hitting a midday low of $24.24 on Christmas Eve. At the time, it seemed that 2013 would be difficult for Herbalife.
BUSINESS
December 3, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Herbalife Ltd. said a Belgian appeals court has overturned a lower court finding that the company operated an unlawful pyramid scheme. Critics of the Los Angeles nutritional products company had said the 2011 ruling in Belgium was evidence that the company improperly rewards its independent sales people for recruiting others into the business. Herbalife said in a statement that a Belgian appeals court ruled that the company's sales model "is in full compliance with the law. " PHOTOS: Top 10 Southern California companies "Herbalife always believed that the first judgment contained factual errors and was based on misinterpretations of its direct-selling sales method, and was confident that the original judgment would be overturned on appeal," Herbalife said in a statement Tuesday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 6, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
The wife of an Irvine man accused of plotting against a PTA volunteer at their son's school and having her arrested masterminded the scheme, his attorney said Wednesday in closing arguments. Kent Wycliffe Easter, 40, is accused of felony false imprisonment for his alleged role in having school volunteer Kelli Peters arrested after he called police to report her driving erratically and carrying drugs in the back seat. His wife, Jill Bjorkholm Easter, 40, who was accused of planting drugs in the car, pleaded guilty last month to false imprisonment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 6, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
An Irvine father accused of helping set up a PTA volunteer in a phony drug bust says it was actually his wife who masterminded the scheme, his attorney told jurors Wednesday. Kent Wycliffe Easter, 40, is accused of felony false imprisonment for his alleged role in having school volunteer Kelli Peters arrested after he called police to report she had drugs in the back seat of her car. His wife, Jill Bjorkholm Easter, 40, who was accused of planting the drugs, pleaded guilty last month to false imprisonment.
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