October 27, 2012 |
David Siegel, founder and chief executive of sprawling time-share company Westgate Resorts, is not known for subtlety. There's his quest to build the largest private residence in America, a 90,000-square-foot shrine to opulence in Florida that was modeled on France's Versailles palace. There's his starring role in the documentary "The Queen of Versailles," which follows the home's construction and the effect of the Great Recession on his firm and family. Then there are his claims that he was personally responsible for getting George W. Bush elected president in 2000 (perhaps by illegal means, Siegel slyly suggests in the movie)
September 9, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Credit card interest - The Federal Trade Commission is sending refunds to more than 4,400 consumers who were defrauded by a telemarketing firm that promised to reduce their credit card interest rates in exchange for an upfront fee. The FTC sued Economic Relief Technologies and several related firms and individuals in 2010, accusing them of a massive telemarketing fraud....
April 8, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Mortgage relief - One of the most common scams in recent years has involved companies that promise to provide debt relief to homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgages. Consumers are advised never to pay upfront fees to debt relief firms. Instead, fees should be paid only after the firm is able to reduce monthly payments or provide other favorable results. The Federal Trade Commission recently obtained a $3.9-million judgment against three firms that charged homeowners as much as $4,000 with promises of reducing mortgage payments and interest rates but then failed to provide such services.
January 30, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Romance scam With Valentine's Day approaching, now might be a good time for lonely consumers to watch out for a con called the "romance scam. " In this scam, criminals pose as would-be lovers through social media or dating websites, strike up an Internet-based relationship and then ask for money so they can travel to meet their pursuer. Once the lonely victim sends the money, the conversations end and the money is gone.
March 7, 2011 |
Time shares are tough to sell, even in the best of times. But now the shared vacation properties and their hefty annual fees have become nearly impossible to unload and are breeding a horde of scam artists preying on eager sellers. Nearly 8 million people ? about 7% of U.S. households ? own a time share, a vacation property owned by many people who take turns using it. The slow economic recovery, and the fact that the first generation to buy time shares 35 years ago has been retiring, means many people are looking to sell.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 10, 2011 |
Forty years ago Wednesday, the disastrous Sylmar earthquake struck the Los Angeles region, killing 62 people, flattening buildings and crumpling roads. Many of the victims of the 6.6-magnitude temblor were inside a hospital that collapsed. For many readers on latimes.com , it was a day they will never forget. "The refrigerator tipped over and spilled everything out, windows fell out, cement walls fell onto our car," one recalled. "I truly believed in the moment that this was the end of the world.