Archive for the ‘Fraud’ Category

An article on MSNBC, shows just how gullible people can be. First of all, there is no way that the federal government will be paying for your utility bills especially if you have to give them your personal information. There are state programs to help people pay for their utility bills but there is no such federal program.

As a result, scammers are using a form of identity theft that has already claimed thousands of victims. These scammers are so bold they will even contact you by going door-to-door with this bogus utility bill payment scam. They are convincing unsuspected people that a special federal government assistance program has been set up – they describe it as a bailout authorized by President Barack Obama’s administration- to help pay utility bills.

But here is the catch, you have to “register” with them and give them your Social Security number and other personal information, i.e. bank account number. Obviously there is no such program. But these scammers are shrewd, they us door-to-door solicitation, Facebook, emails and tweets to convince people. Then these victims pass it on to their family and friends through these social networks. This is how the scam is growing.

Once again, if it is too good to be true it’s probably a scam. If you are having problems paying your utility bill, contact your utility company and work out payments with them. They are often very willing to get payments from you than no payment at all.

Has this happened to you, you pick up the phone and immediately get a recording from “Political Opinions of America” asking you to take a survey? They even say that there is a reward if you answer these questions. Well forget about it – it is just a new scam by telemarketers.

According to an article on Fox News, companies are disguising their sales pitch as poll questions just to scam you out of your money as well as time. Here is how it works: An automated voice asks the recipient to complete a quick survey with questions like: “What’s the most important thing to restore our economy?” Other questions include: “How would you rate the job that President Obama is doing?”

After answering, the user is transferred to a live operator from “corporate travel services” who is giving away free cruises thanks to an anonymous donor. The offer allows up to four free guests and requires a $60 per person “port fee” to be secured by a credit card.

That alone should be a warning flag – never give out your credit card number to anyone soliciting to you. Hang up immediately or even better hang up when you hear that they are from “Political Opinions of America.”

But take heart, a Boston law firm is preparing a potential class-action lawsuit against a Florida-based The Berkley Group, which is behind the campaign. The law firm says, “When, one is offered a ‘free’ cruise, which is really designed to expose people to sales pitches for vacation timeshares. If you received such a call, you may have a claim against these companies, whether or not you paid them any money.”

FTC officials said to remember that if the purpose of the call is to sell something, its telemarketing and all rules apply. Simply adding a few questions about unrelated topics such as politics or weather does not constitute a bona fide survey. At least two similar “sham survey” ruses have resulted in enforcement actions against companies for such illegal calls.

To add your number to the national Do Not Registry, call   (888) 382-1222 from the phone you wish to register.

I’ve visited Wisconsin once on my way to Ohio. Granted I was only at the airport but what I saw of the state as I flew over seems like a nice state. But the people there are weird! Here is one more proof of how weird they are.

An article in the Daily Caller, says that signatures of Hitler and Mickey Mouse are acceptable for the recall petitions for Governor Scott Walker. The Government Accountability Board reviewing the petitions unanimously approved a plan that would allow questionable names to be counted if they are signed within the circulation dates and have a proper address.

Are they serious?

They claim that all signatures are given the basic presumption of validity. So it may not be eliminated due to the fact that this is a valid signature on face value. Hello! There is no such person as Mickey Mouse and Adolph Hitler died a long time ago.

Then they go on to say, “We may certainly note fictitious names — if we note them on the petition we will flag them — but we will not strike them unless challenged,” added David Buerger, another petition reviewer co-team leader. “In the last round of recalls, you may recall, there was a person who signed Adolf Hilter’s name to a petition. Fortunately, they gave a Berlin, Germany address and so we struck it on that basis rather than on the basis of it being Adolf Hilter.”

So far the petitioners have collected more than 300,000 signatures. They need 540,200 signatures by January 17th. No problem,. I’m sure that the unions have a plan. After all there are the seven dwarfs who haven’t signed yet and of course there are the Star Trek characters, Jimmy Hoffa, as well as all the Brady Bunch. But then I’m giving these “cheese heads” some good advice.

I’m sure that Governor Walker will challenge all the names on the petition, if not, he is also a “cheese head,” no brain matter just cheese up there.

With twenty-eight Congressional Representatives asking for Eric Holder to resign, the Department of Justice just happened to find a large amount of documentation relating to Operation Fast & Furious. What this means that the DoJ did know about the “gunwalking” across the US-Mexico border.

Interestingly one memo shows that Lanny Breuer, head of the DoJ’s criminal division and well-connected lieutenant of Attorney General Eric Holder not only knew of the practice and warned that the practice could end up “embarrassing” the ATF. But in a twist Lanny Breuer issued a statement that he “regrets” not warning DoJ officials about this.

You mean to tell me that Mr. Breuer kept it all secret as far back as last April? He never told his boss Eric Holder? There were never
communications up the line? Sounds fishy to me!

Ed Morrissey from Hot Air also has doubts in his article when he says, “But this does something else as well; it acts as a firewall for Eric Holder and the White House, at least for the moment. Breuer’s admission contains one key component — “regrets” for not having informed his superiors. Breuer appears ready to argue that the knowledge of gunwalking only went as high as his desk,  and that Breuer never told Holder about the effort. That’s going to be difficult to believe, especially since we already know that the White House got extensively briefed on the matter directly from the Phoenix office.  Are we to believe that Breuer didn’t get
asked about this from above, or that the White House wouldn’t have asked Holder about an operation conducted in his own fiefdom?  It seems unlikely that the buck stopped at Breuer’s desk, especially given the international implications of gunwalking
across the border.”

I guess when you lie to Congress one needs to find a fall guy and this time it is Lanny Breuer. I’m sure that Congress will get to the
bottom of this and find the right person responsible for this.

According to Fox News, Obama adviser David Prend sent an email to a White House aide encouraging the president to publicly embrace Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer. But interestingly, Prend’s investment firm at that time partly owned the company.

David Prend, a co-founder of the Boston-based venture capital firm Rockport Capital, who used his role as a green energy adviser to
the Obama administration pushed for a half-billion-dollar subsidized loan for Solyndra even though his company was a major investor in the solar-panel manufacturer. Hmm, is this ethical? I don’t think so.

The other inside man on the Solyndra loan was Steve Spinner, a former NBC executive who became a green energy guru who helped steer energy and environmental policy for the administration starting in the 2008 transition team. Spinner pushed for Solyndra to get the loan even though his wife was the lawyer for the now defunct solar firm. Hmm, more connections here.

But the best friend Solyndra had was George Kaiser, whose family foundation was the largest investor in the firm. Kaiser made 16 trips to the White House between March 2009 and April 2011 to consult with officials. Kaiser, a billionaire devoted to liberal causes who donated $53,500 to Obama’s 2008 campaign and raised many times more, has said that he didn’t lobby for the government loan. But the frequent presence of such an important patron who was visibly attached to Solyndra would have been an  encouragement of its own.

But the Obama team was willing to go along with Prend, Skinner and Kaiser for one simple reason: The president had a plan to make
carbon costly.

Emails from senior Energy Department advisers Matt Rogers and Rod O’Connor from May of 2010 make it clear that as the company was starting to go down, the last hope was for the Democratically dominated Congress to finally push through a global warming bill that would make traditional energy sources more expensive and drive up demand for less efficient but less polluting solar cells. Do you think some Democrats had a stake in the green jobs economy?

Whatever the flaws in the Solyndra business model, the president likely saw only upside in siding with his donors and key advisers on
Solyndra. Remember that in February 2009, no one in Washington would have doubted that Obama would succeed in imposing his plan to require businesses to purchase transferable credits for the right to emit carbon dioxide, or at least something that would have made energy more expensive.

However, a handful of moderate Senate Democrats stopped the president’s plan. But had he succeeded, higher energy costs and the chance for companies to earn extra credits for the right to use other, more efficient energy sources by buying solar panels would have made Solynrda profitable, however bad its original business plan had been.

Stay tuned, I’m sure there is more twists and turns to this story.

Here is the latest and very interesting article from Tom  Benson on Town Hall today. Not only did Obama get a detailed briefing of  the chances that Solyndra would go bankrupt but also that the company was  spending recklessly on extravagant goodies and services. Here is just the tip  of the iceberg on this company.

“The glass-and-metal building that Solyndra LLC began  erecting alongside Interstate 880 in Fremont, California, in September 2009 was  something the Silicon Valley area hadn’t seen in years: a new factory. It wasn’t just any factory. When it was completed at an estimated cost of $733  million, including proceeds from a $535 million U.S. loan guarantee, it covered  300,000 square feet, the equivalent of five football fields. It had robots that  whistled Disney tunes, spa-like showers with liquid-crystal displays of the  water temperature, and glass-walled conference rooms.

Commercial real-estate agents in the region wondered why a  new factory was being built in the Silicon Valley region, the epicenter of some  of the priciest real estate in the country, where most new construction  consists of office space.”

But wait, there’s more.  “Not only did Solyndra receive a massive taxpayer-funded windfall thanks to a fast-tracked political decision that flew in the face of federal  bookkeepers, the company also received a favorable (and convenient!) ruling  from the IRS.

Solyndra not only received a $500 million loan guarantee, it  also got a favorable ruling from the IRS. According to “California  Watch” — a unit of the Center For Investigative Reporting — the IRS  decision gave Solyndra’s customers a 10-percent tax deduction and it was later  increased to 30 percent.  And the timing  of the ruling, just weeks before getting the stimulus loan, raises questions
about whether the White House pulled strings for Solyndra, at other agencies.

“The DOE then faced a difficult choice,” Silver told the  committee. “(A) to refuse the restructuring terms . . . ensuring the company
would close, or (B) to allow the restructuring, giving it and its more than  1,000 workers a fighting chance and the government a higher chance of recovery”  of taxpayer money.  The Energy Department  pushed for the restructuring despite preliminary warnings from OMB staff  members that restructuring Solyndra could cost taxpayers $168 million more than  liquidation.

The Energy Department’s argument eventually won out, and  taxpayers got hosed.  Again.  In yet another damaging revelation — this is  getting exhausting — the Wall Street Journal reports that Solyndra actually violated the terms of its loan guarantee agreement in 2010 by defaulting on  required payments (!)”

So there you have it. Details are seeping out slowly on this  green energy debacle by the Administration. I’m sure the executives took a nice  compensation from this company and now are hiding out in Costa Rica.  As I said before, will this be Obama’s “Watergate”  moment? Or will it be covered up and ignored as so many of his Administration’s  problems are today – i.e. Operation Fast and Furious.

Solyndra is a California manufacturer of solar panels that received more than $500 million in federal stimulus loans in 2009. ABC News reports that Obama administration officials- the Department of Energy- were intimately involved in the company’s day-to-day business activities. Recently, Solyndra has filed for bankruptcy and laid off 900 employees leaving about 100 to tend to the closing of the business.

According to Guy Benson of TownHall, Solyndra is a scandal that deepens every day. The feds raided the company’s headquarters for unspecified reasons but it’s reasonable to assume they were seeking evidence of financial impropriety. FBI spokesman Peter D. Lee said multiple search warrants were served at the company’s Fremont headquarters in what he called a joint investigation by the FBI and the Energy Department’s office of inspector general. But he said he could not provide any details about the ongoing probe.

When will we hear what the FBI and the Department of Energy’s inspector general found during their search? Will we hear that most of the money was spent on the executives’ expensive boats, homes and nothing on furthering the profitability of the company? Was this another Ponzi scheme that went bad? Are “green jobs” nothing but a scam that we the taxpayers have to pay for?

Being number 1 in the U.S. as having the most fraud cases is not an honor; however, Colorado is ranked number 1 in this case.  For  identity theft, Colorado comes in number 11 which is also not an honor to have. Fortunately, local law enforcement agencies are working hard to help the public understand the differences and to help them to protect their identities.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, fraud and identity theft are similar but not the same. Fraud is when someone may take  things out of your account or may use your name. Identity theft is when someone assumes your identity and poses as you. As a result, they will use your credit to buy expensive items or even take out a home loan.

The best defense you can do is to be proactive and protect your identity. Be aware of where your credit card is being used. If you are in
a restaurant and your server is gone for five or ten minutes, ask them what was the hold up or contact the manager of the restaurant to be sure that your identity wasn’t stolen. Another idea is if you bank online you shouldn’t search online with the same computer because there are hackers out there waiting to find you and steal your identity.