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Oh, hi. I didn't see you there.

Finish with a flurry! (SLYT) Brad McWilliams went undefeated in over 700 street fights and shows you the secrets that will let you do the same.
posted by ignignokt on Apr 14, 2010 - 60 comments

You're both right!

It's a charter school. It's a nightclub. Charter school? Nightclub!
posted by fixedgear on Mar 30, 2010 - 38 comments

Australia's own Madoff affair?

An Australian Madoff? Trio Capital, an Australian fund manager, has been ordered to wind up its funds after being unable to account for $123 million in its Astarra fund since investigations began in October. The fund "has a total of $426 million under management - including superannuation savings of about 10,000 Australians." Some worry what this means for more potential frauds in Australia's "privatized social security." [more inside]
posted by FuManchu on Mar 21, 2010 - 10 comments

Broadcast Yourself.

Google Alleges That Viacom ‘Secretly Uploaded Its Content to YouTube, Even While Publicly Complaining About Its Presence There’ Zahavah Levine, chief counsel for YouTube in its litigation with Viacom, explains:
For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. […] Viacom’s efforts to disguise its promotional use of YouTube worked so well that even its own employees could not keep track of everything it was posting or leaving up on the site. As a result, on countless occasions Viacom demanded the removal of clips that it had uploaded to YouTube, only to return later to sheepishly ask for their reinstatement. In fact, some of the very clips that Viacom is suing us over were actually uploaded by Viacom itself.
[via DF]
posted by ocherdraco on Mar 18, 2010 - 49 comments

A magical card worth thousands until you buy it

Canopy Financial: A classic investor fraud story (civil suit by the SEC) combined with the most modern in misappropriation of health care savings. CFO Jeremy Blackburn, already on the hook for investment fraud, was charged today (*pdf) along with chief tech officer Anthony Banas with misappropriating millions from individual clients health care accounts. On ripoffreport, Vladimir Makarov says he found out about it when his HSA debit card stopped working. [more inside]
posted by Smedleyman on Mar 1, 2010 - 10 comments

unknown unknowns

Do you feel like a fraud, wondering what sort of voodoo you’ve unwittingly conjured up to make people think you know what you’re doing, when the reality is quite the contrary?
posted by infinitefloatingbrains on Feb 22, 2010 - 97 comments

Wall Street's Bailout Hustle

"The reality is that the post-bailout era in which Goldman [Sachs] thrived has turned out to be a chaotic frenzy of high-stakes con-artistry, with taxpayers and clients bilked out of billions using a dizzying array of old-school hustles that, but for their ponderous complexity, would have fit well in slick grifter movies like The Sting and Matchstick Men. There's even a term in con-man lingo for what some of the banks are doing right now, with all their cosmetic gestures of scaling back bonuses and giving to charities. In the grifter world, calming down a mark so he doesn't call the cops is known as the "Cool Off.""
posted by Pope Guilty on Feb 22, 2010 - 50 comments

The Wolffs At The Door

The Wolffs At The Door An interesting story about a couple of elderly grifters in Massachusetts. The Boston Sunday Globe published a follow-up article today. [more inside]
posted by Mayor Curley on Feb 7, 2010 - 14 comments

UK Government bans export of "explosives dowser"

The UK Government has banned the export of the ADE651 to Afghanistan and Iraq. [more inside]
posted by jonesor on Jan 26, 2010 - 54 comments

Well, it's sort of real, isn't it?

The 2009 winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition (also covered here in 2007 and 2008) has been stripped of his title after it emerged that his winning photo was not what it seemed. The judges decided that it was highly likely the picture was not of a wild Iberian wolf, but rather that it was of Ossian, a tame animal kept at Cañada Real Open Center near Madrid. [more inside]
posted by ZsigE on Jan 20, 2010 - 40 comments

Justice bites the hand that feeds it

Blow the whistle on the rich and powerful, go to jail, while they avoid jail. Tax Notes, the weekly publication on federal taxation, announced its "2009 Tax Person of the Year" - a whistleblower from Swiss banking giant UBS whom it called "the Benedict Arnold of the private banking industry." Bradley Birkenfeld came forward and exposed the tax fraud dealings of UBS which led thousands of millionaire tax cheats to come forward and pay billions in back taxes. His reward? Tomorrow he goes to jail. The Government Accountability Project (GAP), a Washington watchdog organization that has extensive whistle-blower experience, says a chilling effect is already apparent: a senior executive at a European bank that offers similar U.S. tax shelters is having second thoughts about going public because of the Birkenfeld case.
posted by caddis on Jan 7, 2010 - 42 comments

Marc Dreier's Crime of Destiny

"...$48 million of notes due in September, another $15 million in November, a whopping $100 million in December, plus $60 million in January 2009. All told, he would need almost $225 million to cover these redemptions. 'Obviously,' Dreier observes without a hint of irony, 'I had put myself in a ridiculous predicament.'" (Previously)
posted by shivohum on Nov 25, 2009 - 45 comments

The Education of Little Fraud

Many kids read The Education of Little Tree in school, but the author of the book, Forrest Carter, was actually Asa Carter, a staunch racist and charlatan.
posted by reenum on Nov 10, 2009 - 101 comments

Iraq Swears by Bomb Detector U.S. (Correctly) Sees as Useless

Iraq Swears by Bomb Detector U.S. (Correctly) Sees as Useless. Similar to the now debunked Sniffex (as seen previously on Metafilter), the ADE651 detects explosives, firearms, grenades, narcotics, elephant ivory, bank notes, and according to its manufacturer's website, "human research." [more inside]
posted by Optimus Chyme on Nov 4, 2009 - 52 comments

Fundable.com is closed permanently

Fundable.com is closed permanently. According to the site's current index, there is bad blood between the two founders of the site, Louis Helm and John Pratt. The recent story of Mary Robinette Kowal being ripped off was apparently the final straw. [more inside]
posted by clockworkjoe on Oct 1, 2009 - 116 comments

"I have left a legacy of shame"

“One of the traditional notions of punishment is that an offender should be punished in proportion to his blameworthiness. Here, the message must be sent that Mr. Madoff’s crimes were extraordinarily evil.”

The 71-year-old man behind the biggest Wall Street fraud in history is sentenced to a maximum of 150 years in prison. [more inside]
posted by up in the old hotel on Jun 29, 2009 - 158 comments

An Unclear Future

Clear, the "security service" that allowed travellers to bypass TSA security lines, offered a Father's Day discount if you purchased a one-year membership by June 21. On June 23, Clear ceased operations. Sorry, no refunds.
posted by mattdidthat on Jun 23, 2009 - 50 comments

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

Michael Kinsell sees himself as the next Mr. Rogers. So much so, that he planned a gala event, replete with big-name stars and full orchestra, where Rogers would be honored and Kinsell would be introduced as his successor, telling potential investors he had the blessing of PBS and Rogers’ longtime production company, Family Communications Inc. The only problem was, none of his claims were true, and his charade quickly fell apart.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on Jun 7, 2009 - 64 comments

Saved By The Blog

The Girl Who Cried Webmaster: "I’m annoyed and exhausted, I have a considerable load of work to take care of, and after you’ve read what appears below, you’ll probably agree that I’ve earned it."
posted by grumblebee on Jun 3, 2009 - 84 comments

Protect Yourself, Your Family, Your Identity

The commercials are all over television — and they certainly are attention-grabbing. They’re the ones where the heavy, bald guy is sitting in his easy chair talking in a squeaky female voice about all the clothes he bought — including a bustier. Or the little old lady speaking with the gruff voice of a younger man about the sweet motorcycle she now owned. Identity theft is a serious crime — one that is occurring with an alarming frequency. The Identity Theft Manifesto explains how criminals get your personal info, and what you can do about it.
posted by netbros on Jun 1, 2009 - 15 comments

Accidental movement of large sums of money to the wrong people.

Couple flee after bank mistakenly gives them 10m $
posted by johannahdeschanel on May 21, 2009 - 112 comments

The rise and fall of a physics fraudster

The rise and fall of a physics fraudster. In the spring of 2002, the world’s most productive young scientist was a 31-year-old physicist at Bell Labs in New Jersey in the US. With eight papers published in Nature and Science in 2001 alone, Jan Hendrik Schön was emerging with breathtaking speed as a star researcher in physics, materials science and nanotechnology...But in September 2002, managers at Bell Labs released a report [pdf] that...made clear that much of Schön’s data were fake. His discoveries were lies. Many of his devices had probably never existed...On the day of the report’s release, Schön was fired and fled the US to an unknown location. In all, 21 of Schon's papers were withdrawn from Nature, Science and Physical Review Journals.
posted by gottabefunky on May 2, 2009 - 50 comments

Sir Allen Stanford, the Ponzi artist

The Dark Knight - On Sir Allen Stanford
posted by Gyan on Apr 29, 2009 - 9 comments

Banking on Fraud

Neil Barofsky, who helped prosecute the REFCO case, and who was appointed by the previous administration in late November to serve as Special Inspector General for TARP (more on him here and here), has released a report that claims TARP and related bailout programs are inherently vulnerable to fraud--and that there are at least 20 bailout/fraud investigations currently underway. The report comes on the heels of rumors that bailout money may convert to equity stakes: a move that may signal a change in current policy (but don't mention the n-word) .
posted by ornate insect on Apr 20, 2009 - 20 comments

The Hipster Grifter

Kari Ferrell is on Salt Lake City's Most Wanted List. Apparently Ms. Ferrell has moved from Utah to New York and has been hanging out with the hipsters in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Within the space of a half-hour, Ms. Ferrell was peppering him with questions about his sexual history—how many women he’d slept with and so on. “She was coming on to me, and I was super into it for the first part of it,” he said. “I realized I could have fun after work—but then I was like, ‘Let me check this girl out.’”
posted by R. Mutt on Apr 15, 2009 - 147 comments

ATM card skimmer removed and examined

In the Netherlands somebody has removed an ATM card skimmer and examined it in detail. This site is in Dutch only, but appears to show high resolution photos of an ATM card skimmer with integrated PIN-capturing video camera.
posted by thewalrus on Apr 8, 2009 - 55 comments

Pseudoscientists Win Prizes When Pigs Fly

On April Fools Day 2009, the James Randi Educational Foundation announced the Pigasus Awards for 2008 for the worst in pseudoscientific irrationality. The Scientist award was given to Dr. Colin A. Ross for his claims that he can shoot electromagnetic energy beams from his eyes. The Funding Organization award went to Walt Ruloff and his co-producers for bankrolling the Intelligent Design documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The Media award went to cable channels such as Comedy Central that still run ads for Enzyte even though the company's owner is now serving a 25-year sentence for fraud. The Perfomer award was typically awarded in the past to cheesy psychics such as Uri Geller or Sylvia Browne, but this year the (dis)honor goes to actress/spokesmodel Jenny McCarthy for her antivaccination activism, a stance that inspired the Jenny McCarthy Body Count. Finally, a new award for "most persistent refusal to face reality" was presented to infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau, who continues selling his books on "natural cures" despite a judge slapping him with a $37 million fine for false claims.
posted by jonp72 on Apr 7, 2009 - 78 comments

Trust me, I'm an attorney

More brazen than Madoff? Former NYC hotshot attorney Marc Dreier (he of the now-defunct vanity firm), was arrested in Canada in late 2008, charged with spearheading an occasionally daring series of frauds. [more inside]
posted by Inspector.Gadget on Apr 5, 2009 - 16 comments

We've only just begun

No, to us what the fraud Bernard Madoff is to individual investors, AIG is to the global financial community. [via] [more inside]
posted by ryoshu on Apr 2, 2009 - 28 comments

The Alex Latifi trial was potholed with crazy.

The Curious Case of Alex Latifi. "We don’t care if Latifi is innocent. Our goal is to put him out of business." Feds knock; a business is lost: all charges dropped years after the company was charged with violating U.S. export law by sending to China classified drawings of an Army Black Hawk helicopter part and falsifying related tests. "It appears that the principal offense committed by the defendant, Alex Latifi, was breathing while being of Middle Eastern extraction.” [more inside]
posted by Non Prosequitur on Apr 1, 2009 - 17 comments

Election Fraud in Kentucky

Election Fraud in Kentucky. "I think this is the first documented case of election fraud in the U.S. using electronic voting machines (there have been lots of documented cases of errors and voting problems, but this one involves actual maliciousness)."
posted by chunking express on Mar 24, 2009 - 36 comments

Madoff Congo scandal

The US Attorney's office has submitted email correspondence between Bernie Madoff and his victims, some of whom are more deserving than others. Via
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 23, 2009 - 60 comments

The Great Imposter

Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr was a prison warden, a monk, a lawyer and a religiously-oriented psychologist, and yet he was actually none of those things. Now known as "The Great Imposter", Demara held many careers as he faked his way through life, but his most famous exploit was to masquerade as surgeon Joseph Cyr aboard the HMCS Cayuga, a Royal Canadian Navy destroyer, during the Korean War. [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 on Mar 17, 2009 - 22 comments

A Medical Madoff

A Medical Madoff: Anesthesiologist Faked Data in 21 Studies. "A pioneering anesthesiologist has been implicated in a massive research fraud that has altered the way millions of patients are treated for pain during and after orthopedic surgeries."
posted by homunculus on Mar 12, 2009 - 46 comments

Can Vegetarians Still Eat the Rich?

Newsweek discusses Obama's "War on the Rich," a timely story, considering Bloomberg's recent christening of the "Obama Bear Market." And on a tangential note, TPM points out that those bankruptcy law reforms enacted under the Bush administration specifically included new provisions aggressively lobbied for by the "International Swaps and Derivatives Association," which were designed to protect the derivatives and swap industries. Yet another example of good timing. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on Mar 6, 2009 - 58 comments

He's no Bernie Madoff

Another massive Ponzi scheme uncovered. Meet Sir Allen Stanford and his bank. Sir Allen stands accused of running an $8 billion fraud. Read the SEC filings here.
posted by up in the old hotel on Feb 17, 2009 - 74 comments

The high cost of Lisa's tiger-repellant rock

Leaving office, President Bush claimed "that he took 'a deliberate and comprehensive approach' to preventing terrorism that combined military action overseas with strong defensive measures at home."
[As early as 2002] "We knew that the mortgage-brokerage industry was corrupt... Where we would have gotten a sense of what was really going on was the point where the mortgage was sold knowing that it was a piece of dung and it would be turned into a security. But the agents with the expertise had been diverted to counterterrorism."
[. . . . FBI Director Robert] "Mueller actually circumvented the Justice Department and the OMB to get resources. But he was shut down" by the [Bush A]dministration. [. . . . Testifying in October 2004, ] Chris Swecker, then assistant director of the criminal investigation division said ... "The potential impact of mortgage fraud on financial institutions in the stock market is clear. If fraudulent practices become systemic within the mortgage industry and mortgage fraud is allowed to become unrestrained, it will ultimately place financial institutions at risk and have adverse effects on the stock market."

posted by orthogonality on Jan 29, 2009 - 71 comments

Election Protection

Having trouble voting? Have a question about the polling process in your state? The folks at the non-partisan 866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection Hotline are there to help. Online, they offer information about voting in your state, the ability to report problems at the polls or live chat with Election Protection workers.
posted by eschatfische on Nov 4, 2008 - 14 comments

A Genuine Fake Poniatowski Gem?

The Neoclassical Gem Collection of Prince Poniatowski - Prince Stanislas Poniatowski was the vastly wealthy nephew of the last King of Poland. Living in Rome, he built up a stunning collection of gems depicting scenes like Hercules Bagging the Pygmies in the Skin of the Nemean Lion. The collection was sold by Christie's at auction in 1839 and that's when the questions started… [pdf]
posted by tellurian on Oct 23, 2008 - 15 comments

Block the Vote

A veeeery interesting article in Rolling Stone magazine, described by these words: Block the Vote, Will the GOP's campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president? The article is signed by R.F.Kennedy Jr. and G. Palast
posted by acrobat on Oct 22, 2008 - 176 comments

No milk today

Why can't China guarantee safe milk for its babies? "From the outset, in what seemed like some bizarre parallel universe, rather than alert Chinese parents as soon as possible to potentially life-saving information about the melamine contamination, baby formula producer Sanlu and various levels of government tried to shut down information. (...) Chinese journalists say the government's Central Propaganda Department, however, issued orders that Chinese media not send their own reporters to further investigate the story." [more inside]
posted by iviken on Sep 21, 2008 - 44 comments

night people vs. day people

Jean Shepherd has been mentioned before but WFMU's Beware of the Blog has finally dug out an mp3 of Shepherd himself telling the story of "I, Libertine" (mp3 link) (wiki). I, Libertine was a literary hoax that began as a practical joke. Shepherd asked his listeners ("the Night People") to go into bookstores and ask for a book that didn't exist. Fueled by bewildered bookstore owners and distributors, I, Libertine eventually did end up as a genuine bestseller, proving his point that the process of choosing bestsellers was flawed.
posted by krautland on Jun 29, 2008 - 11 comments

Life Lock's CEO Identity Stolen

Life Lock CEO's Identify Stolen Remember all those commercials recently tell us to steal Life Lock's CEO Todd Davis' Identity? Well seems as though someone did.
posted by DJWeezy on May 28, 2008 - 42 comments

The tantriks chanted their “Om lingalingalingalinga, kilikilikili….”

The Great Tantra Challenge - "On 3 March 2008, in a popular TV show, Sanal Edamaruku, the president of Rationalist International, challenged India’s most “powerful” tantrik (black magician) to demonstrate his powers on him. That was the beginning of an unprecedented experiment."
posted by Burhanistan on Mar 25, 2008 - 64 comments

Gang Memoir Fabricated

Fake Memoir Exposed: Margaret Seltzer, pen name Margaret Jones, wrote a critically acclaimed memoir, Love and Consequences, that was published last week. NPR's "On Point" covered the story, and she gave Penguin an interview. After seeing a New York Times feature, though, her own sister outed her as a fraud. [more inside]
posted by lunit on Mar 5, 2008 - 83 comments

Premature Evaluation

In the March issue of Maxim magazine, music critic David Peisner gave the Black Crowes' upcoming release Warpaint two and a half stars out of five, remarking: "...they sound pretty much like they always have: boozy, competent, and in slavish debt to the Stones, the Allmans, and the Faces." Nothing remarkable, right? Except he had never heard the album.
posted by rocket88 on Feb 26, 2008 - 103 comments

RegisterFly, er RegFly at it again

ICANN accreditation yanked, RegisterFly rebrands and tries again. Though partner Robert O'Niell claims otherwise, it looks like former CEO Kevin Medina is still in the picture. Without accreditation and their former registrar partner, eNom, RegisterFly, uh I mean RegFly has partnered with leading wholesale registrar Tucows to start selling domain names again. RegisterFlies.com comes out of retirement. Previously.
posted by FlamingBore on Feb 22, 2008 - 14 comments

IM IN UR VOTING MCHINS STEALIN UR PRIMARIES

Kucinich Asks for New Hampshire Recount in the Interest of Election Integrity. A little earlier in the election cycle this time around, many people are worried about serious discrepancies between pre-election opinion polling and exit polls, which both had Obama winning by a substantial percentage, and the official results. Obama also appears to have won in hand-counted precincts while Clinton seems to have dominated in precincts which counted the votes with the Diebold Accuvote TSx optical-scan machines, which have been shown to be susceptible to a memory card hack. [more inside]
posted by dinsdale on Jan 11, 2008 - 99 comments

Calling Sylvia Browne

James Randi to end the Million Dollar Challenge in 2010. Nobody's won it in 10 years, and the money would work better if it wasn't tied up waiting for the impossible. Many have tried, none have succeeded.... and just so this isn't a single link, here's Randi owning Uri Geller, and Randi owning James Hydrick (using only styrofoam!) [YouTube links].
posted by SansPoint on Jan 4, 2008 - 116 comments

Crafty Cartography

Lost? Why not consult a map? Because, according to a past exhibit at the British Library, the mapmaker might have a political agenda.
posted by Rykey on Nov 12, 2007 - 14 comments

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