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.
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.
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."
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.
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 In all, 21 of Schon's papers were withdrawn from Nature, Science and Physical Review Journals.
The Dark Knight - On Sir Allen Stanford
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) .
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.’”
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.
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.
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]
No, to us what the fraud Bernard Madoff is to individual investors, AIG is to the global financial community. [via] [more inside]
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]
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)."
The US Attorney's office has submitted email correspondence between Bernie Madoff and his victims, some of whom are more deserving than others. Via
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]
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."
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]
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.
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."
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.
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]
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
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]
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.
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.
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."
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]
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.
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, Reg
isterFly, uh I mean RegFly has partnered with leading wholesale registrar Tucows to start selling domain names again. RegisterFlies.com comes out of retirement. Previously.
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]
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].
Lost? Why not consult a map? Because, according to a past exhibit at the British Library, the mapmaker might have a political agenda.
Do you feel like a fraud? Holden Caulfield used to hunt phonies a few blocks from here, but times have changed. Now the phonies — or people who think they are, anyway — hunt themselves.
In Violation of Federal Law, Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election Records Are Destroyed or Missing. "The extent of the destruction of records is consistent with the covering up of the fraud that we believe occurred in the presidential election."
Former media baron Conrad Black has been found guilty of obstruction of justice and three counts of mail fraud.
Brent Kovar got investors and employees to believe his invention was the next big thing, but nobody's ever seen it. Mister Kovar had also been appointed in 2003 to the Business Advisory Council of the National Republican Congressional Committee by then-Congressional Majority Leader Tom Delay. Apparently, a DC-9 they co-owned (painted to resemble aircraft from the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security) was busted in Mexico with 5.5 tons of cocaine on board. First link via fark
Was American Idol's Sanjaya a fraud? Graduate art student Bill Vendall claims that he created the American Idol character "Sanjaya" as an art project. He claims the character is "a symbol for the self referencing nature of progressive evolution." This is being debated around the internets.
Fake Chinese Gylcerin kills hundreds, possibly thousands. So, if you thought melamine in pet food and food chain animal feed was bad, how do you feel about antifreeze in your medicine? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to drug manufacturers, suppliers and health professionals that counterfeit drug additives have been using diethyline glycol, or DEG (commonly used as antifreeze) as a substitute for glycerin in cough medicine, fever medication and injectable drugs. Hundreds, possibly thousands have been killed.
A 13-YEAR-OLD boy who lives with his gran has been exposed as one of Britain's biggest internet conmen. Frank Abagnale Jr. 2.0 ? Citizens United to Find Fugitives with an internet swindlers database. A little about sociopaths and some of the scams they play.
... Karl Rove, a handful of the party's most tech-savvy computer gurus and the former Republican Ohio Secretary of State, created, owned and operated the vote-counting system...
Network Hosting Attorney Scandal E-Mails Also Hosted Ohio's 2004 Election Results --...more than ample documentation to show that on Election Night 2004, Ohio's "official" Secretary of State website -- which gave the world the presidential election results -- was redirected from an Ohio government server to a group of servers that contain scores of Republican web sites, including the secret White House e-mail accounts that have emerged in the scandal surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's firing of eight federal prosecutors. ...
Clive James on Scams and Hoaxes. "If the flim-flam man is sensible enough to offer you a return of only twice as much, the scam might even work. I was once defrauded of a heartbreakingly-large sum by a fellow writer who was smart enough to offer no return at all. True to her word, she didn't return my money either."
Stockman agreed that supply-side theory was, in Greider's words, "only new language and argument to conceal a hoary old Republican doctrine: give the tax cuts to the top brackets, the wealthiest individuals and largest enterprises, and let the good effects 'trickle down' through the economy to reach everyone else." Said Stockman: "It's kind of hard to sell 'trickle down,' so the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really 'trickle down' .. . Kemp-Roth [the supply-side tax bill] was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate."Reagon's Budget Director, David Stockman "was indicted for defrauding investors and banks of $1.6 billion while chairman of Collins & Aikman Corp., an auto-parts maker that collapsed days after he quit." via
Everybody loves Zombies. Everybody loves killing Zombies. Nobody wants to suddenly wake up surrounded by Zombies. Not when you thought you were just playing a video game.
Marjoe Gortner, world's youngest preacher kicked off his religious career by performing a marriage at the age of four and a half. Although he eventually left the evangelism gig and became a hippie, lack of cash led him to take it up again part time as an adult. That is, until a crisis of conscience precipitated a documentary where he exposed the business of evangelical ministry. "Marjoe" won the 1972 Oscar for "Best Documentary" and has been recently re-released. An interview with Marjoe. You tubery inside.
Open Secrets - the trouble with Enron
United States v. George W. Bush et al. Retired federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega has written a hypothetical indictment for a hypothetical grand jury charging President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell of violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, thereby commiting a conspiracy to defraud the United States by tricking the nation into war. Though a work of fiction, the evidence presented is real. Part 1 is the introdutction, part 2 is the indictment, and part 3 is the beginning of grand jury testimony, with more to come over the next few days.
Video the Vote. "Starting this election... people like you and I... will document problems as they occur. We'll play them online, spread word through blogs and partner websites, doing our part to make sure the full story of our elections is told." via Rushkoff.