Archive for July 31, 2015

Family Members Indicted for Participating in Multi-Million Dollar Scheme to …

Miami, Florida – Three family members were indicted for their alleged participation in a scheme to defraud Miami-area lenders and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and US Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida.

Guillermo M. Sanchez, 60, Isabel C. Sanchez, 36, and Gustavo Giral 38, all of Cutler Bay, Florida, are charged in the indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering.

According to allegations in the indictment, from 2007 through 2012, the defendants utilized companies they controlled to create fictitious invoices for sales of merchandise that never occurred.  In a process called “factoring,” the defendants sold the accounts receivables to two Miami-area lenders for approximately 90 percent of the value of the merchandise listed on the alleged fake invoices.  The lenders were not aware that the invoices were fake, and expected to recover the full amount owed from the purported purchasers.  To perpetuate the fraud, the defendants allegedly transferred the proceeds through numerous bank accounts under their control and, in a Ponzi-style scheme, used a portion of the funds to pay off other factored invoices.

After the Miami lenders refused to extend further credit, the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly created false invoices and shipping documents to obtain a loan guaranteed by the Ex-Im Bank.  Rather than acquiring, selling and shipping American-manufactured goods as required for Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed loans, the defendants allegedly used the loan proceeds to extend the fraudulent scheme by paying off other lenders, and split the remaining funds among themselves and other co-conspirators.  Ultimately, the defendants defaulted on both the factoring loans and the Ex-Im Bank loan.

Co-conspirators Fredy Moreno-Beltran, Ricardo Beato and Jorge Amad were separately charged, and each have pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme.  According to his plea agreement, Moreno-Beltran owned Clientric, a purported purchaser of goods from companies controlled by the defendants.  According to their plea agreements, Beato and Amad owned Approach Technologies International, a company that the defendants falsely claimed had sold nearly $2 million of American-manufactured telephone call center software to Clientric in order to obtain an Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed loan.  In connection with their guilty pleas, Beato, Amad and Moreno admitted that the invoices provided to Ex-Im Bank were false.

The alleged scheme caused approximately $8 million in losses to the private lenders and nearly $2 million in losses to the United States. 

The charges contained in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is being investigated by the Ex-Im Bank Office of Inspector General, with assistance provided by the FBI and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations.  The case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Patrick Donley and Trial Attorney William Bowne of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Real Property Lenders owners to go to trial after judge throws out plea deal

Rodney Jarmin and Tammy Jordan, who are accused of defrauding about 100 people, will be going to trial after all. A judge reversed his ruling and reinstated felony charges Wednesday morning, after the case was almost derailed in June.

Im feeling relieved that the train wreck I referred to previously is now back on track, victim James Pope said.

A month ago, deputy district attorney Steve Von Dohlen asked Judge Donald Umhofer to throw out Jarmin and Jordans pleas. According to court transcripts, the prosecutor was mostly silent when the owners of Paso Robles-based Real Property Lenders pleaded no contest to misdemeanors instead of felonies, as charged. Jarmin, 75, and Jordan, 53, are accused of selling securities by means of false statements.

Its not finger-pointing. Its just a fact, defense attorney Robert Sanger said in court. He and Jordans attorney Pierre Blahnik called the backtracking buyers remorse.

Wednesday, assistant district attorney Lee Cunningham stepped in.

There was never a meeting of the minds with respect to this, so its not buyers remorse. Its that something happened that we didnt expect would happen, Cunningham said.

Judge Umhofer said he would recuse himself from the upcoming trial, when victims will have a chance to testify as witnesses.

Our trust in the justice system will now prevail. that my personal opinion of events will be evaluated by a jury, Pope said.

Jarmin and Jordan are scheduled to return to court on July 29 to set a new trial date.

Uber pushes NYC’s largest cab medallion owner into bankruptcy | New York Post

Uber is at the Kings gate!

Faced with intense competition from the ride-sharing app, Gene Friedman, the largest yellow cab medallion owner in the city, has filed for bankruptcy for part of his taxi empire, bankruptcy papers show.

The self proclaimed King of Taxis owns more than 900 medallions, and is seeking Chapter 11 protection for 22 companies that control a total of 46 medallions.

Citibank has sued Friedman for failing to pay back loans that he took out for some of his medallions. The cab czar claims that the Uber incursion has gutted their value that was once placed at $1.1 million in 2013.

Friedmans move comes on the eve of a City Council vote that would cap the number of new vehicles from Uber and other similar companies.

Despite the bankruptcy filing, Friedmans companies will continue to operate while restructuring, according to court papers.

Bahamas Judge Won’t Recognize Baha Mar U.S. Bankruptcy – WSJ

A Bahamian judge on Wednesday denied Baha Mar Ltd.’s request for recognition of its US bankruptcy filing at the urging of the island nation’s government and the developer’s Chinese creditors.

The ruling means that the company’s assets in the Bahamas, including the $3.5 billion stalled resort, won’t receive full protection in the Bahamas of the US bankruptcy code, which blocks creditors from taking legal actions against the company. However, with the US bankruptcy case pending, creditors with US operations would…

Man receives prison time for duping renters | News – Home

THE OFFICIAL ID WILL COME FROM THE MEDICAL EXAMINERS OFFICE. HE IS ACCUSED OF TAKING ADVANTAGE OF PEOPLE WHO NEEDED A PLACE TO LIVE, BUT DIDNT HAVE GOOD CREDIT. NOW THIS MAN, KENNETH UPCHURCH, FACES THREE YEARS IN PRISON AFTER PLEADING GUILTY. KEITH GARVIN IS LIVE HER HE SPOKE TO UNDERVICTIM WHO SAID UPCHURCH TOOK HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS FROM HIM. Reporter: $1,000 IN CASH. THIS HOME IN FRESNO IS BEING PROPERLY RENTED TONIGHT, BUT A FEW MONTHS AGOO IT WAS BEING ILLEGALLY BY A MAN NOW HEADED TO PRISON. HE SHOWED ME THESE TWO HOUSE. HE THOUGHT HE HAD FOUND HIS DREAM HOME BUT BECAME THE VICTIM OF A SCAM ARTIST THIS. LOCAL MAN WHO DID NOT WANT TO BE IDENTIFIED SAYS 45-YEAR-OLD KENNETH UPCHURCH SWINDLED HIM OUT OF $1,000 IN CASH PRETENDING TO BE A REALTOR HELPING HIM FIND A PLACE TO LIVE. I GAVE HIM A THOUSAND DOLLARS, AND HE MADE IT — MADE A LEASE AND HAD ME SIGN A LEASE AGREEMENT, ME AND HIM. AND HE GAVE ME KEYS. RIGHT THEN AND THERE. Reporter: UPCHURCH IS ACCUSED OF SWIBLING A NUMBER — SWINDLING A NUMBER OF UNSUSPECTING PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR MONEY ACROSS SEVERAL AREA COUNTIES. IN EACH CASE HE WOULD FIND FORECLOSED HOMES, BREAK IN AND CHANGE THE LOCKS AND THEN CLAIM FOB — TO BE THE OWNER. HE WOULD RENT TO INDIVIDUALS, MANY WHO HAD DIFFICULTY FINDING HOMES BECAUSE OF BAD CREDIT. HE WOULD ONLY ACCEPT PAYMENTS IN CASH. HE SAID HE WAS IN A PROGRAM, THAT HE HAD A PROGRAM AND THE PROGRAM THAT HE HAD — IT WAS $1500 TO GET INTO THE PROGRAM. Reporter: COURT DOCUMENTS SHOW HE ILLEGALLY RENTED THIS HOME TO OUR UNIDENTIFIED VICTIM. THE RENTER NOTIFIED AUTHORITIES AFTER THINGS JUST DIDNT SEEM RIGHT. DEPUTIES EVENTUALLY ARRESTED UPCHURCH. HE PLEA BARGAINED AND WILL SPEND THREE YEARS IN PRISON. BUT THIS MAN, LIKE ALL THE OTHER VICTIMS, WILL NEVER SEE HIS HARD-EARNED CASH AGAIN. HE HAS THREE YEARS BUT ITS NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE NOT GOING TO GET THEIR — BUT ITS A LOT OF PEOPLE NOT GOING TO GET THEIR MONEY BACK. COURT DOCUMENTS SHOW THAT UPCHURCH HAD SEVERAL COCAINE-RELATED CHARGES DATING BACK AS FAR AS 1991 IN CALIFORNIA.

Davenport man arrested for cloning credit cards – FOX 13 News

DAVENPORT (FOX 13) –

A Davenport man has been arrested and charged with using personal identification numbers off the internet to manufacture counterfeit debit and credit cards.

Earlier this week, the Polk Sheriffs Office arrested Harvey Jackson, Jr, his girlfriend Amanda Schilt, and her mother, Marlene Schilt.

Jackson, Jr. is charged in trafficking in counterfeit cards. The two women face drug charges because during a raid at the house where all three people live, detectives found marijuana plants.

Investigators say Jackson was getting PINs by hacking into accounts on the internet, or buying the numbers from a hacker. Using a gadget called a lsquo;re-encoder, they say he would transfer the numbers onto magnetic strips on new blank cards.

Detectives say a surveillance video shot at Center State Bank in Davenport shows Jackson using a counterfeit card at the ATM. They say he was using a card number of someone who lives in Texas.

To protect yourself, experts say you should only deal with reputable banks and follow all of their security procedures.

The reality is if they want your data bad enough, theyre going to get it, Polk Sheriff Grady Judd told FOX 13.

Fewer payday loans problems reported

Payday loans have suffered from a PR problem in recent years, often being seen as a last resort for people who cant afford to pay them back. Irresponsibly high interest rates have made them an expensive choice, and many companies have found themselves under fire for their flippant advertising techniques.

In April 2014 the Financial Conduct Authority (or FCA) took over regulation of the payday loans industry, prompting many businesses supplying the service to clamp down on the way payday loans were administered. That included, in January of this year, a cap being imposed on the total cost of a payday loan.

The changes mean that if a borrower isnt able to repay his or her debt in a timely fashion, they will never end up paying back more in charges and interest than the sum that they initially borrowed as a payday loan.

Its a positive step in the right direction for an industry thats been plagued by bad press and a poor reputation, and it marks a change in the way that these businesses approach lending. For many, its hoped payday loans could become a much better option for responsible borrowing, allowing customers to access funds quickly and easily in their times of need, without terms that preclude them from ever paying back the loan.

Along with other changes that the FCA imposed, many have credited the cap with the enormous reduction in payday loan problems that were reported to Citizens Advice. In fact, compared to the same time just one year ago, complaints about the services have almost halved, falling from 10,155 to 5,554; a reduction of 45%.

This seems to indicate that the FCA regulations have succeeded in creating a more transparent industry and one that causes fewer problems for those who choose to use its services.

The changes were made because of fears that some payday lenders entire business models were based around those people without the means to pay back their loans, and from whom additional fees and charges for late payment could be extracted.

Payday lenders have also been banned from rolling over a loan more than two times, and in the event that a loan isnt paid back on time lenders are only allowed to make two unsuccessful attempts to retrieve cash from a clients bank account.

Citizens Advice has been positive about the new rules, with chief executive Gillian Guy saying The drop in the number of problems reported to us about payday loans is good news for consumers and demonstrates the impact a strong stance against irresponsible lending can have on people’s lives.”

Peachy Reports.

Editorial: Cracking down on bankruptcy abuses | Tampa Bay Times

Judges in Tampa have wisely begun to clamp down on serial bankruptcy petitioners who file repeatedly to avoid foreclosure. The abusers attempts to game the system tie up resources in bankruptcy courts, defraud banks and allow debtors to hang onto a lifestyle they cannot afford for years without consequences. Putting an end to this behavior is an integral step in setting Floridas real estate market straight and projecting a signal of its true health.

Credit cards stolen in Adel – WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

ADEL, GA (WALB) –

The search continues for two people Adel police say stole credits cards from a hospital employee.

The surveillance system inside Cook Medical Center caught the couple on camera.

Police say the man and woman went into an employees office, stole two credit cards and her ID, and went on a thousand dollar shopping spree in Valdosta.

This morning, I had several anonymous calls from people with names of both people, who they thought they may be, and more information is still coming in, said Adel Police Capt.. Jonathan Blake

Call Adel Police if you recognize the two.

Copyright 2015 WALB. All rights reserved.

RadioShack, Creditors Move Closer to Bankruptcy Settlement – WSJ

A lawyer for the former RadioShack Corp. said the company has made significant progress toward wrapping up its bankruptcy case, but a handful of potential roadblocks remain.

During a hearing Wednesday, lawyers for the electronics retailer told Judge Brendan Shannon of the US Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., that the former RadioShack and its creditors have reached an agreement on the general terms of a settlement that would…