Trial begins for the "cum/ex" bankers accused of stealing €447m and trying for €60b

You know that late-stage capitalism is upon us when a financial scandal targeting €60 billion in fraud against public treasuries is lost in the noise of other scandals. Read the rest

Your phone is a crimewave in your pocket, and it's all the fault of greedy carriers and complicit regulators

Insider attacks, cell-site simulators, SIM-swap attacks, thriving markets in super-cheap, fine-grained location data, robocalls, fictitious coverage maps, and more: does the fact that all this terrible shit keeps happening, and only gets worse, mean that mobile companies and the FCC just don't give a fuck if your mobile phone is a crime wave you carry around with you on your pocket? Read the rest

As New York State's shareholder suit against Big Oil for climate denial proceeds, Exxonmobil caught intimidating witnesses

In 2015, a deep investigative report from Inside Climate News revealed that as early as 1977, Exxonmobil knew that it was destroying the planet with CO2 emissions, and its response to that fact was to gin up a decades-long disinformation campaign aimed at sowing expensive doubt about the subject, even as it grew more certain of its facts. Read the rest

Grifty "Students For Trump" founder pleads guilty to wire fraud for pretending to be a lawyer

John Lambert is a 23-year-old from Tennessee who has done a lot in his short years on this earth: in addition to co-founding "Students for Trump," he also co-founded a fake law firm called Pope & Dunn, where he pretended to be a lawyer called Eric Pope (law degree: NYU; finance degree: U Penn; years of legal experience: 15), and defrauded clients of $46,000. Read the rest

Facebook's alleged growth is largely coming from countries where Facebook says it has a fake account problem

By Facebook's own admission, more than 10 billion of the 12 billion Facebook accounts ever created have been fake; Facebook's growth has stalled out in high-income countries like the USA (where the company is actually losing users), and the majority of growth the company posted in 2018 came from "India, Indonesia, and the Philippines," which also happen to be places where Facebook says it has "meaningfully higher" rates of fake account creation, exacerbated by "episodic spikes" of fake accounts. Read the rest

Cooperative porno copyright troll gets 5 years in prison, while his co-conspirator got 14 years

Last month, Paul Hansmeier was sentenced to 14 years in prison and ordered to pay $1.5m in restitution for the copyright trolling his firm, Prenda Law, engaged in: the firm used a mix of entrapment, blackmail, identity theft, intimidation and fraud to extort millions from its victims by threatening to drag them into court for alleged infringement of copyright in eye-watering pornography, thus forever associating their victims' name with lurid pornography in the public record. Read the rest

Understanding "transfer pricing": how corporations dodge taxes through financial colonialism

Every day, the world's poorest countries lose $3b in tax revenues as multinationals sluice their profits through their national boundaries in order to avoid taxes in rich countries, and then sluice the money out again, purged of tax obligations thanks to their exploitation of tax loopholes in poor nations. Read the rest

Report: UK "Ransomware consultants" Red Mosquito promise to unlock your data, but they're just paying off the criminals (and charging you a markup!)

Last month, Propublica published a blockbuster investigative report on companies that claimed they could help you get your ransomware-locked data back, but who were secretly just paying off the criminals -- one company got so good at it that ransomware criminals started to refer their victims to them. Read the rest

Ajit Pai promised that killing Net Neutrality would spur investment and improve service: a year later, service and investment have declined

A year ago, Trump FCC Chairman (and former Verizon exec) Ajit Pai killed Net Neutrality, leveraging illegal, fraudulent industry dirty tricks to ram his rule through the process; all along, he claimed that Net Neutrality was a drag on investment, competition and service improvements, and that Americans would see immediate benefits once he was done killing Net Neutrality. Read the rest

Porno copyright troll sentenced to 14 years: "a wrecking ball to trust in the administration of justice"

For years, Paul Hansmeier terrorized internet users through his copyright trolling racket Prenda Law, evading the law through shell companies and fraud, until, finally, he was brought to justice and pleaded guilty last August. Read the rest

Internet fraudster stole 750,000 IP addresses, say prosecutors

A Charleston man was charged with fraud this week [justice.gov] after investigators unraveled an elaborate scheme to take control of IP addresses. More than 750,000 were snagged, reports the BBC, then sold on.

The US Department of Justice claims that Mr Golestan "fraudulently" won control of the net addresses by using many different shell companies. It alleges that he created websites for fake companies and invented the names of the people who purportedly ran them as part of his scheme. Mr [Amir] Golestan was charged with 20 counts of wire fraud in a US court this week. He has yet to respond to a BBC request for comment. The net addresses were handed over to Mr Golestan by the American Registry of Internet Numbers (Arin) - one of several regional administrators that dole out the few remaining addresses. It is claimed they were then resold allowing him to cash in.

Golestan appears to have attracted attention because he sued ARIN (!) after it failed to transfer control of one block of addresses. Thereafter someone with a three digit IQ finally looks at the paperwork and the FBI gets called in. Read the rest

Grifty "information security" companies promised they could decrypt ransomware-locked computers, but they were just quietly paying the ransoms

Ransomware has been around since the late 1980s, but it got a massive shot in the arm when leaked NSA cyberweapons were merged with existing strains of ransomware, with new payment mechanisms that used cryptocurrencies, leading to multiple ransomware epidemics that locked up businesses, hospitals, schools, and more (and then there are the state-level cyberattacks that pretend to be ransomware). Read the rest

DOJ accuses Verizon and AT&T employees of participating in SIM-swap identity theft crimes

The DOJ has indicted three former Verizon and AT&T employees for alleged membership in a crime-ring known as the "The Community"; the indictment says the telco employees helped their confederates undertake "port-out" scams (AKA "SIM-swapping" AKA "SIM hijacking"), which allowed criminals to gain control over targets' phone numbers, thereby receiving SMS-based two-factor authentication codes. Read the rest

"Black hat" companies sell services to get products featured and upranked on Amazon

Amazon has been plagued by counterfeiters, fraudsters and crooks who use tactics like fake reviews to goose sales of their products; the company keeps cracking down on these activities, but despite using measures so broad that they destroy the livelihoods of legitimate sellers, Amazon is losing the war on crooked sellers. Read the rest

Wells Fargo is looking for a new CEO

Wells Fargo is America's largest bank and it also leads the nation's banks for scandals, having stolen from rich people, poor people, veterans, active-service military personnel, homeowners, small businesses, etc, as well as 2,000,000 ordinary customers who had fraudulent accounts opened in their names in order to bleed them of transaction fees, sometimes at the expense of their good credit and even their financial solvency. Read the rest

Study finds 95% of all Bitcoin trading volume is fake, designed to lure in ICOs

A report from Bitwise -- an investment firm lobbying for FEC approval for a cryptocurrency based exchange-traded fund -- found that 95% of the trading volume in Bitcoin was fake, ginned up through techniques like "wash trading" where a person buys and sells an asset at the same time. Read the rest

Man stole $122m from Facebook and Google by sending them random bills, which the companies dutifully paid

Last week, Evaldas Rimasauskas of Lithuania plead guilty to US wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering charges, admitting that he had stolen $99m from Facebook and $23m from Google between 2013 and 2015. Read the rest

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