Danish anti-piracy lawyers stole millions from their clients, sentenced to years in prison

Johan Schlüter is (was!) a Danish lawyer whose firm contracted with the Antipiratgruppen (an entertainment industry group now called RettighedsAlliancen, whose members include the MPAA) to run legal campaigns against file-sharing services and their users. Read the rest

It's really easy to steal your cellphone number, and that's a gateway to stealing everything else

Consumer Reports covers cellphone identity theft, which includes taking out cellphone accounts in your name and using them to establish credit that can be leveraged to get credit-cards and loans in your name; and to steal your cellphone numbers and hijack your other accounts by intercepting two-factor authentication texts from your bank and other services. Read the rest

Sweden's notorious copyright troll said they'd sue, but if you ignore them, they just go away

When the Danish copyright troll Njord Law started operating in Sweden, it went to court saying that it was planning on enforcing copyright, not engaging in "speculative invoicing" -- a kind of legal blackmail that involves sending out thousands of legal threats on the off chance that some people will pay you to go away. Read the rest

Spectacular read: a profile of Anna Sorokin, a con-artist who convinced New York that she was a high-rolling socialite trust-funder

Jessica Pressler's long, gripping profile of con artist Anna Sorokin (AKA Anna Delvey) has all the making of a first-rate grifter novel, where the likable, unflappable rogue is revealed by inches to be a sociopath, a broken person who can't herself tell truth from fiction. Read the rest

Jargon watch: smishing and vishing

Smishing: phishing with SMSes. Vishing: phishing with voice-response systems. A pair of Romanian hackers have been extradited to the U.S. after allegedly bilking unwitting victims out of more than $18 million in an elaborate voice- and SMS-phishing (i.e., vishing/smishing) scheme. [Tara Seals/Threatpost] (via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

The company that made Grenfell Tower's flammable, poisonous insulation used dangerous lies to make hundreds of sales

Celotex convinced the owners of Grenfell Tower and hundreds of other buildings in the UK to insulate with their RS5000 insulation product -- a product that had never passed safety tests. The company claimed it was safe for use because a different version of RS5000 (one that used much more flame-retardant) had been through the tests. Read the rest

Amazon has a real fake review problem

A "vast web" of fraudulent reviewers have come to dominate Amazon, with shills being paid cash to order a product, photograph it on arrival, and write a glowing, 5-star review. Read the rest

The US gave its client states hundreds of millions for anti-terrorism, then crooked UK military contractors ripped it all off

Defense Secretary James Mattis has announced a criminal investigation into the misuse of $458,000,000 that the US government gave to Iraq and Afghanistan to build out mass-scale domestic surveillance apparatus and other "anti-terrorism" capabilities. Read the rest

Want to review Comey's book on Amazon? You gotta buy it

Amazon has long had a problem with shill reviews and quiet removal of negative reviews, but the flood of questionable anti-Comey book reviews by non-purchasers finally prompted them to require a verified purchase in order to rate the book. Read the rest

Wells Fargo fined $1B for stealing cars and jacking houses

Wells Fargo defrauded 800,000 car loan borrowers, forcing 274,000 of them into bankruptcy and stealing ("wrongfully repossessing") 25,000 cars; they also ripped off mortgage borrowers by failing to send them their paperwork until after the deadline for filing it and then fining them for not filing it on time. Read the rest

Credit bubble a-burstin': wave of bankruptcies sweeps subprime car-lenders

The subprime car-lending industry -- charging exorbitant rates for car-loans to people least suited to afford them, enforced through orwellian technologies, obscuring the risk by spinning the debt into high-risk/high-yield bonds -- is collapsing. Read the rest

Wells Fargo accused of ripping off rich people, too

When you look at the list of people that Wells Fargo stole from -- ordinary depositors, struggling mortgage borrowers, 800,000 car loan borrowers, mom and pop businesses, medium businesses and home owners -- a commonality emerges: they're all poor people, or middle-class people, or slightly rich people. Read the rest

SEC charges former Equifax CIO with insider trading

Jun Ying was serving as CIO of Equifax when he avoided more than $117,000 in losses by exercising and liquidating all of his stock options before the public was notified of the company's catastrophic breach -- but after he had figured out what was going on. Read the rest

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes accused of fraud by SEC, pays it off

Theranos, touting fast and easy blood tests, was a billion-dollar Silicon Valley beast. Read the rest

Martin Shkreli weeps as he is sentenced to 7 years in prison

Martin Shkreli, the entrepreneur famous for hiking the price of a life-saving medicine and defrauding hedge fund investors, was sentenced Friday to serve 7 years in prison.

Convicted in August on securities fraud charges, Shkreli was a sneering, smirking presence in interviews, Capitol Hill hearings and on the internet—at least until the judge tired of his antics and threw him in jail to await sentencing.

At Friday's hearing, the Wall Street Journal's Rebecca D. O'Brien wrote that Shkreli's own defense lawyer said "There are times I want to hug him...There are times when I want to punch him in the face."

Added Ben Brafman, the lawyer: "Quite frankly, I've got my begging voice on."

It was all to no avail, even after Shkreli wept and promised that he was a changed man. Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said the lengthy sentence had nothing to do with Shkreli's reputation or price-gouging. He faced up to 20 years in prison.

Now 34, Shkreli became well-known after raising the price of Daraprim, a pill used by HIV patients, from from $13.50 to $750. He was arrested on securities fraud charges over an unrelated hedge fund swizz: the prosecution contended he pilfered funds to start another company, while his defense noted he made good on the investments in the long run.

He was banned from Twitter after harassing a woman journalist there; he also fell into the habit of buying internet domains that include the names of journalists who wrote about him, including me. Read the rest

Paul Manafort's inability to save Word files as PDFs provided the evidence necessary to indict him for fraud

Paul Manafort, one-time Trump campaign manager, has been indicted for cooking his books in order to qualify for a loan; prosecutors secured the evidence of his fraud by searching his email, which contained attachments that clearly showed him doctoring his financial statements and then emailing them to his co-conspirator Richard Gates so Gates could convert them to PDFs, which literally just involves selecting "Save As..." and choosing "PDF." Read the rest

Wells Fargo admits it ripped off its customers, creates low-response-rate opt-in system for its victims to get paid back

Wells Fargo has admitted wrongdoing in defrauding 110,000 mortgage borrowers, and to make good on it, they're sending out letters that look like junk-mail, containing a form that customers have to fill in to confirm that they want their stolen money back; if Wells doesn't get a reply, it will assume that those customers are donating their settlements back to the bank's shareholders. Read the rest

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