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Fraud

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BUSINESS
November 18, 2012 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Columnist
Karen Luther first heard about becoming a "mystery shopper" from a friend and couldn't help being intrigued. In her 50s and disabled by spinal injuries, she had no prospects of returning to work as a nurse's aide. If she could earn a few extra dollars shopping for life's necessities, it sounded like a gift. Instead, her shopping foray turned into a nightmare - and federal authorities believe hundreds of thousands of victims suffered with her. They were targeted by a network of scammers running sophisticated cons, some so notorious they became known by shorthand - such as "grandparent fraud," in which a supposedly stranded grandchild begs from overseas for emergency money.
NEWS
June 29, 1991 | By Larry Lewis, Inquirer Staff Writer
The owner of a bankrupt Montgomery County printing company pleaded guilty yesterday in a Connecticut federal court to being part of a scheme to defraud equipment-leasing firms. Thomas J. Becker, 43, of North Kingston, R.I., will be sentenced at a later date on one count of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, said a U.S. prosecutor in New Haven, where the plea was entered. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Clark, who is prosecuting the case, said that Becker, who still faced a maximum 25-year prison sentence and a $750,000 fine, had agreed to cooperate with the government's continuing investigation.
NEWS
February 11, 1990 | By Stephen Keating, Special to The Inquirer
Contractor Ralph Leonard has begun paying back at least $442,000 for his role in the Kinsley Landfill fraud case. Leonard, who received probation in December after pleading guilty to theft by deception, made his first $100,000 payment Dec. 22, said Christopher Florentz, a spokesman with the state Attorney General's Office. Under a forfeiture order, filed Jan. 4 in Gloucester County Superior Court, future payments of $100,000 are due Dec. 22 in 1991 and 1992. In addition, Leonard must pay at least $142,000 in taxes owed to the federal and state government for 1983-85.
NEWS
December 13, 2007 | By John Shiffman INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A prominent Villanova real estate developer and a senior executive of Royal Bank pleaded guilty to fraud yesterday in federal court in Philadelphia. The developer, Mark Alan Mendelson, 52, also pleaded guilty to bribing the banker, Joseph Zakorchemny Jr., 57, of Aston, a former Royal Bank senior vice president. In return for his help, Mendelson gave the bank executive $12,000 cash, a trip to a casino-hotel, and jewelry. Sentencing guidelines call for at least a year in prison, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Schwartz said.
NEWS
August 31, 2007 | By Tom Infield INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Five years after making a courtroom apology for cheating people out of heirlooms and antiques, former Antiques Roadshow celebrity Russ Pritchard 3d admitted this week that he had done it again. Pritchard, 44, of Beach Haven, N.J., pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges that he defrauded six people who had entrusted him with paintings, jewelry, furniture and other items to sell on consignment from a shop in Bryn Mawr. "He never did what he promised to do," said Tracey Potere, an assistant district attorney in Montgomery County.
NEWS
July 6, 2011 | By JULIE SHAW, shawj@phillynews.com 215-854-2592
In 2006, a fire raged through the house in a rural, wooded section of Montgomery County where Paul and Monica Shay spent time on their days off. Weeks later, Paul Shay reported artwork and other items missing. According to the man who came to the rebuilt home in Douglass Township on Saturday night and shot the Shays and three others in the head - killing a 2-year-old boy - Paul Shay had conspired with the shooter in an insurance-fraud scheme related to the fire and missing art. Montgomery County authorities are trying to determine whether that's true, and they are now investigating whether the fire was arson.
SPORTS
August 30, 2010
SHAWN ANDREWS is an ungrateful fraud. Andrews, who was released by the Eagles in March, signed with the New York Giants a little over a week ago. On Friday night, the two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman played in a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, and saw fit to diss the Eagles, a team that had stuck by him through injuries and a bout with depression. "It just felt good to run back out, even though I'm at my new home with the G-Men," he told the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. "I have to say it feels much more of a family atmosphere than what I'm used to in the past.
BUSINESS
June 21, 2011
Much like a fortune cookie, you never know what you're going to get when you invest in a foreign company that has gone public in the United States, and then start poring over the financial statements. That's what securities regulators and short-sellers are warning about companies such as Sino-Forest Corp. , Longtop Financial Technologies Ltd. , and other potentially fraudulent public concerns from China that have been raising capital in America. First, let's address how to avoid foreign-based frauds listed in the United States.
NEWS
June 24, 1988 | By JIM SMITH, Daily News Staff Writer
In 1966, John P. Moscony became a salesman in the real estate business founded by his late father and helped build it into one of Southwest Philadelphia's busiest home dealers. But all the good will and reputation he once said he earned has come into question. Moscony, 45, and Thomas L. Cullen Jr., 43, his chief salesman, have been indicted by a federal grand jury here for allegedly reaping more than $600,000 in profits over a six-year period by fraudulently securing federal mortgage insurance for some 95 homebuyers whom he knew to be ineligible for government- insured loans.
NEWS
January 31, 2007 | By John Shiffman INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Philadelphia executive who pleaded guilty to participating in a $40 million television infomercial fraud was sentenced yesterday to one year and one day in prison. Patrick Buttery, 55, was the chief financial officer of Computer Personalities Systems Inc., which operated as the Video Computer Store and Direct 2 U Inc. On a national scale, the company charged consumers nearly $4 million for computers and parts that were never delivered - putting customers who complained on hold for hours, prosecutors said.
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NEWS
August 7, 2015 | By Jan Hefler, Inquirer Staff Writer
The jury that heard nearly three weeks of testimony in the mortgage fraud case against former Eagles player Irving Fryar and his mother asked to rehear some of the testimony as it began deliberations Wednesday. Superior Court Judge Jeanne T. Covert in Mount Holly scheduled the panel to return Thursday to rehear parts of the testimony of the prosecution's key witness. Fryar, 52, who made the Pro Bowl five times in his 17-year NFL career, and his mother, Allene McGhee, 74, are standing trial on charges of conspiracy and theft by deception.
BUSINESS
August 5, 2015 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Expecting a $15 million windfall in September 2011 from a deal involving pre-IPO Facebook shares, Montgomery County businessman Timothy D. Burns agreed to buy a bayside house in Avalon for $4.6 million. When the Facebook deal did not happen as expected, Burns stole from clients of his money-management firm and another business to pay cash for the 4,380-square-foot house. Bad move. At Burns' sentencing hearing Monday in federal court in Philadelphia for the Avalon deal and other fraud totaling more than $19 million, U.S. District Court Judge Legrome D. Davis said he would give Burns credit for his role in the recent conviction of another fraudster, California-based Troy Stratos.
NEWS
August 1, 2015 | By Barbara Boyer, Inquirer Staff Writer
An executive and a lawyer who participated in the takeover of a Texas financial firm and a $14 million fraud that benefited the Scarfo and Lucchese crime families were sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Camden. First Plus Financial CEO John Maxwell, 63, of Houston, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. His brother, attorney William Maxwell, 56, of Dallas, was sentenced to 20 years. Both were convicted of racketeering, conspiracy, and related offenses during a six-month trial last year that detailed a sophisticated crime operation led by Nicodemo S. Scarfo Jr., whose father is a former Philadelphia crime boss.
NEWS
July 30, 2015 | By Barbara Boyer, Inquirer Staff Writer
Reputed mobster Nicodemo Scarfo Jr. - son of former Philadelphia mob boss "Little Nicky" - will remain in prison for decades, following in his father's footsteps. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler sentenced Scarfo to 30 years for the "iron fist" control he used to extort money from a bank. The judge noted that Scarfo's conviction for racketeering, conspiracy, and related offenses was his fifth, and the second in the federal system. Scarfo was convicted last summer. Three others convicted also face sentencing this week.
NEWS
July 23, 2015 | By Jan Hefler, Inquirer Staff Writer
Former Eagles wide receiver Irving Fryar and his mother went on trial Tuesday on charges they conspired to defraud six banks in South Jersey and Philadelphia as part of a $1 million mortgage scheme. If they are convicted of the conspiracy and theft-by-deception charges lodged against them, they could face five to 10 years in prison and up to $150,000 in fines, according to the state attorney general, whose office is handling the contentious case in Mount Holly. Fryar, 52, of Springfield, Burlington County, arrived at the courthouse dressed in a bold pin-striped suit and a tan hat. His 74-year-old mother, Allene McGhee, a retired school bus driver from Willingboro, wore a blue-and-white polka-dot dress.
NEWS
July 20, 2015 | By Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
When 49-year-old Paul Brasberger suddenly died in January of 2012, a Delaware County medical examiner told his family he had heart disease, which may have contributed to his death. But after meeting with Brasberger's relatives, medical examiner Fredric N. Hellman had second thoughts. In a report, he called the death suspicious, concluding it "may not have been a consequence of natural disease" but rather "from the effects of an undetectable-to-date lethal substance administered to him unawares.
NEWS
June 27, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Philadelphia judge has dismissed witness-intimidation charges against the relative of four North Philadelphia election workers accused of adding votes to the machine after the polls closed in the November general election. Municipal Court Judge Roger F. Gordon said Thursday that he could see no evidence of a crime on a dark surveillance videotape prosecutors said showed Brandon Way, 31, slashing the car tires of a poll watcher who had reported the alleged fraud by Way's relatives. Assistant District Attorney Michael Bonner said he would review the evidence and likely refile the charges in Common Pleas Court.
NEWS
June 26, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
The District Attorney's Office on Wednesday charged three Philadelphia election officials with committing fraud in the 2014 and 2015 primary elections. In Juniata Park's 33d Ward, Fifth Division, Robin Trainor, the judge of election, and Laura Murtaugh, the minority election inspector, were charged with fraud involving the May 19 primary. And in Point Breeze's 36th Ward, 10th Division, officials charged Cheryl Ali with voter fraud involving several divisions. Cameron Kline, a spokesman for the District Attorney's Office, said Trainor, 55; Murtaugh, 56; and Ali, 56, surrendered to authorities Wednesday and were awaiting bail hearings.
NEWS
June 26, 2015 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
A federal judge has delayed the start of the fraud retrial of charter school founder Dorothy June Brown and ordered another competency exam for the veteran educator. U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick directed the court's pretrial services office Wednesday to arrange for Pogos H. Voskanian, a forensic psychiatrist, to reexamine Brown, 78, to determine whether she is competent to stand trial on charges she defrauded the charters she founded of $6.3 million. Brown's defense attorneys last week filed new medical information with the court that stated that physicians at the Cleveland Clinic examined Brown recently and concluded she has Alzheimer's-like dementia.
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