Mounties Flummoxed By Maple Syrup Hijacking!

Some enterprising thieves have stolen millions of pounds of…

Maple Syrup!

Gettin’ crazy out there y’all!

Police probing Quebec maple syrup heist worth up to $30-million

Quebec police are on the hunt for a sticky-fingered thief after millions of dollars of maple syrup vanished from a Quebec warehouse.

The theft was discovered during a routine inventory check last week at the St-Louis-de-Blandford warehouse, where the syrup is being held temporarily. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which is responsible for the global strategic maple syrup reserve, initially kept the news quiet, hoping it would help police solve the crime quickly.

About 10 million pounds of syrup was stored at the site, at a value of more than $30-million.

Anne-Marie Granger Godbout, executive director of the federation, said the organization is still trying to determine how much is missing and declined to offer an estimate. But a spokesman from the Sureté du Québec said the loss was significant.

“We know that it’s millions of dollars that was stolen,” said Sergeant Richard Gagné. “It’s a very large amount.”

All of the maple syrup inventories are fully insured, according to the federation, so there will be no loss to producers.

Ms. Granger Godbout said the theft shouldn’t put the global supply of maple syrup at risk, but warned it could allow the thief to undercut legitimate producers. The federation represents about 10,000 maple syrup producers in Quebec. “Obviously those people stole the maple syrup to sell it somewhere,” she said. “If it’s a big volume, it could be very harmful for the maple syrup industry. The companies that are working in this industry will have to compete with some company that didn’t pay for the maple syrup.”

Orange Jumpsuit Garlic Thieves?

This intrepid team of crooks swiped several truckloads of …Garlic! Now, I have to believe short of a Vampire infestation in the local town – stealing a truckload of freshly harvested Garlic is about as stupid as it gets…

These guys get BTx3′s – “Orange Jumpsuit of the Week Award”!

Cops Nab Thieves —With 9.5 Tons of Garlic

It’s a heist that didn’t exactly require sniffing dogs: Austrian police stopped three overloaded and sagging vans about to cross into Hungary from Austria today and found them packed to the roof with allegedly stolen garlic—about 9.5 tons of the pungent cargo. After questioning the five men—all Romanian nationals—in the vehicles they charged them on suspicion of receiving stolen goods.

Police say the garlic apparently came from Spain and estimate its value at $37,500. The Austrian Press Agency cites one officer as saying it was clear what the vans were carrying even before their doors were opened. “All three vehicles really stunk like garlic,” he says.

Did Crooked Lawyers and a Judge Steal Rosa Park’s Endowment?

One of the things which have really escalated in the past few years has been the cost of Lawyers. Believe me, I’m in the middle of a lawsuit right now, paying from $375 – $575 an hour for Lawyers. One of the things which has happened in this country is to make it financially impossible for many individuals and small companies to pursue legal remedies – meaning a further tilting of the playing field in the favor of the wealthy.

One of the issues I expect to surface in the next few years is accountability for Lawyers, as the system of capitalistic competition seems to have (once again) failed at controlling costs.

Attorney: Judge, 2 lawyers conspired to drain civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks’ estate of cash

An attorney claims a judge and two lawyers involved in a long-running dispute over civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks’ estate conspired to drain the estate’s cash.

Attorney Stephen G. Cohen said in court papers Tuesday that Wayne County Probate Judge Freddie Burton Jr. conspired with John Chase Jr. and Melvin Jefferson Jr. to rack up more than $507,000 in mostly unnecessary legal fees. Cohen claims the estate is $88,000 in debt.

Jefferson told The Detroit News the court action was a “great fabrication.” Burton declined to comment to the Detroit Free Press. An email seeking comment was sent Thursday to Chase.

A hearing is May 22.

Parks left almost all her estate to the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute, which Cohen represents. Relatives challenged Parks’ will after her 2005 death.

Antique Radio Collection – Man Saves America’s Audio Treasures

Check out his picture. As an admirer of industrial design from yesteryear, I have to say Mr. Goldin’s antique radio pushes the “kewl” factor right through the roof!

Not to mention his sucessful effort at saving some of the Nation’s audio treasures from thieves.

I hope the Police and Archives can recover those items which were sold.

J. David Goldin and his Antique Radio Collection

Amateur sleuth helps stop National Archives thefts

When J. David Goldin saw the recorded interview of baseball great Babe Ruth for sale on eBay he knew something was wrong. There was only one original record of that 1937 interview of Ruth on a hunting trip, and Goldin had donated it to a government archive more than 30 years ago. Now someone was auctioning it off, the winning bid just $34.75.

“I took one look at the record label and I said, `holy smokes, that’s my record,”‘ said the retired radio engineer.

From his home in Connecticut, filled with antique radios and tape reels, Goldin launched an amateur sleuthing effort that helped uncover a thief ripping off the country’s most important repository of historical records. The heist turned out to be an inside job. The culprit was the recently retired head of the video and sound branch of the National Archives and Records Administration — the government agency entrusted with preserving such documents as the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

Leslie Charles Waffen, a 40-year employee, has acknowledged stealing thousands of sound recordings from the archive, and prosecutors say more than 1,000 were sold on eBay. The thefts started as early as 2001, and the stolen recordings include items ranging from a recording of the 1948 World Series to an eyewitness report of the Hindenburg crash. Waffen was set to be sentenced Thursday by a judge in Maryland and will likely spend a year and a half in prison.

It was Goldin’s meticulous record-keeping and some sleuthing worthy of a modern-day detective drama, however, that brought Waffen to authorities’ attention and helped catch him.

The 69-year-old Goldin’s interest in radio began when he was a teenager. He taped his first broadcast at age 14 and studied radio production at New York University before working for CBS, NBC and other stations.

At the same time, he became passionate about preserving radio’s history. He started creating his own archive of sound recordings, in the early days storing records under the bed in his small apartment in the Bronx.

These days, Goldin has a computer catalog for sorting through his holdings, more than 100,000 programs in all. He paid to have the system custom designed for him in the 1980s and estimates he’s spent hundreds of thousands of dollars obtaining and archiving broadcasts. Rows of neatly organized boxes of tape reels fill the basement of his Sandy Hook, Conn., home, which he shares with his wife Joyce, three dogs and 917 antique radios.

Now retired, he spends his days preserving recordings by transferring them from their original metal, glass and plastic records to tape. He cleans up the sound with a bank of equipment that takes up part of his living room and makes his catalog available on his website. He says he has enough uncataloged recordings to last the rest of his life.

Once Goldin has listened to and copied the recordings, however, he doesn’t need the original discs. That’s one of the reasons why he asked the National Archive in the 1970s if it wanted the originals, most of them radio broadcasts from the 1930s and 1940s. The archive said yes, and Goldin donated thousands of recordings ranging from political speeches and interviews to Congressional hearings. Then, he says, he mostly forgot about them.

In September 2010, however, he typed one of his routine searches for records into eBay and saw the Babe Ruth recording for sale.

Goldin wasn’t sure what was happening. He wrote to the National Archives. Were they getting rid of old material? If so, he wanted his records back. He got a call a few days later. No, the archive hadn’t sold anything. The record was missing, and it seemed likely it had been stolen.

Goldin, a meticulous record keeper, turned over the information he had, including documentation of his donation. He knew the eBay seller with the Ruth record was going by the name “hi-fi-gal” and lived in Rockville, Md.

Then Goldin did some detective work of his own. He ordered a different recording from “hi-fi-gal,” and when it arrived he traced the package’s return address. It came back as the home of Leslie Waffen, the man who had accepted Goldin’s donation to the Archives more than 30 years earlier.

“I was kind of puzzled at the beginning and then disappointed when I discovered it was Les Waffen,” said Goldin, who added the men hadn’t stayed in touch.

With that information and more, federal officials obtained a search warrant and raided Waffen’s home, carting away two truckloads of materials. Late last year, Waffen pleaded guilty to stealing government property. He and his lawyer have declined to talk to reporters.

No.. That’s STEAL the Bridge – Not Blow it up!

This group of itinerant morons apparently didn’t get the email, text message, or tweet…

This is more like it, complete with a taste of the paranormal for drama…

And it (bridge stealing) has even gone international!

Thieves Make Off With 10-Ton Bridge

Thieves recently got away with stealing a 10-ton bridge in the Czech Republic earlier this year. How, do you ask, were thieves able to steal a bridge? It’s simple really.

A railroad spokesman Pavel Halla reported that the theft, which was worth millions, happened when a group, claiming that a bridge in Slavkov had to come down. Halla stated:

“The thieves said they had been hired to demolish the bridge, and remove the unwanted railway track to make way for a new cycle route.”

They came with very convincing, albeit forged, paperwork, which passed inspection, allowing the thieves to dismantle and take away the bridge, along with 650 feet of unused railroad track. Halla went on to stated that:

“It was only after they had gone that checks were made and we realised we’d been had. The cost of replacing the bridge will run into millions.”

This is not the first bridge to be stolen in the Czech Republic, though it is the largest. In 2008, thieves made off with a 4-ton railway bridge outside the Czech city of Cheb. A police spokeswoman stated of that theft that, “We are not sure if it was taken for personal use or for its scrap value.”

While stealing bridges is not a regular occurrence, stealing metal has become a commonplace activity, especially in the face of an economic crisis. Thieves have been known to strip copper wire from the insides of traffic lights and street lights. Metal theft in Great Britain is estimated to cost the economy about £770 million every year.

Thief Tries to Snatch Raygun Statue

Some years ago there was an effort by the Rethugs to put Raygun’s mug on the $50 bill. Even they apparently figured out that was a dumb idea.

About a week ago, a non-profit which exists to put Raygun’s name on everything from baby wipes to tollway outhouses unveiled two new 10′ bronze statues, one in Newport Beach California, and the other disgracing our National Airport.

After the theft of a bronze church bell in San Francisco a few weeks ago, with the price or bronze scrap today – this ought to be fun!

Next Time might I suggest borrowing one of those tow trucks… And, not that I’m suggesting anything but… I just happen to know where there is an even bigger statute

A Leaning Raygun - After an Unsucessful Attempt by a Thief to Make off With the Statue worth $60,000 Melted down

Ronald Reagan statue in Calif. park vandalized

A bronze statue of former President Ronald Reagan was vandalized early Sunday, according to officials. Continue reading

Thieves Steal 2.7 Ton Church Bell

The Missing St. Mary's Bell

You KNOW things are bad in America when folks are stealing entire bridges

And now the Church bell.

Thieves in San Francisco recently “walked away” with a 2.7 ton copper bell that once sat in the Cathedral – but had been replaced by an electronic chime.

Anybody checked recently to see if the Statue of Liberty is still there?

Seems that the only crooks in America aren’t just the ones in Congress, the Banks and on Wall Street.

St. Mary’s Cathedral bell stolen in S.F.

SAN FRANCISCO – The bell at St. Mary’s Cathedral rang through the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. It survived when an arsonist torched the old cathedral in 1962. And although it was replaced with an electronic chime in the 1970s, for decades it stood strong on a wooden platform outside the rebuilt church.

But sometime in the last month, metal thieves made off with the 122-year-old, 2.7-ton bell.

“It is a very historic and valuable item, it is a memory of the Catholic Church in San Francisco,” said George Wesolek, communications director for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. “It is kind of an ignoble end for the bell if they succeed.”

Nobody realized the bell was missing until Sunday morning. A parishioner mentioned that it wasn’t where it was supposed to be, a secluded outside corner of the cathedral on Geary Boulevard and Gough Street. Then everyone realized that they couldn’t remember seeing the bell for the last month.

Police assume the bell was taken more recently, but can’t be sure.

“Nobody can swear on a Bible and say the last time they saw the bell,” said police Inspector Brian Danker.

Heavy equipment

The bell, which at 5,300 pounds and 5 feet across is bigger than the Liberty Bell, must have been lifted by a crane and carted away by more than an average truck, Danker said. No security cameras are pointed at the area.

In 1889, the bell was commissioned to hang in the original St. Mary’s Cathedral at Van Ness Avenue and O’Farrell Street. A steam train hauled it across the country from a Baltimore bell foundry.

It hung in the church until 1962, when an arsonist destroyed the old cathedral. The bell was hoisted out of the crumbled tower and moved to a secluded corner of the cathedral’s new grounds, near the corner of Gough Street and Geary Boulevard.

And there it sat on wooden blocks for 40 years as part of an exhibit on San Francisco history.

The bell is made of a mix of 80 percent copper and 20 percent tin, records show. If melted down, the bell is worth roughly $75,000. It originally cost the church $17,000, Wesolek said…(more)

 

Thieves Steal an Entire Bridge!

There are a fair number of old abandoned railroad bridges around the country in some fairly out of the way areas…

But stealing an entire bridge?

This one gets an “A” for Audacity!

Nice Bridge Photo of a Common Railroad Bridge Type. Could not find a Photo of the Missing Bridge.

How Does an Entire Bridge Go Missing?

Police in North Beaver Township, Pennsylvania are scratching their heads right now. Why? A 50-foot long, 20-foot wide steel bridge just disappeared. How? Apparently, some very bold criminals just up and stole it.

Stealing a bridge, as you’d imagine, is a pretty complicated crime. This isn’t some 90s era magic trick people. The local police suspect that the bridge robbers worked at this for over a month. They presumably used a blow torch to cut the corrugated steel and then somehow moved the pieces—steel beams and such— to sell for scrap metal. That couldn’t have been easy as each foot was estimated to weigh hundreds of pounds. But why oh why would you even bother stealing a bridge? Because the scrap metal is estimated to be $100,000. Oh.

But even knowing how it happened, I’m still left wondering, how does this happen!? It’s a crime that’s so far out there that no one really knows what from how and who from why. In fact, police say the bridge went missing some time between September 27th and October 5th. That’s a pretty long range for something that big to go missing, right?

And who in the right mind would look at a bridge and go hey, I think I can take that down. How do they transport it? Who are they selling it to? And how come no one noticed earlier? (this has a more reasonable answer, it’s deep in the woods and the bridge is an old railroad bridge). Will they re-build the bridge? Were the robbers really there for a month? Are they going to steal another one? Is this going to set off a bridge stealing bonanza? Hey, I’d actually like that. Life would be more exciting if more bridges got stolen. Robbing bridges is the new black.

Stop Thief! China and Intellectual Property

Glad to see somebody bellying-up to this issue. The theft of American Developed Intellectual Property by China has reached epidemic proportions – and is having a seriously negative impact on the ability of emerging tech companies to develop economically in the US.

One of the biggest reasons for the development of US based manufacturing of high-tech products and moving that production back into the US is the “tax” of intellectual property theft, and the fact that 15 seconds after you ship a “blueprint” to China, 15 other “factories” are manufacturing clones. That unseen tax raises the true cost of manufacturing in China by an order of magnitude. Then there is the cost of lost markets – making American developed products, regardless of where they are ultimately manufactured noncompetitive in emerging markets such as India and Africa.

Lastly is the National Security issue. American IP is literally bootstrapping Chinese weapon systems, without China having to pay the cost of development. Making the Chinese Military’s weapons, in some cases more advanced in terms of electronics than our own. Add that to China’s huge human resource advantage in terms of trained engineers… And that becomes a major problem.

Several years ago I was part of a company which produced 7 “Patentable” technologies in High Tech communications systems. We made the decision to Patent only one of those technologies for two reasons: 1) the high cost and long delay inherent in pursuing a US Patent ($40k+) followed by an International Patent (another $40k+) saddling a startup company with over $560k in legal fees and, 2) that the Patent would be exposed to competitors, including Chinese companies who would copy it – meaning, with the common lethargy of US Venture Capital when dealing with new technologies versus “process improvements” and “social media” – products based on our Patents would be on the market far (1-2 years) before we could get them out the door. The rest were held as “Trade Secret”, which is a euphemism for “just don’t tell anyone how it actually works” – because it will take longer to reverse engineer it…

Than steal it.

Timothy Geithner: China ‘Very, Very Aggressive’ In Stealing U.S. Technology

 

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Thursday that China is holding to its decades-old strategy to steal American intellectual property, in a pointed statement reflecting U.S. officials’ growing impatience with Beijing.

“They China have made possible systematic stealing of intellectual property of American companies and have not been very aggressive to put in place the basic protections for property rights that every serious economy needs over time,” Geithner told a forum in Washington.

“We’re seeing China continue to be very, very aggressive in a strategy they started several decades ago, which goes like this: you want to sell to our country, we want you to come produce here … if you want to come produce here, you need to transfer your technology to us,” Geithner said.

Although unusually direct, Geithner’s comments echo a common refrain from U.S. officials and executives. The new U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, who has assailed China in the past for its trade practices, has put the defense of U.S. intellectual property among his chief priorities.

China has said it would drop some of its “indigenous innovation” rules that have riled foreign companies who say access to government equipment and technology orders hinge on their transferring patents and other intellectual property. Continue reading

Take Back the Land

Recently departed Jazz Musician Gill Scott Heron’s seminal piece was a song called “Winter in America”. I think Gill Scott saw the destruction of the American Dream years before it reached the crisis point.

Something is really, really wrong here – and other than a few intrepid groups like “Take Back the Land” – there doesn’t seem to be anyone in power doing a damn thing about it.

The right wing in this country is spending a lot of time defending the banks, the major corporations, and the rich by foisting one Trojan Horse issue after another upon the public airwaves.

A $15 a year tax break isn’t going to save you from being foreclosed on your house.

Protesters ‘Liberate’ Foreclosed Homes

protesters foreclosuresWhen Virginia Henry bought her boarded-up and abandoned Rochester, N.Y., home in December 2007, she saw potential where others were blind to it. The house, a short sale, became her home to live in and care for, she said. She plopped down her $20,000 and filed her paperwork for a loan program that would pay the balance — $43,000 — to rehabilitate the property.

But what followed was a series of unanswered calls and letters to Bank of America, Henry says, eventually culminating in her arrest Friday for a charge of trespassing on her own front lawn. The arrest, like much of this story, is the source of a dispute. Henry asserts police officers shoved her to the ground during the arrest, police claim she fainted from the intense heat. She has a court date for the trespassing charge July 28.

The facts of the short sale are also at issue. The bank has told Henry that the short sale never closed and that the house at 5 Appleton St. — with all her worldly possessions trapped inside — is no longer hers. A Bank of America spokeswoman, Jumana Bauwens, said she would investigate the claims.

“This is my home,” Henry told AOL Real Estate in a phone interview after the arrest. “How can I be trespassing in my own home?”

Protesters Step In
Continue reading

Did Faux News Also Tap Phones in America? New Allegations…

The real question about the Rupert Murdoch media empire is whether the News of the World phone hacking scandal was a “one off” crime by a few bad folks…

Or whether it was the sort of illicit activity supported and promoted throughout the media empire by the senior management.

This report is about claims by a former Faux News Executive who claims that Faux News secretly financed, organized, and operated the same sort of back room secret operation committing illicit and illegal invasions of personal privacy through phone tapping, hacking, and other nefarious methods.

Of course about now, you have to figure most of the staff of this operation are on fast flights to Siberia for extended “vacations”…

But there still should be enough tracks here for sophisticated cyber-sleuths to check the veracity of the accusations.

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News ran ‘black ops’ department, former executive claims

Dan Cooper, who helped launch Fox News as managing editor in 1996, said that a “brain room” carried out “counter intelligence” on the channel’s enemies from its New York headquarters.

He was threatened after it found out he spoke to a reporter, he claimed.

Another former senior executive said the channel ran a spying network on staff, reading their emails and making them “feel they were being watched”.

The channel, which has come under pressure amid allegations that outlets owned by Mr Murdoch might have attempted to hack the voicemail messages of September 11 victims, firmly denies all the allegations.

Mr Cooper, who left Fox News soon after its launch, provided a quote for a 1997 article about Roger Ailes, Fox News’s president, by the journalist David Brock in New York magazine.

The quote was not going to be attributed to him, but he alleges that before the article was published, Mr Cooper’s agent received a telephone call from Mr Ailes threatening to withdraw Fox’s business from all his clients.

“There are only two possible ways Ailes found out,” Mr Cooper said. “Either Brock told him or they got hold of Brock’s phone records and saw I spoke to him.”

He first alleged that the records were obtained by researchers in the “brain room” in 2005 in an article on his website about the launch of the channel.

“Most people thought it was simply the research department of Fox News,” he wrote. “I knew it also housed a counter intelligence and black ops office. So accessing phone records was easy pie.”

Mr Cooper said yesterday that he helped to design the high-security unit. “It was staffed by 15 researchers and had a guard at the door. No one working there would engage in conversation.”…

Another former Fox News senior executive, who did not wish to be named, said staff were forced to operate under conditions reminiscent of “Russia at the height of the Soviet era”.

“There is a paranoid atmosphere and they feel they are being watched,” said the former executive. “I have no doubt they are spying on emails to ensure no one is leaking to outside media.

“There is a unit of spies that reports up to the boss about who was talking to whom. A lot of people are scared that they’re going to get sidelined or even that they’re going to get killed.”…

 

Enron – Lehman Brothers… Arthur Anderson – Ernst and Young?

One of the criminal characteristics of th last several gigantic corporate frauds has been the acquiescence and in some cases outright criminal participation in the fraud by the accounting firms charged with auditing the books. Arthur Anderson’s collaboration with Enron allowed the company to defraud the investment community out of billions.

While no Accounting Company was ever blamed in the WorldCom scam – One needs to ask, WTF were the auditors?

Now we have Lehman Brothers… And Ernst and Young.

WTF aren’t the guys who perpetuate these frauds in jail like the other criminals spending long sentences?

Ernst & Young faces US lawsuit over Lehman

Ernst & Young has been sued by New York’s attorney general over its role in the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

The accountancy firm has been accused of being complicit in a “massive accounting fraud” which Lehman ran.

Ernst & Young has said it will “vigorously defend” itself, claiming that there is no factual or legal evidence to be brought against the auditor in this context.

Ernst & Young says: “Lehman’s audited financial statement clearly portrayed Lehman as a highly leveraged entity operating in a risky and volatile industry.”

New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo says: “At a time when it was critical for investors to make informed decisions as to whether to keep or to buy Lehman, Ernst & Young assisted Lehman in defrauding the public.”

The lawsuit did not name as defendants any former top executives at the investment bank whose September 2008 collapse helped spark the global financial crisis.

According to Reuters, the lawsuit seeks more than $150 million in fees that Ernst & Young received from 2001 to 2008 as Lehman’s outside auditor as well as other unspecified damages.

The case focuses on a practice known as Repo 105, which involves removing money temporarily from the balance sheet.

 

 

Arizona Nevada Sue Bank of America For Fraud

Seems that Bank of America has been defrauding customers (what else is new?) in a whole new way. The current scam involves getting delinquent customers to continue to pay with promises that their payments will forestall foreclosure…

And then foreclosing anyway.

B of A even did “Press Releases” -

Bank of America Helps 125,000 Homeowners With “Making Home Affordable” Loan Modifications

Starting November 1st, Bank of America’s will have surpassed its goal of providing 125,000 trial loan modifications through the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).  These modifications, part of the Making Home Affordable Program, aim to resolve loan issues by offering an incentive for banks to accept modifications to a loans terms, rather than simply foreclosing on the home.

This is the same bank which for years ran the scam of cascading customer checking accounts to maximize the overdraft penalties, and who set up a late payment structure on their credit cards which taxed consumers $35 a month regardless of when they made the payment.

So it really isn’t a surprise that this is what they really did…

Two States Sue Bank of America Over Mortgages

The attorneys general of Arizona and Nevada on Friday filed a lawsuit against Bank of America, accusing it of engaging in “widespread fraud” by misleading customers with “false promises” about their eligibility for modifications on their home mortgages.

In withering complaints filed in state courts in both states, the attorneys general accused Bank of America of assuring customers that they would not be foreclosed upon while they were seeking loan modifications, only to proceed with foreclosures anyway; of falsely telling customers that they must be in default to obtain a modification; of promising that the modifications would be made permanent if they completed a trial period, only to renege on the deal; and of conjuring up bogus reasons for denying modifications.

“Bank of America’s callous disregard for providing timely, correct information to people in their time of need is truly egregious,” Catherine Cortez Masto, the attorney general of Nevada said in a statement.

Many Nevada homeowners continued “to make mortgage payments they could not afford, running through their savings, their retirement funds or their children’s education funds.”

The lawsuit comes as top prosecutors nationwide are investigating whether the paperwork that banks used to support foreclosure cases often was egregiously sloppy, sometimes relying on robo-signers — employees who signed hundreds of documents a day — to sign sworn court documents.

Tom Miller, Iowa’s attorney general who is heading the multistate investigation into foreclosure fraud allegations, said the two states’ lawsuits would not dilute his inquiry. “It is clear that attorneys general in Arizona and Nevada believe that it is in their two states’ best interests to pursue coordinated civil cases against Bank of America,” he said in a statement.

A Bank of America spokesman, Dan Frahm, said bank officials were disappointed that the lawsuits were filed “at this time,” given the bank’s cooperation with the multistate investigation.

Mr. Frahm disputed the allegations in the lawsuit, saying the bank was committed to making sure no property was foreclosed until the customer had a chance to modify the loan or, if ineligible for a modification, to pursue another solution.

He said the attorneys general didn’t acknowledge the many improvements the bank had made, like providing a single point of contact for customers who have started the modification process and increasing staff to support “homeownership retention initiatives.”

Arizona and Nevada are among the states hardest hit by the housing downturn, and the state attorneys general said their lawsuits were prompted by hundreds of complaints by consumers who sought modifications of their mortgages.

The complaints in the lawsuit in many ways echoed problems encountered by homeowners nationwide who have tried with little luck to obtain mortgage modifications from banks, often through a federal program set up for that purpose. Thousands of homeowners complain that banks repeatedly lose their documents, fail to return calls or foreclose when a homeowner believes he or she is still negotiating a modification.

Indeed, according to the lawsuits, Bank of America’s efforts were the most anemic of the big banks and were not confined to the Western states but rather “reflect a pervasive nationwide pattern and practice of conduct.” The lawsuit noted that Bank of America ranked last in “virtually every homeowner experience metric” monitored in a monthly report on the federal home loan modification program.

Ms. Masto of Nevada said her office’s findings were confirmed by interviews with consumers, former employees, third parties and documents. Former employees said that Bank of America’s modification staff was “chaotic, understaffed and not oriented to customers,” according to a news release. One former employee said, “The main purpose of the training is to teach us how to get customers off the phone in less than 10 minutes.”

Another employee said, “When checking on a borrower’s status, I often found that the modification request had not been dealt with or was so old that the request had become inactive. Yet, I was instructed to inform borrowers that they were ‘active and in status.’ One time I complained to a supervisor that I felt I always was lying to borrowers.”

 

Major Hit For Beltway Bandit

This is a first for a major Government contracting company, euphemistically known in the DC area as a Beltway Bandit. This sort of underhanded dealing isn’t that uncommon. Indeed, during the Bushit Administration it was found that several of the major contractors had filed for contracts as Small Businesses and won millions of dollars of contracts illegitimately. A not that uncommon ruse is to set up “minority owned” companies as front companies, where the major contractor does all the work. This steals hundreds of millions of dollars in work from legitimate minority owned, and other small business contractors trying to get a start.

SBA Suspends Government Work For Major Contractor

This is great. I’m always happy to see government contractors held to the same letter of the law as everyone else. Actual consequences are still all too rare for them:

Federal officials on Friday suspended one of the nation’s largest government contractors from receiving new work, alleging that the Northern Virginia company inappropriately went through other firms to gain access to contracts set aside for small companies.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s action imperils hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for GTSI Corp., a top-50 contractor that has relied on the Pentagon and the rest of the federal government for more than 90 percent of its sales in recent years.

At issue is work GTSI did as a subcontractor for small businesses serving as the prime contractors on government contracts.

“There is evidence that GTSI’s prime contractors had little to no involvement in the performance of contracts, in direct contravention of all applicable laws and regulations regarding the award of small business contracts,” an SBA official wrote in a letter to GTSI’s chief executive, Scott W. Friedlander. “The evidence shows that GTSI was an active participant in a scheme that resulted in contracts set-aside for small businesses being awarded to ineligible contractors.”

[...] “It’s the first time in decades that the government has completely suspended a significant player, a legitimate top-tier contractor,” said Steven Schooner, a contracting law professor at George Washington University. “It puts everybody on notice.”

Former Florida GOP Head Arrested, Charged With Embezzleing Republican Party

So, with the recent 5-4 Surpeme Court Ruling – I wonder if he had to read his Miranda Rights to the Police?

What is interesting about this is that Jim Greer was forced to resign from his Party Chairmanship when information about his high-spending lifestyle and extravagant spending utilizing the Party’s credit cards surfaced. Also ensnared in that scandal was Tea Party darling, and current Republican nominee for US Senate, Marco Rubio.

Does Jim turn “states evidence” to avoid spending the next 30 years of his life behind bars?

Hmmmmmmm… I’m beginning to believe Representative Meeks may have a shot after all!

Jim Grier - Former Florida GOP Head, Candidate For Illuminati Noir Orange Jumpsuit Award

WDBO Local News – Former GOP head jailed, charged with stealing from party

Jim Greer is facing several felony charges. He was arrested around 9:00 Wednesday morning by the FDLE at his home in Oviedo.

Greer is charged with one count of organized fraud, one count of money laundering and four counts of grand theft.

“Mr. Greer developed a scheme to take money from the Republican Party of Florida through a shell company that he created called Victory Strategies,” said Florida Statewide Prosecutor Bill Shepherd.

Greer is accused of entering into a vendor contract with the company.

“Victory Strategies then was paid 10 percent of major donor funding that came in to the party through contributions,” said Shepherd.

He says the company also received more than $60,000 dollars that was simply paid at Greer’s request. In all, he’s accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the state GOP.

If convicted of all counts, Greer could spend the rest of his life in prison. He’s being held under $105,000 bond at the Seminole County Jail.

Being Sized Up for an Orange Jumsuit Award!

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