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Scams in the News

Your 2012 New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Get Scammed!

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History repeats itself. Fact. George Santayana once stated, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This fact holds true with every aspect of one’s life, especially in one’s financial life. And especially in the world of scams. If you’re not up to date and familiar with the latest scams and schemes circulating the financial world, chances ... Read More »

Envelope Please! The Top Ten Scams Of 2011 Are In!

Every year the Better Business Bureau investigates hundreds of thousands of scams, from the novel to the old. Recently they compiled and published a list of the top ten scams of 2011 including nine major categories and a “Scam of the Year” category. Curious? Here’s what the BBB has listed: “Top Job Scam BBB sees lots of secret shopper schemes, ... Read More »

Holy Fraud, Batman! Literally…

Yesterday, an Ohio resident was indicted for allegedly engaging in a fraud scheme that promised to fund more than $500 million in mortgage loans to around 20 churches and a dozen small businesses across the country. The man, Jamal Lawson, fraudulently obtained more than $300,000 in advance fees that he used for personal expenses instead of securing loans as he ... Read More »

Four Israeli Residents Charged With Phony Lottery Prize Scheme Extradited To US

It was recently announced that four defendants have been extradited from Israel on charges relating to their participation in multiple lottery telemarketing fraud schemes. The schemes targeted elderly victims in the United States and netted millions of dollars in profits. In July of 2009 three of the extradited defendants, Avi Ayache, Yaron Bar, and Ian Kaye, were arrested in Israel ... Read More »

Upromise And FTC Settle Charges Over Internet Toolbar That Deceptively Collected Consumers’ Personal Information

If you have a child and are saving for their college fund, chances are you’ve heard of the company Upromise. Upromise is a company that offers consumers a membership service that allows them to save money for college. When consumers make a purchase or buy a service from a Upromise partner merchant they then receive rebates that are placed into ... Read More »

FTC Bans Landmark Clearing From Using Remotely Created Payment Orders

It was announced today that a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) action has banned a payment processor from using a new payment method to debit accounts after allegedly debiting millions from consumers’ bank accounts without their consent. Payment processors provide merchants with the ability to obtain customer payments for products and services via electronic banking. According to the FTC’s complaint against ... Read More »

Investment Advisor Defrauds Clients Out Of Retirement Funds

Apparently an Illinois investment advisor, Steven Salutric, engaged in an investment fraud that swindled the retirement savings of 10 elderly clients to lose more than $4.26 million. Salutric was charged with one count wire fraud in a criminal information filed in late December of 2011. Apparently Salutric diverted clients’ funds to his personal business associates and to entities in which ... Read More »

Don’t Spit In That Cop’s Burger – MA State Trooper Arrested For Extortion

Yesterday Massachusetts State Trooper, John Analetto, was charged with extortion and loansharking relating charges including the collection of extension of credit by extortionate means. The complaint alleges that between Oct. 2011 to present, Analetto loaned money to a cooperating witness (“CW”) after learning of the CW’s outstanding debts to loansharks, in exchange for a percentage of the CW’s gambling business. ... Read More »

Six Hundred Out Of $74 Million In Ponzi Scheme

Douglas Vaughan faces 10 to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to wire and mail fraud charges that involved his operation of a “Ponzi” scheme where he defrauded around 600 investors of more than $74 million. Vaughan promised extraordinary returns which he obviously did not follow through with. In February of 2011, in an indictment alleging that, between 2005 ... Read More »

Fraudster Deported Back To United States To Face $3.2 Million Fraud Charges

This past New Year’s weekend Joseph Randall Medcalf was deported by Panama officials back to the United States after being charged with defrauding investors of $3.2 million. Medcalf fled the country back in 2008 after filing for personal bankruptcy in 2007 in order to discharge debts related to his scheme. According to the indictment, between May of 2002 until October ... Read More »

Attorney Sentenced In $50 Million Bank Fraud

Kevin Harold Lewis was sentenced to 121 months incarceration to be followed by three years of supervised release for bank fraud. Lewis was also ordered to pay $33,826,326 in restitution. An additional amount of restitution will be considered after briefs are filed regarding the loss to Centennial Bank of Cabot, Arkansas. Lewis was ordered to report to the Bureau of ... Read More »

University of Georgia Ph.D. Student Sentenced For Fraud And Identity Theft

In early December, Carlton Lewis, a former Ph.D. student was sentenced to 70 months in prison for his role in an identity theft and credit card fraud conspiracy. Throughout the conspiracy, Lewis, who was enrolled as a Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia, provided credit and debit card skimming devices to waitresses working in restaurants across the southeastern United ... Read More »

AmBanc, Commercial Capital Banc and U.S. Underwriting Fraud Scheme

Last month the United States Attorney’s Office announced that James France was indicted for wire wire fraud in connection with an advance fee scheme. Apparently, France held himself out as being in the business of commercial lending, and operated his business under various names such as AmBanc, Commercial Capital Banc and U.S. Underwriting. The indictment alleges that from around 2005 ... Read More »

Houston Physician Gets 11 Years In Prison – AGAIN

Dr. Ira Klein, a physician in Houston, Texas, was sentenced in 2007 to federal prison for defrauding insurance companies of more than $10 million. He, like so many criminals before him, has appeared in federal court again for a re-sentencing hearing. A federal jury convicted Klein in November 2006 of 18 counts of mail fraud and 26 counts of health ... Read More »

Woman Sentenced For Stealing Identities Of Student Loan Borrowers

Janika Fernae Bates, a resident of Alabama, was sentenced today in the Middle District of Alabama to 94 months in federal prison for stealing identities of student loan borrowers and providing them to a co-conspirator, who used them to file false tax returns, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. On Sept. 23, 2011, a jury in Montgomery, ... Read More »

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