PATH: BS | Business | Get-Rich-Quick

Yes Virginia, You Can (And Should) Sue Telemarketers

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When André-Tascha Lammé was granted a judgment of $3,500 last month in a Sacramento, Calif., small claims court, he heard gasps.

“You could hear people in the courtroom saying, ‘You can sue telemarketers?’” he said. You can. In fact, you can make some decent cash for your trouble.

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Canadian Company Wants To Photograph Every House In U.S.

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Photographers from a Canadian company are going house to house, shooting pictures of the roughly 300,000 houses in metropolitan Tucson, Arizona.

It's part of an effort to photograph and appraise every house in the country, creating a database that can be sold to banks and insurance companies.

I wonder if everyone is particularly keen on this Canadian company taking pictures of their house and selling them to the highest bidders?

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2007-02-07 14:49:47 | Comment on this Article

The 9 Weirdest Tax Write-Offs

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Did you hear the one about the ostrich? The sperm donor? The dog food?

They're just three of the more ingenious tax deductions that creative Americans have devised over the years to counterpunch the tax collector. A quick Ali shuffle, a feint with the left and an outlandish deduction delivered with a straight face can take the sting out of the annual tax beating -- at least until the Internal Revenue Service catches on.

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Coming To Your Neighborhood Soon: Designer Embryos

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The FDA is investigating a business run by a San Antonio woman who buys select human sperm and eggs and creates high-class embryos for sale out of her suburban home.

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J.P. Morgan Accounts Prove To Be Fraud-Friendly

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One moment Dave DeSmidt had $179,000 in his 401(k) retirement account, the next he had nothing. In an instant, 25 years of savings had disappeared.

With a few clicks, someone raided DeSmidt’s retirement account with J.P. Morgan & Co and ordered a full disbursement to a private checking account.

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Puff Daddy Caught Selling Dog Fur Coats

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Macy's has pulled from its shelves and its Web site two styles of Sean John hooded jackets, originally advertised as featuring faux fur, after an investigation by the nation's largest animal protection organization concluded that the garments were actually made from a certain species of dog called "raccoon dog."

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2007-11-28 09:38:26 | Comment on this Article

Nut Theft Ring Cracked

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Thieves who made off with more than $1.7 million in nuts were apprehended recently when a suspicious ware house owner noticed large numbers of squirrels lurking outside one of his rented spaces.

Okay, really he noticed the perpetrators repackaging nuts for shipment, but you have to think that the squirrels were probably onto them long before that.

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The Nigerian Black Money Scam

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There are hundreds of variations on the Nigerian e-mail scams, including one in which the victims are told they've inherited millions, millions in money that has been painted black to smuggle it out of Nigeria.

In the scam, as caught on hidden cameras in Amsterdam, victims are told there is a special, very expensive chemical that can clean the black money so it can be used.

The latest idiots to get caught by this scheme include a California heart surgeon who was bilked out of $340,000 and a fundamentalist Christian church.

READ MORE | 2 comments since 2007-09-10 15:18:20 | Comment on this Article

Kent Hovind Goes Off To Jail

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Jurors convicted fundamentalist creationist preacher, Kent Hovind on 58 counts of tax fraud last night. The founder of Creation Science Evangelism is accused of failing to pay $845,000 in employee taxes at the dinosaur theme park, an amusement park that exposed visitors to Hovind and his followers' view that human and dinosaurs coexisted and that evolution did not occur.

Hovind, who faces a maximum of 288 years in prison, was taken into custody after the jury read its verdict.

Jesus was unavilable for comment.

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How Much Is That Mummy In The Window?

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An eBay auction for the mummified remains of what appears to authorities to be a child was shut down recently and efforts are underway to determine just whose mummy this might be. Selling mummified human remains is against eBay's policies (and gross), although the bid got up to $500 bucks (from an eBayer by the monicker of "Satan's Child," no less) before Port Huron, MI authorities and the eBay staff were notified.

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Yale Student's Video CV A Surprise Hit On Wall Street

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Only the best survive in Wall Street's cut-throat world of investment banking. Alpha males rule the pack and the competitive instinct is essential. A job application to UBS which appears to embrace this philosophy a little too enthusiastically has become a cult hit in the financial world. Purporting to be from a Yale student named Aleksey Vayner, the self-aggrandising document has zipped from bank to bank by e-mail.

See the video everyone is talking about where this guy takes self promotion a little too seriously. But for Aleksey Vayner, impossible is nothing.

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Roman Catholic Priests In Miami Embezzle $8M From Church

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Two Roman Catholic priests allegedly embezzled more than $8 million from their church and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on real estate, travel, rare coins and girlfriends, police in Florida said today.

No word yet if they bought a Stairway to Heaven.

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Cheney Bets On Bad U.S. Economy

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According to Kiplinger's, the Cheneys, who may be worth close to $100 million, have invested the vast majority of their wealth overseas, in markets that do not fluctuate based on the U.S. dollar:

Vice President Cheney's financial advisers are apparently betting on a rise in inflation and interest rates and on a decline in the value of the dollar against foreign currencies. That's the conclusion we draw after scouring the financial disclosure form released by Cheney this week.

Makes you feel all nice and cozy knowing the Vice President has so little faith in the economy he's controlling...

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Jesus Appears In Shrimp Dinner

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Not merely content to grace the presence of highway underpasses, sheet metal, and candles, the holy family has now made an appearance in a California man's shrimp dinner.

Looks like Jesus has put on a little weight doesn't he?

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From Inside the Luxurious Pyramid

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On April 19, 2001, a man named Alyn Waage was arrested at the airport in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with $4.5 million in his briefcase. Waage had boarded the Learjet intending to fly to Belize to pick up an employee who worked at the mail forwarding office there, then fly on to Vallarta where his company, the Tri-West Investment Club, was based, and then to Latvia where he intended to buy a bank he dealt with. The first two steps of this schedule he completed, but he wanted to deposit some of the money in the bank himself so he took a few million and stuffed it in his luggage. When the jet landed and the customs officials asked to look through his bags, the jig was up.

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New Orleans Threatened By Transvestite Gang

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"Davis said it wasn't supposed to be like this. They survived Hurricane Katrina's Category 3 winds and the ensuing looters. They reopened despite the long odds of doing business in a devastated city. The last thing the Magazine Street shop owners expected to threaten their survival was a crime ring of transvestites....

The transvestites first appeared in March when they raided Magazine Street like a marauding army of kleptomaniacal showgirls, said Davis, using clockwork precision and brute force to satisfy high-end boutique needs."

READ MORE | 9 comments since 2008-11-15 08:12:46 | Comment on this Article

Gold Rush: The Latest Scheme To Get People To Watch Commercials

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Mark Burnett, creator of the Survivor and The Apprentice reality shows, and AOL have teamed with CBS to create a web-based treasure hunt titled "Gold Rush". The idea behind the series is that clues will be embedded on various web sites and within commercials on CBS. Burnett seems to think that the quest for hidden gold buillon throughout the country will entice users to watch commercials, if not actually Tivo them and watch them over and over to get clues.

Personally, I'm convinced that Burnett doesn't have a clue either.

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In Debt Over Your Head? Pay Us.

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You've seen the commercials...credit counseling agencies offering to help you get out of the big, fat hole of crushing debt you've gotten yourself into. These largely non-profit agencies are supposed to help people by negotiating between strapped consumers and lenders, making payment of debts more manageable so everybody is happy--consumers pay off their debts, lenders get some of the money they're due, and the agencies take only the amount needed to cover their costs...because after all, they're charitable organizations.

Or are they? The IRS investigated 41 credit counseling agencies, and revoked the tax-exempt status of every single one, finding that they were in business to suck money from these struggling debtors instead of helping them get back on their feet.

Maybe all the spam should have been a tip-off.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2008-11-15 06:53:52 | Comment on this Article

The Perfect Mark

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"Late one afternoon in June, 2001, John W. Worley sat in a burgundy leather desk chair reading his e-mail. He was fifty-seven and burly, with glasses, a fringe of salt-and-pepper hair, and a bushy gray beard. A decorated Vietnam veteran and an ordained minister, he had a busy practice as a Christian psychotherapist, and, with his wife, Barbara, was the caretaker of a mansion on a historic estate in Groton, Massachusetts.

Worley scrolled through his in-box and opened an e-mail, addressed to CEO/Owner. The writer said that his name was Captain Joshua Mbote, and he offered an awkwardly phrased proposition: With regards to your trustworthiness and reliability, I decided to seek your assistance in transferring some money out of South Africa into your country...

Still, Worley, faced with an e-mail that would, according to federal authorities, eventually lead him to join a gang of Nigerian criminals seeking to defraud U.S. banks, didn’t hesitate. A few minutes after receiving Mbote’s entreaty, he replied, "I can help and I am interested."

The New Yorker has a great story about a prominent Christian leader who lets his greed overcome his commmon sense. His reward? Two years in prison and more than $600,000 in fines. When you read those goofy Nigerian e-mails, you think, "Nobody is stupid enough to fall for this stuff right?" Well, it seems that Christians are one of the scammers' favorite targets. They have the right combination of naivety and greed that makes them, "The Perfect Mark."

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2010-04-20 09:43:32 | Comment on this Article

Congress Gets Pay Raise, You Get Pay Raise?

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What a concept--a bill has just been introduced to tie Congressional raises to the minimum wage. Think about it; in order to vote themselves a raise, Congress would have to give the same raise (percentage-wise) to every regular working stiff in the country. Certainly if they need a raise, Joe Schmo down at Burger King needs one, too.

READ MORE | 4 comments since 2007-07-08 20:19:33 | Comment on this Article

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