Caught in the middle of its parent company's shenanigans
We reached out to Zalman a couple of weeks ago after reading multiple reports that it was headed for bankruptcy as a result of alleged bank fraud by its parent company Moneual. Zalman responded, though later asked us to pull our follow-up article until it had a chance to draft an official statement. That statement came today, and as previously reported, Zalman contends the bankruptcy rumors are "completely false," though it's true that its parent company was involved in a $3 billion fraud conspiracy.
There is a lot of buzz around Facebook’s upcoming IPO. According to some reports, the IPO could create over a 1,000 fresh millionaires, including some highly unlikely ones like graffiti artist David Choe who reluctantly chose to receive Facebook stock in return for a paint job a few years back. That decision is expected to make him richer by as much as $200 million, and consequently a subject of envy far and wide, come Facebook IPO day. But not everyone likes to begrudge accidental millionaires like Choe their unexpected windfalls. There is no dearth of those who believe in creating their own windfall. Marianne Oleson, a 46-year-old resident of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is one such person.
When New York resident Paul Ceglia made the shocking claim last year that he owned half of Facebook, there was a palpable mixture interest and disbelief on the Internet. After some legal wrangling, Facebook has now said they have the “smoking gun” proving that Ceglia fabricated the claims. As for what it is, Facebook isn’t saying.
A 48-year-old Naperville man is $200,000 lighter after wiring that amount to a fake online girlfriend he thought had been kidnapped in London, according to The Herald News. It wasn't a lump sum payment, but a series of payments made over time as the scammer bled the now broken-hearted would-be lover dry.
Someone other than Mark Zuckerberg and Zynga figured out a way to make some serious cash using Facebook, just not legally. According to U.S. prosecutors, the popular social networking site, along with Twitter and a several other online portals, were all used in a "pump and dump" stock fraud scheme.
Officials uncovered the fraud during a two-year probe of suspected trafficking by longshoremen and others of 1.3 tons of cocaine said to be worth around $34 million. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office said 11 out of 22 people charged used more than 15 websites to "defraud the investing public into purchasing stocks that were being manipulated by participants in the conspiracy."
According to court documents, the social scandal illegally accrued more than $3 million, with shareholder losses estimated at over $7 million. Each suspect faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
If you have a PayPal account connected to your iTunes login, now might be the time to decouple the two for a bit. At least one group of scammers has managed to find a security hole allowing them to charge thousands of dollars to users' iTunes accounts via PayPal. In some cases the amounts taken were obscene, with one would-be victim telling TechCrunch, "My account was charged over $4700. I called security at PayPal and was told a large number of iTunes store accounts were compromised." This user was able to keep his bank from disbursing funds to PayPal, but others are not so lucky.
Users are reporting all over the web that PayPal is promising to contact Apple to investigate the issues. PayPal seems to be working to set things right for their customers, but Apple hasn't been involved as of yet. Have you been a victim of this offense? Let us know in the comments who you've talked to, and what they told you.
The U.S. Department of Justice has Oracle in its sights and is slamming the software maker with a lawsuit accusing the company of committing fraud in conjunction with a government contract worth millions of dollars, CNET reports.
"We take seriously allegations that government contractor has dealt dishonestly with the United States," said Tony West, assistant attorney general for the civil division of the Department of Justice, in a statement. "When contractors misrepresent their business practices to the government, taxpayers suffers."
According the lawsuit, Oracle's government customers, such as the State Department, Energy Department, and even the Justice Department, to name a few, received deals "far inferior" to Oracle's commercial clients. The lawsuit goes on to allege that Oracle misrepresented its true commercial sales practices, thereby defrauding the U.S.
Ten years ago, Visa might not have seen a need to invest so heavily in security software, but times have changed. Cyber security has never been more important, and so Visa on Wednesday announced it would spend $2 billion snatching up CyberSource, a provider of electronic payment and e-commerce security software.
The deal values CyberSource's stock at $26 a share, compared to the company's closing price of $19.44 per share on Tuesday. CyberSource's army of merchants currently stands over 295,000 strong, which includes both CyberSource and Authorize.net.
"Online commerce continues to grow rapidly, and this acquisition will enable Visa to offer new and enhanced services that will better meet the growing demand among merchants globally for robust, secure online payment processing capabilities which in turn will grow the entire eCommerce category," said Joseph W. Saunders, Chairman and CEO of Visa Inc. "With CyberSource, we are adding a new suite of leading eCommerce capabilities and experience in addressing eCommerce merchant needs. And, as eCommerce increasingly migrates to mobile devices, we believe the combination of Visa and CyberSource technology and services will position Visa to lead in mobile eCommerce."
Visa said the deal doesn't require stockholder approval and expects it to close in the company's fourth fiscal quarter of 2010.
Cybercrime has never been more profitable, according to a new report by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The annual report notes more than 336,000 complaints in 2009, a 22.3 percent increase from 2008. Businesses and individuals unwittingly forked over nearly $560 million to online fraudsters last year, more than double the amount in 2008.
"Law enforcement relies on the corporate sector and citizens to report when they encounter online suspicious activity so these schemes can be investigated and criminals can be arrested," stated Peter Trahon, section chief of the FBI's Cyber Division. "Computer users are encouraged to have up-to-date security protection on their devices and evaluate email solicitations they receive with a healthy skepticism -- if something seems too good to be true, it likely is."
Ranking high on the too-good-to-be-true list of scams were advanced fee scams that fraudulently used the FBI's name. This was followed by non-delivery of goods and/or payment as the second most reported offense, IC3 reports.