Showing posts from July, 2009

Who is Responsible for a Deceased Relative's Debts?

If your relative leaves unpaid debts when he or she dies, do you have to pay?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, surviving relatives usually have no legal obligation to pay the debts of a family member who has died. Generally, that person’s estate is responsible for paying his or her debts. But if there isn’t enough in the estate to cover the debts, they typically go unpaid.

After a relative dies, debt collectors may contact family members and ask them to pay their loved ones’ debts. The rights of surviving relatives are covered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which the FTC enforces. The FTC has developed a new consumer alert about this issue titled Paying the Debts of a Deceased Relative: Who Is Responsible? To learn more, go to:

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information …

Brown Wins $1.2 Million Ruling Against Small Business Rip-Off Artists

San Diego - Continuing his fight against "rip-off artists," Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. won a $1.2 million ruling against Gaston Muhammad, 42, and Ronna Green, 41, of Duluth, GA, who billed nearly a million California business owners $150 each for deceptive and unnecessary corporate minutes services.

"These rip-off artists sent nearly a million deceptive mailers to business owners, threatening them with loss of their corporate status if they didn't pay $150 for unnecessary services," Brown said. "In reality, this was a massive scam costing California small business owners hundreds of thousands of dollars."

The defendants mailed solicitations to California business owners that were designed to look like State of California official forms-specifically, the Secretary of State's "Annual Statement of Information." The solicitations implied that unless the corporations paid the defendants a $150 annual fee, they could lose their corpo…

Control Components Inc. Pleads Guilty to Foreign Bribery Charges and Agrees to Pay $18.2 Million Criminal Fine

Company Admits to More Than 200 Payments in Over 30 Countries

Control Components Inc. (CCI), a Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.-based company, pleaded guilty today to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the Travel Act in a decade-long scheme to secure contracts in approximately 36 countries by paying bribes to officials and employees of various foreign state-owned companies as well as foreign and domestic private companies.

Today, CCI entered guilty pleas to a three-count criminal information before U.S. District Judge James V. Selna in the Central District of California, Santa Ana Division. CCI designs and manufactures service control valves for use in the nuclear, oil and gas, and power generation industries. As part of the plea agreement, CCI agreed to pay a criminal fine of $18.2 million; create, implement and maintain a comprehensive anti-bribery compliance program; retain an independent compliance monitor for a three-year period to review the design and impl…


EEOC Prevails in Jury Verdict and Subsequent Appeal for Two Customer Service Technicians Fired for Attending Jehovah’s Witness Convention

JONESBORO, Ark. – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that a Satisfaction of Judgment was entered in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Jonesboro Division, in a religious discrimination lawsuit brought by the federal agency against communications giant AT&T, Inc. on behalf of two male customer service technicians who were suspended and fired for attending a Jehovah’s Witnesses Convention. AT&T paid a total of $1,307,597 pursuant to the judgments entered in the case.

In October 2007, a jury of nine women and three men awarded the two former employees, Jose Gonzalez and Glenn Owen (brothers-in-law), $296,000 in back pay and $460,000 in compensatory damages under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. During the four-day trial, the jury heard evidence that both men had submitted written req…

Fugitive Task Force Finds, Arrests Dallas Murder Suspect in Florence

Austin, TX – Arturo Casas, 29, of Irving, Texas was arrested last night at approximately 8:00 p.m. in the Williamson County community of Florence by the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force. Casas was sought by the Dallas Police Department for his involvement as the alleged shooter in last week’s homicide in Dallas where Casas was seen fleeing from the scene after the victim was shot and killed with a handgun. After the shooting, Casas fled the Dallas area. The Dallas/Ft. Worth Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team quickly developed information indicating Casas fled to the central Texas area. The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force quickly picked up the trail and established surveillance in the 500 block of Story Street in Florence throughout the afternoon in an effort to identify and locate Casas.

Surveillance teams were able to identify Casas and surround the home. Casas eventually came out of the house after a period of hesitation. A firearm was subsequently recovered at the home. It is unknown if …

Helmerich & Payne Agrees to Pay $1 Million Penalty to Resolve Allegations of Foreign Bribery in South America

Helmerich & Payne Inc. (H&P) has entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice to resolve improper payments by H&P to government officials in Argentina and Venezuela in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

H&P, a Delaware corporation, is headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company provides oil drilling rigs, equipment and personnel on a contract basis, primarily in the United States and South America, with subsidiaries in both Argentina and Venezuela.

As described in the agreement, H&P has acknowledged responsibility for the actions of its subsidiaries, employees and agents who made various improper payments to officials of the Argentine and Venezuelan customs services, both government agencies. These payments were made in order to import and export goods that were not within regulations, to import goods that could not lawfully be imported, and to evade higher duties and taxes on the goods.

The …

Two Personal Injury Lawyers Plead Guilty

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today that two personal injury lawyers have pleaded guilty to failing to pay personal income taxes on cash they received from a suspended personal injury lawyer who was later convicted of stealing money from multiple clients.

The defendants, DAVID RESNICK, 44, and SERGE BINDER, 39, pleaded guilty today in State Supreme Court. They admitted to accepting cash in exchange for their agreement to allow Richard Boter, the other personal injury lawyer, to continue his practice of law, despite his suspension, using the name of their Coney Island law firm, Resnick & Binder, P.C. As part of their pleas, RESNICK and BINDER will be disbarred by operation of law, forfeit the cash they received, each will pay a $5,000 fine, and they will be sentenced to five years probation.

The guilty pleas stemmed from an earlier investigation into Richard Boter. Boter operated a high volume solo law practice specializing in personal injury and no-fault…

End of the Line for Financial Telemarketer Who Violated Do Not Call Rules

Court Order Imposes Five-Year Ban on Telemarketing to Consumers

A financial services telemarketer who allegedly violated several requirements of the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Rule – from calling hundreds of thousands of consumers on the National Do Not Call Registry to failing to transmit accurate caller ID information – has settled the government’s charges and is banned from telemarketing to consumers for five years.

In November 2007, as part of a multi-case crackdown on Do Not Call violators, the government charged Global Mortgage Funding, Inc. (Global Mortgage) and its owner, Damian Robert Kutzner, with unlawfully calling consumers on the Do Not Call Registry in an attempt to sell financial products, including mortgages and related financing services. The complaint also charged the defendants with violating the FTC’s Do Not Call Rule by failing to transmit accurate caller ID information, failing to pay fees required to access the Registry, and abandoning calls by not co…


EEOC Settles Suit Against San Antonio Restaurant on Behalf of Female Victims, Including Teen, Subjected to Sexual Touching, Comments, Gestures, and Requests for Sexual Favors

SAN ANTONIO – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the settlement of a sex discrimination lawsuit against Luby’s Restaurants Limited Partnership, doing business as Luby’s San Antonio #19 (Luby’s), for $135,000 and significant remedial relief on behalf of a class of female workers who were subjected to a pervasive sexually hostile work environment for years. Houston-based Luby’s operates 128 restaurants in five states with several locations in San Antonio and throughout Texas.

The EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. SA-08-CA-0794-FB), filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, charged Luby’s with subjecting female employees, including a teenager, to a sexually hostile work environment at its Floyd Curl Ave., San Antonio location. Specificall…

WILLIAM BAYER and STALLONE TESTING LABS INC., Indicted on charges of scheme to defraud and offering a false instrument for filing

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment of a concrete lab director and a building materials testing laboratory for defrauding numerous state agencies and scores of private clients in connection with construction material testing.

The defendants, WILLIAM BAYER, 69, and STALLONE TESTING LABS INC., which employs BAYER as Lab Director, were indicted on charges of scheme to defraud and offering a false instrument for filing. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred from January 1, 1998 through November 18, 2008 and January 30, 2009, respectively.

The investigation into STALLONE began as result of the District Attorney’s investigation and October 2008 indictment of Testwell Laboratories, another independent testing laboratory that performed concrete tests for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, School Construction Authority, and numerous private projects filed with the New York City Department of Bu…


L&T Group of Companies Charged with Numerous Types of Employment Discrimination

SAIPAN, CNMI L&T Group of Companies, Ltd., the largest employer and conglomerate of garment manufacturers in Saipan, has agreed to pay $1.7 million and to provide far reaching and significant injunctive relief to settle a series of lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that charged the company with retaliation and discrimination based on national origin, pregnancy and age, all in violation of federal law.

The three-year, court-enforced consent decree will resolve four EEOC discrimination lawsuits against the employers and their affiliates: Tan Holdings Corporation; Tan Holdings Overseas, Inc.; Concorde Garment Manufacturing Corp.; Micro Pacific, Inc.; Seasonal Inc.; and L&T International Corp. The EEOC filed the cases in U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands. The consent decrees, signed by U.S. Federal Court Judge Alex R Munson on July 28, 2009…


LEV L. DASSIN, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that MICHAEL CHU, a/k/a "Michael Choi," a/k/a "Schuching M. Chu," a/k/a "Shu Ching Chu," a/k/a "Michael Shuching Chu," was sentenced yesterday to 97 months in prison for his leadership role in a criminal ring that smuggled massive quantities of counterfeit goods through the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal ("Port Newark") in Elizabeth, New Jersey. ROBIN HUFF, formerly a licensed customs broker, was sentenced today to 70 months in prison for helping CHU and other members of the ring evade border and security measures at Port Newark. HSI FENG LI, a/k/a "The General," a/k/a "Xue Feng Li," 62, of Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced today to 33 months in prison for his role in the operation, and DICK ONG, 58, of Bergenfield, New Jersey, who tracked CHU’s containers and arranged for their pickup at Port Newark, was sentenc…

Owner of check cashing companies Indicted

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today a 186- count indictment of a check bundler and the owner of check cashing companies for repeatedly falsifying business records to avoid New York State banking and anti-money laundering reporting requirements. The District Attorney also announced the guilty pleas of the owner’s business partner as well as those of four check cashing companies.

The defendants RIAD (a/k/a Steve) KHALIL, 46, the check bundler, and NEIL GOLDSTEIN, 53, an owner of two of the check cashing companies, were indicted for falsifying the business records of VEIL CHECK CASHING CORP. to aid and conceal their structuring of transactions and for failing to file currency transaction reports on those structured transactions. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred between October 27, 2006 and July 11, 2008. The defendant, CHARLES GOLDBERG, 46, who is GOLDSTEIN’s business partner, and corporate defendants, VALE CHECKING OF NEW YORK, Inc. (VALE), VEI…

UBS Client Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Return, Hid $8 Million in Secret Swiss Bank Accounts

WASHINGTON - Jeffrey P. Chernick, of Stanfordville, N.Y., pleaded guilty today to charges of filing a false tax return, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. Chernick, who owns a corporation which represents toy manufacturers in China and Hong Kong, appeared today before Judge James I. Cohn in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and accepted responsibility for concealing more than $8 million in Swiss bank accounts.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on or about Oct. 14, 2008, Chernick electronically filed a U.S. Individual Income Tax Return Form 1040 for tax year 2007, which failed to report that he had an interest in or a signature authority over a financial account at UBS AG, one of Switzerland’s largest bank. He also failed to report income earned on the UBS account. The UBS account was opened in the name of Simba International Ltd., a nominee Hong Kong corporation.

According to court documents, beginning in the mid-1970’s, the defendant set u…


Cuomo Sends Cease-and-Desist Letters to Prevent “Tragedy Waiting to Happen”

NEW YORK, NY (July 28, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his office has sent cease-and-desist letters to over 100 companies demanding that they immediately stop selling imitation toy guns that are easily confused with real weapons in New York State. New York State law prohibits the sale of imitation guns without proper markings that distinguish them as toys.

“Realistic toy guns are a tragedy waiting to happen,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Every day, these imitation weapons put the lives of both law enforcement and civilians at risk. This is a public safety matter, plain and simple, and we will not permit these companies to profit by making our streets more dangerous.”

According to the letters sent by Attorney General Cuomo today, the companies must immediately cease the sale of imitation or toy guns that do not have the requisite markings. The Attorney General also reserved the right to …

14 Ex-offenders become certified paralegals

PHILADELPHIA (Special to the NNPA from the Philadelphia Tribune) - Their debt to society paid, 14 newly certified paralegals, all ex-offenders, received their diplomas at a ceremony at City Hall last week. The class of 2009, graduates from the Center for Community Education at Eastern University, was the first class in a program designed to help ex-offenders find jobs.

This is a great story that shows how knowledge can empower, especially knowledge of the law. Read the full story at:

Seven Charged with Terrorism Violations in North Carolina

Seven individuals have been charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad.

On Wednesday, July 22, 2009, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of North Carolina returned a sealed seven-count indictment against the following defendants:

* Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina
* Hysen Sherifi, 24, a native of Kosovo and a U.S. legal permanent resident located in North Carolina
* Anes Subasic, 33, a naturalized U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina
* Zakariya Boyd, 20, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina
* Dylan Boyd, 22, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina
* Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina
* Ziyad Yaghi, 21, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina

All the defendants are charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, as well as conspiracy to murder, kid…

QuikTrip agrees to pay nearly $750,000 in back pay to 3,819 workers in 9 states

Violations disclosed in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas

TULSA, Okla. — QuikTrip Corp. has agreed to pay $747,729 in overtime back wages for 3,819 current and former convenience store workers following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division's Arkansas-Oklahoma District Office.

"I am pleased that this case has resulted in almost $750,000 in back wages being paid to thousands of workers across nine states," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "I am committed to ensuring that every worker is paid the full wages he or she is due, and that those who work overtime receive the compensation to which they are legally entitled."

The investigation found that Tulsa-based QuikTrip had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by failing to pay its employees the overtime compensation they were legally entitled to receive. QuikTrip failed to pay the additional overtime premium due on p…

Former Military Officer Pleads Guilty to Participating in Scheme to Steal Fuel Worth $39.6 Million from U.S. Army in Iraq

Robert Young, 56, a former captain in the U.S. Army, pleaded guilty today to participating in a scheme to steal fuel worth approximately $39.6 million from the U.S. Army in Iraq.

Young, a U.S. citizen who resided in the Philippines until his arrest in connection with this case, entered his guilty plea today in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., before Judge Claude Hilton. Young pleaded guilty to both counts of a two-count superseding indictment filed on May 21, 2009, charging him and Robert Jeffery with conspiracy and theft of government property. Young’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 30, 2009.

In his plea, Young admitted that in October 2007, he and other co-conspirators agreed to participate in a scheme to steal fuel from the U.S. Army. Young also admitted that between October 2007 and May 2008, he and his co-conspirators, purportedly representing Department of Defense contractors in Iraq, used fraudulently-obtained documents to enter the Victory Bulk Fuel Point (VBFP) in Camp…

Brown Exposes Inner Workings of Loan Modification Boiler Room

Los Angeles - Responding to a just-released report that exposes the inner workings of a loan modification boiler room, Brown warned homeowners to avoid "shadowy and unscrupulous" loan modification consultants who use aggressive telemarketing tactics and charge thousands of dollars in upfront fees for foreclosure relief.

The report, written by a court-appointed receiver, found that H.E. Servicing, Inc., a loan modification company that Brown sued last week, ran a "well-appointed telephone boiler room" focused on making money, rather than helping homeowners stay in their homes.

"From sun up to sun down, this shadowy and unscrupulous operation used high-pressure telemarketing tactics to bully homeowners into paying thousands of dollars for phony loan modification services," Brown said. "In reality, the goal wasn't to help these homeowners stay in their homes, but to rip them off and take their hard-earned dollars."

On July 7, 2009, as part of &quo…

Partners HealthCare Systems agrees to pay 700 employees more than $2.7 million in overtime back wages to resolve U.S. Labor Department lawsuit

Partners HealthCare Systems Inc. and its affiliated hospitals and health care companies throughout eastern Massachusetts have agreed to pay 700 employees more than $2.7 million in overtime back wages to resolve a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

"We are pleased that the department has succeeded in securing such a substantial amount of back wages for these workers who were not properly paid for overtime they had worked," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

The FLSA requires that employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage, and time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The law also requires that employers maintain accurate records of employees' wages, hours and conditions of employment.

Partners' management contacted the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division after realizing that affiliated companies might be in violation of the FLSA.