Turns out that the use of so-called “defeat devices” to cheat federal emissions standards isn’t just relegated to four-wheeled vehicles made by Volkswagen. Harley-Davidson today agreed to settle charges it violated the Clean Air Act by paying $15 million, as well as buying back and destroying nearly 340,000 “super tuners” that emit higher amounts of certain air pollutants than what the company certified to EPA. [More]
Trouble continues to mount for ITT Educational Services. The for-profit college operator behind the ITT Technical Institute chain is already under investigation over concerns it may have defrauded the federal government, and now faces a lawsuit from the Massachusetts Attorney General for allegedly engaging in a slew of abusive and misleading practices. [More]
You can now add the University of Phoenix and its parent company, Apollo Education Group, to the list of for-profit educators who find themselves on the defendant end of a whistleblower lawsuit. A former Phoenix employee is accusing the company of submitting false student aid information in order to receive federal funding it was not entitled to. [More]
Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses ITT Tech Of Defrauding Government, Using Deceptive Recruitment Practices
A recently unsealed whistleblower lawsuit against for-profit college chain ITT Technical Institute accuses the school of operating a “systematic scheme” to defraud the government by using a litany of abusive, deceptive practices to enroll students. [More]
No one wants to spend their golden years fending off unwarranted shoplifting charges, but that’s the situation in which a 74-year-old Missouri man finds himself. Following up on Walmart complaints, authorities accused the man of nearly 20 robberies at stores throughout the midwest. He’s maintained his innocence and finally seems to be making some headway.
Earlier this month, a couple in Minnesota filed a lawsuit against a local Coldwell Banker franchise and a real estate agent the company employed, alleging that the agent used the home for sexcapades while they were out of town, ruining their furniture, bedding and carpet. Neighbors say he showed up one day with an unidentified man and said they were going to be preparing the home for an open house, but no open house was held. Or at least not one the neighbors could see; maybe he uses that phrase in a different way.
A new class action suit filed in California takes issue with how the iPad shuts off automatically if it overheats. In particular, however, the suit claims that the marketing phrase “reading on the iPad is just like reading a book” is misleading, and that Apple is therefore engaging in fraud and misleading consumers. This is great news for me, because I was thinking of suing Apple for not providing dustjackets for iBookstore titles but my friends told me I shouldn’t.
It’s so hard to understand each other in this life. First there was that unfortunate honey bun mixup, and now Hallmark is trying to prevent a bunch of press conferences from happening (too late!) by pulling a graduation card from shelves. Why? Because either Hoops or Yo-Yo–I don’t know which character is which–spouts shockingly racist insults and threats when you open the card. Well, maybe.
“Janice” has been working in the BP Call Center in Houston, answering calls about the disaster from all over the world, and she says she and her coworkers don’t think the calls are being sent any higher up in the company. “We’re a diversion to stop them from really getting to the corporate office, to the big people. I don’t want to get emotional, but it’s so frustrating when these people live right there [in the Gulf Coast] and nothing is being done to help them.”
A 63-year-old New Jersey man has been charged with abusive sexual contact after he was allegedly caught reaching under a sleeping woman’s blanket on a recent Continental flight from Hong Kong to Newark. Passengers seated behind the man say they saw him reaching under the blanket, so they kicked the woman’s seat to wake her, at which point she alerted the flight crew.
A man in Portland, Oregon says he’s now bankrupt after giving cash, a Hummer, and lots of trust to a local psychic. In all, he says his payments totaled $150k and now he’s bankrupt, and that he wants to warn others not to fall for such things. So just to be clear: don’t give $150,000 in cash and autos to a psychic in exchange for removal-of-demon services. And if you want to buy a tabernacle from the Vatican, deal with the church yourself and don’t go through the local psychic.
Here’s some advice for you, the regular customer who doesn’t shoplift: never go into the back of a store with a security guard, store manager, rent-a-cop, etc. Never. Someone posted the following story in the Janesville, Wisconsin CraigsList over the weekend. Because the poster cooperated in good faith with the security personnel at her local Menards home store, she had to pay $150 to avoid having the police called on her.
Walmart can try to spin itself as being on the side of good all it wants, but if it ever suspects you of shoplifting, you may find that you’re powerless to fight back. In the case of a couple accused of shoplifting some Bic lighters in Niles, Michigan this past August, Walmart detained them, the police came and cuffed one of them, their two kids were taken to a security room, and—after a review of security footage proved the couple’s innocence—they were banned for life from all Walmarts. To top it off, Walmart’s legal team has sent the couple a letter asking to be reimbursed for 10 times the value of the lighters, even though the police determined no shoplifting had taken place.
Kate Hanni, the founder of the passenger advocacy group FlyersRights.org, has filed a lawsuit against Delta Airlines in which she claims they hacked her email account and acquired personal email messages sent between her, some journalists, and a guy who was at the time working for Metron, a company hired by the FAA to investigate Delta.
[Update: Marriott has dropped the appeal.] If you want to live dangerously, why not try an unrelaxing visit to the Stamford Marriott Hotel & Spa? It features a game room, a BBQ/picnic area, $10 a day Internet access, and the occasional mentally unhealthy transient wandering for days around the parking garage waiting to attack you. Best of all, if you are attacked Marriott will let you take all the credit for it, and then subpoena your friends and professional contacts, thereby permanently ruining any anonymity you hoped to maintain. Because at Stamford Marriott, if you’re raped in our parking garage by a guy our security should have noticed and kicked out, don’t come crying to us!
A woman named Ullja Kuntze was booted from Etsy after word got around that she was buying handmade beads and reselling them as her own. Her original Etsy pages read, “All my beads are made by me in my private glass studio in Milan Italy.” Kuntze was actually doing business from Waco, Texas, and now that legitimate beadmakers have gotten her kicked off of Etsy and Artfire, she’s trying to get their own websites shut down under false spam accusations, and/or get them investigated by the IRS for tax fraud.
The review website Yelp is being accused again of extorting small business owners — but this time the business owners say that Yelp used the guarantee of positive reviews to get free products for their events. The Chicago Tribune has a quote from the owner of a cupcake shop who says that Yelp “guaranteed us good reviews on the site if we catered one of their parties for free.”