United Gets Off Easy, Pays $2.4M Penalty For Using Planes To Chauffeur Airport Exec To Vacation Home

(Jason Daniel Brown)

Last year, United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek abruptly resigned amid a federal investigation into allegations that the airline had provided illegal special favors to an official in charge of Newark Liberty International Airport — including relaunching a route to South Carolina that just happened to be near a home owned by that official. United has now agreed to pay $2.4 million to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into these allegations — just a tiny portion of the financial benefit the airline received as a result of this back-room dealing. [More]

(frankieleon)

Feds Give Up Trying To Hold Bank Of America Accountable For Countrywide’s “Hustle” Mortgage Scam

A nasty four-year legal battle between the Justice Department and Bank of America over a massive mortgage-related scam run by Countrywide Financial has come to a whimpering conclusion, with the DOJ opting to not appeal its most recent defeat in the case. [More]

Mike Mozart

Generic Drug Companies Could Soon Face Criminal Price-Collusion Charges

The pharmaceuticals industry has come under heavy scrutiny in recent years for soaring prices, though much of the attention has focused on name-brand drugs with no or minimal competition. However, multiple news reports now claim that some generic drug companies could soon face federal criminal charges over allegations that they colluded on price. [More]

Creepy Uber Driver Allegedly Gropes Passenger, Shows Up Outside Her House Later

Creepy Uber Driver Allegedly Gropes Passenger, Shows Up Outside Her House Later

A Silicon Valley Uber driver has been arrested and accused of sexual battery and stalking after not only allegedly groping and kissing a female passenger, but then showing up outside of her house later that evening. [More]

funky_abstract

Professional Pooper Scooper Accused Of Impersonating Secret Service Agent To Score Hotel Discount

A Pennsylvania man who reportedly runs a business picking up dog droppings has apparently stepped into a major mess of his own making. According to federal prosecutors, he used forged documents to pretend to be a Secret Service agent to score a discount hotel room and then to try to get out of a traffic violation. [More]

Backpage Executives Seek Dismissal Of Pimping Charges

Backpage Executives Seek Dismissal Of Pimping Charges

Earlier this month, the Attorney General of California took the unusual step of charging the CEO of classifieds site Backpage and two of the company’s major shareholders with pimping and conspiracy to commit pimping. At the time, AG Kamala Harris said that Backpage was “unlawfully designed…to be the world’s top online brothel.” Now the company’s lawyers are seeking dismissal of those charges. [More]

CEO Of Backpage.com Charged With Allegedly Pimping A Minor, Conspiracy To Commit Pimping

CEO Of Backpage.com Charged With Allegedly Pimping A Minor, Conspiracy To Commit Pimping

Popular listings site Backpage.com has long been a topic of debate for its decision to continue advertising escorts even as other sites like Craigslist tried to back away from these lucrative listings. But now comes news from California that the state has actually arrested the website’s CEO and charged him, along with two of Backpage’s controlling shareholders, with illegally promoting prostitution. [More]

pjpink

Scammy Indian Call Centers Made Up To $225K/Day Pretending To Be From IRS

No one wants to get a call from the Internal Revenue Service, and for many people the tax return process is confusing and fraught with potential for errors. So when someone calls claiming to be from the IRS and in need of more information, or saying you need to pay up or face arrest, you might assume it’s a legitimate call. It’s not. This week, police in India detained hundreds of employees from three different call centers for allegedly making these sorts of scam calls — and raking in big money in the process. [More]

Leaking That Movie Where Leo DiCaprio Dances With A Bear Will Cost Former Dr. Phil Show Staffer $1.12 Million

Leaking That Movie Where Leo DiCaprio Dances With A Bear Will Cost Former Dr. Phil Show Staffer $1.12 Million

Every awards season, the internet fills up with pristine, pirated copies of Oscar-contending movies, many of them ripped from screeners sent out by the studios to promote the films. One staffer on the Dr. Phil Show who has admitted to leaking a copy of The Revenant online was recently sentenced to fork over $1.12 million to the studio. [More]

Verizon Employee Illegally Sold Customer Information For As Little As $50/Month

Mike Mozart

A Verizon Wireless employee has pleaded guilty to violating federal law by selling customer phone records and location data to a private investigator, starting at a measly $50 a month. [More]

Man Behind $31 Million Mortgage Telemarketing Scam Sentenced To 16 Years In Prison

Tara Chavez

A California man has been sentenced to 16 years in federal prison for his part in what prosecutors believe is the largest mortgage modification scam in history, defrauding victims out of $31 million. [More]

Owner Of Online Colored Contact Lens Store Pleads Guilty To Importing & Selling Counterfeit Lenses

Owner Of Online Colored Contact Lens Store Pleads Guilty To Importing & Selling Counterfeit Lenses

Importing and selling counterfeit goods is against the law, so is selling imported contact lenses — even purely cosmetic ones — that haven’t been authorized by the FDA for stateside distribution. The Las Vegas owner of a website specializing in colored contact lenses has pleaded guilty to all of the above. [More]

Nick Bastian

Lawmaker Seeks FBI Files On Financial Crash; Wants To See Why No Bank Execs Were Arrested

Millions of Americans lost their jobs, houses, savings, and more when the housing market collapsed under the weight of mortgages that should never have been approved, let alone bundled and converted into worthless, toxic securities. And yet, no senior Wall Street bank executives were ever charged with a crime. Now one U.S. congressman is asking to look at the FBI files to find out why. [More]

hildeaux

Feds Say Landlords Offered Reduced Rent For Sex, Evicted Tenants When They Refused

Tenants of homes owned by a pair of St. Louis landlords say the weren’t just subjected to inappropriate sexual comments, but that one landlord also offered to look the other way on the rent if tenants would sleep with him. When the renters refused these advances, they claim the landlords tried to throw them out on the streets. [More]

Walmart Worker Turns Herself In To Police After Accepting $1,000 In Movie Prop Cash

Walmart Worker Turns Herself In To Police After Accepting $1,000 In Movie Prop Cash

When a movie or TV show needs stacks of cash for a scene, they don’t usually withdraw millions from the bank and hope no one walks away with it. Instead, they use prop money that will pass for the real thing on camera, but that any cashier with eyes would immediately notice is fake. So when some Walmart shoppers in Georgia managed to buy $1,000 of stuff with fake movie money, police were suspicious about the cashier’s involvement. [More]

guidedbycthulu

Justice Department To Phase Out Use Of Private Prisons

Around 15% of the nearly 200,000 inmates in federal custody are housed in privately operated prisons that have come under fire for allegations of poor treatment of prisoners and less stringent security measures — all at a yearly price tag to taxpayers of $639 million. Today, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced plans to phase out the Justice Department’s use of private facilities over the coming years. [More]

ralph

Do You Have A Constitutional Right To Shop At Home Depot?

It’s not uncommon for a retailer to ban shoplifters from ever stepping foot on the premises again. However, a California man convicted of stealing from a Home Depot says that being barred from going back to the store — or any other Depot in the state — is a violation of his rights. [More]