One of the more insidious scams of this decade has been the IRS impostor phone scam, where someone posing as a police officer or federal agent calls you up and threatens to arrest you over your tax balance. Of course, that balance is payable immediately by prepaid debit card. A Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to running such a scam from 2011 until his 2013 arrest has been sentenced to 175 months in prison and $1 million in forfeiture for his crimes. [More]
In this month’s Recall Roundup for consumer goods, crossbows fire at will, snorkeling masks buckle under pressure, and garlic slicers are out to slice your fingers instead. [More]
You can purchase disposable saline enemas with confidence: the man in Florida who would purchase, use, and return alarming quantities of them has been apprehended. Though in this context, an “alarming quantity” would be “more than zero.” The man’s federal indictment was just unsealed, and he was charged with, among other things, having “reckless disregard that another person would be placed in danger of death or bodily injury.”
Rachel thought she would never see her stuff again. Someone had stolen the Christmas gifts she left on the backseat of her car parked in front of her house overnight, along with her iPod. It was $460 out the window. But when she went back to Macy’s to replace some of the gifts, her Spidey-sense started tingling.
After a police investigation, the mystery of where fifty of the city of Pittsburgh’s metal trash cans ran off to has been solved. The culprit wasn’t who Consumerist readers suspected. The cans were installed through a partnership with Lamar Advertising, and the man arrested for trying to recycle them just happens to work for Lamar.
They just wouldn’t stop calling, and now they have to pay. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling that a debt collection firm will have to pay a former janitor suffering from a head injury $311,000. Quite a turn of events, considering the debt they were hounding him on was only about $3,800.
Espionage! A former Ford engineer charged with stealing trade secrets worth $50 million has pleaded guilty, and was apparently caught with the evidence on his laptop when he was arrested in Chicago in 2009. The man worked for Ford for 10 years before quitting the company to accept a position at a Ford competitor — Beijing Automotive.
The West Texas nurse who went on trial this past Monday for reporting a doctor to the state board was found not guilty after just an hour of deliberation, reports the New York Times. The jurors who spoke to the Times after the case said it seemed pretty cut and dried to them. Now the nurse’s lawyers are focusing on their civil lawsuit against the county, the sherrif, the county attorney–who is described in the article as the surgeon’s personal attorney as well–and the hospital administrator who fired the nurse for going over his head. Hooray for whistleblowers!
The new year is starting off pretty well for bloggers Chris Elliott and Steve Frischling, who had been targeted by the Transportation Security Administration after they posted the TSA’s bizarre Christmas Day Security Directive. Elliott reports that the agency has withdrawn its subpoena against him, and that Frischling, whose laptop was confiscated, is getting a new computer courtesy of Uncle Sam.
A woman who was allegedly raped while working for Halliburton/Kellogg Brown & Root in Iraq will have her civil claims heard in court, not by a company-selected arbitrator, thanks to a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Last month, the Minnesota Attorney General brought an oppressive arbitration regime to its knees. Nation Arbitration Forum handled over 200,000 arbitrations per year. But many of those cases will end up in the 50 states’ district courts, where consumers may fare no better.
The war on spam is just as doomed as the war on drugs, but the FBI has won a battle, bringing down a bulk commercial e-mail ring that pimped Chinese penny stocks into unwilling inboxes. They also developed bot network that helped spam avoid detection.
Attention mean commenters: watch what you say or the Justice Department will hunt you down. Seriously! The U.S. Attorney in Nevada subpoenaed the Las Vegas Review-Journal to reveal the identities of two anonymous commenters whose statements could be read as mildly threatening to jurors involved in a tax case, if you’ve never read internet comments before.
The perils of forced arbitration and the need for the Arbitration Fairness Act were recently featured on an NPR piece. The story discusses the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, the former Halliburton employee who was gang raped in Iraq by her coworkers, then was sent to arbitration when she tried to sue her employer.