More Madoff Monies Found in Bank Accounts

Nearly $7 million was found in six bank accounts belonging to Bernard Madoff, according to records filed by Irving Picard, the lawyer acting as trustee.

Picard is asking that the money be transferred to his control for distribution to Madoff investors who were victimized by the estimated $65-billion Ponzi scheme.

Castor Pollux Securities LLC of Boston has also agreed to pay $25.5 million in the next four years to buy what remains of Madoff’s legitimate operations.

As with money raised from the sale of other assets, the money paid for the market-making business will be used to repay investors.

Madoff Aide Working on Plea Bargain

The top deputy to Bernard Madoff is negotiating a plea bargain with federal prosecutors under which he would disclose intimate details of the Ponzi scheme.

Frank DiPascali has worked with Madoff’s firm for 33 years.

In exchange for a reduced sentence, DiPascali would testify that he manipulated phony returns on behalf of some key Madoff investors.

If DiPascali’s testimony is true, it would mean those investors knew their returns were falsified.

Nadel faces 15-count federal securities fraud indictment, has public defense

Accused fraudulent hedge fund manager Arthur Nadel faces a 15-count federal indictment on securities, wire and mail fraud.

According to a Bloomberg report, the indictment was unsealed in a Manhattan court and prosecutors want the Sarasota, Fla.-based money manager to forfeit more than $360 million in assets.

Nadel is accused of scamming hundreds of people out of at least that much money through several corrupt money management firms he operated.

Nadel has been in a New York jail cell since late January after he vanished earlier that month when he was supposed to make regular payments to his investors.

Much of what Nadel actually had in assets has been frozen by a judge overseeing his civil trial in Florida, and he’s since lost his legal representation.

Nadel was represented in court by a public defender as the documents were unsealed. According to the public defender, Nadel will plead not guilty to the charges.

Home warranty company cheated customers out of thousands, Cuomo charges

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is charging a home warranty company of scamming its customers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Cuomo says National Home Protection Inc. refused to honor contracts made to consumers in at least 32 states. It is unknown how many people fell victim to this firm, but in each case, consumers paid hundreds of dollars for some varying level of protection on their home. The warranties covered household appliances and systems.

The state got a temporary restraining order against the company and its principals: Leo Serrur, David Seruya and Victor Hakim.

Senator calls for inquiry on federal health payments using Ingenix database

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller has called for an investigation into payments the federal government made on behalf of its employees that used the fraudulent Ingenix database.

Ingenix was developed by UnitedHealth Group as a database for insurers to use to gauge the price of out-of-network services.

Previous investigations, spearheaded by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, have revealed that UnitedHealth Group had tainted the database and that those with health insurance were likely overcharged if the database was used to determine fees.

Rockefeller wants to see payments as far back as 10 years made on behalf of employees participating in the federal government’s health insurance plan.

Ten insurers have settled charges Cuomo brought against them for their use of the Ingenix database, which presents a conflict of interest since it is owned by UnitedHealth Group.

Rockefeller, during numerous Capitol Hill hearings, once told Ingenix CEO Andy Slavitt and United CEO Stephen Helmsley, “I don’t know how you sleep at night.”

California accuses Wells-Fargo of fraud tantamount to Madoff

California Attorney General Jerry Brown filed lawsuits against three subsidiaries of banking giant Wells-Fargo, accusing it of defrauding investors on $1.5 billion worth of risky auction-rate securities.

In quotes to The Los Angeles Times, Wells-Fargo “sold to customers on the basis that they were like cash and people could get their money back in 8 days.”

Of course, as is the result of all the securities fraud cases, investors can not retrieve their money and have complained en masse to Brown’s office.

At least 2,400 Californians were scammed by Wells-Fargo subsidiaries on these auction-rate securities.

These securities used to be safe investments but the market collapsed on them in February 2008 and investors were stuck holding them or had to sell for a loss on their initial investment.

It is believed numerous banks took investors on similar schemes across the country.

JPMorgan Accused of Aiding Madoff

Victims of Bernard L. Madoff have accused banker JPMorgan Chase of aiding the crime by maintaining checking accounts for the disgraced financier.

They are also alleging that and trades were made with Chase-owned Bear Stearns long after the bank itself realized that its prized customer was running a vast fraud.

The bank has denied the accusation.

Madoff was arrested on Dec. 11 and pleaded guilty to securities fraud, perjury and money laundering.

Fiserv Inc Sued by Madoff Victims

Customers that entrusted a former unit of Fiserv Inc. with custody of their retirement plans are suing the technology company to recoup money lost in the Bernard Madoff fraud.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, seeks to recover up to $1 billion on behalf of 800 investors.

A former unit of Fiserv Inc. that custodied retirement-plan money for Madoff’s firm had received repeated warnings from one of its financial advisors in regards to the Ponzi scheme Madoff was orchestrating.

A version of the suit filed on Thursday claims that investment consultant Rogerscasey LLC, which subadvised Fiserv’s retirement funds, issued several warnings about Madoff.

Florida’s AG warns residents of scams related to Chinese drywall remedies

The controversy surrounding imported Chinese drywall – which has caused thousands of homeowners across the country health problems – has created a new concern of its own.

According to Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, firms are circulating the state offering environmental testing and expensive remedies for homeowners impacted by this toxic wall board.

In some instances, homeowners are forking over thousands of dollars to rid themselves of the sulfur-smell producing Chinese drywall. McCollum warns consumers that many of these tests offered are bogus and not worth the money.

The state has been inundated by nearly 300 complaints from homeowners wanting to get rid of this defective product. In recent weeks, reports of this drywall have been surfacing across the country.

A homeowner can determine whether or not they have Chinese drywall in their homes by submitting or comparing photos of samples on a state Web site, or by contacting their home builder or a certified air conditioning technician. They can take samples of the air in the home to detect the presence of the tainted building product.

Some firms are offering a spray or ozone generator to rid homeowners of the problem, but Florida warns that these remedies will only make the problem worse.

FTC aims at online marketers using testimonials

The use of testimonials in advertising has long been a popular campaign for businesses. Now, the Federal Trade Commission wants to crack down on on the online use of testimonials in marketing.

Regulators are proposing rules that would hold any online marketer or blogger accountable for the statements they make on a Web site. However, according to a report from, the proposals would fall short of being regulations, rather guidelines to serve as an update to the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Critics of the proposal say it will be nearly impossible to track every blogger who chooses to endorse a product. Some companies have already begun disclosing in the content of blogs that an entry is endorsed by a specific company.