Losses due to identity theft on the rise

Losses caused by identity theft have risen sharply in recent years and last year in California marked an all-new high for these crimes.

A new report released by California Public Interest Research Group says state authorities must do more to protect individual Social Security Numbers from the various outlets seeking to steal identities. “California state law prohibits organizations, both private and public, from using a Social Security number as a personal identifier and from publicly posting or displaying that number. Yet organizations continue to collect and store Social Security numbers, unnecessarily placing consumers at risk of identity theft,” it wrote in its report. Continue reading Losses due to identity theft on the rise

Supreme Court says Glaxo drug reps not entitled to overtime pay

The Supreme Court ruled this week in a split decision that drug representatives of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline are not entitled to overtime pay because they are salespersons.

According to a Reuters report, the high court’s ruling will impact at least 90,000 employees of GlaxoSmithKline who travel around the country to physician offices and hospitals in an attempt to pitch the company’s prescription drugs over another company’s. They work long hours and are not paid based on their performance. They get no commission if a doctor or hospital begins prescribing their drugs over another. Continue reading Supreme Court says Glaxo drug reps not entitled to overtime pay

Yonkers laundry company accused in federal wage dispute lawsuit

A laundry and cleaning service based in Yonkers, N.Y., is facing federal charges related to violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

According to a report from MidHudsonNews.com, the Dept. of Labor has filed charges against Serklan Inc. and its president, Yong Hee Lee, on charges he violated federal minimum wage and overtime pay laws and other record-keeping laws. Continue reading Yonkers laundry company accused in federal wage dispute lawsuit

Florida precious metal investment firm accused of $10M in fraud

A Florida company is being accused of bilking consumers out of more than $10 million in a fraudulent investment scheme involving precious metals.

According to an Orlando Sun-Sentinel report, Sterling Precious Metals has had its assets frozen by the Federal Trade Commission, which believes the company targeted mostly senior citizens with telemarketing campaigns aimed at taking money to purportedly invest in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. Continue reading Florida precious metal investment firm accused of $10M in fraud

Securities Fraud Task Force Launched in South Florida

On Monday, South Florida’s U.S. Attorney, Wilfredo Ferrer and a top FBI agent announced South Florida ranks No. 2 in the country for securities and investment fraud investigations, leading to the prosecution of 85 defendants and over the past year and-a-half.

Ferrer launched a federal securities fraud task force to operate the same as other law enforcement targeting the region’s main concerns – healthcare and mortgage rackets. He said that everyone from investors to the elderly have lost millions of dollars penny-stock, market-manipulation and Ponzi schemes. He urged investors to educate themselves and notify the FBI or the Securities and Exchange Commission if they suspect fraud. Continue reading Securities Fraud Task Force Launched in South Florida

Collective Wage and Hour Lawsuits Up Significantly

The number of collective action lawsuits alleging wage and hour violations is up 400 percent in the last 11 years. According to a recent post at CNNMoney, there were over 7,000 such lawsuits filed in federal courts in 2011, which is an enormous increase since the turn of the century.

The lawsuits have been filed by employees who allege they didn’t get paid for the full amount of the time they worked because they were either filed as ineligible for overtime, or because they simply never got the money for the work they put in. Continue reading Collective Wage and Hour Lawsuits Up Significantly

Hurricane Season Prompts Fraud Warning

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is warning the public to beware of consumer fraud during hurricane season.
“Hurricanes can cause much more than physical damage,” said Caldwell. “Unfortunately, hurricane season is also a time in which unscrupulous con-artists can try to capitalize off of your misfortune. Even in emergency situations, it pays to be a smart consumer.”

Caldwell said the public should be especially on-guard against price gouging, contractor fraud, and phony solicitations. To avoid contractor fraud, consumers should contact local agencies for reviews, and contact the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors at 800-256-1392 to ensure the contractor is licensed and make sure there haven’t been any complaints lodged against them. Continue reading Hurricane Season Prompts Fraud Warning

Accretive official apologizes for debt collection practices at Minnesota hospitals

An official with Accretive Health and one from a Minnesota hospital each apologized for allowing aggressive debt collection practices on patients prior to receiving care.

According to a report from Fox-affiliate KMSP-TV in Minneapolis, the officials testified at a special hearing of a Senate committee investigating reports of aggressive and deceptive debt collection practices used by Accretive employees at Fairview Hospitals in Minnesota. In many cases, Accretive employees posed as hospital employees and would confront hospital patients prior to receiving care in an attempt to settle debts with the healthcare provider. Continue reading Accretive official apologizes for debt collection practices at Minnesota hospitals

Countrywide whistleblower gets $14.5M as part of federal settlement

The man who “blew the whistle” on fraudulent loan practices at Countrywide Financial has been awarded $14.5 million as part of a settlement between the company and state and federal officials investigating his claims.

According to a report from Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kyle Lagow accused his employer of “inflating appraisals on government-insured loans” and those allegations led to a massive federal investigation into the company which led to its eventual downfall. Continue reading Countrywide whistleblower gets $14.5M as part of federal settlement