The 9/11 Charity Fraud Shame List

Maureen O'Connor · 08/25/11 01:33PM

The Associated Press checked in with 325 charities founded in the wake of 9/11, many of which are still active. Most of them were doing nice things! But a bunch were doing ethically dubious, borderline fraudulent things, frittering away millions of benevolently bestowed dollars.

Party King of Scottsdale Accused of Cellphone Fraud

Maureen O'Connor · 03/09/11 02:07PM

Time to check in with an old friend: Jason Hope—the Arizona entrepreneur whose $500,000 Christmas party made him the "Party King of Scottsdale" and ignited fake-baked nightlife warfare—is getting sued. Verizon Wireless has launched a legal battle against 26 people and companies they say are fleecing consumers with "premium messaging services," i.e., when your grandma gets a spam text message that enters her into an automatic billing cycle without her consent. Verizon says Hope is "the mastermind behind defendants' fraudulent and deceptive practices."

The Madoffs Aren't Out of the Woods Yet

cityfile · 02/12/10 11:23AM

We haven't heard much about the Madoff clan the past few months. That's not because the feds grew bored and decided to give up. They've been quietly assembling a case against Bernie's brother (Peter) and two sons (Andy and Mark), and may eventually charge them with tax fraud for using Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities as their "personal piggy bank":

Pity the Ponzi Princes

cityfile · 12/29/09 12:39PM

Add poor Ponzi schemers to the list of people who suffered during the recession of 2009. According to the AP, more than 150 investment schemes collapsed this year, compared to 40 in 2008. [AP, WSJ]

Bernie Madoff Falls Ill, Confusion Follows

cityfile · 12/24/09 12:03PM

Why was Bernie Madoff admitted to a prison hospital late last week? It isn't because he's dying of cancer. And it isn't because he was assaulted in prison, as ABC News reported this morning. (The story, which the local ABC affiliate has since revised twice, first suggested Madoff had suffered "facial fractures, broken ribs and a collapsed lung" in an incident "consistent with an assault." Then they said he fell off a bed and "a lot of facial bleeding" followed.) Now it turns out he was hospitalized for an altogether less dramatic reason: According to the Bureau of Prisons, it was "due to dizziness and high blood pressure." [WSJ, NYP]

One Fraud on Top of Another

cityfile · 12/14/09 02:49PM

Last month's auction of Bernie and Ruth Madoff's personal property was pretty successful, raising close to a million bucks for the victims of the giant Ponzi scheme. Now there's a fraudster who is looking to make a buck by promoting auctions full of fake Madoff merchandise. A gallery that planned to auction off art work this weekend in Connecticut that it claimed once belonged to the couple—including one that featured phony paintings by Chagall and Picasso—was shut down after the state's attorney general vowed to take legal action. [ConnPost via AMM]

Bernie Madoff Has Settled In Nicely

cityfile · 12/11/09 09:11AM

It's been a year since Bernie Madoff was arrested and charged with running the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. Madoff's life has changed a bit since then. These days he resides in a cell at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina, wears a khaki uniform with a number printed on the front (No. 61727-054), and works in the prison kitchen scrubbing pots and pans. But that doesn't mean he's necessarily unhappy. The Journal reports Madoff spends his free time playing bocce, chess and checkers and has made lots of friends behind bars. And he even likes the food, according to two lawyers who visited him. That's good to hear, isn't it? With 1,795 months of his sentence left to go, he'll have the pleasure of eating his next 166,000 meals there. [WSJ]

Jeffrey Epstein Seizes an Opportunity

cityfile · 12/10/09 02:09PM

Everyone's favorite perverted billionaire is back in the news! Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting underage girls for sex in 2007, served about a year in prison, and was released in July. But the women (girls?) he allegedly got kinky with continue to have civil lawsuits pending against the shadowy money manager, and now things have gotten a touch complicated because the lawyer representing several of his victims is/was Scott Rothstein, the Florida lawyer who currently stands accused of leading a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme in his spare time.

The Madoff Sell-Off Spreads

cityfile · 11/24/09 12:26PM

Bernie Madoff may not be the only member of the family to see his property fall into the hands of new owners. The Real Deal reports Mark Madoff may be forced to sell his Nantucket "getaway" in the near future. [Real Deal]

The Best Legal Gig in America

cityfile · 11/23/09 12:07PM

Irving Picard, the man in charge of liquidating Bernie Madoff's assets, is asking for $22.1 million in fees for the last five months of work he and his firm have put in on the case, on top of the $14.6 million he's already been paid. But that includes a 10 percent "public interest discount," so don't even think of suggesting Picard isn't generous. [Bloomberg]

The Madoff Auctions Come to an End

cityfile · 11/18/09 09:35AM

Victims of Bernie Madoff have another $2 million to spread around. Three boats owned by the imprisoned fraudster were auctioned off in Florida yesterday and brought in about $1 million; a sport-fishing yacht owned by Bernie's former sidekick, Frank DiPascali, reeled in another $950,000. And Ruth Madoff's convertible found a new owner, too: The 1999 Mercedes with 12,000 miles on it sold for $30,000. [Bloomberg]

Madoff Enabler to Plead Guilty

cityfile · 10/30/09 10:15AM

Another figure in the Madoff affair should be headed to prison in the near future. David Friehling, Bernie's sketchy accountant and the man supposedly responsible for overseeing Madoff's financial activities out of his one-man firm in Rockland County, is expected to plead guilty to a variety of charges next week. He and faces a maximum of 108 years in prison. [NYT, WSJ]