Northwoods woman convicted in money scam

by Shelton on June 30th, 2015

filed under Cash Advances

RHINELANDER (WAOW) – A 48-year-old former office manager was convicted Friday of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from Northwoods Animal Hospital in Minocqua starting in 2008, according to online Oneida County court records.

Brenda Wigglesworth of Arbor Vitae pleaded no contest to one count of theft in a business setting, court records said. She faces a maximum punishment of up to 10 years in prison when she is sentenced Aug. 12.

Wigglesworths scheme involved, in part, excessive paychecks to herself worth about $10,000 and keeping $21,500 that had been paid at the clinics service counter instead of depositing it in a bank, according to a criminal complaint.

Wigglesworth worked at the clinic from 1999 until April 2013 as the bookkeeper/office manager.

The complaint said Wigglesworth used the clinics credit cards for personal expenses, including to buy an $88 pair of shoes in Minnesota and to pay cell phone bills. She overfunded contributions to her and other employees retirement accounts, the complaint said.

Wigglesworth was also accused of getting new credit cards using the clinics credit and taking cash advances of nearly $200,000 and depositing the money in the clinics bank accounts, the complaint said. This may have been done to balance the books.

The investigation began in April 2013 when Wigglesworth was fired, authorities said.

Those Credit Card ‘Convenience Checks’ Are Actually Costly Cash Advances

by Shelton on June 29th, 2015

filed under Cash Advances

eCreditDaily Staff

Unlike a regular credit card purchase, interest on cash advances, or those convenient checks, usually starts accruing right after the transaction.

Compass Group subsidiary ‘paid bribes to Kazakhstan customs officials’

by Shelton on June 29th, 2015

filed under Cash Advances

An international subsidiary of Compass Group, the British catering giant that supplies more than 1,500 UK primary schools and 30 NHS Trusts, paid bribes to government officials in Kazakhstan, documents seen by the Guardian reveal.

Theunit’s agents made “facilitation payments” to customs officers in the former Soviet republic for an unspecified period up to 2011, internal Compass papers show, with the transactions originating in the same international division that was separately accused of bribing a UN official to win contracts.

The company paid pound;40m to settle civil litigation in the UN case in 2006, without admitting legal liability.

The new allegations are detailed in documents that relate to an employment tribunal claim brought by a former finance director of a Compass subsidiary in Kazakhstan. Karim Pabani says he was sacked after blowing the whistle on corruption, but Compass is fighting the claim.

Pabani, who joined ESS Support Services in August 2011, alleges in his tribunal witness statement that “a Compass Kazakhstan staff member was routinely given cash advances to make bribes to government officials”.

Separate internal emails, seen by the Guardian, show the same employee asking the company for a personal loan. The email chain suggests the request was initially questioned because the employee already owed the company money, but it was eventually approved in 2012 after she was awarded a bonus to help repay the outstanding sum.

Compass has yet to respond in detail to Pabani’s employment tribunal claims, but a spokesman for the caterer said: “Compass is vigorously defending these allegations, but as the matter is subject to ongoing legal proceedings we are not able to comment further at this time.”

One Compass document, however, which was co-authored in September 2013 by the group’s human resources director, Jane Kingston, and its general counsel, Mark White, admits: “As part of the Group’s implementation of adequate procedures to prevent bribery and corruption in the business and in order to create a defence under the Bribery Act 2010, a Group-wide roll-out of the Code of Business Conduct had begun in February 2011 and before the 2010 Act came into force.

“As part of the roll-out, the Group became aware of small facilitation payments being made through the freight forwarders in Kazakhstan in order to release goods from customs and immediately required the practice to stop. The position was closely followed up in order to ensure that the practice had indeed stopped.”

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) defines a facilitation payment as “a type of bribe and should be seen as such. A common example is where a government official is given money or goods to perform [or speed up the performance of] an existing duty. Facilitation payments were illegal before the Bribery Act came into force and they are illegal under the Bribery Act, regardless of their size or frequency”.

Lawyers said that facilitation payments, sometimes referred to as “speed” or “grease” payments, were previously outlawed under the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889, as well as via the common law offence of bribery.

Compass declined to say if it had reported the facilitation payments to any law-enforcement authority, or if there had been any legal censure on the company. It has made no public statement on the payments, but in a letter to Pabani explaining his sacking, the company said the facilitation payments were already known about and had been dealt with before his arrival in post.

Alison Geary, a white collar crime specialist at the law firm WilmerHale, said: “In order to come within the reach of the Bribery Act a company must be carrying on business in the UK. However, a UK company can be found liable for the acts of its foreign subsidiaries if the foreign subsidiary was performing services for the UK company. It is an offence under the Bribery Act to make a payment to a foreign official or a third party that is not legitimately due in order to influence that foreign official.”

Any decision over SFO prosecutions for the making of facilitation payments is covered by the code for crown prosecutors, and the joint prosecution guidance of the SFO’s director and the director of public prosecutions.

Factors tending in favour of a prosecution include “payments that are planned for or accepted as part of a standard way of conducting business”. Those tending against include payments that come to light “as a result of a genuinely proactive approach involving self-reporting and remedial action”, such as the approach Compass explained in the letter detailing its reasons for dismissing Pabani.

Compass’s code of business conduct states: “The giving of facilitation payments by Compass employees is prohibited. You should not make such payments, even if they are for nominal amounts or are ‘normal’ practice in the country in which you operate.”

The company said it was “committed to setting the highest standards for responsible business practice, which is underpinned by a global framework of policies and measures and is supported by comprehensive communications and training”.

It also said that “investigations carried out in respect of the UN issues in 2005 gave no reason to believe that the issues extended beyond a few individuals within ESS to other parts of ESS or the wider Compass group of companies.”

Jail levied in series of local crimes

by Shelton on June 29th, 2015

filed under Cash Advances

The charges are related to incidents during a span from April 21, 2011 to Feb. 20, 2014 and were investigated by the Midland County Sheriff’s Office and Midland Police Department. The crimes range from damage done to an excavator and a van, to breaking into homes and pole barns to steal and the theft of a vehicle belonging to a flower shop.

Dismissed were counts of three counts of breaking and entering, unlawfully driving away an automobile and a second count of malicious destruction of property valued between $1,000 and $20,000. The plea deal states Boucher is to pay restitution for all the dismissed counts.

Boucher was charged in the summer 2011 arson at the Michigan State Police Tri-City Post in Bay County, and was sentenced after entering a guilty plea to third-degree arson. He received one year in jail with credit for 198 days, two years probation and a total of $7,632 in fines, costs and restitution.

Boucher was represented in the local case by attorney Lee Burton of Midland.

Midlander charged with embezzlement

A 39-year-old Midland woman faces felony charges in connection with the embezzlement of money from The Dow Chemical Co.

Jennifer Kaye Reid was arraigned on charges of embezzlement from $20,000 to $50,000 and larceny by conversion on May 6 by Midland County District Court Judge Michael D. Carpenter. The case was bound over to the circuit court on May 19.

The court file states Midland Police were notified on Jan. 28 by a Dow corporate investigator after an employee was found to have used a procurement card for personal gain. The unauthorized charges, totaling $23,549.27, were made between July 30 and Jan. 15. Purchases included cash advances, car insurance, restaurants, golfing, groceries, clothing, a new bedroom set and a fine for a ticket paid to the Midland County District Court.

The company also is seeking reimbursement for $3,200 which was for educational classes the employee attended while employed. The only proof of attending the classes were invoices.

The case is scheduled for a pretrial conference on July 21.

Reid is being represented by attorney John E. Melton of Marlette.

Bench warrant issued for man facing heroin sentencing

The Harrison man charged with drug possession in connection with a heroin overdose in the bathroom of a Midland gas station has failed to appear to two sentencing dates and is wanted on a bench warrant.

Branden Lee Morse, 34, entered a guilty plea to possession of heroin and a fourth habitual offender status on Feb. 6. Midland County Circuit Court Judge Stephen P. Carras accepted the plea, with the terms including attending drug court in Clare County or an inpatient treatment program in lieu of jail.

Court records show Morse failed to appear for sentencing dates scheduled in both April and May, and has been held in contempt of court for failing to appear.

Morse was jailed after Midland Police were called to the Forward Shell, 6214 Eastman Ave., on the afternoon of Oct. 23. There, they found a man lying on a bathroom floor and unresponsive. He was taken to the MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland Emergency Room, where he was treated for an overdose.

Morse is being represented by attorney Lee Burton of Midland.

Stone Puppet Festival Crowdfunder Appeal – Let’s make it happen!

by Shelton on June 28th, 2015

filed under Personal Funding

Stone Puppet Festival Crowdfunder Appeal

Why are we Crowd Funding?

David and I have spent many weeks fundraising and negotiating reasonable fees with all the performers and suppliers by obtaining the very best rates we can.

There has been significant personal funding from both the organizers and generous donations from a number of companies and other individuals. We are also trying to raise money by other means such as Raffles and Ticket Sales but we do need to ask the community for some financial support.

If we can raise £4000 or more, we can make this an affordable event. The shows on the High Street will be free of charge, the exhibitions will be free of charge and the performances in the hotel will be at prices families can afford.

By pledging even just a small amount, not only will you benefit from one of the many exclusive rewards on offer more importantly you will have contributed to a unique and highly creative festival experience that will bring many benefits to everyone who attends, participates and to the town as a whole for a long time to come.

PLEDGE NOW BY CLICKING THIS LINK!!!

Project aim
We have set three aims for the Festival, these are:

Bring together some of the best Puppetry artists in the UK to create a family friendly event in the heart of Stone. This is a unique experience that will offer a different dimension to our summer programme and will entertain the residents of Stone and the local communities.
To help stimulate the minds of our children in the summer holidays and engage with the local schools by holding puppet workshops with the children based on the curriculum they are studying, as well as bringing some end of year activities to life in the festival parade.
Finally to support the High Street and Stone as a place of interest to the wider community. The festival is being staged right in the heart of the town, we want to show that Stone is a vibrant place to live with much to offer, from fantastic bars and restaurants to our local stores selling everything from ironmongery to holidays.

About the project
The idea for the Festival started with a chance meeting with David Leech.

We got talking and after a while he mentioned that he worked as a puppeteer and puppet amp; toy manufacturer and that he had an idea of bringing a Puppet Festival to Stone, we discussed this and I thought that it sounded like a good event that would bring some entertainment to the Town.

So, after a few weeks of meeting together, we arranged a meeting with Adam Jones the proprietor of Granville’s Brasserie and invited a representative of the Town Council, as well as the Chairman of the British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild. After a successful meeting, everyone agreed that this sounded like a feasible idea and we set the ball in motion moving this forward.

We have had great support from the Town Council, A Little Bit of Stone and the Stone and Eccleshall Gazette.

After many months of meetings, planning’s, ups and downs, we now have in place the following:

Venue in the Crown Hotel to hold shows (Gruffalo, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland)
Use of the High Street to hold shows (Punch and Judy, George and the Dragon, Puppet Circusmany more)
4 Schools involved
A full itinerary of free and chargeable shows
Opening Parade and closing event
Interactive events such as Puppet Making
Thunderbirds and other Puppet Exhibitions

Mobile police seek suspect accused of making $3000 in fradulent cash advances

by Shelton on June 28th, 2015

filed under Cash Advances

On Wednesday, June 17, 2015, Mobile police released two images of a man accused of using cloned credit cards and fake identification to make approximately $3,000 in cash advances in another persons name. (Courtesy of the Mobile Police Department)

Legal-Bay Lawsuit Settlement Funding Announces Readiness to Fund Cases in …

by Shelton on June 27th, 2015

filed under Cash Advances

JERSEY CITY, NJ, June 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/  Legal-Bay LLC, The Lawsuit Settlement Funding Company, a leader in lawsuit funding services and excellent customer service, announced today that they are prepared for the rush of applications during the busy 4th of July holiday and are standing ready to fund cases within 24 hours of approval. Most companies in the legal funding industry typically have a 48-hour minimum approval process, however, Legal-Bay offers a quick 24-hour approval process, as well as the lowest monthly usage rates in the industry (1.99% in cases that qualify). Additionally, most legal funding companies in the industry are not willing to assist plaintiffs who have previously received a lawsuit cash advance with another company, however, Legal-Bay is here to assist those plaintiffs as well, regardless if they have received prior funding or not – referred to as a buyout.

The highly trained staff at Legal-Bay are familiar with how long the process can take while plaintiffs await their ultimate settlements, and it is for that reason that Legal-Bay strives to assist plaintiffs with pre-settlement funding and lawsuit cash advances so the victims involved do not find themselves without funds, especially during holiday seasons. The holidays can be a difficult time for those waiting for case settlements, as people find themselves needing money for vacations or family trips, and Legal-Bay understands the stress this can bring. Legal-Bay urges plaintiffs who need lawsuit funding and cash advances to apply immediately, as the applications pick up and get very busy during this time.

Legal-Bay, a lawsuit cash advance firm, is a lawsuit pre-settlement funding company that provides cash advances to plaintiffs while theyre awaiting payments prior to their ultimate case settlements. The cash advances are on a non-recourse basis, meaning the plaintiff only needs to repay the advance if the case is successful. Legal-Bay does not buy the full claim but only advances a small portion of the expected settlement amount. Any fees or expenses accrued on the advance will be repaid by the plaintiffs lawyer if and when the case is officially settled and paid.

Chris Janish, CEO of Legal-Bay, commented on the companys dedication to assisting their clients, Our highly attentive staff is prepared for the summer holiday rush for lawsuit cash advances. Clients can rest assured by applying with us that they will not only get the funds they need, but the best rates and service in the industry.   

To apply for the quick 24-hour approval process on your settlement lawsuit funding request, visit: http://lawsuitssettlementfunding.com  

Legal-Bay states that the cases listed below (as well as others not listed) are eligible for 24-hour approvals:

Car Accident Funding, Car Wreck Funding, Truck Accident Funding, Airplane Accident/Injury Case Funding, Bicycle Injury/Incident Case Funding, Kugel Mesh Hernia Case Funding, DePuy Hip Lawsuit Funding, Stryker Hip Lawsuit Funding, BP Oil Spill Claim Funding, Construction Accident Funding, Discrimination Case Funding, Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Funding, Pharmaceutical Lawsuit Funding, Yaz or Yasmin Birth Control Case Funding, NuvaRing Funding, Police Brutality Case Funding, Transvaginal Mesh and Bladder Sling Lawsuit Funding, Merrill Lynch Black Broker Settlement Funding, BioMet and Wright Hip Funding, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Funding, Structure Settlement Funding, Surgical Funding, Tractor Trailer or Semi Accident Funding, Prison Rape Case Funding, Wrongful Imprisonment Funding, Wrongful Termination Funding, Jones Act or Maritime Lawsuit Funding, Settled Case Settlement Funding, Slip and Fall or Premise Liability Case Funding, Wrongful Death or Personal Injury Lawsuit Funding, Defective Pain Pump Case Funding, Attorney or Law Firm Funding, Securities Fraud Arbitration Funding, Verdict on Appeal and Judgment on Appeal Cases, Commercial Litigation Funding, Qui Tam or Whistle Blower Lawsuit Funding, Zimmer Knee NexGen Case Funding, NFL Concussion Case Funding, Pradaxa Case Funding, Actos Case Funding, da Vinci Robot Case Funding, Byetta, Januvia, Victoza Diabetes Drug Case Funding, and all Civil Cases involving General Negligence that are represented by an Attorney.

Legal-Bays programs are non-recourse lawsuit cash advances, also known as case funding. None of the programs should be considered to be a settlement loan, settlement loans, lawsuit loan, lawsuit loans, pre-settlement loans, or a pre-settlement loan. To learn more about Legal-Bays funding process, visit: http://www.lawsuitssettlementfunding.com/funding-process.php

To apply right now for pre-settlement or settlement lawsuit funding which will be approved within 24 hours, feel free to contact Legal-Bay on the companys 24-hour toll-free hotline at: 877.571.0405.

You may also fill out an online application to receive a free evaluation on your case at: http://lawsuitssettlementfunding.com

Legal-Bay LLC (as well as their related companies) is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice on your case, however, Legal-Bay works with lawyers involved in mass tort litigations who can provide you with a free legal consultation at the consumers direction.

Contact: Patty Kirby, COO/Head of Client Relations
Ph. 877.571.0405 Email: intake@legal-bay.com

Logo  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140714/126845

Source: PrNewsWire All
Legal-Bay Lawsuit Settlement Funding Announces Readiness to Fund Cases in 4th of July Rush within 24 Hours

5 Tips for Building an Emergency Fund

by Shelton on June 26th, 2015

filed under Cash Advances

An emergency fund is an essential element in every person’s financial health. Even seemingly wealthy people with high incomes can be living paycheck to paycheck with almost no ability to absorb unexpected expenses. A 2011 survey conducted for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 64% of Americans wouldn’t be able to cover an emergency expense in excess of $1,000 without a loan or a cash advance. And those cash advances can cost you big time, usually to the tune of 20%-30% interest.

If you have no emergency savings, where do you start? Or perhaps you have a small amount set aside, but you want to save more? Follow these steps to get a strong emergency fund up and running.

How to Negotiate a Lower Auto Loan Rate in Jacksonville

by Shelton on June 26th, 2015

filed under Below Average Credit

Jacksonville, Fla., has the largest land area of any city in the contiguous United States. With roads stretching along Jacksonvilles 758 square miles, residents can expect to do a lot of driving. The city offers stunning beaches and state parks. Whether you want a convertible for drives along the water or a high-MPG sedan for long commutes on the I-95, you can save on your next car by securing a competitive auto loan rate with these tips.

4 Tips to Negotiate Auto Loan Rates in Jacksonville
1. Build Healthy Financial Habits

The average Jacksonville resident maintains a credit score of 647, nearly twenty points lower than the national average, according to Experians State of Credit report released in 2014. Jacksonville residents also have an average of $29,681 in debt.

As you approach your credit score, however, dont become fixated by numbers. Focus on developing responsible money habits. Over time, your habits will be reflected in your credit score.

Focus on paying bills on time, carrying little or no credit card debt, and keeping your utilization rate low. You can also regularly request copies of your credit report to review it for mistakes. Flagging and correcting errors on your report can boost your score.

2. Save for a Down Payment

A healthy down payment on a car can get you a lower rate on your auto loan. If you have a below-average credit score, you might be required to put down at least 15 percent to qualify for financing, according to Edmunds.com. No matter your credit score, a larger down payment helps you minimize how much debt you need to tackle and how much interest youll pay on that debt over time.

3. Join a Credit Union

Credit unions are member-owned cooperatives that offer competitive interest rates on everything from certificates of deposit to auto loans. Used car loans have an average 8.82% APR, according to Experian. New car loan rates have an average 4.59% APR for new cars.

Some credit unions might even match or beat competitors rates. Campus USA Credit Union, for example, advises members who find lower rates with other financial institutions to contact their local branches. Credit unions require members to meet certain criteria before joining. The savings you might get from working with a local credit union, however, can be well worth the trouble.

Campus USA Credit Union advertises auto loan rates as low as 2.0% APR for 2014-2015 car models. For cars with model years between 2012 and 2013, rates start at 2.4% APR.

4. Shop Auto Loan Rates in Jacksonville

Take time to shop local Jacksonville rates. Research features offered by financial institutions. You can also ask dealerships about ongoing promotions. If you are buying a new car, you can cash in on special offers from dealerships.

You might qualify for a promotional 0% interest rate or receive cash back on your new car purchase. When working with these kinds of promotions, however, do the math to ensure you are getting a good deal. Although a cash back bonus might be tantalizing, if you have to take on a high interest rate for your loan, the offer might be a dud.

Whether you are looking to refinance an existing loan or need to take out a new loan, take time to research local options. Be patient as you shop vehicles and auto loan rates, and dont be afraid to ask lenders for better rates.

Keep Reading: Here’s Why Used Car Loan Rates Are Higher

Foolish credit card mistakes travelers make

by Shelton on June 25th, 2015

filed under Cash Advances

58% of Americans take at least one vacation per year, according to a recent survey by FatWallet. And theyll spend a lot of money to do so. 42% said they planned to spend $1,500 or more on their next trip.

Many travelers who hit the road this summer will be paying with plastic for everything from plane fares to restaurant meals. Credit cards make travel easier in many ways. You dont have to worry about carrying large amounts of cash, finding an ATM, or fumbling with travelers checks (remember those?).

But credit cards pose risks for vacationers as well. The biggest danger is overspending, a trap that 60% of people fall into, according to a survey by Citi ThankYou Premier. You may decide to splurge on extras while traveling, but youll end up paying for it after the trip is over. Not fun. And thats not the only way that credit cards can trip up travelers. Here are five more credit card mistakes people should avoid while on vacation.

1. Forgetting to pay the bill

Youre relaxing at the beach, margarita in hand. Credit card bills probably arent top of mind. But they will be once you get back home and discover that youve been charged a late fee or that your interest rate has gone up because of a late payment. You may be charged as much as $25 for your first late payment, and more if youre previously neglected to pay your bill on time.

MORE: Are rewards credit cards really worth it?

Setting up automatic bill payments can help you avoid those extra charges and penalties. If you dont autopay your credit card bill, make sure that you take a few minutes to schedule those payments before you depart.

2. Taking cash advances

If you find yourself short of cash while traveling, its tempting to use your credit card to hit up the ATM. Dont. This convenient source of scratch comes at a high price.

The average APR on cash advances is 25.33%, a recent survey by CreditCards.com found, 8.54% higher than the average interest on purchases. And that interest starts accruing immediately – theres no 30-day grace period. A $1,000 cash advance would cost an average of $69 in interest, even if you paid it back in full within a month. Plus, youll be charged a fee on top of higher interest, usually 5% of the total advance, or $10, whichever is more.

Cash advances arent bad in every situation. If youre at risk of overdrawing your checking account, a cash advance might be cheaper than overdraft fees. But theyre definitely something to avoid under normal circumstances, said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.coms senior industry analyst, in a statement.

3. Paying foreign transaction fees

Most credit cards tack on foreign transaction fees for purchases made abroad. 63% of consumer cards charge these fees, according to a 2015 survey by CreditCards.com, usually around 3% of the total purchase.

MORE: Can money buy you a better credit card?

Foreign transaction fees arent a reason to avoid credit cards entirely. If youre traveling outside the US, there are good reasons to use a credit card. You wont have to worry about converting your cash to the local currency and you wont be on the hook for unauthorized purchases if the card is stolen. To avoid onerous fees, look for a card that doesnt charge extra for foreign transactions, especially if you travel frequently. More and more card issuers are offering this benefit, the CreditCards.com survey found.

[M]any Americans dont have to settle for paying these unnecessary fees anymore, Schulz said in a statement. The strong dollar has already made foreign travel less expensive, but if you shop around for the right credit card, you can slash your costs even further.

4. Not letting your credit card company know youre traveling

Foreign travelers should let their bank know about their travel plans to avoid having purchases declined because of a fraud concerns.

In addition to notifying your bank, make sure you know how to contact your card issuer both online and via phone in case you run into a problem. Carrying more than one card and having extra cash for emergencies can help you make sure youll be able to cover costs while traveling.

Declined transactions can be a major hassle for travelers, which is why some companies are looking for a way to cut down on how often they happen while still protecting people from fraud. Visa recently launched a service called Mobile Location Confirmation that uses cellphone data to determine whether the cardholder is the person making the purchase.

5. Not taking advantage of all your rewards and perks

Many credit cards come with rewards and perks that can save you money when traveling. Rewards card holders may earn miles or extra points for certain types of purchases, so theyll want to be strategic when they pull out the plastic. Savvy travelers may also use rewards to cover the cost of the trip itself. But even non-rewards cards may come with some valuable benefits.

If you use your credit card to rent a car, you may get some additional insurance coverage. Concierge service is another fairly common credit card perk, which you can use to secure tickets or restaurant reservations. A few cards also offer trip cancellation coverage, emergency travel assistance, or lost luggage insurance. Contact your card issuer to find out what benefits you might be entitled to.

The Cheat Sheet is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.