31 Oct

Usana Insider in Charge of Asia Pacific Unloads Tons of Stock After Minkow Exposes Company for Cheating in China

Insider: Bradford Richardson, Executive Vice President of Asia Pacific

Company Bio: Bradford joined USANA in December 1997 as executive director of international development, and from 1999-2005 held the roles of vice president of international development and vice president of international. In January 2006, he was appointed executive vice president of Asia Pacific, and currently has profit & loss responsibility for USANA’s operations in the Asia Pacific region. Additionally, Bradford is responsible for the definition and execution of USANA’s international expansion strategy. Read More

29 Oct

Best Buy Sells You A Box Of Bathroom Tiles Instead Of Hard Drive, No Refund

Sam says that he went to BestBuy.com and bought a hard drive for in-store pick up. What he got was a box of bathroom tiles. Now Best Buy is saying he’d better take it up with manufacturer and that they’re not going to issue a refund and that Sam should just take his loss. We don’t think he should. We think it’s not legal to sell someone a box…

read more | digg story

29 Oct

Why Patrick Byrne is a horrible spokesperson for school vouchers

I am in favor of school vouchers. It has worked well in Milwaukee. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. Is the system perfect? No. But the public schools here are terrible, and at the very least, the voucher program gives children an alternative.

Does the voucher program help everyone? No. Some parents are not involved with their children and don’t really care, so they don’t utilize the program. But for the low-income households with parents who care, it has been fantastic. Read More

29 Oct

Overtime Lawsuits For Big Auditing Firm: Could It Lead to Problems For Other Firms?

Class action suits against auditing firms PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte & Touche are raising questions about future lawsuits. Auditors are suing PwC because they say they were denied overtime pay and benefits, and the suit covers all associates and senior associates of PwC in California.

The firm is saying that the auditors were properly classified as exempt employees under California law, and therefore they were not entitled to overtime pay. Read More

28 Oct

Merrill Lynch CEO to step down on Monday

Stan O’Neal, CEO of Merrill Lynch, is said to be stepping down on Monday. He is not going willingly, however. The board of directors was meeting this weekend to discuss candidates for the postition.

O’Neal’s departure comes following an $8.4 billion writedown in the third quarter, with most of that related to mortgage-related assets.

Up to this point, O’Neal appeared to have done a good job at Merrill Lynch, boosting the company’s profitability and expanding its international reach. But former colleagues now say that his weakness was firing many longtime employees in his early days at Merrill Lynch. His independence and unwillingness to listen to contrary views may have led to the lack of support he now has from the board of directors.

Adding to the criticism was O’Neal’s discussion with Wachovia Corp. CEO G. Kennedy Thompson. O’Neal asked him if they would be interested in buying Merrill Lynch, but he had no authority to even have that conversation.

27 Oct

NAACP Wants Patrick Byrne of Overstock.com to Apologize

Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com made a teeny little goof this week. Well, okay… it wasn’t so teeny. It was pretty bad.

Byrne was part of a debate on school vouchers in Utah, which he favors. During the debate, he said that when minority students don’t graduate from high school, “you might as well burn them.”

Yet in true Patrick “Sith Lord Conspiracy” Byrne style, he’s denying it. The Salt Lake Tribune reports: Read More

26 Oct

Getting around the Do Not Call Registry

Companies that relied heavily on telemarketing were hit hard by the Do Not Call list. They were severely limited in doing cold calls over the telephone. Anyone on the Do Not Call list was off-limits, and today that totals about 145 million phone numbers.

One of the ways companies get around the list, is by using something called a “lead card.” They send materials to consumers, and the consumers are asked to send back an enclosed reply for free information about the product or service. When a consumer sends back that card, she or he has unknowingly given the compay permission to call, even if the consumer is on the Do Not Call list.

Prosecutors are beginning to crack down on the deception behind the lead cards. Some companies have falsely implied they were affiliated with the federal government or certain advocacy groups in order to entice consumers to sent back the replies. Some are blatantly deceitful, making statements about changes in Medicare benefits or new legislation passed by Congress.

Little do consumers know that many of the cards will be given to salespeople who will begin making the phone calls. Many of these cards are being sent by marketing companies that later sell the leads to insurance agents, investment representatives, or people peddling trusts or other estate-planning products.

Marketers are banking on the portion of the Do Not Call law that allows them to still call households on the registry if they have agreed in writing to receive the calls. But the Bureau of Consumer Protection says that businesses are not allowed to get that consent for phone calls by using ruses or deceptive tools.

24 Oct

Sam Antar v. Patrick Byrne of Overstock.com

Overstock Patrick BryneThe regular readers of this blog are familiar with the issues at Overstock.com. The company can’t turn a profit to save its life, but CEO Patrick Byrne blames that on short sellers. The fact is that the financial statements have some curious things in them, but Byrne never gets around to actually straightening out all the discrepancies.

This week Sam Antar offered Byrne an opportunity to do just that… explain discrepancies and answer questions.

You see, Patrick Byrne thought he was being cute during last week’s earnings call when he said:

Sam Antar, if you want to join us as an [inter-locketer], I have to stick around — I have to leave in 15 minutes but I’m hoping you’ll join, Sam.

This is none other than the Patrick Byrne who believes a Sith Lord is masterminding a conspiracy that is causing Overstock.com to be a horrible company. The same Patrick Byrne whose underlings threaten teenage bloggers. The same Patrick Byrne who is so interested in his job that he’s busy playing on the internet while he’s supposed to be paying attention to an earnings conference call for investors. The same Patrick Byrne who posts messages about Overstock.com on discussion boards without disclosing that he is the CEO of the company he’s hyping. The same Patrick Byrne whose financial statements hint to the possibility of earnings management. Read More

24 Oct

Beware: Natural Disasters Create an Opportunity for Fraud

A major natural disaster such as the California wildfires does more damage than just what you see. When the cleanup and restoration begin, there can be more trouble in the form of fraud.

Isn’t fraud the last thing you should be thinking about? Isn’t the most important thing to just recover from the disaster and move forward? Yes, that’s important. But unfortunately, unscrupulous people and businesses make the issue of fraud something that cannot be ignored.

The most obvious opportunity for fraud starts with contractors who clean, restore, and replace destroyed property. Dishonest contractors may use the widespread need for services as an opportunity to overcharge insurance companies and property owners. They may bill for work not performed, unfairly inflate prices, or not complete projects. Read More

23 Oct

Flip This House lawsuit update

This information is old (from early June), but since I have so many people reaching my site with searches related to Flip This House, I thought I’d print it anyway.

I wrote previously about the lawsuit between A&E and Richard Davis of Trademark Properties here and here. Most of my information was derived from a website called Flip This Lawsuit. The owner of that site summarized a June 6 hearing on summary judgment motions made by A&E. Essentially, A&E said that no written contract existed between them and Davis/Trademark, and that the verbal contract wasn’t what Davis claims it is.

Important issues decided during this hearing, per Flip This Lawsuit: Read More