Cisco Sues Apple for Use of iPhone Name

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On Tuesday, Apple unveiled its plans for the iPhone, which is to be distributed starting in June. On Wednesday, Cisco filed suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, seeking an injunction to prevent Apple from using the name. If successful, Apple could be forced to drop the name iPhone from its product.

Cisco says the company has owned the trademark on “iPhone” since 2000 when it acquired InfoGear Technology Corp., the original owner of the trademark. The company says its Linksys unit uses the iPhone name on a family of phones which uses voice over Internet protocol (VOIP). Continue reading

Report says the IRS collection system is flawed

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A report by Nina Olson, the Internal Revenue Service’s National Taxpayer Advocate, indicates that the system used by the IRS to collect back taxes is flawed.

She indicated in her annual report to Congress that the IRS makes it difficult for taxpayers to pay their late tax bills and is failing to promptly personally notify taxpayers of their delinquencies. The agency is also accused of not telling taxpayers about alternative payment mentods, such as installment agreements.

Sometimes taxpayers are not contacted by the IRS about their taxes owed until years later. By that time, the tax bill has increased significantly because of interest and penalties.

The IRS responded by saying that it has to have a balance between staff levels and the enforcement process. The agency also said that delinquent taxpayers do receive letters that notify them of taxes owed.

Between 2001 and 2004, the IRS labeled almost 934,000 delinquent taxpayers and “currently not collectible.” They owed a total of about $7.8 billion.

2006 Ends: Another Year, Another Fraud

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At the end of one year and the beginning of another, people seem fixated on changing for the better. Most people think up a resolution or two to get their new year started on a right foot. It seems the perfect time to make some positive changes.

Companies are no different, and the start of a year is the time when many things change. How many executives have fraud on their minds when starting a new year? Probably not many, and that’s too bad. The beginning of the year is typically a time when employees expect changes. Insurance policies are updated, new schedules may be implemented, and policies and procedures may change.

Why not focus on fraud prevention in the new year? Employees are ready for change and executives should take advantaged of that opportunity. Continue reading

Flip This House Lawsuit

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Last year I became a big fan of the A&E Channel’s show called “Flip This House”. The show followed Richard Davis, and his company Trademark Properties, as they bought, renovated, and sold houses. I loved the show and Richard’s up-and-coming employee Ginger Alexander.

I waited to see new episodes. And I waited. And waited. And waited.

And finally realized there wasn’t going to be another show. At least not with Richard and Ginger. A&E had found some bogus “replacements” for the show, and it is now terrible. Continue reading

Deferred Charge Against KPMG is Dismissed

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A deferred criminal charge against KPMG related to the sales of tax shelters has been dismissed by a federal judge. In August 2005, a deferred prosecution agreement was agreed to by the parties in the case against KPMG, which accused the audit firm of creating and selling the tax shelters to help people avoid paying U.S. income taxes.

Under the deferred prosecution agreement, KPMG paid a $456 million fine, submitted to outside monitoring, and gave up some of its tax businesses. The agreement called for the government to dismiss the deferred charges if KPMG was in compliance through December 31, 2006.

Had KPMG been indicted for those charges, it might have led to the firm’s demise. In the agreement, KPMG admitted being involved in a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and the Internal Revenue Service.

While the firm is off the hook, 17 former KPMG executives were criminally charged with fraud and tax evasion related to the tax shelters. One has pleaded guilty and the others are expected to be on trial in September. Jeffrey Stein, the former deputy chairman of KPMG, opposed the dismissal of the charges against KPMG.

Former Enron executive reports to prison

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Richard Causey, the former [tag]chief accounting officer[/tag] at [tag]Enron[/tag] reported to [tag]prison[/tag] yesterday to begin serving his 5 1/2 year sentence. The 47-year-old ex-executive reported to Bastsrop Federal Correctional Institution, a low- to medium-security prison outside of Austin, Texas.

Causey pleaded guilty to a charge of [tag]securities fraud[/tag] in 2005 just prior to going on trial with Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. He would have been tried on [tag]conspiracy[/tag], [tag]fraud[/tag], and other charges related to the Enron scandal. Causey admits to making false public findings statements.

Upon completing his prison sentence, Causey will server two years of probation and pay a $25,000 fine which will be distributed to Enron victims. He has further agreed to pay $1.25 to a victims’ fund and forgo $250,000 in deferred compensation from Enron.

The Michael McGee Jackson Recall Election Will Move Forward

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Yesterday the Milwaukee Election Commission spent all day in a hearing about the recall against alderman Michale McGee (Jackson).

McGee (Jackson) claimed that were was “widespread fraud” by the recall organizers. He said he got over 100 calls about people who said they’d been decieved, but he could not name any names. Does he even have ANY credibility anymore???

The election commission determined that some signatures were not valid, but ViAnna Jordan’s petitions still had 1,785 valid signatures. That was more than enough for the recall to go forward. Continue reading

The evolution of the anti-Mary Kay movement

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What began as a loosely organized group of women casually discussing their dislike of the “business opportunity” offered by multi-level marketing companies like Mary Kay Cosmetics, has been slowly developing into an organized, credible attack on the tactics that abuse participants.

Pink Truth, a website created and maintained by me, systematically exposes the lies and half-truths told by those trying to recruit new independent beauty consultants. I thrive on numbers, and regularly expose the pathetic reality of the Mary Kay business. While women regularly brag about bringing home “executive” incomes for part-time work, the reality is that the vast majority of the so-called executives in Mary Kay (sales directors) make annual incomes in the $20k’s, if they’re lucky.

The recruiting process includes parading around “high checks”, which are the largest commission checks sales directors have received. These don’t even come close to representing the normal commission checks, and they don’t reflect any of the expenses that go into running a Mary Kay business.

Half-truths about “free” cars are told. The amount of time required to earn an income is generally downplayed. Recruiters brag about the 50% profit that can be earned on the sale of the cosmetics, but never mention that most products are sold at a discount and therefore that 50% will never be realized. (That’s if they can actually find anyone to buy the products.) New recruits are encouraged to buy large inventories without any sales experience or a customer base to support the inventory.

These realities are exposed daily on Pink Truth, much to the chagrin of the sales force that is attempting to recruit new blood into the Mary Kay pyramid. The longer the site exists, the stronger and more refined our message becomes. And people are listening. Mary Kay Inc. is listening.

Ethics charges filed against Duke lacrosse case prosecutor

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The prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case may be forced off the case because of a conflict of interest related to ethics charges filed against him.

The ethics charges were filed against District Attorney Mike Nifong on Thursday by the North Carolina bar. The charges generally accuse Nifong of violationg the professional conduct rules for attorneys by making misleading comments about the athletes accused in the case.

The North Carolina bar said it opened a case against Nifong on March 30, two weeks after the stripper at a lacrosse team party alleged she was gang raped.

Nifong claims he was only trying to get information to the community and encourage those with information to come forward. However, the bar’s charges included 41 quotes and eight paraphrased statements made by Nifong to reporters about the lacrosse players’ credibility and reputation.

Included in the statements cited by the bar:

  • Referring to the lacrosse players as “a bunch of hooligans.”
  • “I am convinced there was a rape, yes, sir.”
  • “One would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong.”

He is also accused of telling reporters that the Duke players were not cooperating with the investigation and were refusing to make statements to law enforcement.

Nifong is further accused of breaking a bar rule against “dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation” when he told a reporter that the failure to find any DNA evidence against an accused lacrosse player mmight be because he used a condom. The bar alleges that Nifong knew this assertion was misleading because he had received an emergency report showing the accuser said the attackers did not use condoms.

Don’t Let Those Christmas Gift Cards Go to Waste

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Recently, there have been reports that indicate 15% to 19% of gift cards purchased from retailers are never redeemed. Huh? Up to 1/5 of people don’t spend that gift cards they’re given??? What a travesty!

But there is hope. Websites like Cardavenue, Plastic Jungle, Gift Cards Again, Gift Card Buy Back, and Swapagift.com help people trade gift cards or turn them into cash. Some sites generally have a small fee for selling a card, but it’s a small price to pay in order to swap a gift card for one you’ll really use. Other sites buy the cards directly from users, paying them 60% to 75% of the remaining value on the card. The sites then resell those cards for full value.

Another option to unload your gift card is eBay. Look for the “gift certificate” category. Often buyers can get deals on gift cards, so they’re actually receiving more value at the store that they’re paying for the card.

The market for gift cards is estimated to be about $60 billion. That’s a lot of money, and think about how much retailers are keeping from those who never redeem theirs.