Monsignor charged with stealing more than $500,000 from Archdiocese
The former monsignor of a Philadelphia Catholic church was recently charged with stealing over $500,000. Msgr. William Dumbrow, 77, stands accused of taking the donated funds and allegedly using the money on expensive dinners and trips to casinos. The money was supposed to be used on the Villa St. Joseph retirement home that houses former priests. Dumbrow was in charge of allocating the funds.
For over nine years, federal prosecutors say he wrote checks to himself, and is believed to have taken $535,258.11 during that time. He used that money to go to Philadelphia Pops concerts and to gamble at Harrah’s Casino. Eventually the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was alerted to the suspicious activity by the bank and immediately froze the monsignor’s account and contacted federal agents. Dumbrow faces up to eighty years in prison but is expected to enter a guilty plea according to his attorney Coley Reynolds. [For more: ABC6 News]
Vape pen manufacturer Grenco Science wins $47 million counterfeit case
Last month, a federal judge in Illinois granted vaporizer manufacturer Grenco Science nearly $50 million in damages from online retailers knowingly selling counterfeit versions of its products. The Los Angeles-based company has been making vaporizers and personal vape pens like the G Pen and G Pro since 2012, and is well known for collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Burton Snowboards, HUF and others. This popularity drew the interest of overseas counterfeiters, who began creating and selling lower-quality knockoff versions of Grenco’s most popular products. The counterfeiters used the company’s logos, images, and trademarks in order to convince potential customers that the fakes were legit. However, the counterfeit products are lower quality than the originals, often using non-certified batteries that are potentially hazardous.
A federal judge sided with Grenco Science in the case, awarding them $47 million in damages. The judge offered the ruling to stop the defendants from continuing to sell these counterfeit products, as well as provide financial recompense. “I’m marking this off as another milestone in protecting what is ours,” Grenco Science CEO Chris Folkerts wrote in an Instagram post. “I will take the time to thank the attorneys and my team who worked so hard on this. Let it be known that this is the first of many. This win represents the first of many in a continued effort against counterfeiters unlawfully infringing upon our intellectual property,” said Anthony Marino, COO of Grenco Science. “And while we’re thrilled with this initial outcome, let this serve as notice that we’re only getting started.” [For more: MerryJane]
The post-EMV fraud spike is landing at merchants’ feet
The global e-commerce market continues to expand. By 2019, it’s expected to be worth $2.4 trillion. But as the market grows, so does the opportunity for fraud (online fraud was up by 30% last year), and the sinister ways by which fraudsters commit their acts. While we can’t put all the blame on the EMV switch, we can attribute a big part of this growth in fraud to it. That rollout made fraud much more difficult to perpetrate at physical points of sale. As such, fraudsters adjusted their tactics to target online purchases, which is now perceived as an easier channel to attack.
What is happening in tandem with the rise of e-commerce fraud is the increase in false declines. More consumers are having their legitimate orders marked as illegitimate, in an effort by the merchant to protect its bottom line (at the cost of a good sale). As fraud grows, false declines will continue to spell trouble for merchants and consumers alike. The onus is on merchants to prevent fraud, whether perpetrated online or in-store. Luckily, there are means by which merchants can protect themselves and their consumers. The fight against retail fraud is certainly a challenging one. Fraudsters are constantly evolving their tactics to commit fraud; merchants must follow suit and evolve their strategies to beat the fraudsters. These steps are a great place to start in preparing for the long battle against e-commerce fraud, and providing a seamless and profitable end-to-end customer experience. [For more: Payments Source]
Three arrested after not dimming headlights, police find stolen clothing, marijuana, and tools
Police have arrested three men on a charge of running an organized retail crime enterprise, and one of them faces additional counts of drug possession and possession of a device to shield items from retail security theft detectors. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials assisted as two of the men appear to be in the country illegally from Columbia, police said in a news release. Officers seized several bags of what appeared to be marijuana, several large bags of clothing, cologne and perfume with merchandise tags attached and with a retail value of more than $7,500. They also found tools that appeared to be for detaching anti-theft devices from merchandise.
The incident began when police officer Richard Carlson stopped a car at 8:46 p.m. Tuesday on Endicott Street North near Tower Street for a minor motor vehicle violation. The 2005 Mazda 6, with a South Carolina plate, failed to dim its high beams as it passed the patrol car. The driver, Arturo Fabian Pineda-Otero, 30, of Flushing, New York, was taken into custody for driving with a suspended license. The bags containing what appeared to be marijuana were found on him, police said. The two other men arrested were Roger Bustos-Perez, 28, of Elmhurst, New York, and Herman Avendano-Martinez, 29, of Queens, New York. Bustos-Perez had an ankle bracelet monitoring device. Both said they were out on bail but didn’t have details for their crimes. They spoke only Spanish so officers had a language barrier in trying to communicate with them. A bag that apparently was designed to defeat retail security systems was made of duct tape and aluminum foil. Items containing anti-theft tags are sometimes put in such bags to prevent them from setting off alarm systems during shoplifting attempts. As of Wednesday afternoon, they had not been arraigned. [For more: The Laconia Daily Sun]
Columbus Police looking for suspects who conned employees out of store deposit money
Columbus, Ohio, police are looking to identify two suspects who reportedly tricked several Family Dollar employees into giving them money. Police say an unknown man called the store at 6480 Winchester Pike on Feb. 22, claiming to be from corporate headquarters. The man reportedly told a store employee to take money from the safe and put it into the night deposit bag.
Some time later, a female came into the store and said she was a loss prevention officer. Police say she picked up the bag, which had nearly $2,000 inside. Police say the female suspect is connected to other similar thefts. Anyone with information on her identity is asked to contact Detective Grooms in CPD’s Property Crimes Bureau at 645-4624 or email@example.com. [For more: NBC4 News]
More than 40,000 University of Maryland email addresses are for sale on the dark web
Over 40,000 student email addresses from the University of Maryland were found to be up for sale on the so called “dark web.” David Maimon, a professor of criminology at the school, believes that criminals seem to be targeting universities in order to steal “.edu” addresses. Universities also are easy targets due to the large amounts of sensitive information stored in the systems, such as student names and social security numbers. Criminals have also found that student emails are more effective at phishing information as they appear more genuine. Furthermore, the student email addresses have an easier time bypassing spam filters.
Data collected from the Digital Citizens Alliance reports suggests that not all the email addresses were stolen, but some were in fact sold by students. The university of Maryland previously suffered a data breach back in 2014, when over 300,000 student and faculty records were compromised. Jonathan Katz, the director of the Maryland Cybersecurity Center said that the university looks for large amounts of suspicious activity on student accounts, which would indicate a student email being used to send spam. It has also been working on developing better secured programming language in order to prevent future attacks. Finally, students are told to be wary of potential phishing scams offering summer jobs and to avoid clicking on links from suspicious looking accounts. [For more: The Diamondback News]
Ralph Lauren cuts another dismal signal for retailers
Ralph Lauren said it will close its flagship store in New York, underscoring the difficult climate for retailers that rely on store sales. The luxury clothing brand is closing its Fifth Avenue location as part of a $370 million restructuring as it tries to grow by instead improving its e-commerce strategy and eliminating jobs. Ralph Lauren lost its CEO, Stefan Larsson, in early February.
So far this year, at least nine major retailers have already filed for bankruptcy in the grim environment for brick-and-mortars, including electronics retailer HHGregg, Limited Stores, Payless, Gordmans Stores and Wet Seal. Other companies that have filed for Chapter 11 in 2017 are Gander Mountain, BCBG Max Azria, Michigan Sporting Goods Distributors and RadioShack.
The Ralph Lauren brand, with jeans that start at about $100, is also suffering from consumer trends favoring travel and restaurants over clothing and accessories. Consumers who are still buying apparel are favoring discount apparel. Discount retailers like Ross that have fast turnarounds for merchandise and lower-cost clothes are faring much better than expensive luxury brands in recent quarters. “This is more evidence that retailers, specifically apparel, are under tremendous pressure,” said Chen Grazutis, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst told Bloomberg. “People aren’t buying as much apparel as they used to.” [For more: Investopedia]