Operation Golden Eye Nets Fencing Charges for 23 People
Twenty-three people have been indicted or arrested following an 18-month investigation targeting the illegal practices of a Middletown pawn shop, the Delaware State Police said on Wednesday. The months long investigation, dubbed “Operation Golden Eye,” began in January 2015 and targeted the illegal practices of the Gold Fever pawn shop, at 16 N. Broad St. in Middletown, said Master Cpl. Jeffrey Hale, a state police spokesman. The practices included purchasing stolen merchandise.
Last week, a New Castle County grand jury indicted the 23 individuals on multiple charges, including, racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering and organized retail theft. Search warrants were executed on Aug. 2 at the Gold Fever pawn shop and the residence of the Reillys, in the 900 block of Cox Neck Road in New Castle. As a result of the searches, Hale said investigators seized the following items:
• $100,000 in over-the-counter health care products
• Packaging materials
• Utility trailer
• Ruger .22-caliber rifle
• Ruger 12-gauge pistol grip shotgun
• Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle
• Sears & Roebuck .22-caliber bolt action rifle
• Ruger Lightweight Compact Pistol
• Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield handgun
• Taurus .380 Semi-Automatic Centerfire pistol
• Savage Arms semi-automatic 12-gauge shotgun
• Camo Savage bolt action .223 rifle
As a result of the cooperative effort of investigators from various law enforcement agencies, including state police, the United States Postal Service, the Delaware Department of Justice and the Middletown Police Department, the Reillys were charged with racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, organized retail theft, criminal solicitation and possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, Hale said.
Rio 2016 Olympics Causes Spike in Social Media Scams and Malicious Apps Targeting Fans Worldwide
The 2016 Summer Olympics was officially kicked off as Rio de Janeiro welcomed the world to the first ever Olympics held in South America with a spectacular opening ceremony on Friday. And, as the Olympic fever sweeps the world, cybersecurity risks are continuing to rise with threat actors actively targeting fans and brands worldwide with social media scams and malicious apps.
According to Proofpoint research, the expected increase in content related to the Summer games, “likely to be the most digitally-enabled Olympics in history” has also presented “as many opportunities for attackers as it does for the viewing public. As with many major events, whether holidays, elections, or sporting events, threat actors look to capitalize on our curiosity and willingness to engage via digital media,” researchers wrote in a blog post. “As a result, both consumers and brands need to be exceedingly cautious in their interactions with Olympic-themed social media and mobile applications, both of which are prime targets.”
Analyzing more than 1,300 Olympics-related social media accounts, thousands of mobile apps across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and various app stores, researchers found that overall social content increased by 200% in the two months leading up to the games. However, they also found that potentially malicious content increased by 60% during the same time including “profanity, pornography, trademark violations and spam posts” with embedded links leading to suspicious or compromised sites. Around 15% of this content posed a security risk, while about 42% included profanity and adult content. [Source: Ibtimes.co.uk]
Former IRS Employee Sentenced to Federal Prison for ID Theft, Fraud
A former IRS employee, who helped taxpayers experiencing problems resulting from identity theft, was sentenced Wednesday to nine years and two months in federal prison for her guilty plea to stealing taxpayer identities and orchestrating a tax-fraud scheme with three other people involving up to $1.5 million in bogus income tax returns.
Nakeisha Hall, 40, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre during a hearing in Birmingham. The sentence included a mandatory 2-year sentence for aggravated identity theft. Hall, who worked for the IRS’ Taxpayer Advocate Service was entrusted to help taxpayers who had already been victims of fraud, Bowdre said. “Instead you preyed on them and victimized them again,” she said.
“This is one of the most extensive tax fraud schemes I’ve ever seen,” Bowdre said. Bowdre also ordered Hall to pay jointly with three co-defendants a total of $438,187 in restitution to the IRS. Hall’s share of that debt is $198,454. The judge also ordered Hall to forfeit another $438,187. Hall is to report to prison Sept. 13. [Source: Al.com]
Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba Face Problem as Counterfeit Goods Reach $1.7 Trillion
There seems to be a problem with how Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) police the merchants who sell fake goods and services at their sites. According to The Counterfeit Report, the sum total of the entire counterfeit goods market is $1.7 trillion worldwide, about the same as the gross domestic product of a medium-sized country. And many of the sales of these go through these three e-commerce companies. The authors of The Counterfeit Report say they have asked the companies to drop these items from the sites so they are not available to the public, at least through the three huge e-commerce companies. Specifically, they have asked them:
… to remove listings for 3,820,408 counterfeit or fake items offered or sold on their websites – products destined for, or purchased by, unsuspecting consumers. eBay listings, which reflect actual sales figures, indicate consumers purchased 10,640 of the counterfeit or fake items. Alibaba subsidiary AliExpress, whose listings occasionally list sales figures, indicate 2,804 counterfeit items were purchased by consumers. Amazon does not report sales.
The organization claims that the reactions to its research are extremely small:
Particularly shocking, is that the 3.8 million products removed by The Counterfeit Report are just a tiny sample of the infringing products offered on the e-commerce websites, and most likely products that consumer would neither suspect or be able to identify. There is no way to verify the results of the research. However, the trend identified is a major problem.
[Source: 247 Wallst.com]
Macy’s to Close 100 Stores
Department store giant Macy’s said Thursday it plans to close 100 stores, a dramatic step that is aimed at helping the chain get ahead of a potentially crippling problem: America, executives say, has too many stores for the online shopping era.
Macy’s has been steadily pruning its portfolio, often moving to close several dozen underperforming stores right after the annual holiday rush. But in dropping a summertime announcement that it will close 15 percent of its locations, the chain appears to be moving more aggressively than many of its retail industry counterparts to adapt to a fast-changing shopping environment. Macy’s has plenty of reasons to scramble: Many of its stores are located in small, regional malls, the kind whose foot traffic has been especially hard-hit by the rise of e-commerce. And the department store category has generally struggled as shoppers increasingly turn to off-price retailers such as T.J. Maxx and fast-fashion players such as H&M to buy their clothes.
These factors, along with a pullback in spending by international tourists and unseasonable weather, have left Macy’s in a rut that has stretched for more than a year. On Thursday, the company said it saw a 2.6 percent drop in comparable sales in the most recent quarter, a weak performance that was nonetheless an improvement over the dismal 6.1 percent year-over-year decline it recorded in the previous quarter. The retailer’s revenue was $5.87 billion, down 3.9 percent from the same period last year. In some ways, it should not come as a surprise that Macy’s is slashing stores. It has some 675 full-line stores, or 728 if you include outlets such as Macy’s Home stores. Terry Lundgren, the retailer’s longtime chief executive, has been saying for a while now that the chain simply had too many stores. [Source: WashingtonPost.com]