Showing posts with label Fraud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fraud. Show all posts

February 19, 2015

NJ Judge Rules Converting Gay People is a Fraud

First thing I am going to say on this story is that  moneys made from people in pain and families that only need information and support, not religious but down to earth truthful support. Those moneys will have to be return. This is a very lucrative business for some, but no longer in NJ thanks to this judge. I will dare say that I would like an appeal because that will even cement this even more. I would like to see it made the law of the land. Adam Gonzalez


 Therapists who say they can convert gay people into straight people are frauds - that's the ruling a judge in New Jersey recently made.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit from four plaintiffs against the New Jersey based organization JONAH, which stands for Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing.
One of the plaintiffs is Michael Ferguson, of Salt Lake City. He got married to his partner in December 2013. It was the first same-sex marriage in the state of Utah.
However, Ferguson said the wedding may have never happened. Just a decade earlier he attempted to become straight by joining JONAH.
"At the time I thought I was really in a place that being gay was about the most awful thing that you could do or be," Ferguson said.
The judge in his case ruled that advertising therapy that can change you from gay to straight is illegal based on the state of New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act.
“The judge acknowledged that there is a widespread consensus within the mental health field that homosexuality is a normal variation of human sexuality and is not a mental disease or disorder," said Scott McCoy, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who is representing the plaintiffs.
However, JONAH doesn't understand how the judge can come to such a decision.
"How do you prove homosexual behavior is not some type of disorder even in a medical context when you look at human anatomy, human design, human procreation," said Charles LiMandri of JONAH.
Ferguson said not only does JONAH make false claims about conversion, but they create even more pain and self-hatred.
"Some of the practices are absolutely horrifying," Ferguson said. "For example, beating effigies of your mother, they tell you that that bond with your mother is what is causing you to misidentify with femininity and that's what's causing your homosexuality."
JONAH said their therapy does work and in some cases actually saves lives.
"It's a very political agenda driven lawsuit that bears no resemblance as to what actually happened and the harm they are claiming simply doesn't exist at the time, we are bringing witnesses that went through the program with them that say they are very happy," LiMandri said.
This ruling is in just the beginning of the legal process. The trial actually begins on June 1 in New Jersey.

July 5, 2014

Facebook’s failure to communicate about its mood experiment and 10 of the biggest Issues

 This is the least of the things Internet companies do to us.
Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings To Check
Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings To Check
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg apologized on Wednesday for the company's undisclosed psychological experimentation on Facebook users and acknowledged that the research effort was "poorly" communicated, a word which here means "not."
According to the Wall Street Journal, Sandberg, while in New Delhi, remarked, "We never meant to upset you," echoing Facebook researcher Adam Kramer's claim that "our goal was never to upset anyone."
In fact, the study at issue, published recently by researchers from Facebook, the University of California, and Cornell University, looks a lot like it was designed to test t social network's ability to upset (and excite) people. In January 2012, it exposed some 700,000 people to News Feeds weighted with either positive or negative posts and images to test whether users' emotions could be swayed.
[Protect your data. See 4 Facebook Privacy Intrusion Fixes.]
The researchers concluded that emotional states can indeed be influenced by what people see and read. This is more or less what marketers, artists, and politicians have known since forever. But Facebook users were upset, evidently because this is different from Facebook's publicly disclosed manipulation of users' News Feeds.
Beyond Cornell's curious repudiation of a previous statement that the Army Research Office contributed funding to the research -- let's test Facebook as a tool for regime change! -- the controversy surrounding the study consists of debates about ethics and informed consent.
The study certainly looks to be ethically dubious, but social media itself is ethically dubious. It's based on an asymmetrical exchange: something of known value -- a communications service -- for something of unknown value -- personal data, privacy, and user-generated content. The asymmetry is magnified because Facebook has some idea of the value each user brings to its network.
Yet those seeking to complain about Facebook's failure to disclose its experiment without doing the obvious -- quitting Facebook -- would do better to protest more substantive issues. Here's a 10-course tasting menu of more worthy concerns.
1. Technical paternalism
Technology companies make choices that limit how you can use their software, hardware, and services. Facebook insists on filtering users' News Feeds when it could put users in control of the filter. Apple insists on judging apps by different standards than books, in terms of what kind of content is allowed. Google won't allow ad blocking software in Google Play. Technology companies treat customers like children.
(Source: Kevin Trotman)
(Source: Kevin Trotman)
2. Changeable contracts
Technology companies, along with banks, utilities, and a host of companies in other industries, frequently claim the right to unilaterally change terms-of-service agreements at their discretion, sometimes with and sometimes without notice. Imagine that in the context of a landlord renting to a tenant. After signing a lease for $1,000 a month, the landlord could say the contract has changed and the rent is now $10,000 a month. Simply put, unilateral contractual changes should not be allowed.
3. Corporations are more than people
The Supreme Court's decision to treat corporations as people in the context of political funding elicited a fair amount of resentment among those who believe America is a nation governed by people rather than companies. But corporations can do things people cannot, like create shell companies to conceal information and to shift revenue abroad. Firms like Apple, Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn have been criticized for their ostensibly lawful tax mitigation schemes, which can move money away from regions where the companies actually consume considerable resources. Taxes that don't get paid matter more than consent that hasn't been obtained.
4. Farcical privacy policies
You would think that companies with privacy policies would provide privacy. But you would be wrong. Facebook at least has the decency to offer a Data Use Policy. Right up front, you know you will be used. But such documents are really a farce because so few people read them and truly understand them.
5. Cloud insecurity
Between 446 and 662 data breaches have occurred every year since 2007, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Meanwhile, law enforcement organizations and intelligence services like the NSA have the power to grab just about any data from anywhere. Online security is a pipe dream, yet companies insist, "We take security very seriously." They'll take your money, but can't take care of your data with any certainty. Trust no one; store your own data encrypted on a local machine.
6. Cloud impermanence
Google may be the poster child for capricious termination of cloud services, but it's far from the only company to withdraw offerings from the market in a way that inconveniences consumers. Back when software ran on local machines, this was less of a problem; today, with so many server-resident applications, important services can simply vanish. The cloud erodes the power that comes with ownership. Welcome to the cloud, serf.
7. Cloud filth
How many shared links does it take to sink an island country beneath the rising sea? Stay tuned for the viral video about the impact of
Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful 
Facebook's failure to communicate about its mood experiment is the least of the things Internet companies do to us.
carbon emissions from the data centers serving our social sharing obsession. According to Greenpeace, 2% of all global carbon emissions come from the IT industry. The cloud looks clean and pristine in IT-industry graphics, but it's still partially powered by coal. While many leading Internet companies have committed to powering their data centers with renewable energy, only Apple has made good on its promise to rely exclusively on clean power.
8. Labor exploitation
That's another term for crowdsourcing. People don't feel that they're working for Google or Facebook when they create or share links. But they are. Google, Facebook, and other social media services capture atomic units of creative work and derive value from them, usually without paying royalties for the work. And if virtual labor exploitation doesn't pique your ire, there's always the more traditional variety in Amazon warehouses and on Apple assembly lines.
9. Software patents
Several notable economists have called for the abolition of software patents. The late University of Chicago economist Gary Becker last year wrote, "Disputes over software patents are among the most common, expensive, and counterproductive. Their exclusion from the patent system would discourage some software innovations, but the saving from litigation costs over disputed patent rights would more than compensate the economy for that cost." Software patent litigation cost is estimated to cost over $11 billion annually. Though some technology companies have complained about software patents, they also file a lot of patents and participate in patent lawsuits against one another. They could effect change if they made it a priority. Meanwhile, we all bear the cost.
10. Executive compensation
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt received compensation amounting tomore than $100 million in January. Former Yahoo executive Henrique de Castro received a severance package estimated to be more than $58 million after a mere 15 months of work at the company. Just another day in Silicon Valley, unless you happen to be a rank-and-file employee, in which case you might have had your wages suppressed while companies like Apple, Google, and Intel agreed not to recruit from one another. Corporate governance today exhibits the heedless excess that left Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette headless in 18th century France.
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of the Internet of Things. Find out the way in which an aging workforce will drive progress on the Internet of Things, why the IoT isn't as scary as some folks seem to think, how connected machines will change the supply chain, and more. (Free registration required.)
Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

December 15, 2012

FaceBook Investor’s Get in The..Teeth by Two Guys

Jonathan Hirsch (left); Michael Rodgers (right)
Two Broward County men surely won't brag about this on Facebook—or check in from jail.
Michael Corey Rodgers, of Plantation, and Jonathan Hirsch, of Fort Lauderdale, are accused of defrauding investors of more than $150,000 of private shares of Facebook before the highly anticipated initial public offering of stock. They operated out of a Fort Lauderdale office suite, authorities said.
Both were charged with organized scheme to defraud and grand theft.
Rodgers, 40, was also charged with securities fraud. He remained in jail Friday in lieu of $42,500 bail; Hirsch, 33, posted a $17,500 bond early Thursday.
The case was investigated by Fort Lauderdale police and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
 According to an arrest affidavit, the pair set up an office at 1451 West Cypress Creek Road in Fort Lauderdale where the scheme took place between November 2011 and May 2012.
Rodgers allegedly mailed stock purchase agreements and other correspondence to investors and made phone calls to them from the Fort Lauderdale office suite. However, investors did not receive a stock certificate or confirmation that they held shares.
Rodgers solicited investors to purchase stocks of Facebook by registering as president of QFC Consulting Inc. and telling investors that the private equity firm had access to pre-IPO shares of Facebook stock, the arrest affidavit said.
Investors were also offered shares of ARCIS Resources, a publicly traded company that specializes in petroleum product recycling.
Collectively, six investors were allegedly bilked of a total of $207,000 of Facebook and ARCIS shares. Most of it-- $154,000-- was meant for stocks of Facebook, the affidavit said.
Rodgers allegedly sold Facebook at $35 per share and posed as a "Michael Walsh." He is accused of cashing out $42,000 of those investments, according to the affidavit.
Hirsch allegedly controlled bank accounts with investors' money and did not use those investments to purchase shares of Facebook, authorities said. Attempts to reach Hirsch by phone were unsuccessful.
When Brenda Wippick, the daughter of one of the investors, Tom Wippick, learned that Rodgers was in jail Friday, she said: "That's a good place for him."
Her father, who owns an auto body shop in Connecticut, invested $10,500 on May 10, according to the arrest affidavit.
"Every once in a while you win and once in a while you don't win one," she said.
In months leading to Facebook stock going public in May, several South Florida cases involving questionable Facebook investments emerged.
John Mattera, a Fort Lauderdale businessman, was charged and pleaded not guilty in New York for allegedly drawing in $11 million from investors after claiming he owned private shares of companies like Facebook.
Another Fort Lauderdale investment adviser, George Elia, was also accused of orchestrating a Ponzi scheme and claiming he had access to Facebook IPO shares
By Erika Pesantes, Sun Sentinel

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