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January 2012
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March 2012

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the former top attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission, David Becker, and his two brothers agreed to return more than half a million dollars earned in an account that they inherited from their mother that was managed by Bernard Madoff. The Becker brothers inherited $2 million dollars in 2004. According to Irving H. Picard, the bankruptcy trustee, $1.5 million of the account represented fraudulent profit. The case is Picard v. Estate of Dorothy Becker, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-ap-04620. Becker became general counsel at the SEC... Read more →

How Identity Thieves Can Steal Your Tax Refund

Last April more than 400 Palm Beach Florida employees (mostly police officers and firefighters) had a very unpleasant surprise at tax time. When each attempted to file they were informed that the IRS had already processed their tax returns. All that an identity thief needs is your name, date of birth, and Social Security number, and a tax return can be filed and your refund stolen. The problem has become so prevalent that the IRS has set up a special phone number for victims to call. The scary part about this is that once your personal information has been comprised... Read more →

The Government's New Targets: Debt Collectors & Credit Bureaus

If you are in a financial related business, there is a new sheriff in town; The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. The criticism of this new agency is that it seems to be just another layer of bureaucracy regulating activities that are already regulated by existing government agencies. For example, the Bureau has announced that its first two targets will be credit bureaus and debt collectors. Both of these industries already fall under federal regulation from the Federal Trade Commission. Additionally, they are regulated in each state as well. If you watch the video below you will see that the... Read more →

Understanding The $25 Billion Mortgage Settlement

Let me first start by pointing that this latest episode of 'mortgage help' coming from Washington has received lukewarm reviews. The rap has been that this is once again too little too late and will not help very many homeowners. To make matters worse, borrowers won't know if they are even eligible for help for as long as two to three years (the period of time it is estimated for the settlement to be implemented). Over the next 30 to 60 days, settlement negotiators will be selecting an administrator to handle the logistics of the settlement and monitor compliance. Over... Read more →

I have simply reached the point that I now believe that anyone I do business with is trying to cheat me. Am I just paranoid? Consider my experience today. I was listening to talk radio and heard an ad for a company by the name of Shari's Berries. This is my mom's first Valentine's Days since my Dad passed away in September so I wanted to get her something special. Strawberries dipped in chocolate in a handsome gift box seemed like just the thing. What's more, the current special was $19.95. This seemed like a wonderful deal and just the... Read more →

The Fast Track To Rebuilding Your Credit After Foreclosure Or Bankruptcy

Call it a financial reboot or a fresh start, many people today are in a rebuilding phase when it comes to their credit score. If there is a silver lining in all of this it is that you are not alone. Millions of Americans have seen a decline in their credit scores in recent years. Whether due to a job loss, foreclosure, bankruptcy, or all of the above, you can rebuild your credit in a relatively short time if you follow a few simple steps. 1. Make Your Payments On Time For Any Open Credit Accounts You Still Have While... Read more →