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Category Archives: Fraud

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5 months ago Ethics , Fraud , Laws

Legalities of Streaming Digital Music on the Internet

Are you a music lover?  Do you have a passion for streaming or downloading the newest bands and old classics?  Does music steer you through life’s ups and downs? Perhaps music is your soul and lifeline like it is for me?  If so then you should Follow The Music. Either way, if you download or stream digital music, there are some things you should know about what is legal and what is not.

Over the years things in the world of digital music have changed, evolved, and even found different places to call home.  Whether you use Pandora, Spotify, iTunes etc. you really should become more educated on what is legal and what is not. Both for your sake and that of the artists you are into.

First, let’s talk about the differences between what is interactive and non-interactive.  In accordance with United States laws Web radio stations and online music streaming services fall into these two categories.  What is the difference you may ask?

Interactive

When a person makes their own playlists to be able to access them anytime.

Non-Interactive

When a service is considered non-interactive then each user has limited control over what songs are able to be played.

Sites like Grooveshark and Spotify offer interactive services.  Whereas sites like turntable fm have what are called “listening rooms” and don’t allow the users control over what is being played.  So they are non-interactive.

When it comes to Grooveshark, they tend to get sued by artists a great deal.  Artists claim copyright infringement because of intellectual property laws. However, Grooveshark says it follows the rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  The problem that Grooveshark runs into is they don’t have the capability to keep proper tabs on who is doing what and with what files. Although Grooveshark does frequently send out cease-and-desist orders following through on them can be complicated.  

When it comes to non-interactive sites like Turntable fm, they are supposed to adhere to the SoundExchange Statutory Licensing For Non-Interactive Music Sharing Sites rules  SoundExchange is a non-profit entity that allows non-interactive music streaming service providers to pay out royalties if need be. Turntable fm is probably the safest of the music streaming websites since it doesn’t have to worry about royalties to artists.  Turntable only allows its users to choose a genre of music and then songs are played based on that.

The online world and federal laws have not always meshed well.  Although things are getting more clear on all fronts they still aren’t crystal that’s for sure.  It’s always best to err on the side of caution when downloading, streaming, or doing just about anything online.  Do your research and try to arm yourself with the best knowledge you can get on the subject at hand. If all else fails then call a lawyer and ask them.

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5 months ago Fraud

Be Aware of Illegal and Counterfeit Pesticides

Illegal pesticides usually find their way into the US market from foreign countries. Some are manufactured in the US by unauthorized companies and distributed online or via backstreet means. Such pesticides are not evaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and may be harmful to the environment. Even worse, they may be harmful to you as an individual. Everybody is at risk of buying illegal pesticides. If you buy an illegal pesticide, you endanger the environment, your life, and potentially the life of the people around you. Compounding the problem, if you are found in possession of illegal pesticide, you may be held liable.

Preventive Pest in Phoenix knows all about the counterfeit pesticides flooding into Arizona. They are packaged to look like legal original pesticides but the content differs. Using a counterfeit pesticide may have tough legal and personal repercussions. It is your duty to ensure that you know the type of pesticide you buy. There are several ways to watch out and be aware of illegal and counterfeit pesticides.

Being Aware of Illegal and Counterfeit Pesticides

1. Only Buy From Reputable Stores

Avoid buying pesticides and drugs from unknown entities. You should ensure that the seller is legally registered and is known to offer good products. To avoid the chances of being duped, stick to the known brands.

You should also avoid buying drugs and pesticides online. The online market is full of deceit and cons when it comes to pesticides.

2. Instructions Must Be Written In English

Do not buy any pesticide that has instructions written in a language you do not understand. Chances are that such products have been imported into the US illegally. The US government requires that all products must have instructions that are readable and understandable. Instructions written in a foreign language should be a red flag.

3. Lookout For The EPA Registration Number

Illegal pesticides do not have EPA verification and, therefore, do not hold an EPA registration number. Before you buy any pesticide, make sure it has an EPA label with the EPA registration number. It is this number that verifies that a product is genuine and has been registered with the Environmental Protection Agency.

4. Check For Active Ingredients Names

Do not but any pesticide over the counter if there is no clear list of all the active ingredients. EPA verified products are required to give a list of all active ingredients. Further, EPA requires that precautionary measures be outlined regarding the use of the product. If you come across a pesticide that does not offer the necessary precaution or lacks a detailed list of ingredients, chance are it is illegal.

Conclusion

The safety of your family and that of the environment lies on you when it comes to using pesticides. The government tries to root out illegal pesticides through all means. However, such illegal products and counterfeit pesticides may still find their way into the market. You should be aware of illegal and counterfeit pesticides and stay vigilant. You need to verify each product independently before purchasing. Look for the EPA registration number and ensure that the product adheres to EPA requirements. To stay safe, always buy your pesticides from reputable stores that use regulated pesticides.

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6 months ago Crimes , Criminal Defense , Criminal Law , Fraud , Laws

Criminal Defense Attorney Tips: Healing From A Sexual Assault

Surviving a sexual assault is quite an ordeal; the kind that will likely leave you with post-traumatic stress in one form or another. For what it’s worth, do know that you are not at fault for what you’ve been through, and there is light in the times ahead of you. Although it may take a considerable amount of time to process this, with the right frame of mind and the necessary support, you will once again rebuild your sense of self-worth and attain emotional balance, coming out of it stronger than ever before. In no particular order of significance, there’s a whole lot you can do to put all of this behind you:

  1. Find someone you can trust

Going through recovery alone means you’re only going to be making everything needlessly harder on yourself. Instead, it’s better to find someone you can trust and open yourself up to what happened. Remain communicative. Sure enough, there’s stigma all around, but that’s all the more reason to open up to the people you trust; those who’ll be keeping it a secret. But whatever you do, don’t keep telling yourself that it never happened; denying the truth will only serve to reinforce the image of being a victim in your mind. If you need to feel vulnerable for a bit and seek solitude while you heal, that’s completely understandable. Just don’t completely isolate yourself for a prolonged period of time – socializing will help you heal.

  1. Don’t feel guilty about what happened

It’s important to realize that what happened to you has absolutely nothing to do with your values or personality. By no means did you bring this upon yourself. Many sexual assault victims are harsh on themselves, thinking they should have done more to stop the attack. However, when you’re experiencing physical trauma, your body gets frozen and you’re often completely unable to move. Thinking clearly becomes quite a challenge, and in the end, you end up doing nothing about it. And if someone you know did this to you, don’t blame yourself for trusting that person; there was probably no way to anticipate it. If you were intoxicated at the time, don’t blame yourself for it – the only one who is to blame is the attacker, no one else.

  1. Stay strong

As you’re recovering, flashbacks may gradually keep coming back, reminding you of the events that transpired. It’s not uncommon for the victims to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder. If you find yourself on the edge all the time, experiencing nightmares, and being overly vigilant even when the threat has passed, it might be time to seek out professional help. This is especially true if these feelings linger on for an extended period of time. Do you get irritated by certain places or smells but can’t find a reason for it? Are you experiencing shortness of breath and a lingering sense of panic even when no immediate danger is in sight? These are all signs of PTSD – if you notice these, try to calm down any way you can. On a positive note, there are specifically-designed techniques for this that can help you.

  1. Learn how to deal with flashbacks

No matter how strong you are, you will likely experience some flashbacks at some point, making you feel as if the attack is happening all over again. By realizing this, you will be much better equipped to take control of the situation and realize it’s, in fact, a flashback, not reality. You’re not a victim – you’re a survivor. Remember that, always, especially when times get tough and flashbacks keep reappearing. When you’re in the middle of a flashback, it also helps to ground yourself in the present reality to prevent your mind from escaping to dark places. For instance, you can describe the room that you are in. Is it the same one as the one in which the attack happened? If not, this is a convincing argument that you’re in the present, not the past. Go over this every time a flashback occurs, and you will ground yourself in the present reality.

  1. Connect yourself to your feelings once again

You may think that staying forever numb will shield yours from emotional trauma. While this may be true, you are also robbing yourself of positive feelings of excitement and enjoy; a compromise that is rarely worth taking. A life without feelings is existing, not living. There are many things you can try to establish the connection to your body and feel more confident again. Have you tried meditation? If you’re the sporty type, martial arts are another thing you can try. Plus, they have the self-defence element to them that will make you a powerful force to be reckoned with and re-establish your confidence. In general, any kind of rhythmic movement will help. Some may prefer dancing, others may like to artistically express themselves by playing an instrument. But no matter which path you take, just get moving – it will get better!

  1. Fight back

Now that you’ve somehow managed to rebuild at least a part of your self-esteem, it’s time to fight back and press charges against the perpetrators. Keep your chin up, lawyer up, and gather the evidence necessary so they will pay for their misdeeds. Do your due diligence and learn more about what’s needed to prevail in court, then push it with full speed ahead. The only alternative is staying silent, but you don’t want that, do you? Punishing whoever did this to you is the only way to make sure the same thing won’t happen to another unfortunate individual. As a matter of fact, people who do such ill-conceived things count on your fear of them as well as your embarrassment in hopes that they won’t get punished. Standing up for yourself may not be the easiest thing on your plate, but it’s the only right one to do.

Conclusion

The road to overcoming this will be long and riddled with obstacles, but by seeing the light in front of you, you’ll be able to pull yourself together and live your life once again. After all, many sexual assault survivors have successfully done so in the past, so keep your chin up and follow in their footsteps.

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6 months ago Crimes , Fraud , Laws

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and What to Look for When Selecting an Attorney

The sad truth is that nursing home abuse has become really common in the last couple of years. This is specifically why a new niche has been created, as many lawyers focus exclusively on solving this sort of cases.

So, how would we characterize nursing home abuse? How do you determine if one of your loved ones is a victim in this case? Most importantly, though, what should you do in this respect?

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

First of all, we’ll define nursing home abuse. Expressly, there are specific categories of nursing home abuse, such as sexual or physical abuse, emotional abuse, healthcare fraud, financial exploitation, abandonment, neglect, and so on and so forth.

Considering that the areal of nursing home abuse is quite broad, it is essential to comprehend and address the warning signs.

Statistically speaking, a high percentage of all the nursing homes in the United States have been cited for violations of elder abuse rights and laws. Because nursing home residents are commonly not well-suited to protect their own rights, it is incumbent on family members to monitor, observe, and actively supervise the care of your family member in the nursing home. If you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, an qualified nursing home attorney will help you review the circumstances. This is pointed out by a nursing home abuse law firm in Tampa.

With that in mind, the warning signs of physical abuse, for instance, are sudden injuries or unexpected physical conditions that cannot be explained: sprained joints, broken bones, burns, and bruises, so on and so forth. Meanwhile, signs of emotional abuse include the withdrawal from social activities, an unprecedented change in behavior, isolation, and the presence of caregivers that are aggressive.

In the case of neglect or abandonment, then the living space would be dirty, the bedding spoilt, the patient’s personal hygiene is deteriorating, so on and so forth. These are all warning signs that require your immediate action.

What to Look for When Selecting an Attorney?

You’ve decided that your beloved one is a victim of nursing home abuse. What do you do from this point onward? Categorically, the next step is to look for the assistance of a professional that you can trust – namely an experienced attorney.

Evidently, each state has different laws and regulations concerning nursing home abuse, and you should get your facts straight before proceeding with a lawsuit. Essentially, the attorney you choose should be knowledgeable regarding the procedures in the state in which you live. You should ask him/her a range of questions, and, depending on the answers, you should be able to make a sensible decision.

To conclude, note that a nursing home lawyer usually does the following: he gathers critical information for building up a case, starts the legal action, prepares for the trial, negotiates the settlement, commences the trial and resolves the lawsuit. Additionally, lawyers expect ultimate transparency from their clients, which is why you should be honest and disclose all the information you have at your disposal.

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6 months ago Crimes , Criminal Law , Fraud , Laws

Types of Prison Sentences in the UK

The UK government has different types of prison sentences, that are given out to both adults and young people in court. Learn about all of them, in this post.

When the law is broken, and a person is sentenced for a crime, there are varying degrees of prison sentences given. In the UK, our criminal justice system encompasses different types of prison sentences, for those found guilty in a court of law. As each crime is different, some less serious than others, there must be different forms of prison sentencing in place.
We’ve spoken to THB Legal, leading solicitors in Chelmsford serving Essex and East Anglia, about the different kinds of prison sentences there are in the UK. In this post, we will examine what each of these sentences entails, including length and conviction. Learn all about the prison sentencing process, right here.

1. Concurrent and Consecutive Sentences

In cases of criminal law, where the person is convicted of committing more than a single crime, these prison sentences are called concurrent and consecutive sentences. The difference between them is that concurrent sentences are sentences served in conjunction with one and another, where us consecutive sentences are served one after the other. So, if a judge or magistrate sentences the person to a concurrent sentence of one crime equalling 2 years and another crime with a sentencing of 4 years, they will be imprisoned for 4 years in total (as the sentences are served at the same time). As for consecutive sentencing, if the same person has committed one crime and been sentenced for 2 years, with another crime committed where the sentencing is 4 years, they will serve a total of 6 years in prison.

2. Suspended Prison Sentences

Suspended sentences are when the person deemed guilty, serves their sentencing outside of prison – in the community. This comes with conditions of service, including having to refrain from going near a specific place or individual or doing unpaid work for the community (known as community payback). In suspended prison sentencing cases, if the person sentenced breaks the conditions of their sentencing, they can be put into prison. Those on suspended sentencing must adhere to certain requirements, including activity, unpaid, curfew and residence requirements among others (specified by the judge or magistrate on sentencing). Suspended prison sentences are usually for less severe criminal charges.

3. Determinate Prison Sentences

This type of prison sentencing specifies a set, fixed length of time. Determinate sentencing is given by a judge or magistrate where the person convicted serves for a fixed length of time. There are some exceptions, but usually a determinate prison sentence must be served in full. However, for sentences of over 12months, the first half of the sentence is carried out in prison. Then, the second half of the sentencing is carried out in the community. Similar to suspended sentencing, there are some criteria that must be met. If the person convicted breaks the conditions of their second half community sentencing, they can be placed back into prison. Similarly, for cases where the determinate sentence is under 12months, the prisoner is usually released half way through their sentence.

4. Indeterminate Prison Sentences

Contrasting determinate prison sentences, indeterminate sentences do not have a fixed period of time for sentencing. For those incarcerated, this means that they will not have a date that they are released from prison. The judge will provide a set amount of years that are the minimum that must be served, also known as a tariff. Once the tariff has been served, they will be considered for release. A Parole Board will decide if the individual is allowed to be released, after their tariff has been served. A collection of individuals will determine whether a prisoner can be released on parole, taking into consideration the safety of the public should this person be released. They must assess if they are going to be able to re-enter this person into society without any negative impact on the public.

5. Life Sentences

For the most severe of cases, courts must give life sentences. A life sentence is given in cases of murder but can also be given for other severe cases included bank robbery and rape charges. Life sentences usually are served for the remaining duration of the individual’s life. Should they be considered for release, if they commit another crime whilst out of prison, they can be returned into prison at any given time. If the court gives a whole life sentence, the convicted person is not considered for release, under any circumstances. There is no minimum term and no chance for release. If the judge deems the case serious enough to grant a whole life sentence, the convicted will serve the rest of their life in prison (without chance of release).

6. Sentences for Young People

All of the sentences above are for adults (those over the age of 18). Those ages 17 and under receive different sentences for crimes. Firstly, there is detention and training order, given to those aged between 12-17. The sentence ranges from 4months – 2 years. The first half of the detention and training order is served in custody, then the second half will be served whilst they’re in the community. However, for crimes more severe, like violent and sexual crimes, young people will receive an extended sentence. Young people given an extended sentence may spend a long time in custody. When they are released, they will be placed under supervision. This supervisory period lasts, again, for a long time. They are usually tagged in this period to be monitored.

Finally, for cases of murder where the person is young, courts will set a minimum amount of time for the young person to spend in custody. They will be unable to apply for parole until this minimum sentence has been served. Should they be released, they will be under supervision for the remainder of their lives. For other serious crimes, young people can be given the same sentence as an adult, including life sentences.

These are the different kinds of prison sentences for those convicted in the UK.

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1 year ago Fraud

10 Signs of Fraud and How to Deal With It

When the signs of fraud appear on the horizon, you can’t afford to ignore them.

No one can–businesses are losing $190 billion a year to credit card fraud alone. And for an individual, the cost can be even more daunting–a ruined credit score, lost income, and more ugliness you’d rather not think about.

What are the red flags for fraud? Keep reading to find out.

1. Erratic Reporting

One of the first screaming signs of fraud? Reporting issues.

This can come from employees, management, contractors, even suppliers. A late report is one thing, but frequent lateness, incomplete reports, or reports that come laden with apologies and excuses are classic warning signals.

Why? Because incompleteness or excessive excuses are common tools used to deter anyone from looking closer at what’s wrong in the reports themselves. Examination of what’s missing or nonsensical will often point to what’s wrong.

Common excuses to watch for include IT failures or system incompatibility.

If this happens, demand scheduled, up-to-date reporting and try to use enterprise-wide technology so that incompatibility isn’t possible.

2. Missing Documents

Along similar lines, you should keep a close eye on missing documents.

Now, it isn’t uncommon for documents to be misplaced at work–we’re only human, and accidents happen. But if records go missing on a regular basis, then you should be concerned.

Especially if checks and receipts go missing.

Keep an eye on what documents are MIA. Presentation notes from last year aren’t as important, but financial records should always be accounted for.

And if documents go missing, make a lot of noise to figure out what happened to them.

3. Data Inconsistencies

As with several other signs of fraud listed here, some data inconsistencies are the result of a natural human error.

This is, of course, one of the arguments that fraudsters will often use to conceal what they’re doing.

As such, you should take the appropriate precautions to prevent data inconsistencies. For example, no employee should be able to delete a file without administrative approval. There should also be electronic backups as part of your digital compliance.

4. Dumping

As a rule, if you feel the pressure to dump data, or hear that a company is dumping information, you should be hearing warning sirens.

The easiest way to cover up a fraud? Delete all the evidence that it ever happened.

And if you hear the sentence, “I’m sorry, those documents were destroyed,” you should be extremely alarmed.

One way to counteract this is to make sure you have paper copies of documents and have logged where they’re stored. There should also be a system in place of where those documents can and cannot be stored.

You should also make sure that scanning and indexing are in working order, and that they’re secured. No one should be able to intercept a document or take a copy while you’re scanning.

5. Audit Delays

As you’ve probably figured out by now, delays are generally a red flag.

This is especially true during audit season. You know audits happen every year like clockwork, so there should be no reason to give your auditors the runaround.

However, keep in mind that auditors aren’t there to catch the warning signs of fraud–they’re there to make sure that the appropriate measures are in place to prevent fraud from happening.

6. Multiple Bank Accounts

Remember the Wells Fargo fraud case? Accounts fraud was part of it, and multiple bank accounts are something to watch out for.

Multiple bank accounts are particularly concerning if you’ve never heard of them before.

While more than one account isn’t a crime, it makes inappropriate money usage more difficult to trace.

As such, if you don’t know the exact business need for a specific account and no one can seem to tell you, there’s no real reason for it to be there.

7. Shaky Financials

When considering your financials, as yourself the following questions:

  • Does your budget match your financial results regularly?
  • Are there any parts of your financial statements that don’t make sense?
  • Are your monthly financials delivered on a timely basis?

If the answer to any of these three questions is worrisome, it’s time to take a closer look at what’s happening to your money.

8. Questionable Employee Behavior

Everyone has bad days. Everyone gets nervous. But not everyone commits fraud.

If employees are being unusually cagey about specific processes, or can’t seem to stop babysitting a specific process for reasons you can’t quite make sense of, then you should take a closer look at what they’re actually doing.

If they’re behaving as though they don’t want you to look at something, be sure look at it.

9. IT Work Under the Radar

Many a company lives and dies by their IT department.

But if you have a tech crew working at odd hours, you might want to take a closer look at what they’re doing during those odd hours.

This is especially true if your company isn’t large enough to maintain a full IT department that would catch such red flags through audit trails.

10. Process Laziness

Security systems age and they don’t always hold up against new threats. It’s natural.

In fact, it’s expected–new cybersecurity threats are appearing all the time.

It’s also normal that people neglect stringent protocols when things get busy.

However, for your own security, these protocols need to be enforced. Many a business is lulled into a false sense of security by the presence of those protocols while the fraudster is hard at work behind their backs.

Similarly, if a company shows frequent signs of carelessness, you should be hearing alarm bells–security protocols are in place to protect valuable information, and if the company isn’t paying attention to those protocols, then the information isn’t safe.

When You Spot the Signs of Fraud

When you spot the signs of fraud, it’s time to get a lawyer.

The truth is, you don’t know how long fraudulent activity was going on before you caught it, which means you need to do damage control as quickly as possible.

If you need to find a lawyer, take a look at our lawyer directory. Or, if you need more legal tips and advice, take a look at our blog.

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