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The NJLTA is pleased to present the latest news and advice from the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

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To file a claim with the FBI regarding an internet crime:

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Internet Crime Complaint Center 2017 Internet Crime Report

The FBI has released the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) 2017 Internet Crime Report, which highlights scams trending online. In 2017, IC3 received a total of 301,580 complaints with reported losses exceeding $1.4 billion.

The 2017 Internet Crime Report emphasizes the IC3’s efforts in monitoring trending scams such as Business Email Compromise, Ransomware, Tech Support Fraud, and Extortion.

The most prevalent crime types reported by victims were:
► Non-Payment/Non-Delivery
►Personal Data Breach
►Phishing

The top three crime types with the highest reported loss were:

►Business Email Compromise
►Confidence/Romance fraud
►Non-Payment/Non-Delivery

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From Lavish Lifestyle to Prison

 

Pittsburgh Mortgage Broker Defrauded Banks, Borrowers to Enrich Himself

With hundreds of pages of paperwork and thousands of dollars on the line, getting a mortgage can be a complex and intimidating transaction for homebuyers, who often depend on experts to get them through the process.

Unfortunately for some mortgage applicants in Western Pennsylvania, dishonest real estate professionals took advantage of that trust with fraudulent practices.

As the real estate market boomed before the 2008 crash, Pittsburgh-based Century III Home Equity was a successful brokerage, closing an estimated $100 million in loans annually. As a broker, the company acted as a middleman between the mortgage applicant and the lender, but the company’s employees manipulated both sides to enrich themselves. The owner—James Nassida, IV—and his loan officers misleadingly sold customers mortgage products that were not always appropriate for their financial situation but racked...

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International Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme

 

Two Sentenced in Wide-Reaching Criminal Conspiracy

A Texas businesswoman and a Texas lawyer were recently sentenced to lengthy federal prison terms for their roles in an international money laundering conspiracy that defrauded dozens of victims across the U.S. Both were also ordered to pay restitution of more than $3.7 million to their victims.

Last October, Priscilla Ann Ellis—after being convicted by a federal jury—received 40 years in prison, while attorney Perry Don Cortese received 25. Ellis’ daughter, Kenietta Rayshawn Johnson—who took part in the conspiracy as well—was sentenced to 40 months. Three additional individuals were also indicted as part of the conspiracy—one pleaded guilty and two are awaiting extradition from Canada. And eight other individuals have been charged separately.

And for Ellis, as if a 40-year prison term wasn’t long enough, she—while being temporarily held at a local jail right after her conviction in the money laundering conspiracy—tried to solicit other inmates to help her hire a hit man to murder several witnesses who had just testified again her at trial (and then attempted to undertake another financial fraud scheme to pay for the hit man). She was convicted on those charges in March of last year, ...

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Director Addresses Cyber Conference

 

Raising Our Game’ to Stay Head of Cyber Threats

As the threats from hackers and other cyber criminals grow, the FBI is committed to developing its workforce’s cyber expertise, building partnerships, and punishing cyber criminals who target the United States, FBI Director Christopher Wray said at a major cyber security conference this week.

“Today, we live much of our lives online, and we're in a situation where just about everything that is important to us lives on the Internet. And that’s a pretty scary thought for a lot of people,” Director Wray said. “What was once a minor threat—people hacking for fun or bragging rights—has now turned into full-blown nation-state economic espionage and very, very lucrative cyber criminal activity. The threat is now coming at us from all sides.”

Sponsored by the FBI and Fordham University, the International Conference on Cyber Security featured expert speakers—including several FBI officials—on a wide variety of cyber-related topics, ranging from botnets and malware to disinformation campaigns and attacks on critical infrastructure. Wray was joined in the conference’s opening ceremony...

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Theft of Federal Funds for Housing

 

Victims Included the Elderly, Homeless, and Mentally Disabled

Alternatives Living, Inc., was a non-profit organization in the New Orleans area with a stated mission of providing affordable housing to the elderly, homeless families, and individuals with mental disabilities. And through the state of Louisiana, the non-profit received funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to carry out its noble work—assisting about 660 clients annually, enabling them to live successfully within their communities.

Unfortunately, the chief financial officer (CFO) of Alternatives Living—Rickey Roberson—had another purpose as well: to use some of the funds from HUD, specifically earmarked for needy individuals, for his own personal gain. And as a result, there were clients who were not able to get the services that they needed.

How did this all start? In 2010, HUD had contracted with the state of Louisiana to administer its Community Development Block Grants in order to implement affordable housing programs throughout the state. Alternatives Living was one of the organizations...

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Internet Crime

 

IC3 a Virtual Complaint Desk for Online Fraud

That holiday card in your inbox? Think twice before clicking. That deep discount in your newsfeed on the season’s hot gadget? Does it seem too good to be true?

The FBI’s authority on Internet scams suggests keeping your guard up as holiday shopping season kicks in. The Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, is the Bureau’s virtual complaint desk for people who believe they have been victimized or defrauded online. The unit, established in 2000 in the FBI’s Cyber Division, receives about 800 complaints every day through its website, www.ic3.gov.

“The scams that we get all year long are the same scams that happen around the holiday season,” said Donna Gregory, head of the IC3 unit, which is based in West Virginia. “It’s just that people are more apt to maybe fall for them during the holidays—especially for non-delivery scams or clicking on links for greeting cards that are actually malware.”

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Virtual Kidnapping

 

A New Twist on a Frightening Scam

Law enforcement agencies have been aware of virtual kidnapping fraud for at least two decades, but a recent FBI case illustrates how this frightening scam—once limited to Mexico and Southwest border states—has evolved so that U.S. residents anywhere could be potential victims.

Although virtual kidnapping takes on many forms, it is always an extortion scheme—one that tricks victims into paying a ransom to free a loved one they believe is being threatened with violence or death. Unlike traditional abductions, virtual kidnappers have not actually kidnapped anyone. Instead, through deceptions and threats,

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FBI, This Week: Beware of Virtual Kidnapping for Ransom Schemes

Audio Transcript

Mollie Halpern: The FBI wants to prevent you and your loved ones from becoming victims of virtual kidnapping for ransom schemes.

Virtual kidnappings happen when victims are coerced over the phone to pay ransom because they believe a family member has been kidnapped or is at risk of being kidnapped.

No one is actually physically kidnapped in these schemes, but victims like Valerie Sobel say the threats feel frighteningly real…

Valerie Sobel: It took me about three, four days before my hands stopped shaking. It definitely had a very, very bad effect.

Halpern: Perpetrators of these schemes exploit social media and other technology to carry out their crimes.

Supervisory Special Agent Michael Kelley says these prevalent schemes are evolving…

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National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2017

 

Protecting Yourself Online in an Interconnected World

As hacks, data breaches, and other cyber-enabled crime become increasingly commonplace, this year’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month is an important reminder of the need to take steps to protect yourself and your family when using the Internet. Launched in 2004 by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, ...

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Cyber Crime

The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating cyber attacks by criminals, overseas adversaries, and terrorists. The threat is incredibly serious—and growing. Cyber intrusions are becoming more commonplace, more dangerous, and more sophisticated. Our nation’s critical infrastructure, including both private and public sector networks, are targeted by adversaries. American companies are targeted for trade secrets and other sensitive corporate data, and universities for their cutting-edge research and development. Citizens are targeted by fraudsters and identity thieves, and children are targeted by online predators. Just as the FBI transformed itself to better address the terrorist threat after the 9/11 attacks, it is undertaking a similar transformation to address the pervasive and evolving cyber threat. This means enhancing the Cyber Division’s...

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Bankruptcy Fraud

 

Wife Stole Husband’s Identity, Retirement Account

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Business E-Mail Compromise 

An Emerging Global Threat

 

The accountant for a U.S. company recently received an e-mail from her chief executive, who was on vacation out of the country, requesting a transfer of funds...

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December 20, 2016

FBI Warns of Dramatic Increase in Business E-Mail Compromise Scams

 

The FBI Boston Division is warning of a dramatic rise in business e-mail compromise scams or BECs, which target businesses of all sizes and types and have resulted in massive financial losses in Boston and other cities...

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FBI warns of surge in wire-transfer fraud via spoofed emails

(Reuters) - Attempts at cyber wire fraud globally, via emails purporting to be from trusted business associates, surged in the last seven months of 2016, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a warning to businesses.

Fraudsters sought to steal $5.3 billion through...

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