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Your weekly ScamWatch

September 5, 2010 |  6:00 am

Here’s a weekly roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.

Who’s most likely to steal from you? A fraud suspect is not easy to stereotype. That’s the word from the Assn. of Certified Fraud Examiners, which issued a recent report about the traits of people who steal from their employers. The average perpetrator has no criminal record, is more likely to be male than female, and is 31 to 45 years old, the group said in a report released Thursday. The report, based on a survey of fraud examiners, found that more than 80% of fraud is committed by employees in six departments: accounting, sales, executive management, operations, customer service and operations. Employees who steal often are living beyond their means or experiencing financial hardship, the report said.

Safely searching for jobs: Unemployed Americans scouring the Internet for jobs should safeguard themselves from potential scams, the Better Business Bureau has warned. Among the most common signs of trouble are employers who demand upfront fees, insist that they need to check job applicants’ credit or send e-mails that are filled with spelling or grammatical errors, the bureau said in a recent bulletin.

Targeting the deaf: A Hawaii man and his company have been ordered to pay more than $6.2 million in restitution, fines and penalties for operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded 125 investors, all of whom were deaf. Marvin Cooper and his Honolulu-based company, Billion Coupons, promised investment returns of 15% to 25% per month by trading foreign currency and commodity futures. Cooper inappropriately diverted more than $1.4 million for himself, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Cooper could not be reached for comment. U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright imposed the penalties at the request of the commission. The FBI, Federal Trade Commission and other agencies warn consumers to avoid investments that sound too good to be true.

Recycler denies fraud charges: A San Jose electronic-waste recycling company has denied charges that its owner and two employees falsified records in an attempt to defraud the state of California of $1 million. Joseph Chen, owner of Tung Tai Group, and employees John Chen and Jason Huang face a combined 17 criminal charges for allegedly inflating the amount of used computers and televisions it brought to a recycling center. The company said in a news release Friday that evidence “will exonerate the company and its members.” The company blamed the allegations on “inaccurate information” that a recycling center gave to the state.

-- Stuart Pfeifer

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