Credit card scam nets $241,600 from Home Depot, Lowe’s
A conspiracy involving fraudulent credit accounts at Home Depot and Lowe’s obtained $241,600 in merchandise before federal and local authorities uncovered the plot, according to an announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of California.
Jairo Fernandez, 27, of Bakersfield, Calif., pled guilty to a credit card fraud conspiracy that involved two other individuals, according to court documents. Fernandez admitted that between November 2007 and August 2010, he conspired with Jorge Palenzuela, 42, of Bakersfield, and Yuri Perez Machado, 39, of Delano, to open credit card accounts with Lowe’s and Home Depot stores in their own names but using the information taken from publicly available business documents of victim companies, including the companies’ employer or tax identification numbers. Fernandez and his alleged co-conspirators obtained credit card account numbers in California, Kansas and Texas.
This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Secret Service, with assistance from the Bakersfield Police Department.
Fernandez is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 9, 2012. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison. The actual sentence, however, may also be influenced by other variables under the statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
Charges against Palenzuela and Machado are pending. The two are scheduled for a hearing on Nov. 21, 2011. Neither has admitted guilt to the allegations.
Just wondering if any of the
Just wondering if any of the accused are "legal" residents of the United States.
WD-40 sets sales record
WD-40, the San Diego-based maker of lubricants and home cleaning and maintenance products, reported net sales of $90.7 million for its fourth fiscal quarter, an increase of 12% from sales in the same quarter a year ago. Net income for the quarter, which ended Aug. 31, was $10.2 million, an increase of 48% compared with the prior-year fiscal quarter.
In year-end results, net sales were $336.4 million, up 5% from the prior fiscal year — a record for the company. Year-to-date net income was $36.4 million, an increase of 1% from the prior fiscal year, also a record for the company.
In a prepared statement, company CEO and president Garry Ridge said: “While we are happy with the big year we had and our record sales and net income, the year was not without its own pains with the pressure of rising commodity prices, reduction of gross margin and flat earnings.
“We launched three new products in the new WD-40 Specialist product line, a portfolio of specialty problem-solving products aimed at the trade and doer enthusiast, as planned in 2011," Ridge said. "We will add new items as we roll out the line in January 2012 in the U.S. and in other regions later in the year.”
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NRF concerned over plans to expand Internet domain names
The National Retail Federation announced that it has asked the Commerce Department to delay implementation of a controversial plan to vastly expand Internet domain names, saying retailers and other businesses need more information before moving forward.
“The single comment we are hearing most often from retailers is that they wish they had more time,” NRF SVP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. “Whether they’re for it or against it, everybody agrees that there has been too much uncertainty around this process. Right now, uncertainty reigns.”
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit that administers Internet names for the Commerce Department, plans to launch a program in January that would go beyond traditional three-character “top level” domain names such as “.com” and “.org” to include word-length domains such as “.retail” or “.shop” and also allow business names such as “.NationalRetailFederation” to be used.
The plan has been under consideration since 2009, but “its scope and consequences have largely flown under the radar of most commercial businesses,” Duncan warned in a letter to Lawrence Strickling, head of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. “To adequately plan, businesses need some level of clarity,” Duncan said. “To date, that guidance is lacking.”
Duncan said retailers have a wide range of brand identity issues and legal concerns to address before deciding whether to seek the new domain names. But ICANN has been unclear on information as basic as how many names will be available, citing numbers ranging from 300 to 1,500, he said. In addition, the organization has told some businesses the new domains assigned in 2012 will be all that will be available for the foreseeable future, while telling others new rounds of assignments will be made every few years. Such details are important so businesses will know whether they need to move quickly or will be able to wait, Duncan said.
While some retailers believe the plan will offer new marketing opportunities, others are concerned that they could be forced to spend millions of dollars to protect themselves against “cyber-squatting,” by registering multiple variations of their names to keep competitors, critics or unauthorized users from doing so, the NRF said. Application fees for each of the new domains have been set by ICANN at $185,000, but the NRF said it expects most companies to spend $250,000 per name when legal fees and consultants are included, plus another $50,000 to $100,000 a year to manage the domains thereafter. In some cases, assignment of a domain sought by more than one party would be decided by auction, further driving up costs.
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