Friday, May 12, 2006

Data Schemers Get Nipped at by FTC

As pointed out some time ago by placing him among those on my Squaliformes “Hall of Shame” list, Jay Patel’s hunger for private information to sell about other people is seemingly endless.

He may have to go on a little bit of a data-diet. Not to worry for Jay and his gang, the toothless FTC won't put him (or them) out of business; that would send a signal to all data whores that the Feds are serious about privacy, and doing that wouldn't sit well with the movers and shakers in Washington.

It looks like the FTC has moved to act against Patel and his firm (AccuSeach / Abika) by charging him and four other Squaliforme enablers with violations of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

The FTC says they were using or causing others to use, “false pretenses, fraudulent statements, fraudulent or stolen documentation or other misrepresentations, including posing as a customer of a telecommunications carrier, to induce officers, employees, or agents of telecommunications carriers to disclose confidential customer phone records."

Joining in on the scheme and being outed in the FTC suits are also “77 Investigations,” run by Reg Kimbro (in either Upland, California or Broomfield, Colorado), David Kacala’s Baltimore-based “Information Search,” “Integrity Security and Investigation Services” in Yorktown, VA, and last but not least, Scott Joseph’s “CEO Group”(Check Em Out) out of Ft. Lauderdale.

Half the fun will be the FTC’s effort to get the money they all made from the scheme. In that little dance, maybe the FTC might even find out who was buying the information and keeping these crooks in business.

'Round here, that would be only a good start. But with the FTC playing the sleeping-dog role in so many information privacy issues when financial services firms are at the controls in Congress, it's unlikely the penalty will actually put anyone out of business. So the settlements, like so many other alleged prosecutions, will simply show the rest of them how to navigate the waters.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wounded Squaliforme Changes Course - Sort Of

Mega-Squaliforme Ameriquest's parent company has cut thousands of Ameriquest employees and closed its retail office storefront lending operations.

That's the good news. Hundreds of thousands of consumers are in slightly less danger for the time being.

The bad news is there are now at least a thousand ex-Ameriquest loan agents who may start showing up at the doorsteps of other, less unscrupulous lenders. It will be interesting to see what companies are willing to jepoardize their own already-dubious reputations by letting some of these people stay in the lending industry.

'Round here, any former Ameriquest employee is not to be trusted, let alone hired. After all, you have to be really flexible in terms of moral turpitude to stay working for a Squaliforme of that magnitude.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean