Eight things you should never do at hotel checkout

Posted on: June 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For most hotel guests, checking out is an afterthought. It’s the last thing you have to do before heading home. But knowing what not to do at checkout and properly preparing for it can turn a potentially heated situation into a quick “thank you and goodbye.” Below, we compiled a list of eight things you should avoid doing at hotel checkout.

1. Don’t be late to checkout.

The first rule of checking out? Don’t be late. Just like rental car companies that charge for an extra day when you return the car a few minutes after due time, hotels may tack on an outrageously high price for being just a half-hour late. If you’re rushing back to the hotel and know you won’t make the cutoff time, it never hurts to call ahead and try to negotiate away a potential charge.

2. Don’t forget to double check the room and safe.

In addition to leaving the room on time, make sure you don’t leave anything behind. You may want to check under the bed for that lost sock and the bathroom outlet for your phone charger. If you have an early flight or checkout time, pack up as much as you can the night before so that last-minute rush isn’t too harried. Also, be sure to take out anything you were keeping in the room safe. If you’re staying at a hotel where you need to leave your passport at the front desk, you may want to get it back before checking out, if possible.

3. Don’t forget to tip the housekeepers.

Though easy to forget, it’s always polite to leave some money for the people keeping your room clean. If it helps, write yourself a Post-it note reminder.

4. Don’t ignore the itemized bill.

You may be in a rush to get through checkout, but give the itemized bill a careful look so you understand why the hotel charge is different than the room rate you initially booked. Some hotel executives intentionally advertise low room rates, knowing the property will make up the difference with fees that only appear at checkout. Yes, it’s a smarmy practice, but you should be on the lookout or you might get grifted.

5. Don’t be surprised by hidden charges.

Anyone who has stayed in a hotel in the past 10 or so years has likely been presented with an itemized bill that has an unexpected fee. Many New York hotels located near Times Square are now charging an extra $25 destination fee. Some properties add on a resort fee for amenities — even when you’re not staying the resort. Then, there’s the obnoxious restocking fee for those macadamia nuts you ate when you couldn’t bring yourself to walk a block to find food. Research the fees your hotel charges before you book your stay. The property should clearly spell out the fees they add to the bill, and if it’s not, you can push back on any surprise charges.

6. Don’t freak out.

Spitting venom at the assistant manager standing behind the front desk probably won’t help when dealing with an unexpected line item on the bill. Anyone working at checkout likely knows what fees can and can’t be adjusted. Being empathetic about how difficult it can be to deal with annoyed customers will likely go much further than screaming about the unfair fees. If the Wi-Fi or resort fee wasn’t disclosed beforehand, it’s possible you may be able to get it waived. You can also try to dispute a charge later through your credit card company.

7. Don’t pay with cash or a debit card.

Many hotel guests don’t even realize they’ve been snookered with an unexpected charge until they’re about to throw their itemized receipt into the trash at home. Disputing your bill after paying with cash is a lot harder than working with a credit card company to get a chargeback. If you pay with a debit card, you may not have the protection to challenge a charge. Also, some identity thieves like to target hotel guests. Most credit card companies are set up to detect suspicious behavior, but some debit cards aren’t as well protected.

8. Don’t have the hotel call you a cab.

This advice is only for travelers on a budget. If you want to save a few dollars, plan ahead and check if a ride-sharing service is going to be cheaper than a cab to the airport. If so, call your own ride just before checking out of the hotel.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Man charged with making $1.3M in fraudulent returns to Walmart

Posted on: June 17th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Yuma County Detention Center(YUMA, Ariz.) — Police in Arizona thought they were busting an ordinary case of a fraudulent return this week until some digging revealed that the same 23-year-old man has perpetrated the scheme at thousands of Walmart stores across the country.

Police in Yuma, Arizona, said they responded to a case of a fraudulent return on Wednesday afternoon in which a person bringing a computer back to Walmart had allegedly removed parts of the computer before putting it back in the box and taking it back to the store.

Upon investigation, the Yuma Police Department found that the same man had pulled the same scheme at a different Walmart earlier in the day.

Thomas Frudaker, 23, was arrested and booked into Yuma County Adult Detention Facility.

Yuma police said Frudaker pulled similar schemes at more than 1,000 Walmart stores across the country over the past 18 months and caused a monetary loss of approximately $1.3 million to Walmart.

Frudaker was charged with six felonies, including two counts of theft, two counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices, and two counts of criminal damage.

He is due in court on Monday.

Frudaker is being held at Yuma County Detention Center on $40,000 bond.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Why many Americans aren’t benefiting from robust US economy

Posted on: June 17th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Gas prices, tepid pay, student debt, housing costs leave many left out of a robust US economy

The female CEO behind polarizing sports media giant Barstool Sports

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — From its humble beginning as a small newspaper to what is now a full-fledged sports media company, Barstool Sports is one of the most popular brands for men, but it’s a woman who’s calling the shots.

Erika Nardini, the first CEO of Barstool Sports and only the second female employee in the company’s at-times tumultuous history, has taken the controversial site to new heights.

“I was the last candidate I think to come along,” she told ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis in an interview on “Nightline.” “Over 70 were men — But I think there was something that clicked with me and Barstool.”

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The booming satirical sports site was getting as big as it was polarizing before Nardini took the job and she said her decision brought “mixed” reactions within her own personal circle.

“I had friends who were huge fans of Barstool and were excited and really behind it. I had colleagues who thought this was career suicide. I had other colleagues who were like go for it take a risk take a leap,” the CEO of almost two years said. “So it is very mixed, very polarizing. Barstool’s very polarizing.”

Ultimately her decision came down to her vision for the company’s potential growth. “I saw what Barstool could do which I think most people couldn’t see, which is just how big this brand has the potential to be and just how powerful its audience is,” Nardini said.

Barstool attracts 12 million followers across social media platforms who call themselves “stoolies” and are drawn to the big personalities who are an essential part of Barstool’s DNA.

Dave Portnoy, known to Stoolies and staffers alike as “El Presidente,” founded the sports and pop culture blog in 2004 after a trip to Las Vegas.

“I hated my job, so I knew I wanted to try something that was my own,” Portnoy said. “I was a gambler — I wanted to find something that I enjoyed doing. So I flew out to Vegas [and] met with offshore sports books, casinos.”

“They said — if I founded a newspaper, a gambling pamphlet, they’d advertise in it. So that was kind of the genesis of it,” he added.

Portnoy said the early content when he started as a small newspaper in 2004 was 95 percent “fantasy football, poker and gambling.” Now almost 15 years later the company churns out hundreds of pieces of content a day.

“Barstool Sports is always growing and it moved away from the gambling roots to more of a lifestyle magazine/newspaper, whatever you want to call it, in which we talk about anything a guy may be interested [in]: girls, entertainment, pop culture, sports,” El Pres explained.

Barstool has seen meteoric growth since Nardini joined the company. She has achieved over 8 times revenue growth, 700 percent growth in brand advertising and 300 percent growth in commerce. The company also relocated to New York City and Nardini expanded Barstool Sports’ digital footprint through new partnerships with Facebook, Snapchat, Comedy Central and SiriusXM.

“I brought to Barstool what I knew how to do which is to scale, to monetize, to create a platform to build systems, to think about the brand and brands that we could build underneath Barstool,” she said.

For Nardini the sky is the limit for this company, well actually she said it’s more like “the moon.”

“I think this is a defining brand for young men. I think it’s a company that understands its audience — I think the most elusive consumer that anyone has is a 19-year-old,” she explained.

“They’re not watching television. They are not buying the things that they used to. They’re not going to retail stores. They are different and we are a company that understands them,” Nardini said.

The company’s target demographic, men ages 18 to 34, spends an average of 45 million minutes per month consuming Barstool Sports content, according to the company.

Allen Adamson, the author of “Shift Ahead: How the Best Companies Stay Relevant in a Fast-Changing World” and the co-founder of Metaforce, said that particular group of young men crave authenticity when it comes to the brand they connect with.

“You have a lot of guys that are adulting, they’re learning how to be adults. They don’t have adult commitments yet they have disposable income so they can buy lots of toys,” Adamson said. “This group is attracted to authenticity. They grew up being bombarded by ads and sitcoms and plastic entertainment. And when they smell and see something that’s textured and rich and authentic they love it.”

Portnoy, 41, said he’s received positive feedback from a sweeping range of age groups.

“I’ve been doing this now since I’ve been about 25 – so people have grown up with me and we have people from different facets of life, but we have college kids now, we have kids in middle school, and now we have 50-year-olds that will come up be like ‘I read it.’ So it’s really everyone,” he explained.

Although the “stoolies” are major fans of the site, others have taken issue with some of the content and personalities.

ESPN canceled a partnership with Barstool for a new show in 2017, when it came to light that Portnoy and a colleague had made derogatory remarks about female ESPN anchor, Sam Ponder, in 2014. ESPN and ABC News are owned by the Walt Disney Company.

Former ESPN president John Skipper released a statement at the time saying, “While we had approval on the content of the show, I erred in assuming we could distance our efforts from the Barstool site and its content.”

Portnoy responded directly in an “emergency press conference” which was an eight-minute video posted on Twitter. “The reason you needed us, is because we’re Barstool. That’s why this audience exists … And it’s not going anywhere. And all this does is just reinforce the very reason we’re the fastest growing media company in the world. Because we don’t care about this.”

Nardini told ABC News, “It also was a good learning for me about building for yourself not building for someone else… And the difference in opinion of what a great creative product is.”

Adamson said “people are tired of boring safe content,” which bodes well for the burgeoning Barstool demo, but could pose a problem for revenue partners and advertisers.

“All of a sudden they’re going to need bigger brands to fuel that engine. And the bigger the brand the harder it is to be edgy,” he explained.

Portnoy said the company has “a massive audience” and he believes humor is the driving force behind those numbers.

“We try to be funny. A few times, in the span of 15 years, a very few times — something that maybe rubs people the wrong way, I would argue it is always trying to be funny and not everything lands,” he said. “Controversies generally strengthen our core. Our crowd knows who we are.”

And Nardini’s commitment to that mindset is perfectly aligned with Portnoy. “Barstool knows who it is and what it is and what’s funny. We’re consistent. We’re constant. It’s very relatable and it’s a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously it’s a brand without an agenda,” she said. “It’s a brand that’s unafraid and it’s a brand that’s very loyal to its audience and in return its audiences very loyal to it.”

The CEO continued, “I don’t think that maintaining a brand in this day and age is difficult. What I do find is that the walls are closing in and the definition of what’s OK and not OK is polarizing. I ultimately think that’s very good for Barstool sports because Barstool is Barstool and we know who we are and we know what we do and we stand by that.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

JetBlue back to full operations in Puerto Rico

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — JetBlue has returned to its full flight schedule to Puerto Rico, nearly nine months after Hurricane Maria, the airline announced Friday.

The return to full capacity comes six months ahead of schedule, totaling 48 daily flights between the United States and the Caribbean island, the airline said.

JetBlue, which is the island’s largest carrier, hired an additional 50 staffers for San Juan.

“Our return to our pre-hurricane flight count is a testament to the incredible resilience of Puerto Rico and our crewmembers who kept flights operating during a very difficult period,” said Dave Clark, JetBlue’s vice president sales and revenue management, said in a statement.

The Puerto Rican government says that commercial flights to the island are back to normal daily capacity. The island, which depends greatly on tourism, was devastated after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20, 2017.

About 15 percent of hotels are still not operating, according to the Puerto Rican Tourism Company.

“The fact that JetBlue has been able to match seat capacity levels to pre-hurricane figures six months earlier than expected shows that demand has increased and that we are on track for a historic recovery,” said Carla G. Campos, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. “Likewise, the creation of 50 new jobs as a result of the increase in operations is a testament to the trust and commitment that JetBlue has with Puerto Rico.”

There are still 6,224 customers are without power in Puerto Rico, according to the island’s electric power authority. The agency’s new chief told the Associated Press in early June that it would take up to two months to restore power to the entire island.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US stocks sink with other markets as trade worries rise

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Global stock markets are mostly lower as U.S. President Donald Trump’s approval of a plan to impose tough tariffs on China renewed concerns about trade friction

US stocks sink with other markets as trade worries rise

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Global stock markets are mostly lower as U.S. President Donald Trump’s approval of a plan to impose tough tariffs on China renewed concerns about trade friction

Why many Americans aren’t benefiting from robust US economy

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Gas prices, tepid pay, student debt, housing costs leave many left out of a robust US economy

Banksy print worth $45K stolen from Toronto art exhibit

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Toronto Police(TORONTO) — An original print by the famous graffiti artist Banksy was stolen from a Toronto art exhibit over the weekend, with the theft caught on camera.

Police said the print, valued at $45,000, was stolen around 5 a.m. Sunday. Security footage of the crime was released on Thursday.

In the video, a man enters the exhibit, picks up the print and goes out the door clutching the art piece.

Police have not identified any possible suspects at this time.

Toronto authorities said the stolen piece, titled Trolley Hunters, shows a group of indigenous people seemingly hunting shopping carts in a grassland.

The art exhibit has been touted as the largest collection of Banksy’s work ever displayed. It includes around 80 pieces valued at about $35 million and is scheduled to run through July 11, authorities said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Banksy print worth $45K stolen from Toronto art exhibit

Posted on: June 15th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Toronto Police(TORONTO) — An original print by the famous graffiti artist Banksy was stolen from a Toronto art exhibit over the weekend, with the theft caught on camera.

Police said the print, valued at $45,000, was stolen around 5 a.m. Sunday. Security footage of the crime was released on Thursday.

In the video, a man enters the exhibit, picks up the print and goes out the door clutching the art piece.

Police have not identified any possible suspects at this time.

Toronto authorities said the stolen piece, titled Trolley Hunters, shows a group of indigenous people seemingly hunting shopping carts in a grassland.

The art exhibit has been touted as the largest collection of Banksy’s work ever displayed. It includes around 80 pieces valued at about $35 million and is scheduled to run through July 11, authorities said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Target yanks ‘Baby Daddy’ cards after complaints of racial insensitivity

Posted on: June 14th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

American Greetings(ROCKWALL, Texas) — When Takeisha Saunders went shopping for a Father’s Day card for her husband at a Target store in Rockwall, Texas, she said the only one featuring an African-American couple read “Baby Daddy.”

Saunders, who is black, told ABC News on Thursday that there were plenty of other cards she found less offensive, but they all featured white couples.

“There was no other option,” said Saunders. “My disappointment was that it was the only card that featured a black couple. There wasn’t any other black husband cards or anything like that. There were white husband cards with a couple on the front. There were ‘My dad’s my hero’ cards with characters on the front, but there wasn’t anything else.”

She snapped a photo of the card and posted it on her personal website, a neighborhood group website and her Facebook page, writing, “You CANNOT be serious Target!!! Really!!!? This was the only Father’s Day card that featured a black couple!!!!!”

Her posts struck a chord and triggered numerous complaints to Target, which yanked the card from the shelves of about 900 of its 1,800 stores nationwide that had stocked it.

“We want all guests to feel welcomed and respected when they shop at Target. We were made aware of some concerns about this card last week and are working with our vendor to have it removed from Target stores,” Joshua Thomas, a spokesman for the chain, said in a statement to ABC News. “We appreciate the feedback and apologize. It’s never our intent to offend any of our guests with the products we sell.”

Patrice Molnar, a spokeswoman for American Greetings, which created the card and supplied it Target, told ABC News that the card was sold at about 5,300 drug stores, supermarkets and big-box chains, including Target.

“In this instance, this particular card was created for, and addressed to, a loving husband —- which the inside copy makes clear,” Molnar told ABC News. “However, we now see that the front page, taken out of context, can communicate an unintentional meaning that we are strongly against perpetuating and is not consistent with our company purpose and values. We should do better in the future, and we will.

“We have notified our store merchandisers to remove the card from all retailer shelves and apologize for any offense we’ve caused,” she added.

Molnar supplied ABC News with photos of the card, which inside reads, “You’re a wonderful husband and father — and I’m so grateful to have you as my partner, my friend and my baby daddy! Happy Father’s Day.”

Saunders said she followed up her online posts with phone calls to both Target and American Greetings to point out why the card was offensive to her.

“For me personally, in growing up, a baby daddy or a baby momma was not something that you wanted to be or wanted. It was someone who wasn’t involved in the child’s life … I don’t see my husband in that way,” she said.

“I didn’t go ranting to boycott Target and not buy cards or anything like that,” she said. “I was just like, ‘Hey, where are the other options?'”

Still, she said representatives of both Target and American Greetings took her complaints seriously.

“And they replied, ‘Hey, yeah we can see that. So we missed the mark on this one. We’re going to pull it,'” Saunders said.

She said she can’t accept all the credit for sparking the groundswell of anger that got the attention of two major companies.

“I think the reason they’re removing the card is because there were more people than just me who complained,” she said. “A company doesn’t make an action like this based on the opinion of just one person. So obviously I’m not the only one who took issue with it.”

She said she plans to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday with her husband and their toddler, who is almost 2 years old.

“He’ll get a nice present,” she said, “but no card yet.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘GMA’ Deals and Steals on must-have products to simplify summer

Posted on: June 14th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Tory Johnson shares exclusive discounts for “GMA” viewers.

Trump declares oil prices too high, blames OPEC

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

President Donald Trump is blaming OPEC for high oil prices but other factors are driving up the numbers

Fed raises key rate and sees possible acceleration in hikes

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Fed hikes key rate for second time this year and signals possible acceleration in future hikes

Fed raises key rate and sees possible acceleration in hikes

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Fed hikes key rate for second time this year and signals possible acceleration in future hikes

The Latest: Fed uncertain on banking for marijuana firms

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says the U.S. central bank has not resolved how financial institutions should deal with marijuana businesses

Guess co-founder Paul Marciano resigning after sexual misconduct allegations

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for Guess(NEW YORK) — Guess co-founder Paul Marciano has resigned from the company after being accused of sexual misconduct, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing by the company on Tuesday.

The company filed an 8-K form with the SEC, a requirement to announce major news to shareholders. The form not only confirmed that Marciano stepped down, but also detailed the allegations against him. The company had announced in February it would be conducting an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including “inappropriate texts and comments, and unwanted advances including kissing and groping.”

He will leave the company next year, according to the SEC document.

The investigation was presented to the company’s board on June 7 and 11, and Marciano announced his resignation to the board on Monday.

Among those who accused Marciano of improper conduct was supermodel Kate Upton, who told “Good Morning America” in February that she came forward because she “wanted to prevent that from happening to other girls.” Upton also reiterated allegations to “GMA” that Marciano fondled her breasts during her first photo shoot for the brand in 2010 when she was 18 and continued to behave inappropriately toward her in professional settings for a few months after.

Marciano has denied all the allegations and has not admitted any wrongdoing, saying in a statement after Upton’s allegations that they were “preposterous.”

“I have never been alone with Kate Upton,” he said. “I have never touched her inappropriately.”

Marciano said he would cooperate with the investigation, which the company said on Tuesday “interviewed more than 40 people and reviewed approximately 1.5 million pages of documents, including emails, human resources and legal department files, social media messages, video and audio recordings, photographs, travel itineraries, calendar entries, agreements, invoices and financial records.”

According to the filing, “many of the allegations could not be corroborated” or no conclusion could be reached because accusers did not want to be interviewed or both sides provided credible evidence. However, the investigation did find evidence of impropriety by Marciano.

“The investigation found that on certain occasions Mr. Marciano exercised poor judgment in his communications with models and photographers, and in placing himself in situations in which plausible allegations of improper conduct could, and did, arise,” the filing says.

The filing says Marciano and Guess “entered a nonconfidential settlement” to avoid lawsuits.

“To avoid the cost of litigation and without admitting liability or fault, the company and Mr. Paul Marciano entered into nonconfidential settlement agreements resolving claims of five individuals arising out of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Mr. Paul Marciano for an aggregate total amount of $500,000,” according to the filing.

Guess Inc. was founded in 1981 by brothers Paul Marciano, Georges Marciano and Maurice Marciano. The brand’s jeans exploded in popularity in the 1980s, and its ads featured big-time supermodels such as Claudia Schiffer and Eva Herzigova.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Guess co-founder Paul Marciano resigning after sexual misconduct allegations

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for Guess(NEW YORK) — Guess co-founder Paul Marciano has resigned from the company after being accused of sexual misconduct, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing by the company on Tuesday.

The company filed an 8-K form with the SEC, a requirement to announce major news to shareholders. The form not only confirmed that Marciano stepped down, but also detailed the allegations against him. The company had announced in February it would be conducting an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including “inappropriate texts and comments, and unwanted advances including kissing and groping.”

He will leave the company next year, according to the SEC document.

The investigation was presented to the company’s board on June 7 and 11, and Marciano announced his resignation to the board on Monday.

Among those who accused Marciano of improper conduct was supermodel Kate Upton, who told “Good Morning America” in February that she came forward because she “wanted to prevent that from happening to other girls.” Upton also reiterated allegations to “GMA” that Marciano fondled her breasts during her first photo shoot for the brand in 2010 when she was 18 and continued to behave inappropriately toward her in professional settings for a few months after.

Marciano has denied all the allegations and has not admitted any wrongdoing, saying in a statement after Upton’s allegations that they were “preposterous.”

“I have never been alone with Kate Upton,” he said. “I have never touched her inappropriately.”

Marciano said he would cooperate with the investigation, which the company said on Tuesday “interviewed more than 40 people and reviewed approximately 1.5 million pages of documents, including emails, human resources and legal department files, social media messages, video and audio recordings, photographs, travel itineraries, calendar entries, agreements, invoices and financial records.”

According to the filing, “many of the allegations could not be corroborated” or no conclusion could be reached because accusers did not want to be interviewed or both sides provided credible evidence. However, the investigation did find evidence of impropriety by Marciano.

“The investigation found that on certain occasions Mr. Marciano exercised poor judgment in his communications with models and photographers, and in placing himself in situations in which plausible allegations of improper conduct could, and did, arise,” the filing says.

The filing says Marciano and Guess “entered a nonconfidential settlement” to avoid lawsuits.

“To avoid the cost of litigation and without admitting liability or fault, the company and Mr. Paul Marciano entered into nonconfidential settlement agreements resolving claims of five individuals arising out of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Mr. Paul Marciano for an aggregate total amount of $500,000,” according to the filing.

Guess Inc. was founded in 1981 by brothers Paul Marciano, Georges Marciano and Maurice Marciano. The brand’s jeans exploded in popularity in the 1980s, and its ads featured big-time supermodels such as Claudia Schiffer and Eva Herzigova.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Comcast, Twenty-First Century Fox and Disney are in motion

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

A potential bidding war sends Comcast, Disney, Twenty-First Century Fox into motion

Organizer of infamous failed Fyre Festival charged with duping customers again

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The organizer of the infamous Fyre Festival, a failed concert in the Bahamas in 2017 that went viral for its lack of success, has been charged with duping customers again.

William McFarland, who is still awaiting sentencing for the failed festival, has now been charged by the Southern District of New York with selling tickets that did not exist to marquee sports and music events. McFarland ran the company NYC VIP Access, which advertised tickets to events such as the Met Gala, Burning Man, Coachella, the 2018 Grammy Awards and Super Bowl LII, despite not actually having any tickets to the events, according to the complaint unsealed on Tuesday.

McFarland was trying to sell the tickets in March, the same month he pleaded guilty to defrauding investors for the Fyre Festival, prosecutors allege.

He has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Both carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

“In March of 2018, William McFarland pled guilty to defrauding investors and vendors of the Fyre Festival, but it is apparent that he did not stop there,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr. said in a statement. “McFarland allegedly went on to sell fraudulent tickets to many grand events, totaling almost $100,000.”

According to the filing, McFarland tried to cover up his involvement in NYC VIP Access by using a then-employee’s email account instead of his own, according to the filing. He tricked at least 15 people into buying the nonexistent tickets.

The Fyre Festival garnered national headlines in April 2017 after being advertised as an idyllic getaway to the Bahamas, complete with gourmet food, luxury accommodations and performances by Ja Rule and Blink-182. The event was advertised on social media by Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and other high-profile social media influencers. Tickets for the event cost thousands of dollars, but when attendees arrived, they found poorly built tents, a lack of food and clean water, and an insufficient number of public toilets.

McFarland pleaded guilty in connection to the Fyre Festival fiasco on March 6 to one count of wire fraud after defrauding more than 80 investors out of $24 million, and another count of wire fraud for lying to the company selling tickets, which took over $2 million in losses, according to the Southern District of New York. He faces up to 10 years in prison on those counts.

Hulu announced in April that it was producing a documentary series about the Fyre Festival.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Organizer of infamous failed Fyre Festival charged with duping customers again

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The organizer of the infamous Fyre Festival, a failed concert in the Bahamas in 2017 that went viral for its lack of success, has been charged with duping customers again.

William McFarland, who is still awaiting sentencing for the failed festival, has now been charged by the Southern District of New York with selling tickets that did not exist to marquee sports and music events. McFarland ran the company NYC VIP Access, which advertised tickets to events such as the Met Gala, Burning Man, Coachella, the 2018 Grammy Awards and Super Bowl LII, despite not actually having any tickets to the events, according to the complaint unsealed on Tuesday.

McFarland was trying to sell the tickets in March, the same month he pleaded guilty to defrauding investors for the Fyre Festival, prosecutors allege.

He has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Both carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

“In March of 2018, William McFarland pled guilty to defrauding investors and vendors of the Fyre Festival, but it is apparent that he did not stop there,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr. said in a statement. “McFarland allegedly went on to sell fraudulent tickets to many grand events, totaling almost $100,000.”

According to the filing, McFarland tried to cover up his involvement in NYC VIP Access by using a then-employee’s email account instead of his own, according to the filing. He tricked at least 15 people into buying the nonexistent tickets.

The Fyre Festival garnered national headlines in April 2017 after being advertised as an idyllic getaway to the Bahamas, complete with gourmet food, luxury accommodations and performances by Ja Rule and Blink-182. The event was advertised on social media by Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and other high-profile social media influencers. Tickets for the event cost thousands of dollars, but when attendees arrived, they found poorly built tents, a lack of food and clean water, and an insufficient number of public toilets.

McFarland pleaded guilty in connection to the Fyre Festival fiasco on March 6 to one count of wire fraud after defrauding more than 80 investors out of $24 million, and another count of wire fraud for lying to the company selling tickets, which took over $2 million in losses, according to the Southern District of New York. He faces up to 10 years in prison on those counts.

Hulu announced in April that it was producing a documentary series about the Fyre Festival.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Asian shares drop as eyes turn to central bank meetings

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Asian stocks fall slightly after a muted market response to the Trump-Kim summit

Samsung asks woman to return phone she says exploded and torched her car

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Thurswell Law Firm PLLC(NEW YORK) — Days after a Michigan woman claimed her Nissan Maxima was set on fire when one of her two Samsung cell phones “exploded,” she said the tech giant sent her a prefab kit to return the charred evidence.

According to the woman, in the kit was a pre-stamped manifest for ground transport, a pair of blue gloves, a static-sensitive bag and illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to mail back the remnants of the phone.

“Samsung asked her to use rubber gloves to take all the pieces from the car that look like part of the phone and put them in a pre-stamped box,” Gerald Thurswell, the attorney for the cell phone owner, told ABC News. “I hear this and it’s like ‘What the —-?’ Is this a regular course of business? How often is this occurring to get a whole set of procedures down?”

A Samsung spokesperson defended the practice in a statement to ABC News as strictly following federal guidelines put in place to protect the public with handling and shipping potentially dangerous or hazardous materials.

In a written statement to ABC News, Samsung urged caution on jumping to conclusions regarding the precise reason for the blaze.

“We stand behind the quality and safety of the millions of Samsung phones in the United States,” the company said. “We are eager to conduct a full investigation of this matter and until we are able to examine all of the evidence, it is impossible to determine the true cause of any incident. We go to great lengths to obtain all pertinent information in order to do a thorough analysis.”

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ she was driving down Evergreen Road near Fargo Street in Detroit at around 10 p.m. on May 21 with her Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S8 phones both placed in the car’s cupholder, “and in the corner of my eyes I see a spark.”

“I thought I was going to die when I saw the sparks and the fire,” she told WXYZ, as she quickly pulled over and hopped out of the burning vehicle. “It happened quickly. It just went up in flames. People were telling me to get away from the car. What if I was on the highway stuck in traffic and couldn’t get out?”

The woman claimed her mobile phone “exploded with flames and she dropped the phone onto some papers that were in the front seat,” according to a preliminary Detroit Fire Department incident report.

Chuck Simms, second deputy commissioner of the Detroit Fire Department, connfirmed to ABC News that an engine was there within five minutes, and an investigation into the incident was opened. Arson was ruled out.

“It is not considered to be something suspicious,” Simms said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

The woman said after she made her claim to Samsung, the company offered to replace the phone and sent her a kit with a small, cardboard box, a larger “recovery box” and other materials, including the gloves.

The instructions show a phone that reads “SAMSUNG Note7” — the model that last year was recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission amid widespread reports a battery defect caused several of those models to explode or catch fire.

Last year, a separate recall was issued by the same agency for certain refurbished AT&T Samsung Galaxy 4 models sent through FedEx that were powered by batteries and found to overheat.

Thurswell said that instead of sending back the remains of the woman’s phones, he told Samsung they could analyze the devices at his law office.

“They came here with an engineer and spent two hours examining the pieces and they tell me, ‘We’ll get back to you,'” Thurswell recalled. “I told them, ‘Please get these phones recalled. Do something. You’re the experts!'”

He said he hasn’t filed a lawsuit, but he wants to hear back from the company after the investigators visited last week.

Samsung told ABC News the company has attempted to reach the woman.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Stocks mostly rise following Trump-Kim summit

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

U.S. and global stock markets mostly rose Tuesday as investors reacted calmly to the outcome of a meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Disclosures show Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump made at least $80 million last year

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump made at least $80 million in outside income last year while working as White House advisers to President Donald Trump, according to newly-released financial disclosure forms.

The president’s son-in-law and daughter together reported personal assets of between $240 million and $780 million by the end of 2017. Trump held more than $55 million of that, and Kushner, at least $180 million.

Kushner and Trump received the majority of their outside income from real estate matters. Other income came from capital gains, Ms. Trump’s businesses, the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C. and from the Trump Corporation salary and severance.

While this is an increase from the total value of assets between $206 and $760 million the two reported in the last disclosure form, it’s difficult to make a direct comparison because the latest filing covers a shorter period of time, between January 2017 through December 2017, whereas the last report covers January 2016 through April 2017. The two reports also have an overlapping period between January and April 2017.

Ivanka Trump reported a stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., valued between $5 million and $25 million.

Quickly becoming one of the most popular get-together spot for Republicans and Trump supporters across the world, the luxury hotel on the historic Old Post Office site, which opened September 2016, has brought in nearly $4 million for the president’s daughter in 2017, up from the $2.4 million reported in the 2016 statement.

A spokesperson for the two said that their net worth has not changed much and stressed that they have complied with government ethics restrictions.

“Since joining the administration, Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump have complied with the rules and restrictions as set out by the Office of Government Ethics,” Peter Mirijanian, spokesperson for Abbe Lowell, Jared Kushner’s attorney and the couple’s ethics counsel told ABC News in a statement.

“As to the current filing which OGE also reviews, their net worth remains largely the same, with changes reflecting more the way the form requires disclosure than any substantial difference in assets or liabilities.”

According to President Trump’s own annual financial disclosure form released last month, his Washington, D.C., hotel had a banner year, raking in over $40 million in income between January and December 2017. Trump has come under scrutiny from ethics watchdogs who have accused the president of using his office to promote his properties.

The hotel has been the target of lawsuits that allege it’s a violation of the Constitution for Trump to received what amount to illegal gifts from foreign governments in the form of payments to his hotel.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US government records $146.8 billion May deficit

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

US government records $146.8 billion May deficit with deficit running 23 percent above last year

US imposes new security measures on incoming cargo shipments

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

US is imposing new security rules on air cargo entering the country, certain information for which must now go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection before being loaded onto planes

US imposes new security measures on incoming cargo shipments

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

US is imposing new security rules on air cargo entering the country, certain information for which must now go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection before being loaded onto planes

3 things to watch for from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

3 things to watch for from Fed in its statement, updated forecasts and Powell news conference

3 things to watch for from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

3 things to watch for from Fed in its statement, updated forecasts and Powell news conference