Franklin Man gets 11 years in Ponzi scheme

first_imgU.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced today the former operator of two companies located in Franklin, N.C. to 135 months in prison on federal securities fraud and money laundering charges, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  Barry Carlton Taylor, 64, of Franklin, was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to pay nearly $2.2 million as restitution to his victim investors.U.S. Attorney Rose is joined by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, in making the announcement.“Taylor was a con artist who used lies and deception to convince his victims to hand over their hard-earned money.  Contrary to his lofty promises of huge profits, Taylor’s investors – some of whom were elderly – sustained grave financial losses and may never be able to recover financially after falling prey to this scammer’s investment scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Rose.According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, Taylor operated two limited liability companies in Franklin, N.C., “OTC Investments, LLC” (OTC) and “Forex Currency Trade Advisors, LLC” (FCTA).  Beginning in August 2011, Taylor induced 18 victims to invest approximately $2.5 million by falsely telling them he was an expert in the foreign currency exchange market (FOREX) and that their investments would be pooled into trading accounts which he would manage and use to invest in FOREX.  Court records show that Taylor also falsely told his victims that he had created a computer software system that could track the FOREX market, which enabled him to make investments that generated very high rates of return, as much as 2.5% per month.According to court records, even though Taylor opened and maintained FOREX trading accounts in the names of his two companies neither company was registered as a commodity pool operator.  Court records also show that Taylor deposited the funds he solicited from the individual victim investors into these trading accounts, but he then withdrew more than half of the victims’ money and lost the rest due to trading losses, fees and commissions.  According to court records, by April 2015 there was very little or no investor funds remaining in the trading accounts controlled by Taylor.Taylor concealed the losses by sending the victims false monthly statements, which represented that the investors’ principal was intact and that they were realizing profits as promised.  Court records indicate that Taylor used money from other principal investors to make Ponzi-style payments to investors who had asked Taylor to withdraw their profits on their promised returns.  Taylor also convinced some of the investors to reinvest their “commissions” rather than accepting payments, court documents show.In furtherance of the fraudulent scheme, filed documents indicate that Taylor used a number of lies to further induce investors and to conceal the fraud.  For example, in January 2015, Taylor sent his victims fraudulent emails claiming that he had halted FOREX trading due to events involving the Swiss National bank.  In another example, court records show that Taylor created a fictitious entity and a fictitious person in order to send lulling emails to calm his investors, and later lied to victims telling them he was considering taking legal action against this fictitious individual who was supposedly responsible for their trading losses.Contrary to promises made to his victim investors, Taylor diverted over half a million dollars of the victims’ investment funds and used the money to cover personal expenses, such as restaurants, entertainment and shopping, among others.  Taylor pleaded guilty in January 2016 to fraud by commodities pool operator and concealment of money laundering charges.In announcing today’s sentence, Judge Reidinger said that the losses to the individual victims were great, many of whom were deprived of the security of their retirements.Taylor will be ordered to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his sentence upon designation of a federal facility.  All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.The FBI investigated the case.  In making this announcement, U.S. Attorney Rose also thanked the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission for their invaluable assistance in this investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Don Gast of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville was in charge of thelast_img read more

Kimberley to get jewellery factory

first_img13 May 2008The provincial government and private investors are to open a gold jewellery manufacturing facility worth R100-million in Kimberley, in the Northern Cape, in an effort to ensure that more value is added to precious metals locally, with finished products destined for export markets.The Gold Chain Technology project, focussing on the production of gold and silver chains, will progressively escalate its production and employment. It is expected that in four years time, an estimated 300 people will be employed and the factory will process a total of three tons of gold and five tons of silver.The project is a partnership between the provincial government, black economic empowerment partner Solandra and Q-Quality, an Italian company that will contribute skills, technology and access to markets.“This initiative will focus on mass chain production for the export market – specifically the United States,” said the Northern Cape Premier’s office in a statement, with the initiative being part of the country’s diamond strategy and drive for beneficiation in South Africa.The project is also funded by Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and financially supported by the Augusta-Westland, which supplied helicopters as part of the South African arms deal.“The impact of this project will have a tremendous influence on the Northern Cape as well as the national economy and has the potential to expand and to compliment existing and new ventures,” the statement read, adding that the initiative would contribute positively towards the country’s gross domestic product and trade balance.“This is a key opportunity for facilitating empowerment in the jewellery manufacturing sector, while continuing regional development among the poorest communities in this country,” said Abel Malinga of IDC’s mining strategic business unit.Gold Chain Technology said it will have trained 460 people in jewellery manufacturing and design within five years and achieve sales knocking on R1-billion annually within five years.“The bulk of the skills will be transferred from Italian technicians to locals with several future trainers acquiring machinery and equipment training in Italy,” the organisation said.Furthermore, the provincial government and diamond mining giant De Beers are to establish an academy to promote the jewellery profession in the province, with students from the academy being employed by the Gold Chain Technology project.The move will provide South Africa with a foothold into the lucrative world jewellery market. Currently annual gold retailing is a R450-billion industry, with demand topping 2 800 tons.Principle consumers include India (25%), the US (18%) and China (12%) with the major producers being India (19%), Italy (10%) and Turkey (9%).Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Ridding Africa of HIV in 10 years

first_imgAn HIV/Aids awareness mural on a wall in Soweto, Gauteng. (Image: Chris Kirchhoff, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For more freephotos, visit the image library.)Universal HIV testing and immediate treatment of those who test positive with antiretroviral (ARV) drugs could reduce new infections in countries with a high prevalence of HIV/Aids by as much as 95% within 10 years, according to a new study by scientists from the UN World Health Organisation (WHO).The findings of a mathematical modelling exercise, published in the 26 November edition of British medical journal The Lancet, suggest that immediate treatment – regardless of clinical or immunological evaluations such as CD4 count, which measures the strength of the immune system – could significantly reduce new infections in many sub-Saharan African countries.“We took available data from southern Africa, where the epidemic is generalised and transmitted mainly through heterosexual sex, and plugged it into a computer model,” said Reuben Granich, a medical officer with WHO’s department of HIV/Aids and lead author of the study.“The model found that if all adults were tested at least once a year and put on treatment immediately, then theoretically prevalence would reduce from 20 000 per million people annually to 1 000 per million people annually within ten years.”Granich said the model worked on the assumption that once patients started taking ARVs, their viral load – the amount of HIV in the blood – was significantly reduced and they became much less likely to transmit the virus.“The purpose of this study was to stimulate discussion and help define research questions on how to use ARVs, not only for treatment, but also for HIV prevention,” said Kevin de Cock, director of WHO’s department of HIV/Aids and co-author of the study.“The study does not in any way indicate a change in WHO policy or guidelines for testing and treatment,” he added. WHO policy on treatment stipulates voluntary testing and clinical evaluation to determine eligibility for ARV treatment.Potential obstaclesNoting that more research into universal testing and treatment would be necessary before any policy changes could be made, De Cock said WHO would convene a meeting in 2009 to discuss the findings of the mathematical model and see how best to overcome possible hurdles.“There are human rights issues involved with advocating for universal testing that need to be addressed. WHO continues to endorse testing policies that prioritise informed consent, confidentiality and dignity,” he said.“Other possible obstacles include the policy’s feasibility, and the possible weakening of other forms of HIV prevention.”Any interventions to scale up testing and treatment would need to be accompanied by expanded HIV prevention, such as male circumcision, correct and consistent condom use and partner reduction, among others.The study found that the policy would initially be costly to implement, especially in poorer countries. “Unless we manage to interrupt HIV transmission, we will endlessly be dealing with HIV treatment,” De Cock said.“Although the policy would be expensive to begin with, in the long run it would be cost saving.”Various versions of universal access to testing and treatment are already being practised successfully.“In the industrialised world, for example, all pregnant women have access to universal HIV testing and, if they need it, treatment,” he said. “As a result, in this part of the world, paediatric HIV has virtually been eliminated.”De Cock said WHO’s newest guidelines on infant treatment also recommended that children under one year of age receive ARVs as soon as they tested positive for HIV, regardless of clinical or immunological evaluations.According to WHO, nearly 80% of HIV-positive adults in sub-Saharan Africa are unaware of their status, and more than 90% do not know whether their partners are infected. Worldwide, about 3-million people were on ARVs at the end of 2007, but an estimated 6.7-million remained untreated.Do your have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected]: Irin PlusNewsRelated articlesHIV/Aids in South AfricaAngola’s four-year plan for healthHigh-price vaccine for SA kidsVaccine hope for HIV immunity HIV in South Africa stabilising Useful linksWorld Health OrganisationThe LancetTreatment Action CampaignSouth African Aids Vaccine Initiativelast_img read more

Art Bank Joburg: helping local artists

first_imgYvonne Mamothusi Harvey – Three women. Ellen Papciak – TV dog. Lance Friedlander – Road to Ventersdorp.(Images: Art Bank Joburg)MEDIA CONTACTS • Vishnu SinghCity of Joburg+27 11 838 6266Wilma den HartighArt Bank Joburg, the only initiative of its kind in South Africa, is providing a much-needed platform for emerging local artists to showcase their work.Art Bank Joburg owns some of South Africa’s best art by upcoming and established local artists, proving that the country can be proud of its outstanding artistic talent.The initiative is now in its fourth year, and in spite of a tough economic climate, and declining corporate budgets for art, it continues to provide exposure for South African artists.“We have such a diversity of talent in South Africa – there are people from so many walks of life and this situation produces great variety in South African art,” says Vishnu Singh, GM of Creative Industries for the City of Joburg.The initiative was the brainchild of Ben Ngubane, the former minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. Ngubane was introduced to the Canadian Art Bank concept on a visit to Ottawa in Canada, and decided that a similar project in South Africa could support local artists.Art Bank Joburg was established by the City of Joburg to buy art from emerging and established artists in the city, and then lease it to public and private sector clients. The art finds a temporary home in corporate reception areas, offices, and government departments in the city, such as the Johannesburg High Court, the Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Metro Police and the Office of the Speaker. Monash University leases one of the largest collections.The bank was established in Newtown, Johannesburg’s arts and culture hub, but has since also opened a satellite branch just off Nelson Mandela Square in the business district of Sandton, north of the city centre.Real benefits for emerging artistsOne of the biggest difficulties for local artists is earning a sustainable income from their art. However, through the Art Bank initiative, artists benefit directly.Prospective works are assessed by a committee of respected members of the art community, who then decide if the Art Bank should purchase the piece. If the committee agrees that it is a valuable addition to the collection, Art Bank Joburg buys the art at its current market value and the artist receives payment immediately.Artworks are leased to clients at a fee of 20% of market value, and are reevaluated annually.Singh says that the bank’s main focus is sourcing art from emerging artists. “We want to take their work and give them exposure and access to the market,” he says.The team has never struggled to find good art, either. “The artists usually find us,” he says.On Wednesdays, Art Bank Joburg hosts an open day where artists can present their works. This gives them the confidence of knowing that there is a place where they can take their art for consideration.If a particular piece has potential, Art Bank Joburg takes a photo of it and registers it on its database for later evaluation. Some of the art also comes to them through workshops and incubator projects in and around Johannesburg.If an artist can’t make it to the open day they may make an appointment to visit at a more convenient time.Emerging and established artistsThe bank houses art from both emerging and established artists, in a variety of media including paint, sculpture, photography, wire art, mosaics, print-making, mixed media and craft. Singh says just about any art medium is welcome, as long as the work is not created from biodegradable materials.Work by well-known artists such as William Kentridge (a donation to Art Bank Joburg), Robert Hodgins, Sam Nhlengethwa, David Koloane, Penny Siopis and Pat Mautloa is also available.Leasing art can be a form of corporate social investment. It also contributes to cultural development in Johannesburg and provides good market exposure for local artists.Some of the leased art has led to private sales – if a client likes the art, Art Bank Joburg puts them in contact with the artist for further commissions. Singh says that artists such as John Vusi Mfupi, who specialises in collage art, first received exposure through the Art Bank Joburg and went on to receive international recognition for his work.According to African Colours, a website that promotes contemporary African art, most of Mfupi’s work has been purchased by corporate companies and the South African high court. He has also exhibited abroad in Scotland, Malaysia, Germany, Portugal, Brussels and in the Netherlands at The Hague.For many people, the arts remain a highbrow affair but as more art is leased from Art Bank Joburg, it becomes more accessible. In a corporate or public space, people who would usually not show an interest in art, or do not have access to it, have the opportunity to engage with high quality artwork.“As people are exposed to art, they learn to appreciate it,” Singh says.last_img read more

10 months agoKane penalty gives Spurs edge in Carabao Cup semi against Chelsea

first_imgKane penalty gives Spurs edge in Carabao Cup semi against Chelseaby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham defeated Chelsea 1-0 in the first-leg of their Carabao Cup semifinal on Tuesday night.Referee Michael Oliver awarded the 26th minute spot-kick after consulting VAR for offside and Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s foul on Harry Kane. Kane duly converted the penalty.Spurs and Chelsea both had chances in a fiercely-fought contest and Blues’ manager Maurizio Sarri will feel this tie is still very much alive ahead of the second leg at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, 24 January.Chelsea hit the woodwork twice in the first half through N’Golo Kante’s near-post flick, and when Spurs keeper Paulo Gazzaniga athletically turned Callum Hudson-Odoi’s deflected cross onto the post.Andreas Christensen missed a glaring opportunity from six yards after the break while Arrizabalaga also produced a fine save from Kane as this semi-final remains in the balance. About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

7 days agoKeown says Ozil behaviour unacceptable for Arsenal’s Highbury era

first_imgKeown says Ozil behaviour unacceptable for Arsenal’s Highbury eraby Paul Vegas7 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal hero Martin Keown says Mesut Ozil’s behaviour would not have been tolerated during his era at Highbury.Ozil has fallen out of favour under Unai Emery amid question marks over his attitude, with his body language regularly questioned by onlookers.Keown told talkSPORT: “I feel at times he has been disdainful with his team-mates if he doesn’t get the right ball.”To be honest, if he was in our dressing room there were a few players who would have had him round the throat early on because of his body language.”Keown has urged the German playmaker to back-up his words and end what he branded an “embarrassing” situation for the club with their highest earner sat on the sidelines.Keown added: “I was seriously worried for his immune system, the amount of games he missed through allegedly being ill, or a back injury.”He has only been given another opportunity with Emery because it looks like he has started to work hard again.”I believe he has been over-indulged in the past. It’s embarrassing for the football club that he is not featuring.”The manager has to get him back into the team but if his attitude drops again then big decisions need to be made.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Video: Memphis Meteorologist Tees Off On John Calipari, Calls Him A Snake Oil Salesman

first_imgA closeup of Coach Cal.LEXINGTON, KY – JANUARY 09: John Calipari the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats gives instructions to his team against the Texas A&M Aggies during the game at Rupp Arena on January 9, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)John Calipari coached at Memphis for nine seasons, and almost led the Tigers to a national title in 2008. But given the way he left the program, and the fact that the school had to vacate all 38 victories from that year, he isn’t the most well-liked man in town. After Sunday’s Hall of Fame interview debacle, that fact likely won’t change for some time.Calipari, during an interview after his induction, told reporters that while he loved coaching at both UMass and Memphis, he was at the “little table” in comparison with some of his colleagues. He also said that before Kentucky, he never got to “carve the turkey”, and he had to use “plastic forks and plates.”FOX 13 Memphis aired the clip this week, and meteorologist Joey Sulipeck went off on the Kentucky head coach. Sulipeck called him a snake oil salesman, and jokingly threatened Calipari to come near him when he had a plastic utensil. Here’s full video – we’ve also included a Vine, via Lost Lettermen.FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13 It’s a strong take – especially for a meteorologist. We’ll assume that Sulipeck was happy with last Saturday’s Final Four result.last_img read more

Roberto Firmino gives an update on eye injury

first_imgRoberto Firmino has revealed his eye was not serious after scoring a stoppage-time winner in Liverpool’s 3-2 win over Paris Saint-GermainThe Brazillian striker was made to leave the field during Liverpool’s Premier League encounter with Tottenham on Saturday after defender Jan Vertonghen poked him in the eye.But, after just a three-day absence, Firmino was back in action for the Reds and made his mark by netting a late match-winner in what was his 150th game for the club.Speaking afterwards, Firmino revealed what helped him get through his eye injury.“I thank God that nothing serious happened to my eye,” he told ESPN Brazil.“It has been three days since the incident and recovery went well.“I took it very seriously and my family helped to motivate me, I am very happy for it.Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“The team showed great quality on the pitch, we conceded twice but it was a great victory in the end.“We are working hard to achieve something important [in the Champions League].Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp only decided on Tuesday morning to include Firmino in the squad and later put on the field as a 72nd-minute substitute for Daniel Sturridge.“How I said, the day before yesterday it was no chance, yesterday it didn’t look really well, and we had only one session, which we really used,” Klopp said on ESPN.“That was this morning and Bobby tested a little bit but then he went in. And I really think it is a moment where you have to show faith in the squad.“Yes, when you have Bobby Firmino available you actually always think: ‘Come on, bring him in.’ But it was nice to see how Daniel [Sturridge] performed tonight and he paid 100 percent back so that’s so cool for him, for us, such an important sign.“Then bringing Bobby after 70 minutes, it’s a nice tool to be honest, I really like that. So it was good.”last_img read more