Monday, September 11, 2006

"‘Biz op’ scams a quick way to get fleeced"

That's the headline of John Pacenti's DBR article this morning. Looks like the U.S. Attorney's office is doing its best to get some favorable press these days. Here's the intro of the article:

In the world of South Florida schemes and cons, there is always a new way to dress up the same old pig. These days it’s peddling “business opportunity investments” in DVD vending machines, dial-up ATMs, mobile check-cashing units and Internet kiosks to those susceptible to the get-rich-quick American myth. The scam artists have been keeping the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of Florida busy. Federal prosecutors nickname these types of crimes “biz op” — short for business opportunity fraud. U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta said his office is cracking down on scams that have robbed millions of dollars from thousands of victims. Since February 2005, the USAO’s Economic and Environmental Crimes division estimates it has filed charges against about 40 people involved with about a dozen companies. They promised people a way to earn big-time income with relatively little effort in mostly turnkey businesses. Federal prosecutors say members of the public are targeted when they bite on advertisements — television, Internet or others — for a generalized business opportunity. These leads are then passed on to boiler rooms, where skilled phone sales staff peddle the “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. The technique has been working for decades. Prosecutors say the companies have defrauded more than 4,000 victims of $60 million.

What struck me about the article was not so much the words, but Alex Acosta's picture... Check out how mean he's looking above:

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