California man indicted in $300 million nationwide Ponzi scheme that preyed on veterans and investors

A Newport Beach man was charged in Greenville, South Carolina for a Ponzi scheme that defrauded pension holders “desperate for money,” many of whom were veterans, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

When the company involved stopped doing business in early 2018, authorities said, investors were owed about $300 million.

Scott Kohn, 64, was arraigned last week, Nov. 13, and charged with conspiracy to engage in mail and wire fraud. Also charged in the indictment was Kohn’s company, Future Income Payments, an entity organized under Nevada laws.

Kohn was arrested in San Diego on Sept. 21, court records show.

According to the indictment, Future Income Payments operated the scheme in which pension holders, many of them veterans of the United States Armed Forces, were recruited.

“The pensioners made monthly payments to FIP in exchange for a lump-sum payment or loan,” the indictment states. “The adjusted annual percentage rate on these transactions often exceeded 100%.”

There were approximately 2,600 victims of the scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The company, which began operating as early as April 2011, solicited investors to buy “structured cash flows” that were the pensioners’ monthly payments. FIP promised the investors they’d see returns of 6.5% to 8%.

If found guilty, Kohn could face 20 years in federal prison for the conspiracy charge and a fine of $250,000. Three other of Kohn’s associates also faces charges.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Deadly Fresno mass shooting leaves California Hmong community in shock

By TERENCE CHEA and OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ | The Associated Press

FRESNO — A close-knit Hmong community was in shock after gunmen burst into a California backyard gathering and shot 10 men, killing four.

“We are right now just trying to figure out what to do, what are the next steps. How do we heal, how do we know what’s going on,” said Bobby Bliatout, a community leader.

Sunday evening’s attack killed Xy Lee, a Hmong singer and musician whose videos on YouTube have been viewed millions of times.

Also killed were Phia Vang, 31; Kou Xiong, 38; and Kalaxang Thao, 40, all of Fresno, according to the coroner’s office. Three others remained hospitalized in serious condition, Community Regional Medical Center said in a statement.

No motive or suspects were identified by police.

“Our community is in mourning, and we still don’t know what’s going on, or who are the suspects,” said Pao Yang, CEO of the Fresno Center, a Hmong community group.

The Hmong are an ethnic group from Southeast Asia. Many fled after fighting alongside the United States during the Vietnam War.

There are about 300,000 Hmong living in the U.S., according to the 2017 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census. California has the nation’s largest Hmong population and about 25,000 live in Fresno, comprising about 5% of the city’s population of 525,000.

The gunmen targeted a house where about 16 men had gathered outside to watch football on television, police said.

At least two men armed with semi-automatic handguns walked through a side gate and without a word began firing randomly into the crowd before fleeing in the darkness, Police Chief Andrew Hall said.

The shooters did not speak, and no one reported getting a good look at them. Witnesses saw only flashes when the pistols were fired, Hall said.

Police were investigating whether the shooting was …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Photos: NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal lists Californai home for $2.5 million

Retired NBA great Shaquille O’Neal has listed his West Hills home for $2.6 million, nearly two years after he purchased it.

Property records show Shaq bought the house in February 2018 for $1.815 million under a trust.

The 5,217-square-foot house is set on a one-acre plot in the gated equestrian community of Bell Canyon. It has five bedrooms and bathrooms, vaulted beamed ceilings in the living room and a large gourmet kitchen outfitted in marble countertops and stainless steel appliances.

Other features include a wine closet, media room with a wet bar and an office.

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Upstairs, the master suite contains a fireplace, dual walk-in closets and bathroom that features a glass-walled shower with dual rain shower heads and a detached jetted tub.

The backyard boasts a swimming pool, spa and firepit.

Tomer Fridman and Jonathan Siegfried of Compass are the listing agents.

O’Neal, 47, is a four-time NBA championship winner and former Los Angeles Lakers center. The 7-foot-1 great played with the Lakers for eight of his 19 years in the NBA.

On top of his slam dunks on the court, the Hall of Famer has appeared in numerous feature films, starred in reality television and released four rap albums, including his platinum-selling debut “Shaq …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters surrendered to police after a days-long university campus siege

Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Hundreds of protesters surrendered to police after a days-long siege of the Polytechnic University in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced in a press conference on Tuesday that 600 people left the university campus — 400 of whom were arrested and 200 of whom were let go for being under 18.
The seige had become the latest flashpoint in a months-long running battle between Hong Kong authorities, backed by China, and vast numbers of protesters.
The campus stand-off saw police blockade the protesters in, and use tear gas on those inside. Protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at officers.
The mass surrender represented a victory for authorities, who have emphasized their desire to prosecute those involved.
A hard core of around 100 people, who refused to surrender, remained at the university.
Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong surrendered to police on Tuesday following a days-long siege at the Polytechnic University which had become the city’s latest flashpoint.

Around 600 people gave themselves up at the campus in Hung Hom, which had become a battleground for pro-democracy protesters against the police over the weekend,

The surrenders were announced by Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam in a press conference on Tuesday. She said 400 of the 600 were arrested, and the other 200 were let go because they are under 18.

A further hard core of 100 protesters remain at the campus, she said.

“If they can leave the campus in a peaceful way, the police will not use violence,” Lam said. Authorities have been clear in their desire to prosecute those

Many people attempted to escape the university campus earlier in the stand-off, using inventive methods in an attempt to avoid arrest.

On Monday night, a group of people trapped in the university abseiled down a footbridge down to getaway …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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