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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘website’

SEC Shuts Down $600 Million Alleged Online Ponzi, But Apparent Israeli Offshoot Still Functional

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday announced fraud charges and an emergency asset freeze to halt a $600 million Ponzi scheme on the verge of collapse. The emergency action assures that victims can recoup more of their money and potentially avoid devastating losses.

The SEC alleges that online marketer Paul Burks of Lexington, N.C. and his company Rex Venture Group have raised money from more than one million Internet customers nationwide and overseas through the website ZeekRewards.com, which they began in January 2011.

Users who go into the zeekrewards.com website this morning, receive this message: “Zeek Rewards is currently unavailable. More information will be available shortly on this website.”

Not so with zeekinhebrew.blogspot.co.il, which appears to be the Israeli offshoot of the same outfit, and continues to function and lure in unsuspecting get-rich-quick seekers in Israel.

The home page is a Q & A that includes these paragraphs:

How much should you invest after joining ZeekRewards?

To profit from ZeekRewards, you must enter once a day and publish one of the ZeekRewards ads, it takes from one to two minutes a day. In addition, you can invest money in the website and increase your daily interest rate.

How soon see revenues in ZeekRewards?

Once you have registered on the site, you need to post an ad of your choice every day (from a pool of ZeekRewards ads) and paste your ad in one of the free sites that serve ads online (a full list is on the ZeekRewards website).

After you posted an ad, you receive a confirmation which you send to ZeekRewards.

Once you submitted the certificate at ZeekRewards, you have 24 hours during which you are entitled to earn money.

Within 24 hours you can see the revenues (relative to the amount you spent on the site). The gains come by check to your home once you choose [to collect].

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Charlotte, N.C., customers were offered several ways to earn money through the ZeekRewards program, two of which involved purchasing securities in the form of investment contracts. These securities offerings were not registered with the SEC as required under the federal securities laws.

The SEC alleges that investors were collectively promised up to 50 percent of the company’s daily net profits through a profit sharing system in which they accumulate rewards points that they can use for cash payouts. However, the website fraudulently conveyed the false impression that the company was extremely profitable when, in fact, the payouts to investors bore no relation to the company’s net profits. Most of ZeekRewards’ total revenues and the “net profits” paid to investors have been comprised of funds received from new investors in classic Ponzi scheme fashion.

“The obligations to investors drastically exceed the company’s cash on hand, which is why we need to step in quickly, salvage whatever funds remain and ensure an orderly and fair payout to investors,” said Stephen Cohen, an Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “ZeekRewards misused the power of the Internet and lured investors by making them believe they were getting an opportunity to cash in on the next big thing. In reality, their cash was just going to the earlier investor.”

The SEC’s complaint alleges that the scheme is teetering on collapse with investor funds at risk of dissipation without its emergency enforcement action. Last month, ZeekRewards brought in approximately $162 million while total investor cash payouts were approximately $160 million. If customers continue to increasingly elect to receive cash payouts rather than reinvesting their money to reach higher levels of rewards points, ZeekRewards’ cash outflows would eventually exceed its total revenue.

According to the SEC, Burks has agreed to settle the SEC’s charges against him without admitting or denying the allegations, and agreed to cooperate with a court-appointed receiver.

According to the SEC’s complaint, ZeekRewards has paid out nearly $375 million to investors to date and holds approximately $225 million in investor funds in 15 foreign and domestic financial institutions. Those funds will be frozen under the emergency asset freeze granted by the court at the SEC’s request. Meanwhile, Burks has personally siphoned several million dollars of investors’ funds while operating Rex Venture and ZeekRewards, and he distributed at least $1 million to family members. Burks has agreed to relinquish his interest in the company and its assets plus pay a $4 million penalty. Additionally, the court has appointed a receiver to collect, marshal, manage and distribute remaining assets for return to harmed investors.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Brian M. Privor and Alfred C. Tierney in the SEC’s Enforcement Division in Washington D.C. The SEC acknowledges the assistance of the Quebec Autorite des Marches Financiers and the Ontario Securities Commission.

Jobs in Israel

Friday, August 17th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai presents a series of interviews that are related to finding a job in Israel.  To begin, Yishai speaks to Kim Ephrat, the associate director of employment for Nefesh B’Nefesh, the organization dedicated to Aliyah in North America.  Yishai and Ephrat talk about finding employment in Israel and how networking, learning Hebrew, and being flexible are key to success in finding a job in Israel.  Following his interview with Ephrat, Yishai moves on to talk to being able to search for employment in Israel by searching janglo.net, which is a leading English-language website for all things that can be found in Israel.  To discuss the job section, Zev Stub, the founder of janglo.net, joins Yishai.  They discuss the wide variety of jobs found on the site and how employment for almost everybody can be found on janglo.net.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Need an Israel Advocacy Idea? Ask Herzl

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Visit http://israelcampusbeat.org for the latest Israel trends and events on campus

As campus Israel groups and leaders begin formulating their plans for next year, the search for innovative ways to achieve their goals commences. Where do they look for new and effective programming?

In past years, students turned to the people they knew for advice or strived to build creative plans on their own. While these approaches can yield strong results, imagine what could be achieved with a nationally networked resource that provides the best of all worlds — tested, proven programming ideas and step-by-step details of best practices for impacting the campus environment.

This year, it is no dream: Savvy campus leaders will be able to access the vast collected experiences of a nationwide movement of campus Israel supporters. It all comes down to two words: Ask Herzl.

When it launches next month, Ask Herzl will serve as a resource for Israel advocates who want “ready to run” programs for their campuses. The website, currently running in beta mode, offers links to program plans that address a wide and growing range of themes and topics. The site, initiated by the Israel on Campus Coalition, also provides a networking space where students and professionals can collaborate on mutual challenges and forge new initiatives.

Ask Herzl emerged in response to a need expressed by campus activists and professionals who wanted a resource that would remain constant even as student leaders graduated and staff people moved on. In the fast-paced campus environment, people felt they missed out on many good ideas simply because they didn’t notice them when they were offered, or the person who knew about them had graduated or moved on.

In light of constant turnover that occurs on campus — every four years the entire student population changes, and professionals come and go — students need a consistent address for ideas and answers. While the project aims to meet campus needs, the website can be used by anyone seeking to educate, engage, and advocate for Israel, including high school educators, college Israel-related professionals, Jewish communal professional and post-college professionals.

“We worked with students and professionals from around the country to make Ask Herzl a relevant, useful tool,” said Stephen Kuperberg, Executive Director of the Israel on Campus Coalition. “We believe this will provide an incredible resource to activists and a great forum for students and professionals to share experiences and best practices.”

ICC developed Ask Herzl in collaboration with a committee that includes students, professionals and programmers from campus and non-campus communities.

Penn State Hillel’s assistant director, Audrey Bloomberg, who is part of the advisory committee, is excited that the project will streamline programs.

“There are so many opportunities that come to our inboxes each year about Israel programming and resources,” she said, “I can’t wait to have all of that information in one easy location instead of searching through old files and emails!”

Shoshanna Howard, the World Zionist Organization’s national project manager, said she was happy to play a part in creating this new resource. “We want to ensure the best Israel and Zionist educational programs are accessible to students, community leaders and everyone in between,” she remarked, “and we see Ask Herzl as an avenue to achieve this.”

Tzvi Raviv, who directs the Rutgers Hillel Center for Israel Engagement and also helped develop the website, went even further, saying, “Ask Herzl has the potential to be a game-changer in Israel advocacy on campus by connecting the nodes of the pro-Israel network.”

The website’s interactive features include a tool for rating and critiquing speakers as well as a mechanism for rating programs recently run on college campuses. Awards, labeled The Theo Awards, offer incentive grants of up to $1,000 for top-notch submitted materials and cash prizes to individuals and campuses that demonstrate commitment to Israel advocacy programming through website engagement and submission of quality resources. Raviv noted that the grants make Ask Herzl particularly attractive to activists who need support in order to implement their ideas.

Sam Greenberg, who served as Hillel co-president and Israel chair at Yale University, had long thought about a site similar to Ask Herzl, so he was pleased to have an opportunity to help develop it.

Hearing on Motion to Dismiss Set in Hebrew National Class-Action Suit

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

A hearing on a motion to dismiss a consumer fraud case against the company that produces Hebrew National products has been scheduled for Nov. 30 in a federal court.

The hearing will be held at the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

ConAgra Foods Inc., which owns the Hebrew National brand, on July 26 filed the motion to dismiss a class-action suit that alleges that Hebrew National’s iconic hot dogs and other meats do not comport with the brand’s claim to be kosher “as defined by the most stringent Jews who follow Orthodox Jewish law.” The ConAgra motion states that the case should be dismissed because, among other reasons, kosher is “exclusively a matter of Jewish religious doctrine.” It also states that under the First Amendment, “federal courts may not adjudicate disputes that turn on religious teachings, doctrine and practice.”

The suit, which was filed May 18 in a Minnesota state court, accuses ConAgra of consumer fraud. ConAgra has rejected the claims.

Triangle-K, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based supervising agency that certifies Hebrew National products as kosher, and AER, which provides the kosher slaughtering services at Hebrew National facilities in the Midwest, including in Minnesota, also rejected the allegations. Neither is named in the suit.

The suit is seeking monetary damages equal to the total amount of monies that consumers in the class paid for Hebrew National meat products.

Zimmerman Reed, an Arizona-based law firm with offices in Minnesota, solicited consumers through its website. The firm advertised a free case review for anyone who purchased Hebrew National hot dogs in the past two years or had information about the preparation of the products.

A Biblical Guide To Internet Behavior

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The Internet is a medium that has made its way in its short existence all the way to the center of contemporary life. Many of our daily tasks are now tied to it, and will be more so in the future.

Like all tools, particularly the most powerful, the Internet can be used for tremendous good – as well as the opposite. Torah wisdom can provide guidance on proper usage of this new technology. When explained homiletically, Tehillim 34 offers profound insight into some of the key attitudes necessary to responsibly use the Internet. Recited every Shabbos morning, this chapter consists of meditations on attaining the truly good life.

Avoid Bad and Do Good

A key principle of achieving a good life is avoiding bad, sur me’ra (v. 15). Regarding the Internet, this means utilizing strategies to avoid improper websites. It requires using filters and image- and ad-blockers as necessary. It also means making responsible choices about which types of websites to visit.

After avoiding bad, King David tells us to do good (aseh tov). First you must install your filter and other similar tools. Only after that are you ready to use the Internet for positive purposes. And that is what you must do. Make the Internet a tool for your personal growth. Choose a Torah website as your home page; assign a religiously themed picture as your background. The more you use your Internet devices for holy purposes, the harder it will be for you to misuse them.

No Gossip and Judge Favorably

Perhaps the most famous verse in this psalm is King David’s admonition to avoid defamatory speech (netzor leshoncha me’ra, v. 14). On the Internet you must studiously avoid spreading or consuming lashon hara. This is no easy task, just as it is difficult in conversation with friends. But the laws of lashon hara apply to all media, particularly in the public arena of the Internet. Think before you post. Any form of transmitting damaging information falls under this rule.

We know but often neglect the obligation to judge others favorably. When interacting with other people, whether online or off, always strive to see the positive (bakesh shalom, v. 15). Read news stories and other reports critically, trying to justify the subject’s actions. Fight against the cynicism that tries to dominate our community, particularly online. Remember that you rarely get the full story, even years after the fact.

Be Yourself and Live Life

King David calls out: Mi ha’ish, who is the person? (v. 13) Don’t let people online ask that about you. Anonymity is a key behavior that reduces inhibitions online, allowing for multiple types of unruly activity. Many wrongly think that they do not have to answer for their behavior if they can hide their identity. Avoid this temptation by using your real name or at least maintaining a consistent pseudonym. Commit to behaving online solely in ways that do not embarrass you.

The Internet is a wonderful tool for life but it is a pale substitute. You have to want real life (he’chafetz chaim), thriving relationships with friends, family and your spouse (v. 13). You have to love the good in life (ohev yamim liros tov). If you disappear all day and night into your screen, you will neglect your loved ones who will in turn abandon you. As with other good things in life, you must use the Internet in moderation. If you have trouble cutting back on your screen time, you must speak with a therapist about how to reduce your dependency on technology.

Don’t Give Up

The psalm compares God’s treatment of the righteous and those who sin. “They cried and the Lord heard…” (v. 18). Unlike Rashi, Ibn Ezra and R. Donash ben Livrat explain that the sinners of the prior verse (those who do bad – “oseh ra”) are the ones who call out to God. The psalm earlier taught that God answers the prayers of the righteous. Our verse tells us something more radical: God cares deeply about those who do wrong. When they call out to Him, when they are ready to change their ways, God is waiting to help them return. He will save them.

UCLA Officially Protects Promotion of Anti-Israel Boycott

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

A professor of World Arts and Culture who specializes in Native American cultures at the University of California at Los Angeles, David Delgado Shorter, has been given the official green light to continue using university resources to promote the boycott of Israel by the university’s Committee on Academic Freedom.

Several months ago a California-based group focused on protecting Jewish students from academic anti-Semitism, AMCHA, learned from UCLA students that Shorter prominently features links to the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel on his official class website.  The students who brought the anti-Israel concerns to AMCHA were too worried about retribution to complain either to Shorter or to anyone else at UCLA.

The founders of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel have openly stated that their ultimate goal is the dismantling of the Jewish State.  Hannah Rosenthal, the U.S. State Department’s former Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, has called their campaign anti-Semitic.  It is AMCHA’s position that all boycotts of Israel are deliberate assaults on the Jewish state and the Jewish people.

AMCHA took the students’ information and approached UCLA administrators, asking whether UCLA considered it within the parameters of academic freedom to promote the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.  According to Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Lecturer in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University of California Santa Cruz, and co-founder of AMCHA’s Investigative Taskforce on Campus Antisemitism, there was never any intention to either censor or punish Shorter.  They simply wanted to know, on the record, the answer to their question.

And now they do.

In a letter to Shorter dated July 9, 2012, the UCLA Academic Senate CAF determined that promoting the boycott of Israel on a professor’s class website was “consistent with professional standards,” and therefore that Shorter’s promotion of that boycott, in the context of his classroom, would be protected by UCLA.

AMCHA points out that such a position conflicts with the UCLA Regents Policy on Course Content, which states that the misuse of the classroom for “political indoctrination” constitutes misuse of the University as an institution.  Shorter’s promotion of the academic boycott of Israel on his UCLA class website also appears to be a clear violation of the California Education Code , which prohibits the use of the name of any UC campus for the support, endorsement, or advancement of political or partisan activity or program, with “boycott” specifically named.

But the UCLA CAF was not content to simply exonerate Shorter.  Instead, much of its two page letter to Shorter excoriated Leuchter for listening to an “outside group.”  Apparently the UCLA CAF imposes the same stringent standards for filing complaints as do United States courts: “The only parties who should have the standing to complain about whether the content of a course threatens academic freedom are members of the University directly affected by the content of a course (e.g., students or teaching assistants).”

Efforts to reach a member of the University of California Board of Regents have not yet been successful.

Report: Germany was Warned a Month Before ‘72 Olympics Attack

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Germany was warned about a possible terror attack against Israeli athletes one month before the Munich Olympics in 1972, Der Spiegel reported.

The weekly magazine reported Sunday on its website that despite solid warnings of an attack plan which were received a month before the Games, no action was taken.

The Palestinian terrorists, for example, were able to walk by the apartments of the Israeli athletes without being stopped.

Der Spiegel also reported that German police had prepared possible scenarios for a terror attack at the Games, including one that dealt specifically with a Palestinian attack on the Olympic village, but after the attack the police said there were no written documents of the preparations and German authorities tried to cover up their failures.

The story is based on reports of the post-attack inquiry minutes from German Cabinet meetings and documents from government bodies obtained by Der Spiegel.

Obama For Sale

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/obama-for-sale.html

Summer is traditionally a weak shopping season, but lately the bargains just keep on coming. First there was an offer to have dinner with Obama and now a chance to have him there in your family photo. You can bid on an opportunity to wish Obama a happy birthday in person with the present that he likes best… money.

The prices are reasonable, and there are so many ways to buy Obama. You can play the dinner lottery or ask your wedding guests to gift to Obama. The Barack Obama website accepts all payments, Visa, Discover, Master Card, foreign donations and stolen credit cards.

The opportunities are endless. Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, major disasters; everything is just another reminder to give till it hurts. All you have to do is click one of the many buttons beneath the color-tuned hues of Instagram photos of Obama or his worse half smiling while the country slides deeper into poverty and debt.

There’s a reason that they call America “The Land of Opportunity.” Sure it’s gotten a lot harder to come here and make a fortune with your own business, but buying time with the man at the top has just gotten a lot more affordable. You may not have the big wallet of a Warren Buffett or a George Soros and you won’t cash in to the tune of a few billion dollars like they did; but for 25 bucks you might end up briefly exchanging pleasantries with the man who is slowly sending you to the poorhouse.

The designers are working overtime digging up retro fonts that summon up the image of a more prosperous America. There are so many Obama portrait shirts that they will be filling up landfills for generations. More likely, they’ll be shipped over to the Third World, along with all the other surplus clothes that people donate once the trend has passed or they no longer fit, and, somewhere in an African village, children in the year 2021 will run around playing in “Obama 2012″ t-shirts and Islamic terrorists in the Sahara will execute rebellious women while wearing “Forward” shirts.

You can get a “This is Change” shirt that lists all the things that Obama has done on the back, but the text is too small to read on the website, so, like ObamaCare and Obama 2012, you will have to buy it to find out what’s in it and on it.

There’s a collar for cats that says, “I Meow for Michelle” and an 85-dollar Vera Wang tote bag with Obama inside a scrawled heart. There’s an Obama-themed dog collar, to express the relationship between the administration and its lapdogs, and a t-shirt with an all-red American flag that has a distinctly Soviet feel to it. There’s a 65-dollar polo shirt designed by rapper and Farrakhan supporter Russell Simmons; which is just a generic polo shirt with a small Obama logo.

A Joe Biden cup holder sits next to a knit Obama dog sweater, a silver Obama brooch, an Obama basketball jersey, an Obama University hoodie, which has a seal but no motto, along with beanies, keychains, more dog collars, water bottles, tumblers, lanyards, cuff links, duffel bags, tube socks and a dog bowl with the Obama logo inside for your dog to drink out of.

Obama isn’t just a politician; he is a Walmart of useless crap. A one-man Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie and Fitch and Ed Hardy with enough t-shirts, polo shirts and bandanas to outfit a small army of young men and women with more credit card limits than taste. And upstairs on the third floor of his cyberspace Target, you can find a plethora of 90-dollar reusable canvas bags from major designers that have become the stamp of consciously responsible consumption.

You can buy Obama and wear Obama all over your body. You can read Obama at the beach, stick him on your toddler, your dog and your cat. You can cover your car, your house and your barn with his stickers. And, if you are truly lucky, you may even win a chance to spend 72 seconds in his presence before you are firmly ushered out to go back to your Obama 2012 car and drive back to your Obama 2012 yard sign where your dog is barking for food in his “Obama Best Friend” collar and then sit down to read through the Help Wanted ads in the paper while wearing an Obama Hope Lapel Pin.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/sultan-knish/obama-for-sale/2012/07/22/

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