Fintech’s Fraud Problem: Why Some Merchants Are Shunning Digital Bank Cards


When Robyn Mathis, a 41-year-old food production plant worker from Brunswick, Georgia, stepped off a flight to Philadelphia last June, she expected an easy passage to her destination. She was set to pick up her rental car and charge it to her Chime card, as she had done several times before. For the last few years, the digital bank’s debit and credit cards had been her payment methods of choice. But at the Budget car rental desk at Philadelphia’s International Airport, Mathis got an unpleasant surprise.

Budget would not accept her Chime credit or debit card. Frustrated, Mathis, who was traveling with her two college-aged children, called other airport rental outlets—Enterprise, Avis and Dollar. All said they wouldn’t take her card. After two hours, Mathis finally gave up and called an Uber. Fintech had failed her. Upon returning home, she moved most of her money from Chime to her account at Bank OZK, a regional institution with more than 200 branches and roots stretching back to 1903.

Digital-first “neobanks” like Chime are one of the hottest sectors in the fintech revolution. They offer fast approval and low- or no-fee accounts, all without any brick-and-mortar branches—a powerful selling point during a pandemic. Chime grew from 7 million U.S. customers at the start of 2020 to more than 13 million by the end of this year, according to estimates by eMarketer.

Chime’s valuation hit a stunning $25 billion in August, and an initial public offering that could value the enterprise at $45 billion is in the works. Square’s Cash App, which began as a peer-to-peer money transfer service and has evolved into a digital bank, added 12 million users in 2020. Square’s stock has more than tripled since the pandemic began, and it now boasts a market capitalization of about $90 billion.

But the same “frictionless” signup and ease-of-use features that make digital banks appealing to customers have given crooks an opening to wreak havoc through various schemes. That includes “first-party fraud,” where customers (with accounts in their own names) do everything from racking up charges and yanking the money to pay those charges out of their accounts before a transaction settles to illegally collecting unemployment insurance in states where they don’t live or work.

Another tactic: exploiting America’s tortoise-like bank-to-bank transfer network by moving money from one account to another and then withdrawing the same funds from both accounts while the transfer is in process. Fintech providers also appear to be more susceptible to identity theft and “account takeovers,” where swindlers get access to another person’s account and start spending.

Take the case of Shayla King, a single mother of four from Tampa, Florida, who became a Chime fraud victim in July 2021. She first noticed the problem when she woke up on a Friday to see dozens of automated texts on her iPhone asking if she had made 62 transactions totaling $744 from different businesses in India. She texted back “no” and then got an automated text confirmation that the charges would not go through. King says she also immediately rang Chime’s customer support line to report the charges were fraudulent. But come Monday, her Chime account was nearly emptied.


“Companies used to build financial products starting with the risk … Everything today is built starting with marketing, and risk oftentimes comes way further down the funnel.”


King disputed the charges, but Chime denied her claim. She tried twice more, eventually copying an investigative consumer reporter at a local ABC affiliate on her email to Chime. Four days later, after the reporter contacted Chime, it returned the money, more than a month after King first reported the incident. (Chime admits it made an “initial error” in its dealing with King, but says it corrected the problem after King appealed, and not because of the TV reporter’s inquiry.)

“I will never in my life bank with an online bank again,” adds King, who says she spoke on the phone with more than a dozen different customer service reps during the ordeal. “That’s my car payment, my electricity bill … I’m a paycheck-to-paycheck person, and I’m still trying to climb out of that hole.”

According to data from Aite-Novarica Group, fintech companies like neobanks and robo advisors have an average fraud rate of roughly 0.30%. That’s as much as double credit cards’ historical rates of 0.15% to 0.20% and three times higher than debit cards’ less than  0.10% fraud rate. While these percentage differences might seem small, they’re significant given that banking profitability is measured in basis points or hundredths of a percent.

And these seemingly tiny percentages add up. In 2020, identity fraud alone caused $56 billion in losses across all U.S. financial services firms, according to research firm Javelin. Facing growing incidents of fraud, some merchants have begun limiting or even blocking the debit and credit cards being offered by Chime, Cash App and other neobanks.

“Companies used to build financial products starting with the risk,” says a fraud expert and executive at a San Francisco fintech company. “Everything today is built starting with marketing, and risk oftentimes comes way further down the funnel.”

Rental car agencies and hotels have so far taken the most consequential actions in response to fintech’s fraud problem. In March, Avis, which owns the Budget and Payless car rental brands too, blackballed Chime. Said one tweet to a customer, “Only Chime cards we no longer accept due to many fraud reports. Have a great day!” Avis also hung up signs at branch locations announcing the ban and over the summer its FAQ singled out “prepaid debit/gift cards and Chime debit/credit cards” as not acceptable for vehicle pick-ups. 

Avis’ restrictions prompted a backlash from Chime and its card network, Visa, in late summer. Visa has a strict “honor all cards” policy for merchants who generally must accept any Visa card from any issuer. After Forbes reached out to Avis for comment, its policy page was updated to remove mention of its Chime restriction. An Avis spokesperson declined to explain the reason for its Chime ban, simply saying that Chime cards are accepted as payment upon returning a rental car, which would still require customers to have a different card for vehicle pick-up.

Enterprise and Hertz, the two largest rental car agencies in America, have also instituted fintech card bans. Forbes spoke with 10 Hertz storefronts across ten states, and most said cards tied to Chime were not welcome, with Cash App, Paypal or Venmo also rejected by some. An Enterprise customer service rep said locations at airports don’t accept Chime cards either. Some of the non-airport branches called by Forbes said they do accept Chime, though they cited various special restrictions such as requiring a utility bill. Nearly half of the dozens of Marriott Courtyard, Holiday Inn, Extended Stay America and La Quinta franchise locations Forbes spoke with said they don’t accept Chime or Cash App cards, either.

Spokespeople for Hertz and Extended Stay America said company-managed locations had banned Chime or Cash App cards, while spokespeople for Marriott and Enterprise claimed the cards are accepted. (Enterprise failed to clarify its airport policy.) The owners of the La Quinta and Holiday Inn brands did not respond to multiple requests for comment by Forbes.

Brian Mullins, Chime’s senior vice president of risk, downplays the problem. “In July, we had 50,000 transactions across all Marriott and Courtyard Marriotts … There may just be some individual locations where [a rejection of Chime cards] had occurred.” Chime had already done $150 million in Enterprise car rental transactions in 2021, he said in late August. “If it’s an issue, it’s not affecting our customers,” he insisted.

According to experts, much of the fraud seen by rental car agencies and hotels is so-called first-party fraud, where card holders run schemes under their real identities. One way they can do this involves taking advantage of a quirk in the U.S. payments system, says Mary Ann Miller, a vice president at identity and fraud company Prove. When someone picks up a rental car or checks into a hotel, the merchant processes a pre-authorization charge on their debit or credit card that puts a  “hold” on a set amount of money.

That hold expires after a short period of time—say, three days, depending on the terms set by the bank that issued the card. Once it expires, a bad actor, who might have rented the car for a week for example, can spend the money, since it’s no longer locked up. When the rental car agency finally goes to charge the customer after the car is returned, the bank account tied to the debit card is empty or the limit on the credit card is exhausted, and the merchant or bank can’t collect.

Another fraud tactic is for a customer to dispute large numbers of legitimate charges. Chime says its systems try to weed out serial disputers, but its frictionless interface makes refusing Chime charges as easy as a few taps on its mobile app. “Account takeovers” are another scam that fintechs like Chime are particularly susceptible to, because fraud rings often target new technology, thinking it’s more likely to have holes. In one rip-off, scammers buy information on the dark web to figure out Chime customers’ usernames and passwords, then gain access to their accounts and go on a buying spree.

Can’t traditional banks’ accounts be taken over too? Yes, but the digital banks may be both more vulnerable and more likely to be targeted. “Digital-focused banks have a target on their backs because fraudsters know that the banks want to make the user signup flow and banking experience as seamless as possible,’’ says Vice President of Trust and Safety Kevin Lee at fraud prevention firm Sift.

Because of Visa’s and Mastercard’s dispute protection policies, merchants hit with various forms of fraud can often escape being held liable for the unauthorized charges themselves. But trying to clean up a rash of illicit activity is costly, involving many hours of research and internal meetings across different corporate teams.

Chime vigorously denies that its app has become a haven for fraud. Still, part of its problems may stem from the company’s aggressive customer acquisition campaigns, often using social media to attract unbanked or underbanked prospects who have little or no credit histories. In September, the company offered cash prizes of up to $1,000 to TikTok users who made videos including the hashtag “ChimeHasYourBack.” Two months later, TikToks sporting the hashtag had collectively garnered 7.3 billion views.

Chime declined Forbes’ request to provide its overall fraud rates, saying only that they’re significantly below the maximum thresholds set by Visa and Nacha, the nonprofit association that runs ACH, the U.S. bank-to-bank payments network. The fintech’s CEO Chris Britt instead blames the merchants for any problems that have developed.

“I think there’s a limited number of merchants that are not applying the industry standard of due diligence before giving consumers access to these rental cars,” he says. He adds that Chime doesn’t run credit checks on its users—it’s the rental car agencies’ job to determine consumers’ creditworthiness.

Chime isn’t the only fintech wrestling with fraud and delinquency problems, and these issues date back to the earliest fintech companies in America. From July through October of 2000, two years after PayPal got off the ground, the company lost $6 million to fraud at a time when its revenue was less than $5 million. PayPal was losing $1,900 an hour to fraud. More recently, phony jobless claims have been a problem for Green Dot and Square’s Cash App, as well as Chime.

Ten residents of Palm Beach County, Florida were arrested in September for attempting to raid other states’ unemployment benefit coffers. According to court records, the defendants typically opened accounts at Chime, Cash App or Green Dot under their own names, then applied for unemployment checks from states they had neither lived nor worked in. Explaining how to commit the fraud to an unnamed associate, one 21-year-old defendant suggested using the three fintechs for direct deposit of the swindled funds: “States like Arizona and Pennsylvania hittin fasho…FREE GAME,” he wrote in an Instagram message reprinted in court records. “Chime Greendot cash app.”


“There’s no risk of needing to show identification in person, no surveillance video to show who’s utilizing the bank account.”

-Kyle Kinney, detective at a local Florida police department

Kyle Kinney, a detective at the local Florida police department who investigated the cases, says the offenders likely preferred digital banks for their convenience, compared to brick-and-mortar alternatives. “There’s no risk of needing to show identification in person, no surveillance video to show who’s utilizing the bank account,” he explains. “Transferring and receiving funds to and from co-conspirators is pretty easy.”

The flood of extra unemployment money tied to the pandemic, as well as the expanded categories of people eligible for payments, has likely exacerbated the problem.  The U.S. Labor Department’s Inspector General recently estimated that, based on an historical mispayment rate of 10%, between March 2020 and September 2021, $87 billion in enhanced benefits could have been improperly paid, with “a significant portion attributable to fraud.”

But, the IG added, the actual number—based on a preliminary audit—was likely higher. Frank McKenna, cofounder of fraud prevention firm Point Predictive, suspects that Chime was “one of the preferred ways that a lot of these fraudsters took money from the government, because they could easily go online, set up a Chime account very quickly, have the funds transferred into the account, and then quickly have those funds diverted elsewhere …

I think what you’re seeing now is the result of a lot of growth, and a lot of the fraud that might have gotten into the portfolio while all the stimulus came in.” He also says that there’s an active market on messaging app Telegram for people to buy Chime accounts.

It’s not just the merchants who have become wary of doing business with big fintechs like Chime and Cash App. HMBradley, a three-year-old, Santa Monica-based online bank with $375 million in assets, saw a startling rise in fraud coming from the transfers it gets from Chime and Cash App accounts. The schemers would typically open an HMBradley account, then connect it to an existing Chime account.

They’d request to transfer funds from Chime, and when the money reached HMBradley, they’d quickly ferry it into a third bank account. Often, the funds HMBradley was pulling in from Chime didn’t exist—and that’s possible because of the way the U.S. bank-to-bank transfer network, or the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system, works.

The ACH network, first built in the 1970s, lacks real-time verification and it can take days for transactions to settle through ACH. So when a neobank allows a customer to pull money from an outside account via ACH, it takes on the risk of finding out several days later that the customer only had $1 in his account even though he requested to transfer $1,000. ACH still underlies most money transfers, to the tune of $62 trillion in 2020, and is run by Nacha, a nonprofit association funded by financial institutions.

While HMBradley typically only sees about $500 worth of fraud per month, in May it lost tens of thousands of dollars, split between Cash App and Chime users, according to CEO Zach Bruhnke. To stop the bleeding, Bruhnke put longer holds on transfers so that a customer trying to pull in funds from a Chime or Cash App account would have to wait a few more days to see the funds arrive in HMBradley.

Another new online bank called One has also placed longer holds on Chime transactions. “It’s a reflection of how frequently the accounts tend to be fraudulent and how much loss tends to be taken on those transactions,” says One CEO Brian Hamilton. Chime CEO Chris Britt again prefers to shift the blame. He says that small companies like HMBradley and One “probably don’t have the same level of sophistication in terms of how to process things like ACH transactions and transfers from online accounts.”

Betterment, a robo-investing app with $29 billion in assets, blocked all new connections to Chime, Cash App, Square, Robinhood, Green Dot and Metabank in May due to “a trend of attempted fraudulent activity,” according to an email Betterment sent to some customers that was reviewed by Forbes. Britt says there are a “number of companies” that Chime “runs much more volume through … that are managing just fine.”

According to Bruhnke, Chime’s team was helpful in troubleshooting HMBradley’s fraud spike. Bruhnke tried to work with Cash App to get help, too, but their support was “almost non-existent,” he says. Today, HMBradley no longer puts longer holds on Chime transactions, but for most Cash App customers, he extends HMBradley’s typical two-day hold period for transfers to five business days and caps daily transactions to between $100 and $500.

Bruhnke says of Square’s rapid customer growth, “They’re a public company, and they’re sort of padding their user numbers by perpetuating this.” Square declined to make an executive available for an interview, but told Forbes via email that fraud prevention is a top priority and that Cash App maintains teams dedicated to resolving merchant acceptance issues.

Stock trading app Robinhood recently highlighted its own ACH fraud challenges. “Customers initiate deposits into their accounts, make trades on our platform using a short-term extension of credit from us, and then repatriate or reverse the deposits, resulting in a loss to us of the credited amount,” it wrote in its second quarter regulatory filing. As a result, its provision for credit losses for the first half of the year surged 54% to $37 million.

In February, a payments processing company that works with hundreds of merchants that sell age-restricted products like alcohol saw 45% of its fraudulent ACH transactions come from Chime, according to an executive at the payments company.

It noticed a pattern where some people had used multiple Chime accounts under slightly different names but with the same IDs. They’d buy alcohol from one merchant, but before the transaction settled, they’d quickly pull the rug out by moving that money into another Chime account, a maneuver made possible by the settlement lags of the ACH system.

The liquor stores saw tens of thousands of dollars of losses, and when the payments company determined that Chime wasn’t going to do anything to fix the problem, it permanently blocked Chime transactions altogether. Says the payments company executive, “If they’re not actively doing anything about it, then we have to actively do something about it.”

I’m a reporter on Forbes’ wealth team covering the world’s richest people and tracking their fortunes. I was previously an assistant editor for Forbes’ Money & Markets section, and I

I lead our fintech coverage at Forbes and also cover crypto. I edit our annual Fintech 50 list and 30 Under 30 list for fintech, and I’ve written frequently about leadership and corporate

Source: Fintech’s Fraud Problem: Why Some Merchants Are Shunning Digital Bank Cards

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To Combat Billions In Unemployment Benefit Fraud, Startup SentiLink Raises $70 Million

At least in improper payments, much of it fraud, have been distributed by the Federal government since the pandemic struck in March 2020. In California alone, state officials admitted that as much as of unemployment benefits payments may have been fraudulent.

“Unemployment insurance fraud is probably the biggest fraud issue hitting banks today,” says Naftali Harris, co-founder and CEO at San Francisco’s SentiLink, which just closed a $70 million round of venture capital to expand its business of helping financial institutions detect fake and stolen identities for new account applications.

, a San Francisco-based venture firm, led the Series B round which brings SentiLink’s total capital raised to date to $85 million. Felicis, Andreessen Horowitz and NYCA also joined SentiLink’s latest capital infusion.

SentiLink plans to use the capital raised to continue to help institutions with this recent increase in fraud instances spurred by the CARES Act. They also plan to expand their fraud toolkit to prevent other types of scams, such as and, and investigate new ones.

Harris’ team has seen a huge uptick in fraud rates affecting their clients, as high as 90% among new applications, associated with the CARES Act COVID relief. Fraudsters have been using the same name, social security number or date of birth in several applications, filing in high volumes in several states.

According to Harris, his team is currently verifying around a million account openings per day, and is working with more than 100 financial institutions – due to a non-disclosure agreement Harris could not comment on which financial institutions his company serves.

The company says that beyond simply using artificial intelligence to detect fraud, they have a risk operations team that catches in real time cases of synthetic fraud – a form of identity theft in which the defrauder combines a stolen Social Security Number (SSN) and fake information to create a false identity – that would normally go unnoticed by their clients.

Harris discovered this type of fraud when he was working as a data scientist at Affirm in 2017. At the time, synthetic fraud was relatively unknown, so when he saw that crooks were creating brand new identities instead of stealing  existing ones to apply for credit, he founded SentiLink to focus on tackling this new scam. “We realized this was a really big issue and that nobody in the financial services industry was talking about it,” says Harris.

Now, criminals are creating new identities or stealing existing ones to tap into unemployment benefits. Harris says the problem is not only them stealing from the government, but uncovering the tactics they use to deposit the stolen funds.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that as a fraudster you have to be able to use the money stolen, and put it into the financial system,” Harris says.

To Harris, the biggest differentiation in SentiLink’s approach is how much it emphasizes “deep understanding of fraud and identity in our models.”

“We have a team of fraud investigators that manually review applications every day looking for fraud, and we use their insights and discoveries in our fraud models and technology,” he told TechCrunch. “This deep understanding is so important to us that every Friday the entire company spends an hour reviewing fraud cases.”

SentiLink, Harris added, focuses on “deeply” understanding fraud and identity, and then using technology to productionalize these insights.  Those discoveries include the deterioration of phone/name match data and uncovering “same name” fraud. “This deep understanding is so important that SentiLink employs a team of risk analysts whose full time job is to investigate new kinds of fraud and discover what the fraudsters are doing,” the company says.

SentiLink, like so many other startups, saw an increase in business during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The various government assistance programs were rife with fraud. This had a cascading effect throughout financial services, where fraudsters that had successfully stolen government money attempted to launder it into the financial system,” Harris said. “As a result we’ve been very busy, particularly with checking and savings accounts that until now have had relatively little fraud.”

genesis-3-1

The startup plans to use its new capital to build out its product suite and do some hiring. Today it has 25 employees, with five accepted offers, and expects to end the year with a headcount of 45-50.

Follow me on  or . Send me a secure .

I’m an assistant editor at Forbes covering money and markets. Before joining Forbes, I worked at NextEra Energy, Inc. developing and implementing successful media relations and public relations campaigns in the energy industry.

I graduated from Stetson University with a degree in Finance, and have a master’s degree in Journalism and International Relations from New York University, where I worked as a staff writer for Latin America News Dispatch and New York Magazine’s Bedford + Bowery.

Source: To Combat Billions In Unemployment Benefit Fraud, Startup SentiLink Raises $70 Million

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Google Hit With $593 Million Fine In France For Failing To Ink Deal With News Publishers

FRANCE-ECONOMY-TECHNOLOGY-VIVATECH

Google was hit with a $593 million (€500 Million) fine by antitrust regulators in France on Monday after the company failed to offer a fair deal to local publishers for hosting their news content on its platform, adding to the list of several large fines the U.S. tech giant has copped in Europe in the past few years.

The ruling comes after Google failed to comply with an April 2020 decision by the French regulators to negotiate a deal “in good faith” with publishers to carry snippets of their content on its Google News platform. As part of the ruling, the French Competition Authority has ordered Google to come up with an remuneration offer for its use of the news snippets within two months.

If the tech giant fails to meet the deadline, it will face penalty payments of up to $1 million (€900,000) per day of delay. In a statement shared with Forbes, Google said it was “very disappointed” with the ruling and it believes it had “acted in good faith throughout the entire process.” The company added that it is about to reach a global licensing agreement with the French news agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP), but did not provide a timeline.

Google will be able to appeal Tuesday’s fine, but it is unclear if it will choose to do so.

Crucial Quote

“The sanction of 500 million euros takes into account the exceptional seriousness of the breaches observed and how Google’s behavior has led to further delay of the proper application of the law…which aimed to better take into account the value of content from publishers and news agencies included on the platforms,” Isabelle de Silva, president of the French Competition Authority said in an official statement.

Surprising Fact

Tuesday’s fine is the second-biggest antitrust penalty a single company has faced in France. Last year, the competition regulator hit Apple with a $1.2 billion fine after the company was found to have signed anti-competitive agreements with two distributors over the sale of non-iPhone products such as Apple Mac computers. Apple has appealed the ruling.

Key Background

Publishers in Europe have clashed with Google multiple times in the past year, accusing the tech giant of luring away billions of euros in advertising money from the publishers while leveraging their content. Particularly contentious has been the company’s Google News platform which hosts snippets of news stories from publishers without paying them. On the flipside, publishers are unable to yank their content from Google’s platform as they rely on it heavily to drive traffic to their sites.

Earlier this year, Google managed to reach a $76 million deal to pay a group of 121 French Newspapers. But the AFP and other French publishers who were not part of the deal expressed anger and slammed Google for being opaque. De Silva has dismissed that deal and criticized Google for limiting the scope of the negotiations, excluding agency content like photos, and offering to pay the same amount for news content that it does for dictionary listings or weather information.

Further Reading

Google Fined $593 Million By French Antitrust Agency (Bloomberg)

Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

I am a Breaking News Reporter at Forbes, with a focus on covering important tech policy and business news. Graduated from Columbia University with an MA in Business and Economics Journalism in 2019. Worked as a journalist in New Delhi, India from 2014 to 2018. Have a news tip? DMs are open on Twitter @SiladityaRay or drop me an email at siladitya@protonmail.com.

Source: Google Hit With $593 Million Fine In France For Failing To Ink Deal With News Publishers

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Google said it was very disappointed with the decision but would comply. “Our objective remains the same: we want to turn the page with a definitive agreement. We will take the French Competition Authority’s feedback into consideration and adapt our offers,” the U.S. tech giant said.

A Google spokesperson added: “We have acted in good faith throughout the entire process. The fine ignores our efforts to reach an agreement, and the reality of how news works on our platforms.”

The framework agreement, which many other French media outlets criticized, was one of the highest-profile deals under Google’s “News Showcase” programme to provide compensation for news snippets used in search results, and the first of its kind in Europe.

Google agreed to pay $76 million over three years to a group of 121 French news publishers to end the copyright row, documents seen by Reuters showed. It followed months of bargaining between Google, French publishers and news agencies over how to apply the revamped EU copyright rules, which allow publishers to demand a fee from online platforms showing extracts of their news. read more

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Tax Attorney Facing Prison For Allegedly Helping Billionaires Robert Smith And Bob Brockman Dodge The IRS

It’s a new legal development for private equity billionaire Robert F. Smith and his onetime mentor Bob Brockman, already accused of the biggest tax evasion in U.S. history.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictment of Carlos E. Kepke, a Houston tax attorney who prosecutors say conspired with Smith to hide $225 million in untaxed capital gains from the IRS between 1999 and 2014 — during the years when Smith was rapidly growing Vista Equity Partners.

Prosecutors say that Smith paid Kepke $1 million since 2007 for his services, which included assisting in the preparation of Smith’s false 2012-2014 tax returns and setting up offshore entities to aid in tax evasion.

Prosecutors allege Kepke created for Smith a limited liability company in Nevis called Flash Holdings, as well as an offshore trust based in Belize, called Excelsior Trust. Excelsior was set up to own Flash. Thus, when Smith’s portion of capital gains from Vista funds was deposited into accounts held in Flash’s name in Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands, the money could be routed to the offshore Excelsior trust, away from the eyes of the IRS.

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When billionaire Robert Smith ended his 2019 Morehouse College commencement speech by vowing to pay off student debt for the entire graduating class, cheers of “MVP, MVP, MVP!” rose from students and faculty on the Atlanta campus.
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According to the DOJ’s press release, Kepke enabled what Smith has admitted to as an illegal scheme. Thanks to Kepke’s work, “Smith was able to hide this income because Excelsior, and not Smith, was the nominal owner of Flash. Smith then allegedly failed to timely and fully report his income to the IRS.”

An official indictment is not yet available from U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in San Francisco. Kepke is scheduled to be arraigned April 22. According to the announcement, he faces 5 years in prison on one conspiracy count and 3 years on each of 3 counts of preparing false tax returns. There was no answer at the number listed for Kepke’s Houston law office. A University of Texas law school graduate, he appears to have been admitted to the Texas bar in 1964.

This indictment looks to be the next step in the DOJ’s unraveling of a decade’s long financial fraud against U.S. taxpayers perpetrated not just by Robert Smith but also, allegedly, by his mentor and financial backer Bob Brockman. Brockman in 2000 agreed to put up $1 billion to fund the startup of Smith’s private equity group, which now has $73 billion under management.

Last October Smith entered into a “non-prosecution agreement” with the DOJ, in which he admitted to felony tax evasion and the wrongful use of roughly $30 million in charitable trust funds for his personal benefit. Smith agreed to fork over $139 million in taxes and penalties, and to cooperate against affiliated scofflaws like Brockman, and Kepke. U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson said at the time that despite having committed “serious crimes,” Smith’s cooperation had “put him on a path away from indictment.”

Kepke’s indictment comes as no surprise to Smith’s camp, who insist Smith is now out of legal jeopardy. “This indictment is not a new development as top Robert Smith. He resolved his situation last year with the government and this in no way affects that resolution,” says Smith attorney Emily Hughes

Indeed, prosecutors are no doubt focusing their attentions on Kepke’s primary client, Bob Brockman. Indicted by the DOJ for evading taxes on some $2 billion in gains from Vista Equity Partners investments, Brockman does not appear to be in a position to cut a deal like Smith did. Especially with Smith providing evidence against him.

According to a December 2020 motion by Brockman’s attorneys to move his case from San Francisco to Houston, Smith has already told prosecutors that Kepke “had a central role in establishing the trusts and assisting Mr. Brockman with asset planning.”

Kepke’s name also appears in a secret 2017 memo written to Brockman by his money man and former trustee Evatt Tamine (submitted as evidence), in which Tamine writes about meeting with Smith, his attorney and Carlos Kepke in order to help cover their tracks: “I worked through their files and identified areas of concern.”

In that same memo, Tamine describes traveling to see the widow of a recently deceased Brockman confidant from whom he collected and destroyed “drives, disks or documents” with incriminating financial information.

With Smith and Tamine already cooperating against Brockman, this new indictment could be aimed at getting Kepke to talk as well.

Meanwhile in Bermuda, oversight of the multi-billion-dollar A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust, remains in limbo, as attorneys for Brockman and his wife Dorothy argued recently to the Bermuda appelate court that they ought to appoint a new independent trustee to oversee the trust, replacing anyone connected to former trustee Tamine. According to attorneys, Cayman Island-based trust specialist Maples Group has agreed to take on the job.

Entities owned by the Brockman trust control Reynolds and Reynolds, the provider of software solutions to auto dealerships which Brockman ran until his retirement last year. According to court documents, he and his attorneys are now focused on convincing prosecutors and court-appointed psychiatrists that he is suffering from dementia too far advanced to allow him to stand trial.

Source: Tax Attorney Facing Prison For Allegedly Helping Billionaires Robert Smith And Bob Brockman Dodge The IRS

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Is Your Email Address Among The Millions In A Facebook Leak? Find Out Here

Facebook logo on a phone

Over the weekend, news broke that a hacker had published online a database containing the personal information of 533 million Facebook users, including email and physical addresses, phone numbers, birthdates and more. While the data was stolen in a 2019 breach and Facebook long ago plugged that hole, it’s the first time this huge trove was made available for free.

If you have a Facebook account (or if you had one in 2019 that you’ve deactivated), you should be concerned. And now you can find out if your private information has been made very public.

Have I Been Pwned?, a site that lets users search databases from dozens of breaches, has added the Facebook data set to its collection. Go to the site’s home page and enter any addresses you use with Facebook to see if they’re included. And yes, it’s safe to do so. Have I Been Pwned is a well-established site and its operator, Troy Hunt, is a regional director for Microsoft in Australia.

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👉 Explore (my site) Maltronics: https://maltronics.com Timestamps: 0:00 Intro 0:37 The Data’s Origins 0:57 Why Is It Only News Now? 1:51 Will This Damage Facebook? 2:26 Facebook’s Response 2:50 Why I’m Not Surprised 3:11 Were You Hacked?! Sources: https://thehackernews.com/2021/04/533… https://www.zdnet.com/article/faceboo… https://cybernews.com/news/leaker-say… https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl… https://www.businessinsider.com/stole… https://twitter.com/UnderTheBreach/st… https://twitter.com/UnderTheBreach/st… https://twitter.com/Liz_Shepherd/stat… https://twitter.com/fcw/status/137855… =============================================== Follow me on TWTR: https://twitter.com/seytonic Follow me on INSTA: https://www.instagram.com/jhonti/ =============================================== Check out my site: http://www.seytonic.com
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.

Hunt was able to find more than 2.5 million email addresses in the database, according to details on the Have I Been Pwned home page.

The site also lets you search to see if your password has been found in a data breach, and because the Facebook data includes phone numbers, Hunt has been debating whether to add a phone number search feature as well.

Source: Is Your Email Address Among The Millions In A Facebook Leak? Find Out Here.

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[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! Popular Nigerian singer, Davido, has been responsible for popularising a number of slangs i […]
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Facebook to give users more control over their news feed, turn off algorithmic ranking
[…] Facebook news feed: Social media giant Facebook is set to give more control to users over their news feed on th […] Control of Facebook News Feed The most notable of the changes that Facebook has announced is the tool that allows users t […]
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3 Big Changes Coming to Facebook in 2021
[…] Put simply, the Facebook algorithm determines which posts people will see when they go to their Facebook news feed, and in what order those posts appear […]
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Bi-Weekly Roundup 4/1: Latest Updates in Digital Marketing Trends
[…] This will have the effect of introducing a new panel of short video clips into Facebook News Feeds […]
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Facebook explainer: How to use new update to take control of news feed
[…] Following the update, users can customise their Facebook news feed by selecting a close group of people apart of your social circle whose posts you want t […] THE NEW FACEBOOK NEWS FEED CONNECTING USERS TO WHAT MATTERS MOST Facebook said the goal of its news feed is to connec […]
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Top B2B Marketing Zone SERP Signature Content for Thu.Apr 01, 2021
[…] Facebook News Facebook 80 How to Verify Your Facebook Page in 5 Steps [+ Why You Should] Hubspot APRIL 1, 202 […]
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Cut Soap for Me: Nigerians React as Cubana Chiefpriest Wears Spiritualist Outfit to Visit Shrine ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! In the snaps, the socialite dressed up like a priest at the shrine […]
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Nigerian Mum Seizes Hair From IG Vendor After Low Quality Item Was Delivered to Daughter for N220,000 ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! Well, she did not have to fret for long because her mother decided to take matters into he […]
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Hollywood Actress Taraji P Henson Mourns Death of Her Dog K-Ball ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! It was reported that K-Ball experienced complications after the surgery […]
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Nick Clegg wrote 5000 words about your Facebook news feed – but here’s everything that was missing
“The internet needs new rules”, Nick Clegg, former deputy prime minister and now VP of global affairs writes.“That starts — but by no means ends — with putting people, not machines, more firmly in charge.”…
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I Cried for 2 Weeks after Watching My Life’s Documentary: Singer Britney Spears Admits it Embarrassed Her ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! She went on to say that she did not watch the documentary but the bits she saw left he […]
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After Performing Cover of M.I’s Track, BBNaija’s Vee and Rapper Ycee Sweep Nigerians off Their Feet ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! The synergy between both entertainers scored them accolades from fans on social media […]
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Rapper Lil Kesh Joins Baby Daddy Gang as He Becomes First Time Father, Shares Cute Photo ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! He however did not share further details about the child […]
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Facebook disinformation ‘biggest challenge’ to tackling Covid-19 – Papua New Guinea minister — RT World News
http://www.rt.com – April 1
[…] your friends would be interested? Share this story! Follow RT on Trends: Covid-19 coronavirus news Facebook news
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I Don’t Struggle or Try Hard to Push My Music Outside Nigeria and it Does Well, Rapper Olamide Says ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! Olamide also said that he did not even do collaborations with Pan-African artistes in orde […]
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Fans React as BBNaija’s Ozo Becomes ECOWAS Youth Ambassador, Flaunts Appointment Letter ▷ Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! Fans of the reality star congratulated him in the comment section, read some of the comment […]
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Facebook News Feed Revamped to Offer More User Control | Technology News
gadgets.ndtv.com – April 1
Facebook said it was revamping its News Feed to give people more control over what they see on the leading social network, with less reliance on algorithms.
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Comedian AY’s wife Mabel in Happy Tears as He Organises Fancy Surprise Party to Celebrate Her Birthday ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! AY thanked Mabel who became emotional again for being a novel wife and tolerating hi […]
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Silicon Valley Tech Luminaries Sell our Data, Exploit our Privacy and Make Money from it, What do we Get in Return?
[…] Life is complicated as it is, so to add extra tranquility, avoid commenting Facebook news posts, or anything you see in social media […]
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ECI bans DMK’s A Raja from campaigning for 48 hours for comment against EPS
[…] FACEBOOK NEWS 2021 TAMIL NADU ASSEMBLY ELECTION THURSDAY, APRIL 01, 2021 – 14:14 The Election Commission of India […]
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I’m Ready to Find Trouble: Actress Mary Njoku Says as 5-year-old Daughter Learns Taekwondo ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! In the caption that accompanied the post, the mother of three stated that she is ready t […]
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Nigerians Gush over Ned Nwoko’s Moroccan Wife as she Wears Ankara Outfit for the First Time ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! Laila’s followers took to her comment section to compliment her […]
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Facebook News Feed Feed Filter Bar Feature Launch
hypebeast.com – April 1
Facebook is Giving Users More Control Over Their News Feeds: Adding a new filter bar to narrow down your preferences.
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Facebook Is Giving You More Control Over Your News Feed, Finally
[…] RELATED: How To Detoxify Your Facebook News Feed Understanding Suggested Posts Facebook says that it suggests posts in the News Feed from pages […]
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Mixed Reactions as Twitter User Performs Cover of Davido’s Jowo ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! Watch him sing below: As expected, Nigerians had something to say about his cover of th […]
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Change your Facebook news feed: How to see most recent posts
Facebook is introducing a Feed Filter Bar feature that will give you more precise control over your news feed.
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Facebook Analytics Will Disappear On June 30
wersm.com – April 1
[…] Facebook Facebook has confirmed the test of a feature that allows Instagram users to share reels on Facebook News Feed […]
1
You and the Facebook algorithm: It takes two to tango
[…] The personalised “world” of your Facebook News Feed is shaped heavily by your choices and actions […] This sifting and ranking process results in a Facebook News Feed that is unique to you, like a fingerprint […] For some time, it has been possible for users to view their Facebook News Feed chronologically, so that the most recent posts appear highest up […]
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Spicerhaart recruitment campaign goes awry following Facebook post
thenegotiator.co.uk – April 1
[…] Hours after the newspaper had posted the Spicerhaart article via its Facebook news stream, a deluge of former and current employees had dived in to both criticise and praise th […]
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All My Years of Struggle are over: Kessydriz Breaks Down in Tears as Governor Wike Fulfils N10m Pledge ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! Followers of the singer took to the comment section to congratulate her on becoming […]
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How to Get a Chronological News Feed in Facebook
lifehacker.com – April 1
All I ever want is to set my Facebook News Feed to chronological […] The “Recent” feed, though, is just that: everything you can see on your Facebook News Feed, but chronological […]
2
How to Get a Chronological News Feed in Facebook
All I ever want is to set my Facebook News Feed to chronological […] The “Recent” feed, though, is just that: everything you can see on your Facebook News Feed, but chronological […]
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BBNaija’s Mercy marvels at the abundance of quotes online, says there is one to justify every stupidity ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – April 1
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! Mercy’s tweet as expected got people talking, with some citing specific examples […]
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If it feels like Facebook is hiding your friends’ posts, this might help
[…] The feature – which will appear at the top of your Facebook News Feed – will also be the home to Favorites, the recently-added VIP grouping option which allow […]
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Be Thanking Me Every Day for Being a Great Guy: Timi Dakolo Tells Wife as They Mark Wedding Anniversary ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – March 31
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! According to him, she should thank him every day for being a great guy […]
6
Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) Shares Acquired by Eudaimonia Partners LLC
[…] In other Facebook news, CAO Susan J […]
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BBNaija Star Omashola Excited about Being on Poster of Movie he Featured in ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – March 31
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! Meanwhile, Lockdown edition star, Nengi Hampson, has also added acting to her portfolio since […]
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Facebook new comment rules fail to help media
http://www.afr.com – March 31
[…] It has also launched other new tools to help users navigate and browse the Facebook News Feed including “Favourites”, which helps users to control and prioritise posts by selecting up t […]
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‘Fun Mi the Phone’: Actress Ufuoma Mcdermott’s Daughter Tries to Speak Yoruba in Funny Video ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – March 31
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! The little girl no doubt started off on a good note when she said ‘fun mi’ which means giv […]
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Reactions as Lawyer Says She Rejected Marriage Proposal Because She Wasn’t Financially Stable ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
http://www.legit.ng – March 31
[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! In other news, some adorable photos of two soldiers and their girlfriends have emerged o […]
5
Lead Era Adverts: A How-To (& Why) [Podcast] | Tip Top Review
tiptopreview.com – March 31
[…] ” Michelle explains, “When somebody clicks on a lead gen ad in the LinkedIn or Facebook news feed, it opens up a form right in the feed… It cuts out your website as the middleman and makes the […]
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PM caught in crusade of women journos
archive.is – March 31
[…] position up for grabs as Hugh Marks steps down Mar 29, 2021|Miranda Ward Media bargaining code Facebook News product may not work for regional publishers Mar 29, 2021|Miranda Ward How to cook restaurant’ […]
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Facebook Adds ‘Feed Filter Bar’ News Feed Control Tool, New Options to Restrict Post Comments
[…] example the three alternate feed options at the top of your News Feed: Home – Being your regular Facebook News Feed, ranked by the algorithm Favorites – The separate listing of your hand-picked people and Pages […]
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Facebook made it easier to see News Feed chronologically, but there’s a catch
mashable.com – March 31
[…] all this is that it is now — sort of — easier to get a chronological view of the stories in your Facebook News Feed […]
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What we’re saying
wearedemocracy.co.uk – March 31
[…] UK news feed works Last week, Facebook introduced a dedicated section for trusted and… Read more Facebook News launches in the UK Facebook News, the social network’s dedicated section for news content, is launching in the… Read more Faceboo […]
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