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Mass. dentist indicted for fraud, using paper clips in root canals

AG: Dentist used paper clips in root canals - BostonHerald.com
Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Medicaid Fraud Unit said Michael J. Clair, who ran Harbour Dental in Fall River, was indicted Friday on five counts of Medicaid fraud, two counts of assault and battery, three counts of larceny over $250, and illegally prescribing two types of drugs. Coakley’s office said the former dentist illegally prescribed painkillers and used parts of paper clips as posts when performing root canals on some MassHealth patients, to save money. “In certain instances, paper clips can be used temporarily, but . . . Clair intended for the paper clips, which can cause infection, discomfort and pain, to be a permanent fix for his patients,” Coakley’s office said in a statement. The charges are the latest in a long slide for Clair, the son of a Maryland dentist, whose career began to unravel in 1999 after the Maryland medicine board accused him of performing unnecessary root canals and filling replacements in order to drive up the bill, Massachusetts state records show. In some cases, the unnecessary dental work forced some patients to have root canals, state records show.

Aryan Nation places hate-filled easter eggs around Michigan town

Racist Notes Found In Eggs - Detroit Local News Story - WDIV Detroit Stay classy, Michigan.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The fun of finding Easter eggs took an ugly turn in Auburn Hills Sunday when neighbors reported that they found racists notes stuffed inside brightly colored plastic eggs. African-American families in the 4800 block of Dexter Road said they found the plastic eggs tossed in their yard with hateful messages inside. Some of the messages included the "N" word and references to the Aryan Nation.

March 17, 2010

The baby-killers of Europe

French woman admits killing six newborn babies | World news | guardian.co.uk
A 38-year-old French woman has admitted killing six of her newborn children, at a trial in north-west France. Celine Lesage, who faces life imprisonment if convicted of aggravated homicide, was arrested in 2007 after her then partner found the babies' corpses wrapped in plastic bags in the basement of her Valognes flat.... The trial comes less than 12 months after a French woman was sentenced to eight years in prison for murdering three of her newborn children. Veronique Courjault burned one of the babies' bodies and stashed the other two corpses in a freezer, while she and her husband were living in South Korea. Germany saw a similar case in 2006 when Sabine Hilschenz killed eight of her newborn babies, burying them in flowerpots and a fish tank. She was found guilty of eight counts of manslaughter and jailed for 15 years.

March 16, 2010

How far will Amazon.com go to avoid paying taxes?

Opinion | Amazon.com and its damaging Internet tax-avoidance strategy | Seattle Times Newspaper
Following a 70 percent earnings increase last quarter, the company this week terminated its business relationships with its Colorado affiliates. The move was a response to new Colorado legislation compelling online retailers to either collect the sales taxes that every other business collects, or at least disclose that customers must pay the levy to the state themselves. The bill was pragmatic, seeking to raise much-needed revenues as Colorado's infrastructure and schools buckle under a $2 billion budget shortfall. But Amazon, indifferent to such emergencies, reacted with punitive petulance, sending a deliberate message to lawmakers in every other state: Make us play by the same tax rules as other businesses, and your state will be punished, too. The company, you see, fears that most capitalist of principles: fair competition. It instead relies on a rigged market. Despite the ubiquity of its Web presence and its affiliates, Amazon says it only officially exists in four states (Kansas, Kentucky, North Dakota and Washington) and that it therefore isn't required to collect local taxes on its transactions in the other 46 states. That has allowed the company to sell goods at seemingly lower prices than local brick-and-mortar competitors, which in turn artificially tilts the market in Amazon's favor.

March 15, 2010

Classmates.com settles class-action lawsuit for $9.5 million

Classmates.com Agrees to $9.5 Million False Advertising Settlement In a nutshell, they were emailing people and telling them old friends from high school were trying to contact them, but that they had to get a gold membership to see the messages. When people subscribed, there were no messages. Oops.
Classmates.com — the website that promises to reunite people with their mullet-haired friends of youth — has agreed to pay out a $9.5 million settlement for a lawsuit dating back to 2008 accusing the company of “false advertising” through “deceptive” marketing emails. The problems for Classmate.com began back in late 2007, when San Diego resident Anthony Michaels received an email from the social networking company informing him that his old classmates were trying to contact him. In order to see who and why, Michaels had to upgrade to a “Gold Membership.” However, upon forking out to do so, he discovered that nobody was trying to get in touch; it was just a dubious marketing ploy from Classmates.com. Michaels initiated a false advertising lawsuit against Classmates.com, which became a class action suit that anyone who suffered the same fate as the plaintiff could sign up for.