Financial
Six charged with bilking investors in phony movies PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 21 February 2014 07:27

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Six Southern California men have been charged with stealing millions of dollars by offering investments in phony movies with names like "The Smuggler" that supposedly featured well-known actors such as Donald Sutherland, federal authorities said Thursday.

The men were charged with fraud in two federal grand jury indictments and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.

Arrested Thursday were Samuel Braslau, 53, of Los Angeles and Rand Jay Chortkoff, 64, of Los Angeles, who co-founded the company Mutual Entertainment LLC (later renamed Film Shoot LLC), along with an alleged salesman, Stuart Rawitt, 47, of West Hollywood, prosecutors said.

Braslau pleaded not guilty Thursday, said his attorney, Anne Hwang.

Rawitt pleaded not guilty several weeks ago, said his attorney, Bernard J. Rosen.

A message left for Chortkoff's lawyer was not immediately returned.

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BNSF plans to upgrade tanker fleet after accidents PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press   
Friday, 21 February 2014 07:22

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — BNSF Railway Co. said it intends to buy a fleet of 5,000 strengthened tank cars to haul oil and ethanol in a move that would set a higher benchmark for safety within an industry that's seen multiple major accidents.

The voluntary step by the Texas-based subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. comes as railroads in the U.S. and Canada are under intense pressure to improve safety for hazardous materials shipments.

There's been a string of recent train accidents involving oil and ethanol, punctuated by a crude shipment that derailed in Quebec last July and killed 47 people.

A boom in domestic oil drilling and rising ethanol production spurred a dramatic increase in shipments of the materials by rail. Much of it is being hauled by an old fleet of some 78,000 tank cars that are prone to split during accidents.

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States outsource casino policing to private firms PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by HANNAH DREIER, Associated Press   
Friday, 21 February 2014 07:24

LAS VEGAS (AP) — When Springfield, Mass. needed to choose who would build its first casino, the city hired an outside adviser to help with the process.

The consulting firm Shefsky & Froelich recommended that the deal go to MGM Resorts International. At the same time, the consulting firm was also working as a registered lobbyist in Illinois for MGM Resorts.

The arrangement highlights an often-overlooked trend as more cities and states embrace legalized gambling around the country: Private companies are being hired to write regulations and vet casinos, even as the same firms work the other side of the fence, helping casinos enter new markets and sometimes lobbying for their interests.

States hoping to make money quickly from legalizing gambling have few options as speedy as outside contractors, which allow them to get casinos up and running without having to hire and train a cadre of staff regulators.

But letting consulting companies with deep ties to the gambling industry decide how casinos are run — and who runs them — is a significant departure from how more established gambling states, including Nevada and New Jersey, do things.

Regulators in states that maintain control over their own rules say the move toward privatization is unnerving.

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Ex-money manager to stars is arrested again PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 20 February 2014 14:15

NEW YORK (AP) — A former money manager to celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck has been arrested again on fraud charges.

It's been more than a decade since Dana Giacchetto was convicted of bilking his Hollywood clients.

He was released on $150,000 bail Thursday after appearing in federal court in Manhattan.

A criminal complaint accuses him of using someone else's credit card to make purchases of more than $10,000 a year ago in New York. Giacchetto's lawyer said his client denies the charges.

The complaint says Giacchetto is now the owner of a gourmet canned food company called "Taste."

In the earlier case, Giacchetto pleaded guilty to charges that he squandered nearly $10 million of his Hollywood clients' funds on a lavish, drug-abusing lifestyle. He received a nearly five-year prison term.


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