Thursday, October 15, 2020

Pretty Ricky Member Indicted For PPP Fraud


Baby Blue Arrested on Paycheck Protection Loan Fraud

If you’re of a certain age, you’re probably familiar with the R&B group Pretty Ricky who made the song “Your Body” in the early 2000s. Well, one of the group’s members, Diamond Blue Smith, who goes by Baby Blue who’s also a cast member on Love & Hip Hop: Miami is in hot water over some alleged fraud.

That’s right. Police arrested him October 5, and a person named Tonye C. Johnson who owns a company called Synergy Towing & Transport LLC in Pennsylvania on Monday October 1.

According to court documents Baby Blue misappropriated $24 million in COVID-19 relief funds and spent it on a Ferrari. The Department of Justice has charged him with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

Court documents say they falsified documents to get a Paycheck Protection Program loan worth $426,717 for his company throwbackjersey.com LLC and got a $708,065 loan for his music label Blue Star Records, LLC.

Allegedly he withdrew $271,805 of the loan and used the money to buy a $96,000 Ferrari. The car and other luxury items were seized at the time of his arrest. 

The FBI's investigation revealed Smith was allegedly part of a broader scheme convincing others to file for the funds while taking kickbacks. There are at least 11 other defendants.

Paycheck protection loans were meant for small businesses to receive money in emergency and forgivable loans due to impacts from the pandemic. It was part of the $2 trillion CARES Act.

Baby Blue said in an Instagram post that he’s facing life in prison. And, while he should definitely spend at least 25 years in prison, I doubt he’ll get that long in prison. But if he does, hopefully he spends his time thinking about all the small business owners he screwed out of that money who had to close their doors because he's trash.

Coppell Texas Man Indicted on Paycheck Protection Program Fraud

And this other D-bag in Coppell Texas named Dinesh Sah, who a federal grand jury has indicted on 3 counts of wire fraud, 3 counts of fraud and one count of money laundering on Friday. Sah spent more than $17 million in PPP loans on bullshit...his lavish lifestyle.

He applied for the loans, using the pandemic to his advantage, and again, robbing small business owners of their livelihoods. According to the indictment, Sah submitted 15 fraudulent applications under various businesses that he owned or controlled to 8 different SBA lenders for about $24.8 million. 

Most of these businesses didn’t exist until after the CARES act was passed, and he claimed they had several employees with hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll expenses. They had none.

He also forged bank statements and falsified tax documents to support his applications. He received $17.7 million in loans, and he spent most of it on houses, a 2020 Bentley Convertible, and transferred millions to international bank accounts.

The government has currently sized more than $6.5 million of the money he received.

Illegal Ballot Collection Boxes Crop Up Around Southern and Central California 

The GOP has been caught committing the very fraud they claimed Democrats would do. Republican party members have been caught setting up fake ballot drop boxes here in the Blue state of California. The boxes were marked Official, misleading voters into dropping their official ballots into them.

It seems fans of Chester Cheetah realize he has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning an election in this state, and have resorted to the thing he’s done all his life...CHEATING! Elections Fraud is a felony, but there will likely be no one held accountable because the government refuses to punish the Cheeseball in Chief for any of his crimes.

These boxes have popped in Los Angeles, Fresno and Orange Counties. Ventura County has also reported these boxes, The boxes were located outside of places like gun stores, GOP campaign headquarters, and other places frequented by party members.

For years the Republican party in California has accused the Democrats of election rigging. However, it appears the accusers are the guilty ones.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Ephren Taylor II's Church Scam

Ephren Taylor II



Hey bookworms!

Look at that. Two in a row...we must be doing alright this month. No, but seriously, last week was a blur and I have no idea what happened yesterday. Maybe we should start journaling again, and by we, I mean I. At least that way I'd have a concrete way to recall the week's events. Old age is rough, I can barely remember my own name half the time. Time for some memory enhancers. But onto this week's topic.

Ephren Taylor Steals Churgoers' Life Savings


What can we say about Ephren Taylor, other than he's a lowlife who swindled $16 million from members of several megachurches across the country? Promising them 20% returns, they gave him their life savings for investments into community-building programs like housing projects, shopping centers, and juices bars.

According to him, he made his first million at 16 by inventing video games. He sold one to a gaming company and became a millionaire which led him to become a socially conscious investor. He parlayed his experience into becoming a public speaker and financial advisor who began speaking at churches, gaining investors from the congregations. 

This type of scheme is called affinity fraud in which a scammer targets people who are members of a specific group such as religious groups, community members, or families. Everyone trusts each other, and in the church, the pastor, who has invited to scammer into the pulpit, is the most trustworthy person. They wouldn't lead the flock astray. But, eventually, the scammer gets away with his misdeeds because there's no accountability to anyone.

It was all a Ponzi scheme, however, and Taylor used investors' money to fund his lifestyle: paying bills, car payments, and apartment rent. He even went as far as to fund his wife Meshelle's aspirations of being a pop star, paying for studio time, and a music video called "Billionaire (I don't care). Check out the talent on Mrs. Taylor!


At one point Taylor paid out dividends to investors, but soon he was in the wind. When investors came looking for him, he went as far as to bolt office doors so he wouldn't have to account for the whereabouts of their money. Well, the SEC couldn't have that. It launched an investigation into Taylor and discovered his dastardly deeds, and needless to say, Taylor was in its crosshairs.

 By 2010 his scheme came crashing in and he went into hiding. But his wife's vanity led authorities to him.

Once apprehended Taylor was charged with fraud, and ultimately sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was also sentenced to pay more than $15 million in reparations to his victims. It's unlikely they'll see that money, however since  Ephren Taylor is a liar.

Stay tuned for next week when Sunni will bring us the story of another bastard who's robbed people of their hard-earned money.

Until then...don't get scammed.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

We're Famous and You're Not and the Worst Guest Ever



Hey Bookworms! 

How was that? We don't have a "name" for everyone who listens. So, we thought we'd test out a few. Do you like being called bookworms? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter or Instagram. 

Last week, we were featured on the YouTube true crime show, "Murder, Murder News" with Aurora Cady and Angelina. Check it out!

Murder Murder News


It was a good time. We got to talk about our inspiration and our favorite cases, and I even talk about the time I was duped into buying envelopes to stuff with Ponzi scheme mailers, only to realize I'd been scammed.

The Worst Guest Ever

So this week we discuss the weird happenings in Hawaii when a colonizer arrived to the Islands and thought he was revered as a God. Turns out, he was a guest who learned the hard way that when you're a visitor, you need to help do some dishes, or wash a load of laundry.

Not only did he act like an entitled child, he tried to kidnap King Kalaniʻōpuʻu. The Islanders weren't having it, and he got himself merked over his bullshit.

Check out the episode.

Until next week...Don't get scammed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Barry Minkow And His

So, its been a while. We're still in the throes of a pandemic, we've got an election coming up, and the California wildfires are leaving people and pets homeless. 

But, how are you?

We've finished Netflix, so Prime Video, and Apple TV are next. Just kidding, but some new seasons of shows have been added, and I have to say, Umbrella Academy did not disappoint.

In this week's episode, Sunni takes the reins with an episode of a California shyster that ran what seemed to be a successful carpet cleaning and restoration company. Only it was a front for organized crime that bilked investors out of tons of money.

Minkow's Money Madness

From a young age Barry Minkow knew he wanted money. He started his grift by selling his grandmother's jewelry. But at the age of nine, he started working for his mother's carpet cleaning company as a telemarketer.

But, he had an enterprising spirit, so he started his own carpet cleaning company, ZZZZ Best. It began as a carpet cleaning company, and whether he actually cleaned carpets, or not, who's to say?

Alas, Barry fell in with all kinds of shady characters who taught him to swindle with the best of them. He expanded his company to include insurance restorations. But, unfortunately, there were no restorations to be done. So, like any good criminal, he lied, lied, lied.

Somehow, Minkow managed to get his company into the public arena through fake addresses and bogus warehouse buildings he claimed to be offices/headquarters or what have you. And he even managed to obtain a board of directors to present the facade of being "on the level."

The Lies Are Exposed

As with most of businesses built on lies, Barry's little kingdom came crashing down.

So, at it's peak, ZZZZ Best sold on the stock market for $18 a share. This was in the 1980s, so at the time, it was a lot of money. It was valued at $280 million, and Barry was the youngest millionaire business owner.

But the company wasn't actually making as much money has he purported. And, he was looking for a way to get his money right. So, when he learned KeyServ, a cleaning company contracted with Sears was up for sale, he began the process of a merger. 

Well, that all fell through when someone learned of how Barry's business stayed afloat in the beginning. Credit card fraud. Not only did Barry involve himself in cc fraud, but check kiting and fraudulent banking practices.

Needless to say, Barry screwed himself, and as a result, he went to prison. Sentenced to 25 years in prison on March 27, 1989 he was also sentence to five years probation and ordered to pay restitution of $26 million, and was banned from serving as an officer or director of a public company by the SEC.

Barry is Free to Continue The Fuckery

But, like many non-people of color who are sentenced to prison for crimes they actually committed, Barry got an early release in 1995. While in prison he claimed to be a born-again Christian, and so began working as a pastor in Chatsworth CA.

And, of course, his fuckery soon began again. This time his target was the stock market. He started a fraud investigation company after one of his church members asked him to look into an investment firm, which turned out to be a $300 million ponzi scheme. 

Minkow began shorting company stocks, before he released a report on the companies. He accused the companies of fraud, and other issues. He made up things about companies causing stock prices to fall. 

Multiple companies sued him over his libelous reports, and most of them settled out of court.

However, one such company came at him with the wrath of God, effectively putting Barry back where he belongs.



Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Food Fukery

different types of food

 
When you buy food at the supermarket or eat at a restaurant you thing you're getting what you pay for, right? Well, you probably aren't.

In this week's episode we discuss the rampant amount of fraudulent foods you're getting. From bad labeling to straight up lying, it's a bunch of fuckery.

Pumpkin Puree


Pumpkin puree: You know, the canned orange stuff that’s lining the supermarket walls right now? The stuff you use to make all your favorite fall desserts that’s labeled “100% pumpkin”?! Yes, well, it’s actually made from 100% not pumpkin. The mix is made from a variety of winter squash (think butternut, Golden Delicious, Hubbard, and more). Libby’s, the brand that produces about 85% of the country’s canned “pumpkin” filling, has actually developed a certain variety of squash that they grow, package, and distribute to supermarkets across the country–all the while fooling innocent, trusting consumers into believing they’re eating a pumpkin.

As it turns out, pumpkins can be fairly stringy and watery; certain varieties of winter squash make a richer, sweeter puree that works way better for packing the now-ambiguous flavor we all love into our favorite fall dishes. Additionally, the USDA is fairly lenient with gourd terminology in general, which is why it’s perfectly legal to label a food product as “pumpkin” when, in reality, it’s made from a different variety of squash. 

So you’ve basically been eating butternut squash pie, squash bread, and drinking SQUASH FREAKING SPICE LATTES this entire time.

Parmesan Cheese


By law, Parmigiano-Reggiano is allowed to contain only three very simple ingredients: milk (produced in the Parma/Reggio region and less than 20 hours from cow to cheese), salt, and rennet (a natural enzyme from calf intestine). Three other ingredients, Cellulose Powder, Potassium Sorbate, and Cheese Cultures are not found in Parmigiano-Reggiano - they are completely illegal in its production. Yet all three are in Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese (I’m not sure if that means it is supposed to be 100% “parmesan” or simply 100% grated, which it certainly is). It’s far enough from the real thing that Kraft was legally forced to stop selling its cheese labeled Parmesan in Europe

Kobe Beef


Kobe beef is only produced in Japan. It’s a style of beef that comes from Kobe Japan and is from the Wagyu breed of cow. It’s very rare. So much so that you can only get at very select restaurants in the US. As such, many serve what’s known in the trade as “wangus,” a hybrid of domestically raised Wagyu breeds and common Angus and call it Kobe. And some don’t even bother using any Wagyu breed at all.

Wagyu beef is known for its pink color and it’s marbling and flavor. Kobe is even more desirable and goes through an extensive approval process to even be considered Kobe. And it’s very, very expensive.


Article from Bon Apetit goes into great depth and detail on the process. 

Fish

In 2013 I actually wrote an article about this for Digital Journal about fish mislabeling. At the time it was ⅓ of fish in grocery stores and sushi restaurants were being passed off as other types of fish.

At the time a 2-year Oceana study determined a fuckton of fish was lislabed...Ocean test the fish DNA and discovered what was going on. They’re still fighting to fix the issue.

A whole lot of the fish we buy at your favorite restaurant, the supermarket, or even your local fish store aren’t what they say they are. They often substitute white fish for other types of fish. And even label farm-raised fish as wild-caught to make the consumer pay a higher price for a lower quality fish. Gordon Ramsay would skewer these people.

Some of the most commonly faked fish are:

Slickhead and tilapia which are passed off as Alaskan or Pacific cod, king mackerel and whitefin weakfish labeled as grouper, blueline tilefish as Alaskan or Pacific halibut and, Pacific ocean perch, yellowtail rockfish, giltheaded sea bream, madai, tilapia, white bass all being labeled as red snapper.

This can be problematic because of the mercury levels in specific types of fish. There is a Do Not Eat list of types of fish that are too dangerous to eat 

Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive is high-quality olives mashed into a paste and pressed to express its oil that is then bottled. But’s likely that that’s not what your getting. It’s estimated that 80% of the olive oil people are getting is either low-quality olive oil, mixed olive oil from older harvests and low-quality oils, or ranid oil. 


Why? Because the FDA doesn’t actually regulate olive oil. There are no rules to stop these brands from lying to you on their labels. Some olive oil producers are working to get the FED to set standards for calling olive oil extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, and just plain old olive oil. But, for now there’s bupkis to ensure you’re getting what you’re paying for. Because EVOO is more expensive than the just plain old oo.


For now, here are some of the companies to watch for. Check your cupboards because you probably have one of these on your shelf which means you paid an inflated price for garbage olive oil.


  • Mezzetta

  • Pompeian

  • Mazola

  • Primadonna

  • Sasso

  • Colavita

  • Antica Badia

  • Whole Foods

  • Felippo Berio

  • Safeway

  • Coricelli

  • Bertolli


Also, bottled in Italy doesn’t mean made in Italy. You could be getting olive oil from olives grown in other Mediterranean countries, which are from lower quality olives. If your olive oil isn’t grown, produced, or made it Italy, but bottled in Italy, it’s probably not what you think it is.

Honey

If you have a local honey farmer, you really should be kissing their bee-suited asses. Because apparently honey is the 3rd most faked food in the U.S. Yep…


So, there’s manuka honey, which is produced in New Zealand. But since, it extremely hard to differentiate from regular old orange pollen honey or clover honey.



Excerpted from Forbes:

“The position of the American Beekeeping Federation is that real honey must have pollen, but lots of other domestic honey producers disagree and ultrafilter theirs to remove the pollen, which helps keeps the product from crystallizing.


One legitimate fear is that countries like China use the ultra-filtration or ultra-purification processes to mask the origin of the honey, which is then transshipped [sent to an intermediate country and relabeled as a product of that country to disguise its real origin] and sometimes mixed with a small amount of pollinated honey, from say India, to throw off testers. Sometimes Chinese honey is cut with much cheaper corn syrup or fructose syrup to enhance profit margins, and sometimes Chinese producers even feed corn syrup to the bees to get it into the honey more “naturally.” The importation of Chinese honey was specifically banned because it is so often adulterated.


The American Beekeeping Federation is the industry group representing U.S. producers of non-ultrafiltered honey. They petitioned the FDA to create a “standard of identity” for honey

 the FDA summarily denied this request. While it told the federation that it shared their “concerns about adulterated and misbranded honey,” regulators chose to defer to Webster’s, literally, citing the dictionary’s definition as adequate: “a thick, sweet, syrupy substance that bees make as food from the nectar of flowers and store in honeycombs.”


One legitimate fear is that countries like China use the ultra-filtration or ultra-purification processes to mask the origin of the honey, which is then transshipped [sent to an intermediate country and relabeled as a product of that country to disguise its real origin] and sometimes mixed with a small amount of pollinated honey, from say India, to throw off testers. Sometimes Chinese honey is cut with much cheaper corn syrup or fructose syrup to enhance profit margins, and sometimes Chinese producers even feed corn syrup to the bees to get it into the honey more “naturally.” The importation of Chinese honey was specifically banned because it is so often adulterated.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Sad Case of Milli Vanilli

Rob and Fab

Welcome back, readers/listeners!

It's been a while. I know. Several factors come into play about the missing blog posts. But, it's mainly because, I believe I may having an existential crisis? 

At, least that's how it feels. I might need mood elevators...

But I digress. Let's get into this week's topic...Milli Vanilli and Frank Farian!

The Late 80s, Early 90s Were Weird

So, during our talk Sunni kept singing her version of "Girl You Know It's True." Not wanting this song to get stuck in my head, I tried to think of their other songs, but could remember them.

However, this was quickly remedied when I had an epiphany. Blame it on the Rain! That's right. That was the other song they had that was A-MA-ZING.


But what I think is funny is, some if you listen to the lyrics to some of these songs, they make no sense. 😂 Like, "Baby, love is stronger than thunder." And, he wants to spend his life with her, but he wants her not to forget his number. It sounds like they haven't even had a first date yet... Just so many unanswered questions about these songs. 

Yes, they were written by Frank Farian, whose first language is not English, but they make no sense.

The Swedish are famous making hit after hit, after hit in English. Hello, ABBA! But Germans...not so much.

Anyway. That's what I found to be funny. Because Frank Furian obviously created a juggernaut business of making artists lipsync to songs that had already been produced.

Lipsyncing as a Money Maker?

Who creating music and using more attractive faces to put it out was such a moneymaker? I feel like I've seen a movie about this.

It's about a songwriter to believes he's not attractive enough to perform his own songs, so he hires someone to be the face. And of course in the end, he realizes looks don't matter. Or some shit like that.

Either way, I think it wouldn't have been such a scandal had we known from the start. Did we even ever find out who actually recorded the songs? What's the name of that band? Where are they now? I need answers!

It's funny how so many people were butt hurt over this, meanwhile, the government has been lying to us for years, and they have no problem with that. But, again, I digress.

It's Time For Jerry's Final Thought

We've come a long way from Milli Vanilli. It's sad what happened to Fab, but Rob is still pushing, so at least there's a silver lining.

But, I believe transparency would've been better for these two. Nowadays, we want more transparency with everything, right? 

We want to know where our food is sourced. We want to know what our leaders are doing. We want to know how our money is being spent.

Well, here's a little transparency from me. We'll never have true transparency until we weed out the bad apples among us in all areas...business, politics, healthcare, law enforcement, education, etc We have a long way to go, people.

Until next week, Don't Get Scammed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Post BlackOut-Black Lives Matter-COVID19 and Other Traumatic Experience

HELLO!

Yep, it's been a while since we've had a blog post. And, there's a reason for that.

With everything going on in the country: the unfortunate, traumatic, unnecessary death of George Floyd, COVID-19, and president bent on dividing this country, a break from life was needed.

Now, I won't say I've spent that last few weeks in a stupor, but--with senses dulled is more accurate.

Sure, we've been trying to find ways to lift our spirits. Sunni's been active in her garden, growing corn, pumpkins, beets, and lots of wonderful and nutritious delights.

I've been trying to not go insane. I had partially taken to bed unless I needed to leave the house. It wasn't pretty. But it's how I maintained my sanity, and that's just what it is.

But we still recorded episodes--our latest being the blackout episode to stand in solidarity with the protests of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose life was literally crushed out of him by three policemen and one who stood idly by.

I wrote a poem about what he might've been thinking in his last moments. And, one day, when it's not so bitter in my heart, I'll read it aloud. But at this point I can't do it without crying, so...

For now, let's just keep it positive.

We've got some goodies to share with y'all in upcoming episodes. And by goodies, no, I don't mean free shit.

But some garbage people doing garbage people deeds. Such as an auto manufacturer that lied to the government to make a buck. We're working on some stuff for you guys. Our listeners.

Don't worry. Once the mental health is back to optimal functionality, the blog will be an entertaining addition to the podcast episodes.

But, for now, thank you for sticking around with us. It's been a GD rollercoaster.

Much love, and until next week,

Don't Get Scammed.

💓💓

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Guardianship Fraud and That Bitch April Parks

The woman who ruined the lives of hundreds of seniors, April Parks, laughs as she thinks she' going to get away with this shit.

Once again we convene in the pod room to talk about a lying bitch who ruined hundreds of people's lives.

Still on COVID-19 lockdown, but podcasts are considered essential in California so we continue to do what we do. As more than half the states have begun to re-open, it seems our stay at home order has been extended until May 30. So, the day drinking continues for many of those who can't go to work or don't have more pressing matters to attend to.

I to shows staring women of color that made me happy to watch.

Sunni gardened and was visited by the spirit fairy.

Disgusting Elderly Abuse and Fraud

This week we discuss April Parks. The succubus of Las Vegas. Or at least, that's what I'm calling her.

Imagine having someone come and kidnap your parents, or loved ones. You have no idea where they are and begin a frantic search for them. Meanwhile, some dickhead has usurped their finances, taken away their autonomy, and placed them in a facility where they know no one and are drugged day and night.

That's what happened to the people April Parks targeted.

She and her network of scumbags overtook the lives of senior citizens for financial gain, often leaving them destitute and with no one one their side to fight for them.

Sunni tells the story of a single man bereft with grief and an elderly couple whose rights were stripped from them  by April and her shitty co-conspirators and the like.

The only thing saving grace of these week's subject is that some laws have been changed and a couple of people got a little bit of justice. But the whole situation is garbage, and people who commit financial crimes against seniors, especially when it involves this type of negligence and abuse, can go straight to hell!

Until next week, don't get scammed.


Monday, April 20, 2020

Return to the Pod Room and Reefer Madness

Image by Herbal Hemp from Pixabay 
It's our latest installment, and I have returned from Utah, we have returned to the pod room, and we unpack the lies and deceit that led to the outlaw of marihuana, aka Mary Jane, aka reefer, the devil's lettuce, etc.

With Love From Utah

Yep, I'm back from my Utah trip. And, before you go off on my for "traveling" it was necessary travel that we'd been putting off for a while. 

My father-in-law gifted us, (hubby and me) a car. Mine was trying to give out, and before we were completely without transportation, he swooped in with a perfectly good vehicle that has saved my our desert-living lives.

Utah is a gorgeous place. I saw more FLDS people in person than I'd ever seen. Ever. I just wanted to grab those women and girls and say, "Come with me. I'll take you to California. You don't have to marry the profit." But, they'd probably look at me like I was an alien with three heads, so...

Meanwhile Back in the Pod Room

The chickens have been relocated to outside. Thank you, Jesus!

Aside from the risk of salmonella, and the light wafting of chicken essence, we were glad to be back. Our alternatives were few, and the crotch goblins can be hard to avoid when we're all in the same space during recording.

So thank heaven for small blessings.

All that's left to do is soundproof that bytch and put a lock on the door. Oh, by the way, have you visited our Patreon page yet? Check it out, and feel free to become a patron. We love our patrons!

Reefer Madness

In this week's episode, Sunni takes us on a journey of the history of prejudice against the cannabis plant and its applications.

From rope to clean fuel sources to construction materials, cannabis plants have a wealth of uses. 5000 to be exact. 

But of course, the rich, old, white men in charge did what they do best and put the kibosh on that. Since they had no stake in the cannabis industry, and instead of getting in on the ground floor, they put cannabis farmers out of business. Bastards!

They left a legacy for you and me, of fearmongering, prejudice and self-shame because the world adopted their inaccurate, blatantly false views on cannabis and the people who use it. So now, we and our children have to overcome stereotypes and bullshit ideas behind their greed and lies.

Enter Our Drawing and Win

We're still giving away a Book of Lies Podcast T-shirt! All you have to do is post about us on social and tag us on Twitter to enter. At the end of the month, Sunni will draw a name and you can rock our faces on your gut. Isn't that exciting? 




Anyway, this COVID-19 shit still has us social distancing. So do your best to stay safe and healthy. And, until next time.

Don't get scammed.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Wells Fraudgo and Covid 19 Masks



American money in different denominations
Image by NikolayFrolochkin from Pixabay 
Going into the third week of "Safe at Home" and week 2 of homeschooling these kids, and we're practicing physical distancing on the podcast this week.
In our first ever, Skype episode, we try to remember how last week went. I still have no idea how my week was. I survived, we survived. That's all I know.

Wells Fargo Bullshit and John Stumpf

Sunni brings us the story or Wells Fargo and the years of fraudulent accounts and bad banking practices co-signed by its former CEO John G. Stumpf.

Unfortunately the unsavory practices he allowed led to millions of dollars in fraudulent bank fees charged to customers, unearned bonuses and incentives earned by account managers and bank managers, and an ongoing lawsuit that may take several years to resolve.

That's why I don't bank with these old banks anymore. They charge fee upon fee, and their boiler room mentality allows for them to commit fraud and screw customers out of their hard-earned money.

My suggestion is to seek an online bank that preferably gives you investment options. I like Aspiration Bank, but I've heard good things about Stash banking.

Also, the Bank of Brandi is opening. We're a bank with no fees, but just know once you make a deposit, you can't make any withdrawals. And, your deposits will contribute to frivolous spending on extravagant purchases like wine and $20 Amazon movie rentals that would've costed $8 at the theater, but are now an arm and a leg to stream while we're all on house arrest.

Updates and Other Things

Last week we had the chance to do a sweet collaboration with our pals Cody and Christian at Nerds with Friends Podcast. And, we talked about none other than the juggernaut that is "Tiger King" with them. We got to relive the train wreck that has captured the hearts and minds of tens of thousands of Americans, and everyone in my Facebook news feed. 

It was fun. You should check them out and give them a listen.

Face Masks for Covid-19

The CDC has suggested the public wear homemade masks while in public. So, to help meet the demand for masks, I've started sewing masks. Send us an email if you'd like to learn how you can get a mask made by me. 

Of course you can use anything to cover your face, a bandanna or even a T-shirt can be used. But my masks are special because I made them. 😜

Homeschooling Elementary Schoolers

HELP!!

That's pretty much the gist for this one. We'll likely be spending the rest of our lives at home, not communing in groups, not eating out, going to the movies or the theater or concerts or bars. So, grab a glass or a bottle of whatever beverage tickles your fancy, and binge-listen to your favorite podcasts.

I've already started on one of my faves. Shout out to Kim and Ket Stay Alive Maybe

And, until next week...Don't get scammed.





Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Scamminess of Corona Virus and Carole Baskin


Another week of Coronavirus Chaos is underway.

People are going stir crazy, leaving their houses to congregate in groups. And, some might be trying to have small gatherings, play dates, visit friends and neighbors. Others are hitting the outdoors in the RVs, heading to off-roading camp-sites to get out of the house.

Whatever you're doing, remember to stay safe. It's not just your health you may be endangering.

This Week's Episode

Last week resulted in all kinds of interesting things. 

Mainly, scam artists have been working hard to con people out of their money, and Netflix is giving us train wreck after train wreck for our viewing pleasure.

So first we discuss the scams circulating around the country. Then we get into the magnificent grossness that is "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness." Feel free to jump to that part of the blog, if you're not interested in learning what scams to look out for.

Coronavirus Scammers

As we continue to shelter-in-place and do our best to stay away from other people, we also have to be vigilant about the scams developing due to the situation.

There are currently quite a few ways scammers are taking advantage.

Phishing Emails, Texts, and Phone Calls

Scammers are now sending emails with links for the recipient to click. It may contain a form to fill out, out direct you to a website that looks similar to the website the scammers claim to represent. 

They may claim there's been suspicious activity on your account. They may say you've ordered something, but they aren't sure it was you so you can click to verify or to deny the order. Or they may claim they need you to reverify or enter some information, etc.

They even go as far as creating a similar email and formated emails using the company's logo, and other characteristics to make the email or text look legitimate.

When in doubt, ignore these messages. You can call the company to verify they send these types of emails, but often, they'll tell you it's a scam. If this happens, report the event to the Federal Trade Commission.

Undelivered Goods or Items

One of the ways scammers are taking advantage is the promise of hard-to-find items, such as hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, bleach, and Lysol, to name a few.

They may set up a website, and show up in your search. The site says they have the item and you make a purchase. However, you won't receive anything. 

They've taken your card information and your money, and now you have nothing to show for it.

Be careful of where you make online purchases.

Coronavirus Testing Kits

Another scam targets elderly people, offering Coronavirus testing or testing kits for the elderly. It either asks them to pay up front or asks for their Medicare information.

If you have active symptoms and need to be tested for this virus talk to your primary care provider, to go to the emergency room. 

Testing is not available for people who just feel like getting tested. These tests are in short supply, and they're not available for everyone to rule themselves out, yet. 

Consult the FTC

When in doubt, hit the FTC website for information on current scams and report any new activity. They take these reports seriously and will shut down these websites, these emailers/texters/callers.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness

Joe Exotic is the founder of G.W. Zoo.

Where to begin with this circus of a show.

There's a colorful cast of characters, tons of endangered species big cats being used for personal gain, and a crazy hippy lady pretending she's doing God's work who goes by the name, Carole Baskin. Oh, and also she murdered her husband, chopped him up and fed him to her exotic cats.

Our main character goes by the name, Joe Exotic. He's a gay, gun-toting, redneck, who has a flair for the dramatic, and the owner of the G.W. Zoo.

Joe and Carole, along with all the other "big cat people" believe they're doing what's best for these exotic animals. Nevermind the fact their numbers are nearing extinction in the wild.

The level of wrong, in all of their storylines, is just grossly glossed over.

And, we can't forget the crazy cult leader, Kevin "Bhagavan" Antle who is among the creepiest of the cat people. He has a harem of women who seem to be brainwashed by his white facial hair and his tigers. Yuck!!!

Anyway, the gist is-- Joe and Carole have been fighting it out in court. The majority of his online content and music videos, because yes, he's a country singer too, are based on or about Carole Baskin.

Joe has all kinds of personal problems, including two husbands. He thinks he's a celebrity, runs for president then runs for governor. Gets involved with shady-ass Jeff Lowe, tries to hire a hitman to take out Carole, and gets arrested and convicted on charges of animal abuse and murder for hire.

And did I mention that none of these Zoos/Wild Animal Parks/Facilities pay their employees a living wage?

Ugh!!

There are so many things wrong with these places. But, apparently, they aren't breaking any laws?

Anyway. Take a listen to the episode, and leave a comment on this post, or hit us on our social media channels. We always love to hear from listeners, whether it's good or bad.

Until next week...Don't get scammed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Finally A Blog!

Characters from the movie American Hustle

Yes! We finally have a blog.

It should've happened already, but since I feel like we have more time now--social distancing and all. But Sunni pretty much does all the podcast stuff, so I had to put my two cents in and get to typing. I mean really. (Pull your weight, bitch!)

So the blog posts will typically be written by yours truly -- Brandi.

With all the doom and gloom on the news lately, we feel like the podcast just isn't enough time to get all the thoughts out. So, here we are with additional content for ya.

How are excited are you?

But, first, onto this week's episode.

American Hustle

This week, Sunni elected to discuss the movie "American Hustle" starring a whole lot of celebrities doing fucked up shit to each other.

This movie was a hit at the box office, that won a whole bunch of awards. Yet, it took home no Oscars, although it was nominated. Oh well, lots of movies and people are robbed during Oscar season. Maybe we should discuss the shadiness of the Academy in a future episode?  (Comment if you want that.)

During this episode we discussed Bradley Cooper's perm, Amy Adams' fake English accent, Jennifer Lawrence playing an unstable wife, Jeremy Renner as an unwitting politician who was duped into dirty deeds, and the ever-welcome Robert DeNiro playing a gangster.

But the bottom line is the FBI frames people. And, FBI, if you're reading this--I SEE YOU!

COVID-19

It wouldn't be fair for me not to mention the state of the world in our first blog post.

If you've been under a rock in recent months, or like Jared Leto, fell off the earth for a minute and hadn't heard the news, the world is under attack. A virus has struck fear into the hearts of earthlings. So much so that they all shit themselves and had to run out and buy up all the toilet paper.

Those of us who didn't hit the stores and hoard all the essentials, are listening and following the guidelines that the Center for Disease Control put forth. The CDC said to shelter in place, practice social distancing, and do go to crowded places unless it's absolutely necessary.

In other words, avoid groups of people larger than 10, unless they're your immediate family.

Lucky for me, that's my natural state. But for some others, they're losing their shit. 🤷

We're doing what we can. We push on because we know this will pass. But, damn 2020 got off to a shitty start. 

This might go down as the worst year in the 2000's to date. No--not might. It is. Bar none. Including the crash of 2008. Which we discuss with KT and OTI of For Your Reference in their The Big Short Episode.

But, this virus is claiming lives, and making people act like utter assholes. 

So we at Book of Lies Podcast want to offer you a few ideas on how to ride this thing out. Especially if you're a high-anxiety person.

Ways to Cope During the Coronavirus Crisis

No, we are not mental health professionals, but we have our share of tips and tricks. For official ones hit the CDC website
  • Journal and free writing
  • Start a garden
  • Dive into a new hobby...soap making, anyone?
  • Read or listen to some uplifting books (i suggest "Manifest Now" by Idil Ahmed) 
  • Binge watch a show (The Office, Bojack Horseman, Daria)
  • Tackle your spring cleaning...(a clean space can help reduce anxiety, improve productivity...)
  • Help the people you know who are high-risk (they can't get out and shop for themselves the way you can. And it feels good to help)
  • Start a planner...(I'm obsessed with The Happy Planner, I love it and all the stickers available
Do you have healthy ways you're managing your stress and anxiety? We'd love to hear about'em. 

What else...

Connect with us here, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

If you'd like to support us so we can keep you informed about the frauds, scams, liars and cheats, check out our Patreon.

And if you want to support our small businesses, because yes, we are entrepreneurs. Please check out our business links below.


And until, next week. Dont' get scammed.