Three Atlantic City Casinos Are Closing Their Doors

Posted on: August 31st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.) –  In the past few years, the dozen gambling venues in Atlantic City have been rolling the dice to try to turn a profit, but too many casinos and too few tourists are leading to dramatic changes.

The Showboat Casino-Hotel is closing its doors this weekend for good and will soon be joined by two others, the Revel and the Trump Plaza.

More than 6,000 people, or about 25% of the Atlantic City work force, will be jobless.

Now, Atlantic City’s mayor Don Guardian is saying New Jersey may try to help with possible mortgage payment extensions, and the remaining casinos are also pledging to hire some of those laid-off workers.

“The governor is bringing down a program to the state of New Jersey that has forgiveness for mortgages,” Guardian said. “It’s really a holiday. So you add up to 12 months of non payment to the end of your mortgage. So you get the credit now, you don’t pay the mortgage until you get some time.”

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Six Things You Should Know About Money and Happiness

Posted on: August 31st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you were offered a well-deserved raise at work or a no-strings-attached wad of money, would you take it? You’ve surely heard that money can’t buy happiness, but it can certainly get you closer to an enjoyable life, right?

Yes and no, says Elizabeth Dunn, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending. “It turns out, what you do with your money seems to matter just as much to your happiness as how much you make,” she says; good news for those of us without a sudden windfall or promotion in our near futures.

Here are six facts that may surprise you—and tips on how to live the good life, no matter how much you’ve got.

1. Don’t sweat the six-figure job

“There is definitely a correlation between income and happiness,” says Dunn. “But actually, money buys less happiness than people assume.”

And in some ways, it buys happiness only up to a certain point: A 2010 Princeton University study found that emotional well-being—defined by the frequency of emotions like joy, anger, affection, and sadness—tended to rise with salary, but only up to about $75,000. Beyond that, people continued to rate their lives as more satisfying, but they didn’t seem to experience any more happiness on a day-to-day basis.

2. Spend on experiences, not things

Material goods may last longer, but a 2014 San Francisco State University study shows that life experiences—like trips, fancy dinners, and spa treatments—provide more satisfaction in the long run. Researchers interviewed volunteers before and after they made purchases of both types, and found that afterward, most people viewed the intangibles as a better use of money. However, they add, an experience has to fit a person’s personality in order to have benefit; someone who doesn’t like show tunes, for example, probably won’t see the value in a Broadway play.

3. Donate to charity

Giving to people or organizations in need “has a direct correlational effect on happiness that is basically equivalent to a doubling of household income,” says Dunn, citing research from a Gallup World Poll. How you give matters, too, she says: You’ll get more of an emotional reward by supporting groups you feel closely connected to, or when a close friend asks for your help. (In other words, accept that Ice Bucket Challenge already—the giving money part, at least!)

4. Pay it off early

“The pleasure of consumption can be dragged down by the pain of having to pay for it,” says Dunn. One way to get around that? Put money down for things as early as you can, even if you won’t actually experience them for a while—book trips months in advance, pre-order books and albums you’re excited about, or purchase credit for a service you can redeem at a later date. “Research shows that what lies in the future is much more emotionally evocative than what lies in the past,” she adds. “If we paid for something last year, it’s almost like our brain forgets we ever spent money on it.”

5. Give thoughtful gifts

When money gets tight, it may seem wasteful to splurge on presents and tokens of affection—but Dunn’s research shows that spending money on others, especially a loved one, is one of the happiest things you can do with your money. (In one study, people who had been asked to spend $5 on someone else felt better at the end of the day than those who’d been asked to spend it on themselves.) It’s the thought that counts, too: Both givers and receivers are happier when a gift is a good fit for the recipient’s personality.

6. Use a debit, not credit card

Being in debt is negatively associated with happiness, and is linked to health problems such as depression and anxiety. It may be hard to avoid all forms of debt, but one way to keep from falling deeper into it is to make everyday purchases with debit accounts, rather than charging them.

“Debit cards are way happier plastic,” says Dunn. “They provide a lot of the same conveniences as credit cards, but don’t have the same long-term problems associated with them.”

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The Latest Bridal Trend: Renting Your Gown

Posted on: August 30th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For traditional brides, “carrying something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” has long been a way of inviting good fortune and prosperity into a marriage. But what if the borrowed something is the big white dress?

A host of new retail outlets are offering all of the glitz and glamour of a fairy tale wedding gown experience, but with a return-by date akin to Cinderella’s famous midnight curfew.

Ladies and gentleman, you may now rent the bridal gown.

“When we recently launched Little White Dress rentals for brides, we received orders for events the next day,” said Kelsey Doorey, whose new e-retail site Vow to Be Chic, launched with rentals for bridesmaids and then quickly expanded its offerings. “It’s clear that women are looking for ways to make the experience more affordable and convenient without sacrificing style or dress quality.”

Popular designers featured on the Vow to be Chic site include Jenny Yoo, Nicole Miller, Jill Jill Stuart, Tadashi Shoji, Watters, Theia, Joanna August, LulaKate, Alvina Valenta, Jim Hjelm and Swoon.

And it’s not alone in its business model.

With an increasing number of women shifting away from preserving gowns for family heirlooms, many of today’s brides are more interested in saving some money on the way from the boutique to the chapel.

Longstanding designer rental website Rent the Runway, which offers 4- and 8-day rentals of upscale gowns by designers ranging from Badgley Mischka to Monique Lhiullier, recently debuted a bridal category after its brick-and-mortar store in the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas saw a steady stream of women shopping for their wedding day.

“I think some women value the experience over the ownership of their gown,” said a representative for Rent the Runway. “If they already use Spotify or Uber, services where you’re not necessarily owning something versus experiencing it, they will also feel comfortable with renting a wedding gown.”

Plus, the savings of renting are not insignificant.

A sleek, long-sleeved, cocktail-length wedding dress by Dsquared that would normally retail for approximately $830 can be rented for $125 on Rent the Runway. And at Washington, D.C.-based bridal rental atelier Borrowing Magnolia, a Jenny Packham “Aspen Gown” featuring a draping silhouette, meticulous bead work and an illusion lace back that would typically sell for $5,000 before alterations, can be rented for $1,250.

Those discounts leave lots of funds still in the wedding budget for food, music or other desirable decor elements. And if your groom isn’t planning to keep his morning jacket, proponents say there’s no reason why his betrothed can’t follow suit with her tulle.

“Guys have been renting tuxes forever,” Doorey told ABC News. “It finally dawned on me: Why can’t women enjoy the same concept?”

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Why a Former Letter Carrier Says Drones Will Never Replace Postal Workers

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Credit: Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Google, Amazon and Domino’s Pizza are big fans. The FAA is feeling it out. But one person clearly not a part of “Team Drone” is Matty Rose, a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran and retired mail carrier.

Google announced Wednesday that it tested drone delivery of items like dog treats, vaccines and candy to farmers in Australia. Though companies like the search giant are figuring out the legalities of FAA rules regarding commercial drone use, the realities of food and product deliveries by small aircraft appear to be closer than ever before.

Though no companies have declared they will replace mail delivery, Rose says you can count him out of the fan club if they ever decide to do so when it comes to packages and letters.

“I don’t think letter carriers can be replaced. Everything else can be automated or bar-coded to every state for the same price,” he said. “But somebody has to deliver it.”

A former union officer for the National Association of Letter Carriers, Rose delivered mail for more than 12 years in Hollywood, Florida, north of Miami, after his military service in 1966. He is now the president of Nalcrest Trustees, a 500-unit retirement community in Central Florida for former letter carriers.

“The Postal Service is part of the fabric of this nation,” said Darleen Reid, a spokeswoman for the United States Postal Service. “Postal employees make a difference in every community across the country.”

Here are some of the reasons mail carriers may be better than drones:

1. Drones can’t cheer up lonely residents.

“Everybody’s working and busy these days, but in most neighborhoods, especially with people who are seniors, letter carriers are sometimes the only people they get to meet during the course of the day,” Rose said. “Letter carriers keep an eye on the elderly and the neighborhood.

2. Mail carriers have saved lives.

“Letter carriers are saving people’s lives and they can stop crimes,” he said.

Exhibit A: One mailman in Akron, Ohio, Keith McVey, is credited with saving three lives, including saving a drowning girl from a lake, helping a teen who jumped off a bridge on a snowy day and performing CPR on an unconscious man.

Reid said that in 2013 the Postal Service recognized 262 “employee heroes.”

3. Drones can’t be Santa Claus.

Since 1912, postal employees, charities and individual and corporate volunteers have helped children and families in need experience the magic of the holiday season by answering letters to Santa.

4. Mail carriers won’t drop packages on your head.

“A drone could hover over your head. I don’t know if people would trust drones,” whereas many Americans would prefer the “personal touch” of a letter carrier, said Rose. “Something about delivering a letter is special. Look at what we have now. Drones dropping packages on your head. You certainly don’t want that.”

5. Your postal worker knows everything about you, hopefully, in a good way.

“The letter carrier knows everything about you: the kind of mail you get, your hobbies, magazines and who you’re fooling around with,” Rose said.

6. Drones can’t hold food drives.

Reid said the Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers held the largest one-day food drive in the nation. In 2013, more than one million pounds of food were collected. More than one billion pounds of food have been collected since the drive began in 1993.

7. Postal service workers will take a dog bite for you.

Medical expenses from dog attacks cost the Postal Service more than $1.4 million last year, based on data through June 2013. Each year in May, the Postal Service supports National Dog Bite Prevention Week. The campaign raises awareness concerning animal attacks. Last year, 4,734 postal employees were attacked in more than 2,200 cities.

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Wall Street Rebounds from Thursday Losses, Google Testing Drone Delivery

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — After a day of losses, Wall Street returned to its form from the beginning of the week, with all three major indices posting gains and the S&P 500 posting a record close.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17098.38, up 18.81 from Thursday.

The Nasdaq gained 22.57, finished the day at 4580. 27, while the S&P 500 climbed 6.62, finishing the day at a new high close of 2003.36. The S&P 500 finished the month up 3.8 percent, its best August in 14 years.

The market gains come after Google, earlier this week, announced that it is working on a system that would allow the company to delivery goods using drones. Other companies, including Amazon and Dominos Pizza have previously tested similar drone delivery systems.

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Thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge, ALS Association Reaches $100 Million in Donations

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association announced on Friday that through approximately one month of Ice Bucket Challenge donations, they have received over $100 million in charitable contributions.

“The ALS Association is tremendously grateful for all of the gifts by individuals, corporations and foundations,” a statement on the ALSA’s website read. Individual donations to the cause have ranged from less than one dollar to $200,000.

“People have responded with such generosity it is truly remarkable,” President and CEO of the ALSA, Barbara Newhouse said. “We couldn’t be more appreciative.” She noted that the donations will “help fuel our fight against ALS in ways that were never before possible.”

The ALSA also acknowledged the individuals and corporations who donated in the highest tier, between $100,000 and $200,000. Included in that list were actors Leonardo DiCaprio and David Spade; John Legere, President and CEO of T-Mobile US; and Micky Arison, Chairman of Carnival Cruise Lines and the National Basketball Association’s Miami Heat. The ALSA also recognized corporate gifts from Wells Fargo, Spring, The Parsons Foundation, Carnival Cruise Lines and the New York Yankees.

During the same time period last year, the ALS Association says that it received $2.8 million, meaning the ice bucket challenge has spurred a 3500 percent increase in contributions.

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New Citi Credit Card Rewards You for Paying Down Your Debt

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) –  Citi is introducing its first credit card that rewards customers for paying off their debts.

The Double Cash credit card offers an unlimited one percent cash back on purchases, plus another one percent once you pay your credit card bill for that expense. While some credit cards offer five percent rewards, these are typically opt-in quarterly promotions. Citi’s Double Cash two percent rewards does not require any additional enrollment.

Once you earn $25 in rewards, customers can choose to receive their cash in a statement credit, gift card or a check. Another feature of the Double Cash card is a free pass on your first late fee, if you forget to pay your credit card bill.

“This looks like a simple straightforward reward card with a benefit everyone can use: cash. As long as you can pay your bills in full each month you can definitely come out ahead,” said Gerri Detweiler, credit card expert with Credit.com.

And with all Citi cards, customers can register to sign up for Citi Price Rewind, which refunds the price difference on purchases you’ve made within 60 days, with the exception of tickets, and certain large ticket items like jewelry and boats.

Detweiler said the two percent cash back on all purchases with no limit makes Double Cash an “attractive” cash-back reward card. In Credit.com‘s most recent analysis, Cash-Back Credit Cards in America, the number one card was Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card, which also offers 2 percent unlimited cash back.

Bank of America has offered a card that rewards customers with $25 each quarter when they pay more than the minimum balance, Detweiler notes.

The best way to use Citi’s Double Cash card would be to pay it in full, Detweiler said.

“You get the reward whether you pay in full or not. If you carry a balance I’d suggest looking for a low-rate card, or even a personal loan, rather than a reward card,” she said.

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Best Labor Day Deals This Weekend

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Summer is coming to an end but the cooler weather heralds the beginning of some of the best sales of the year. First up: Labor Day weekend’s big bargains.

Ashley Lutz of the website Business Insider says shoppers should be on the lookout for washers and dryers, bicycles, mattresses, and clothing that will take people out of the summer and into fall and winter.

Lutz explained why washers and dryers and vacuum cleaners tend to be available at such good prices this year, saying: “A lot of retailers are clearing out their merchandise and they’re going to start offering the new models for the holidays…so they want to clear out that merchandise now to make way for the new models.”

Here’s a list of some of the weekend’s sales:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch is offering everything in stores and online for up to 60 percent off. They’ll also have jeans for $39.
  • Shop Gap.com for up to 40 percent off select items today and tomorrow, and get 40 percent off your entire in-store and online purchases through Tuesday. Online shoppers must use the code DAY.
  • Banana Republic is offering discounts of up to 40 percent off through Tuesday.

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Cheapest Labor Day Gas Prices Since 2010: Forecast

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Americans behind the wheel may get some relief in their wallet this weekend, as Labor Day gas prices are forecasted to reach the lowest holiday levels since 2010, according to a study by GasBuddy.

The price drop is part of a decrease that began in July and will likely continue through the autumn, according to the gas price tracking company.

The average national gas price is $3.45 for a gallon of regular, according to the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration’s weekly report released on Monday. That price is about two cents cheaper from last week, and nearly 10 cents cheaper from a year ago.

Regions that source gasoline from the U.S. Gulf Coast, which GasBuddy says accounts for more than 51 percent of American refinery capacity, will likely see the cheapest gas prices.

However, there are some areas that will still have to pay average or higher prices. States around the Great Lakes may get the short end of the stick due to price adjustments at their regional refineries.

Geopolitical tensions such as violence in the Middle East and uncertainty about long-term Russian energy supplies have not altered the oil supply yet, according to GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan.

It helps that refineries have operated with few problems this summer and rising domestic oil production is putting downward pressure on oil and thus gasoline prices, he said.

The lack of major hurricanes, which generally propel oil prices higher, is another factor he said.

“The good news for motorists doesn’t end there: the conclusion of Labor Day weekend also brings summer driving season to a close, and demand drops off, easing prices,” DeHaan said.

Much of the U.S. also will switch back to winter gasoline in mid-September, which should also put downward pressure on pump prices as winter gasoline is cheaper to produce, he said.

Parts of the country may already notice isolated instances of prices as low as $2.99 a gallon, he said, such as Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi.

DeHaan predicts that the national average this fall will drop to around $3.30 to $3.39 a gallon, with a small chance of even $3.20 a gallon, meaning some states will see averages under $2.99 a gallon.

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Google (GOOGL) Eyes the ‘Game of Drones’

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

 

ap google project wing jc 140829 16x9 608 Google (GOOGL) Eyes the Game of Drones

                                (Photo Credit: Google/AP Photo) 

Morning Money Memo:

Google officially enters the “game of drones.” The tech giant is reportedly testing a drone-based delivery system, dubbed Project Wing. In development by Google X, the company’s advanced-research department, Project Wing would potentially rival the conceptual drone-based system being developed by Amazon. In a statement, Google said the self-flying drones “could open up entirely new approaches to moving goods – including options that are cheaper, faster, and less wasteful and more environmentally sensitive than what’s possible today.” Commercial drone usage is  banned in the United States, although the FAA is considering whether to change the regulations. Google’s stock is down 2.5 percent in the past week.

While Apple is in no hurry to be outdone. The company emailed invitations Thursday to an event for Sept. 9, with the accompanying tagline “wish we could say more.” Fans are clamoring over the potential release of one or more new technologies, including a wider screened iPhone 6 and a wearable device preliminary dubbed the iWatch.

U.S. markets are up this final trading day of the month, after finishing marginally lower Thursday. European and Asian markets were mixed, with indices in Germany, Shanghai and India seeing modest gains. The Russian ruble fell to a historic low today, following an alleged Russian incursion into Ukraine that has further fueled tensions in the region. Gold is down $3.50 to $1,286 an ounce. Crude oil is up $0.45 to $95.00 a barrel.

This weekend’s battle at the box office will likely see two familiar faces at the top once again. Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the summers highest grossing film, and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” are expected to retake the No. 1 and No. 2 spots at the box office this weekend, with new releases like “November Man” and “As Above So Below” only expected to bring in around $10 million apiece. As the summer season officially draws to a close, what was once a season for major revenues and blockbuster drawings has seen its weakest earnings in years. This summer’s box-office gross of $3.6 billion finished 24.5 percent  lower than last year, according to Box Office Mojo.

For those not looking to catch a final summer flick, you can try your luck at a couple Atlantic City Roulette tables one last time. Two former boardwalk giants will shutter their doors this weekend;  the Showboat Casino, which opened in 1987, will officially cease operations Sunday, while AC’s newest casino, the $2.4 billion Revel Atlantic City, will close its hotel Labor Day and cease all gaming operations Tuesday, less than three years after their opening day.

Hotel Guests Regularly Socked with Extra Fees

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Just when you were getting used to the idea of the airlines charging you extra for things that used to be included in the price of a ticket comes a report about the U.S. hotel industry that is bound to raise more hackles.

NYU professor Bjorn Hanson says that hotels managed to collect over $2 billion from fees and surcharges alone in 2013 and this year they’ll make an even bigger profit.

Hotel guests are regularly socked with resort or amenity fees, early departure fees and early reservation cancellation fees.

In some instances, guests pay for the safe in their rooms that they don’t even use. And of course, there’s the added cost of restocking the minibar.

Just like the airline industry, hotels seem reluctant to raise their prices to reflect market value, which Hanson said would actually eliminate the need for fees.

However, customers seem more willing to put up with the surcharges than pay a little extra for a room even if it costs them more money in the long run.

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Bud Light Donates $500K to Descend on Town, Council Approves

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Anheuser-Busch(CRESTED BUTTE, Colo.) — One small mountain town in Colorado is apparently “up for whatever.”

The town council in Crested Butte, Colorado, approved a special permit allowing Bud Light to take over the town for a three-day event “of unexpected fun,” ABC affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver reported Thursday.

Bud Light, one of Anheuser-Busch’s beer brands, doubled its original donation for the town to $500,000. The event will turn the town into a fictitious one: Whatever, USA.

“Ever since we were first approached by Bud Light earlier this summer, we’ve been impressed with the creativity and level of detail they’ve put into the planning process for Whatever, USA,” Crested Butte Mayor Aaron Huckstep said in a statement released by the beer brand. “This is going to be an incredible event for our community that will help bring the beauty of Crested Butte to 1,000 new visitors.”

Crested Butte was selected because of “its breathtaking natural beauty and colorful cast of characters,” according to a statement from Bud Light.

The plan had its critics. One resident, former Colorado Sen. Tim Wirth, called the originally proposed $250,000 donation a “paltry and insulting sum.”

“My own view is that this is truly an inappropriate function for a town that has built its reputation so carefully,” Wirth told ABC News. “It should cost them a pretty penny and they won’t even notice it.”

Bud Light’s “UpForWhatever” ad campaign began during the Super Bowl, in which random people on the street, seemingly between the ages of 21 and 35, are whisked off to celebrity-laden adventures. In Bud Light commercials for the town of Whatever, USA, there’s a fake, bearded mayor.

For this specific campaign in Colorado, the company will select 1,000 Bud Light fans across the United States who auditioned with a 10-second video explaining why they should be flown into Whatever, USA. Winners will be notified 48 hours before the trip.

The audition deadline is next Thursday and more than 150,000 people have applied so far.

The proposed plans include street performers, a parade, music, dancing, closing off the local Big Mine Ice Arena and, of course, lots of Bud Light.

“There are a lot of different opinions in the town,” town manager Ted Crossett said. “There are a lot of people who support it and a lot of people who do not for a variety of reasons.”

Crossett’s staff report about the weekend describes some of the activities, including “stumble upon events, which are low impact activities such as games, low-key races and curiosities. Most would be open to the public.”

“Some would be closed to contestants. Activities would take place on both the street and in private businesses,” the Aug. 23 report states.

Prior to the approval, Wirth said the town council has “allowed themselves to be put into this dreadful corner” that has divided the town. He proposed Bud Light pay $10 million to host the event.

David Ochs, executive director at the Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce, argued that the event will bring an unknown amount of extra cash to local businesses and the town coffers, as the high tourist summer season comes to an end.

“Keep locals working, keep paychecks coming and keep everything rolling,” he said. “Bud Light has been very good in incorporating retail businesses into the event, but the real benefit might be in the long term: the exposure and marketing of it is what they will see and want to come back to Crested Butte, and that’s our bread and butter.”

Kevin McGruther, a town resident of 18 years, attended the most recent hearing about the proposed event Monday. He said he wasn’t arguing for or against the event, but pointed to the local government’s failure to adhere to its typical town-event application process.

“The issue is the transparency, the preemption of the process and disenfranchisement of the community,” he told ABC News.

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Google Working to Develop Drone Delivery Program

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Google is working to develop its own drone delivery program, called Project Wing.

In a video posted to YouTube by the company, Google says it tested the system in Queensland, Australia, and “successfully delivered a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats, and water” to Australian farmers. The project is still early on in development.

The company states that it anticipates the potential to transport goods “more quickly, safely and efficiently.” It is also looking for “partners who can help [them] bring this technology to the world safely.”

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IRS Warns Taxpayers of Continued Phone Scams Around the Country

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by ABC News 2 Comments

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Internal Revenue Service said on Thursday that taxpayers continue to receive scam phone calls from individuals purporting to be with the agency.

The scammers, the IRS says, may claim that their victims have a refund due, or use another method to attempt to acquire personal information. Callers use fake names and fake IRS identification numbers.

“These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. He urged people not to fall prey to such calls, noting that the IRS has formal procedures for those individuals with tax issues. “The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business,” Koskinen said.

The IRS also offered Americans five tips to help identify suspicious calls. The agency says that its agents will never call about your taxes prior to mailing you an official notice, demand payment without allowing you the chance to appeal, require a specific method of payment for taxes, ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or threaten to involve law enforcement groups.

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Investigation into JPMorgan Chase Cyberattack Continues

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As an investigation into a cyberattack continues, JPMorgan Chase said on Thursday that it had not seen any unusual fraud activity.

One official told ABC News that when a bank as large as JPMorgan is targeted, the investigation looks at the incident not just as a financial crime, but as a potential national security matter.

The bank reaffirmed on Thursday that it would work with the FBI and the Secret Service, who are investigating the cyberattack. JPMorgan is still working to determine who, if anyone, might have been impacted by the attack.

Still, if any JPMorgan customers believe that they have been the victim of fraud, they should contact the bank immediately.

The breach also apparently impacted at least one other financial institution.

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Instagram Dealing with Server Issues, Users Upset

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Instagram crashed Thursday afternoon, leaving Internet denizens without a place to post pictures of pets and food.

In a tweet, the company acknowledged the problem, saying that they are “experiencing some technical difficulties.”

Instagram is experiencing some technical issues. We’re aware and working on a fix.

— Instagram (@instagram) August 28, 2014

 

The website “Is It Down Right Now” shows that Instagram’s server is not responding.

The social media service’s mobile app seemed to properly load older photos, but was unable to reload the service. The web client returned a “500 Internal Server Error” that prevented users from accessing the website.

On Twitter, the phrase “Why is instagram” was briefly trending worldwide, as users sought other means of sharing their selfies and Throwback Thursday photos.

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Wall Street Posts Losses After Hot Start to Week, Labor Department Releases Positive Unemployment Numbers

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — After a strong start to the week, Wall Street posted losses on Thursday, while a Labor Department report indicated slightly improved unemployment numbers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,079.57, down 42.44.

The Nasdaq finished at 4,557.70, a drop of 11.92 from Wednesday’s close, while the S&P 500 slipped 3.38 to 1,996.74, finishing below 2,000 for the first time since it broke that mark earlier this week.

The Labor Department’s weekly report indicated a slight decrease in jobless claims last week. The department also noted that there were no “special factors” that helped to decrease the figures.

Also on Thursday, the investigation into a cyberattack against JPMorgan Chase continued. Wednesday night, the FBI and Secret Service announced the investigation, though they were unable to definitively determine whether customer information was at risk due to the attack.

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Apple Sends Invitations for Mysterious Sept. 9 Event

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Apple Press(CUPERTINO, Calif.) — The wait is almost over.

Apple sent out mysterious invitations on Thursday for a Sept. 9 media event in Cupertino, California.

Much of the speculation has centered around the possible release of an iPhone 6 and a wearable device, however Apple isn’t commenting on what it has up its sleeve.

A gray and white invitation sent out to members of the media on Thursday teases, “Wish we could say more.”

The event will be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California, at 10 a.m. PT.

It will be the first time Apple has held an event at the 2,405-seat theater since 1999, when it launched a new iMac, according to Mashable.

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Bud Light’s $250K Offer to Descend on Town Hits a Wall

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Anheuser-Busch(CRESTED BUTTE, Colo.) — Bud Light wants to know whether a small mountain town in Colorado is “up for whatever.” The answer this time from the divided townspeople: maybe, although $10 million might be just enough to swing more support toward the beer-inspired party.

Bud Light, one of Anheuser-Busch’s beer brands, is planning to host a three-day event “of unexpected fun” that will transform part of Crested Butte, Colorado, known for its outdoor activities and music festivals, into a fictitious town of Whatever, USA.

As part of the deal, Anheuser-Busch will donate $250,000 to the town, as a sign of gratitude, but some of the 1,500 residents are not thrilled with the idea of Whatever from Sept. 5-7.

One resident, former Colorado Sen. Tim Wirth, called the $250,000 donation a “paltry and insulting sum.”

“My own view is that this is truly an inappropriate function for a town that has built its reputation so carefully,” Wirth told ABC News. “It should cost them a pretty penny and they won’t even notice it.”

Bud Light’s “UpForWhatever” ad campaign began during the Super Bowl, in which random people on the street, seemingly between the ages of 21 and 35, are whisked off to celebrity-laden adventures. In Bud Light commercials for the town of Whatever, USA, there’s a fake, mustached mayor.

For this specific campaign in Colorado, the company will select 1,000 Bud Light fans across the United States who auditioned with a 10-second video explaining why they should be flown into Whatever, USA. Winners will be notified 48 hours before the trip.

The audition deadline is next Thursday and more than 150,000 people have applied so far.

The town will host a public hearing and council vote Friday about the proposed plans, which include street performers, a parade, music, dancing, closing off the local Big Mine Ice Arena and, of course, lots of Bud Light.

“There are a lot of different opinions in the town,” town manager Ted Crossett said. “There are a lot of people who support it and a lot of people who do not for a variety of reasons.”

Crossett’s staff report about the weekend describes some of the activities, including “stumble upon events, which are low impact activities such as games, low-key races and curiosities. Most would be open to the public.”

“Some would be closed to contestants. Activities would take place on both the street and in private businesses,” the Aug. 23 report states.

The town council has “allowed themselves to be put into this dreadful corner” that has divided the town, Wirth said.

Wirth and other residents decry the council’s working behind the scenes with Bud Light to coordinate such a major event. But Wirth said he was proud of the “democracy in action” during Monday’s hearing at which residents spoke openly with town leaders.

“Crested Butte has every bit of leverage right now to say to Bud Light, ‘We’ll approve your event if you send us a check for $10 million from a multibillion-dollar corporation,’” he said.

As for Anheuser-Busch, it is “optimistic” the town council will vote to approve the Whatever, USA activities, according to a company statement to ABC News.

“We’ve spent several months planning and preparing with the town and local vendors, and hope that Whatever USA’s temporary citizens will get a chance to experience everything Crested Butte has to offer,” the statement reads. “We can’t imagine a better setting for a weekend of unexpected, unparalleled fun.”

David Ochs, executive director at the Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce, told ABC News he believes the majority of the 300 active members in the organization support the event. He argues that the event will bring an unknown amount of extra cash to local businesses and the town coffers, as the high tourist summer season comes to an end.

“Keep locals working, keep paychecks coming and keep everything rolling,” he said. “Bud Light has been very good in incorporating retail businesses into the event, but the real benefit might be in the long term: the exposure and marketing of it is what they will see and want to come back to Crested Butte and that’s our bread and butter.”

Kevin McGruther, a town resident of 18 years, attended the most recent hearing about the proposed event Monday. He said he is not arguing for or against the event, but points to the local government’s failure to adhere to its typical town-event application process.

“The issue is the transparency, the preemption of the process and disenfranchisement of the community,” he told ABC News.

Wirth, the former U.S. senator, said if Anheuser-Busch can pay big money, possibly millions, for celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger to play table tennis in a Super Bowl ad, the company should cough up for using the resources of the town and its reputation.

“They paid him Schwarzenegger millions and they’re going to be here ripping up the town for a week for $250,000?” Wirth said. “That gets my indignant juices running.”

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Home Sales Bouncing Back When Economy Needs It Most

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

 

ap housing report jc 140828 16x9 608 Home Sales Bouncing Back When Economy Needs It Most

  (Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer/AP Photo

Morning Money Memo:

Happy days are here again for housing … sort of.

After more than a decade of boom and bust, a vital part of the U.S. economy may be finally returning to normal. That could be very good news for growth. Signs of stability include slower price rises and fewer sales of distressed properties.

“Home prices look roughly in line with their long-term norms and, very importantly, far fewer people are falling behind on their payments,” Jed Kolko, chief Economist at Trulia, the online real estate firm, says. “More and more the housing recovery depends on what happens in the jobs market.”

Foreclosures dropped sharply in July, falling more than 21 percent in the past year, says data firm CoreLogic. On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures were down by 8.5 percent. “The stock of distressed debt continues to rapidly decline, especially in western states,” economist Sam Khater said.

“Based on current trends, the overall foreclosure inventory could trend down to as low as 500,000 homes by year-end, which is very positive news for the housing market,” Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, said.

And there’s a little good news for motorists. Labor Day will be the cheapest holiday travel weekend in four years: “Mildly cheaper than last year, quite a bit cheaper than in 2012,” Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at GasBuddy.com, said.

Despite unrest in the Middle East, “We are producing about 3.1 million barrels a day more domestic crude in the United States than when the first Arab Spring took place,” he said.

U.S. gasoline demand has also been reduced by more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The latest sign of economic strength came this morning. After a bleak start to the year, U.S. output rebounded vigorously in the April-June quarter, growing at a brisk annual rate of 4.2 percent, slightly faster than first estimated.

The upward revision supported expectations that the second half of 2014 will prove far stronger than the first half

With the football season right around the corner, excitement is building. And the big game may be contributing to growth. CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl took a look at post-recession job growth in the six largest sports-related industries in the United States. Combined, jobs in sports-related industries have increased by 12.6 percent in the past four years, according to the research. That compares with overall national job market grew of 5.5 percent. Earnings in most sports-related jobs are significantly higher than the national average.

America’s biggest bank may have been targeted by hackers. Federal agents are investigating a potential major breach of JPMorgan Chase’s computers and those of at least one other major financial institution, law enforcement sources told ABC news. But investors don’t appear to be worried. Since the first report of hacking emerged, the bank’s share price was little changed. A statement by JPMorgan says “companies of our size unfortunately experience cyber-attacks nearly every day,” and that there has been no unusual level of fraud activity detected.

Just how long can the stock market keep on growing? The S&P 500 closed Wednesday at a new record high for a third day in a row. But trading volume was less than normal before the approaching Labor Day weekend.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com

FBI, Secret Service Investigating Cyberattack on JPMorgan Chase

Posted on: August 27th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The FBI is investigating a cyberattack earlier this month against JPMorgan Chase that may have been carried out by Russian hackers.

It is not clear whether customer data was compromised by the attack. The FBI released a statement on Wednesday saying that they were working with the U.S. Secret Service to determine the scope of the breach, noting that it may also have impacted other financial institutions.

JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman Trish Wexler told ABC News that “companies of our size unfortunately experience cyberattacks nearly every day.” JPMorgan, she said, has “multiple layers of defense to counteract any threats and constantly monitor fraud levels.”

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EPA, DuPont Corp. Agree to $1.275 Million Settlement over Chemical Violations

Posted on: August 27th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced on Wednesday a settlement with DuPont Corp. for allegedly releasing hazardous substances into the Kanawha River in West Virginia over a four-year span.

An EPA press release alleges that the company released chemicals into the river on eight occasions between 2006 and 2010. As compensation, DuPont will pay $1.275 million and take corrective actions to prevent similar activity in the future.

The EPA notes that the releases posed significant risk, with one worker dying after exposure to a toxic gas that was released due to the company’s failure to comply with industry accident prevention procedures.

DuPont estimated that it will spend over $2 million to complete the mandated improvements.

The settlement “will ensure that the proper practices are in place to protect communities and nearby water bodies,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

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At Least One US Company Takes Fight Against Counterfeiters into Own Hands

Posted on: August 27th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Hisham Ibrahim/Photographer’s Choice RF/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — At the International Property Rights Center in Washington D.C., director Lev Kubiak said selling counterfeit items was a “very, very lucrative business,” and “most Americans have no idea” just how much of what they’re buying is actually fake.

The Federal Trade Commission says it’s been cracking down in recent weeks, sending cease-and-desist letters to companies that it says are making false or uncertified claims.

Kubiak showed ABC News a room containing fake items the center had seized from store shelves and Internet sites across the U.S., including the U.S.-made language-learning tool Rosetta Stone.

“This one came from China,” Kubiak said, pointing out some tell-tale signs: misspelled words such as “guaranted” and “Piece” Corps, rather than Peace. The counterfeiters even forged the Rosetta Stone website.

At the Rosetta Stone factory in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Rula Abu-Taleb, a product-control clerk, said counterfeiters took jobs away.

“It’s sad for us.…There’s someone out there that’s making their own money off of our hard work,” she said about the fake products.

Rosetta Stone said the secret to its success was its U.S. workers.

“I love the creativity that comes out of our company,” said Steve Swaad, president and CEO of Rosetta Stone. “I love the creativity that comes out of the U.S.…I look at counterfeiting as an obstacle that we’re going to overcome.”

Rosetta Stone is fighting back against counterfeiters, though, investing in smart technology to scour the Internet looking for crooks.

“I think if we took this process overseas, it would be one job among many, with people that didn’t care half as much as these folks care,” said director of operations David Litherland. “It just wouldn’t be the same quality of product shipped out to our customers.”

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US Companies Take Fight Against Counterfeiters in Own Hands

Posted on: August 27th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

ABC rosettastone mar 140827 16x9 608 US Companies Take Fight Against Counterfeiters in Own Hands

ABC News

At the International Property Rights Center in Washington D.C., director Lev Kubiak said selling counterfeit items was a “very, very lucrative business.”

“I think most Americans have no idea” just how much of what they’re buying is actually fake, Kubiak said.

Related: Can you spot the fake $20?
Related: Can you tell which is the fake website?
Related: Counterfeit products may be putting your family at risk.

The Federal Trade Commission says it’s been cracking down in recent weeks, sending cease-and-desist letters to companies that it says are making false or uncertified claims.

Kubiak showed ABC News a room containing fake items the center had seized from store shelves and Internet sites across the U.S., including the U.S.-made language-learning tool Rosetta Stone.

“This one came from China,” Kubiak said, pointing out some tell-tale signs: misspelled words such as “guaranted” and “Piece” Corps, rather than Peace. The counterfeiters even forged the Rosetta Stone website.

At the Rosetta Stone factory in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Rula Abu-Taleb, a product-control clerk, said counterfeiters took jobs away.

“It’s sad for us. … There’s someone out there that’s making their own money off of our hard work,” she said about the fake products.

Rosetta Stone said the secret to its success was its U.S. workers.

“I love the creativity that comes out of our company,” said Steve Swaad, president and CEO of Rosetta Stone. “I love the creativity that comes out of the U.S.. … I look at counterfeiting as an obstacle that we’re going to overcome.”

Rosetta Stone is fighting back against counterfeiters, though, investing in smart technology to scour the Internet looking for crooks.

“I think if we took this process overseas, it would be one job among many, with people that didn’t care half as much as these folks care,” said director of operations David Litherland. “It just wouldn’t be the same quality of product shipped out to our customers.”

ABC News’ Eric Noll contributed to this story.

Little Movement on Wall Street Wednesday, GDP Growth Slowed in First Half of 2014

Posted on: August 27th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — After consecutive days of gains and milestones, Wall Street was a bit of a mixed bag on Wednesday, with two of the major indices posting small gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial finished at 17,122.01, up 15.31 from Tuesday’s finish.

The Nasdaq dropped 1.02 to 4,569.62, while the S&P managed — barely — to close above 2,000 again, finishing the day at 2,000.10, up 0.08. That is the second consecutive day — and the second close ever — above 2,000 for the S&P 500.

Also on Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office indicated that a slow first quarter may indicate lower-than-expected growth for the economy in 2014. The updated GDP growth estimate is just 1.5 percent for the 2014 fiscal year. Still, the CBO expects 3.5-percent growth in 2015 and 2016.

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Thanksgiving Flights: Buy Before Labor Day, Experts Say

Posted on: August 27th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — It’s not yet Labor Day, but the time to buy Thanksgiving weekend flights is right now.

Travel web site Hipmunk has the data to back up the claim that waiting past this week to book for Thanksgiving will mean paying more. Those who buy before Labor Day will save $140 on average as compared to those who wait until the last minute.

Average flight price for Thanksgiving travel booked this week is $424. Those who wait a few weeks and book the last week in September will pay 5 percent more. Won’t be sure of your plans until late October? Prepare to pay a 17 percent markup.

If you wait until the last minute hoping to score a deal, you’ll pay big: $561 on average, or a 32 percent increase over what you would pay for the same flight booked this week.

Skyscanner, a global travel search engine, concurs. Its data suggests that flight prices for Thanksgiving have dropped 8.3 percent this week and are at the lowest right now.

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Burger King’s Move Draws Controversy

Posted on: August 27th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Burger King is facing a grilling from critics of U.S. companies that move overseas to cut their tax bills.

“I’ve eaten my last Whopper,” is among the many comments on Burger King’s Facebook page.

The company announced on Tuesday that it would buy the popular Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons for more than $11 billion. The corporate headquarters of the combined firm will be in Canada — a move that stands to help lower Burger King’s corporate taxes.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is calling for U.S. consumers to boycott Burger King, while Democrats have been calling for legislation to limit these so-called tax inversions.

But the CEO of the merged company insists the deal is not about taxes. And there appear to be strong business reasons for the firm to move. While Burger King has many more franchises, Tim Hortons has much larger profits than the U.S. firm. The deal will create the world’s third largest fast-food chain.

Burger King’s move has re-ignited the debate over the U.S. corporate tax system. This is not merely about tax rates but also the global system of taxation.

“The U.S., unlike most developed-world governments, insists on taxing the global income of its citizens and corporations that have U.S. headquarters,” writes Megan McArdle of Bloomberg Businessweek. “Because the U.S. has some of the highest tax rates in the world, especially on corporate income, this amounts to demanding that everyone who got their start here owes us taxes, forever, on anything they earn abroad.”

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Controversy Erupts Over Burger King’s (BKW) Move

Posted on: August 27th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Morning Money Memo…

Burger King is facing a grilling from critics of U.S. companies that move overseas to cut their tax bills.

“I’ve eaten my last Whopper,” is among the many comments on Burger King’s Facebook page.

The company announced on Tuesday that it would buy the popular Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons for more than $11 billion. The corporate headquarters of the combined firm will be in Canada — a move that stands to help lower Burger King’s corporate taxes.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is calling for U.S. consumers to boycott Burger King. Democrats have been calling for legislation to limit these so-called tax inversions.

But the CEO of the merged company insists the deal is not about taxes. And there appear to be strong business reasons for the firm to move. While Burger King has many more franchises, Tim Hortons has much larger profits than the U.S. firm. The deal will create the world’s third largest fast-food chain.

gty burger king 2010 kb 140826 16x9 608 Controversy Erupts Over Burger Kings (BKW) Move

(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Burger King’s move has re-ignited the debate over the U.S. corporate tax system. This is not merely about tax rates but also the global system of taxation.

“The U.S., unlike most developed-world governments, insists on taxing the global income of its citizens and corporations that have U.S. headquarters,” writes Megan McArdle of Bloomberg Businessweek. “Because the U.S. has some of the highest tax rates in the world, especially on corporate income, this amounts to demanding that everyone who got their start here owes us taxes, forever, on anything they earn abroad.”

Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, is under formal investigation by a French court for alleged negligence. The corruption investigation dates back to her days as France’s Finance Minister. Lagarde and her former chief of staff have been facing questions about their role in a payment to a businessman. In a statement today after a fourth round of questioning before magistrates, Lagarde said she was returning to her work in Washington later in the day and said the decision was “without basis.”

Apple’s suppliers are preparing to manufacture the firm’s largest-ever iPad, reports Bloomberg News. Production is scheduled to begin by the first quarter of next year. The new iPad will have a 12.9-inch screen. Apple currently produces iPads with 9.7-inch and 7.9-inch displays.

American Airlines and US Airways are pulling their flight listings from Orbitz. The decision is part of a long-running dispute over fees the travel website pays to list and sell the flights. Orbitz shares fell nearly 5% after the announcement.

Another milestone for the stock market as the 5-year bull market continues: The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed above 2,000 on Tuesday for the first time. And the record was reached 16 years after the S&P first closed above 1,000 points.

Time Warner Cable Service Problems Reported Across the Country

Posted on: August 27th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Chris Hondros/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Time Warner Cable subscribers across the country experienced service problems Wednesday morning.

The problems started at 4:30 a.m. ET, said Bobby Amirshahi, Vice President of Public Relations for Time Warner Cable.

“During our routine network maintenance, an issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and On Demand services,” Amirshahi said in a statement.

Service was largely restored by 6 a.m., Amirshahi said, with updates ongoing to restore service to all customers.

Frustrated subscribes wrote about the situation online, making Time Warner a trending topic on Twitter.

“Nothing says good morning like a nationwide Time Warner Cable internet outage,” one person wrote on Twitter.

More than 11 million residents and companies across the United States subscribe to Time Warner Cable.

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NJ Car Dealer, Subject of ABC News Probe, Ordered to Repay Customers Sold Sandy-Damaged Cars

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Design Pics/Thinkstock(OLD BRIDGE, N.J.) — A New Jersey car dealership operator will have to pay back customers who unknowingly bought Superstorm Sandy-damaged cars from his lot, thanks in part to a five-month ABC’s The Lookout investigation into flooded cars being sold on used car lots.

Jonathan Olin, 42, the operator of used car dealership D&D Auto Sales in Old Bridge, N.J., was accused of using false vehicle titles to sell the cars to unsuspecting customers from February 2013 through July 2013, according to prosecutors.

Olin pleaded guilty this week to second-degree theft by deception, and faces three years in state prison. He was also ordered to pay full restitution to the victims.

The ABC’s The Lookout team went undercover last summer at D&D Auto Sales, where they discovered a 2006 Ford F-350 truck seriously damaged by Sandy being sold on the lot for $19,999. The truck’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and auction records indicated it was damaged by a flood.

A D&D salesman sold the car to an ABC’s The Lookout producer for its asking price and referred to a flood alert on the vehicle’s CarFax report as “a glitch.”

But when The Lookout team brought the truck to Allan Picker, owner and certified mechanic at All-Time AutoBody in Point Pleasant, N.J., he discovered the car had serious damage, including a corroded transmission and potentially hazardous airbags that could have randomly deployed while driving.

When The Lookout report aired in July 2013, D&D Auto Sales responded to the team’s findings, stating, “D&D Auto Sales sincerely regrets the unfortunate misrepresentation of the product by the salesperson. We do not condone such business practices and have terminated the salesman as a result of his independent action. This is in no way reflective of typical business practices at D&D.”

But prosecutors said that wasn’t an isolated incident and that the dealership knowingly sold other storm-damaged cars.

When prosecutors filed the charges last year, they said the dealership acquired eight vehicles at auction that sustained flood damage during Sandy and were auctioned by an insurance company “for parts only,” but the defendants allegedly had fraudulent “clean” titles issued for the vehicles and sold seven of them to customers who were unaware of the flood damage.

Jack Douek, the D&D Auto Sales salesman who sold the car to the undercover ABC’s The Lookout producer, now faces three pending charges, including conspiracy to commit theft by deception. ABC News’ requests for comment from Douek were not returned.

The New Jersey attorney general revealed an employee of the Freehold Motor Vehicle Agency, Jessie Dinome, was using a state computer to create false clean titles for the flood cars. She pleaded guilty and faces up to a year in county jail.

New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman said in a news release last year that the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission referred the case to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice after ABC News aired its investigative report on flood vehicles ending up on used car lots. The vehicle commission also received information from the National Salvage Vehicle Reporting Program.

An estimated 250,000 cars were submerged for days in corrosive saltwater after Sandy pummeled the Northeast in October 2012, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

CarFax estimates that more than 100,000 Sandy-damaged vehicles ended up back on the road.

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