MIDDLE EAST DEBT-Bahrain: weak credit, great value
By Tim Hahn Erie Times-News
State and local investigators accuse a Chicago man of attempting to rip off numerous banks in the Erie region on Monday by trying to get cash advances on a fraudulent credit card.
Jarico B. Kent, 26, was in the Erie County Prison on $10,000 bond Wednesday following his arraignment Tuesday on numerous counts of attempted access device fraud and attempted theft by deception.
Investigators charge that Kent used a credit card that was fraudulently altered to contain his name to seek out cash advances at eight banks in Erie, Millcreek Township and Harborcreek Township on Monday. Kent managed to get $500 cash advances at two Northwest Bank branches and at an ErieBank branch in Millcreek, according to information in the affidavit of probable cause that Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Rachel Ward filed with the criminal complaint against Kent.
According to the affidavit, troopers took Kent into custody on Monday evening after they were sent to the Citizens Bank branch in the Giant Eagle store on Buffalo Road in Harborcreek Township to investigate a report of credit card fraud. The troopers learned from a bank employee that Kent, who was still at the bank, attempted to get a $500 cash advance on a credit card that was flagged for fraudulent activity. When the troopers questioned Kent on how he obtained the card, he said he purchased it from an unknown male for $20 in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, over the weekend, Ward wrote in the affidavit.
Police also learned that a man matching Kents description attempted to get cash advances on the credit card at three other Citizens Bank locations in the area that day.
Ward said she spoke on Tuesday to Millcreek police Patrolman Nate Spiker, who reported that Kent defrauded three banks in the township of $500 at each location and attempted to use the card at a fourth bank branch, according to the affidavit.
Investigators were aided in the investigation, and in the apprehension of Kent, by the cooperation of officials at each of the targeted banks, Millcreek police Lt. Mike Kabasinski said Wednesday.
Tim Hahn can be reached at 870-1731 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNhahn.
Nearly six out of ten American consumers have maxed out on a credit card at least once. Of the respondents who have maxed out their credit card, 61% have maxed out on multiple credit cards.
According to a recent survey by American Consumer Credit Counseling 55% of consumers have 3 or more credit cards, and nearly 30% have more than 4 credit cards.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the average credit card holder in 2013 had 2.7 general purpose cards and 1.4 branded cards.
Many consumers are probably not aware of the bad credit card habits that could lead to increased debt and financial problems, said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is based in Newton, MA.
Bad credit habits such as paying late, maxing out cards, balance transfers and carrying a balance can all lead to financial distress in the short and long-term. Maxing out a credit card can be particularly problematic for consumers and can result in higher minimum payments, making balances harder to repay and lowering credit scores.
According to the survey, nearly 80% of respondents say they do not use their credit cards for cash advances. Fifty-four percent of respondents do not use balance transfers and about 16% of those consumers do not know what a balance transfer is.
Thirty-seven percent of respondents who already have at least one credit card would sign up for retail cards at their favorite store, according to the survey. However, 44% say they would never sign up for a store card.
Of those respondents, 56% say they would skim through or try to understand the fine print. On the flip side, 29% of consumers admit they wouldnt read the fine print at all.
Fifty-three percent of the respondents with credit cards are between the age of 25 and 45.
The online poll of 107 budget conscious consumers was conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling on the organizations website, http://www.consumercredit.com.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has slapped four casino operators with a total of $82,500 fines for various violations.
USNewswire identified the four casino operators levied with fine as Holdings Acquisitions Co. LP, operator of the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh; SugarHouse HSP Gaming, LP, operator of the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia; Sands Bethworks Gaming, LLC, operator of the Sands Casino Resort in Northampton County; and Mount Airy #1, LLC, operator of the Mount Airy Casino Resort in Monroe County.
The fines were the result of Board approvals at its public meeting of consent agreements between the PGCBs Office of Enforcement Counsel.
In the case of Holdings Acquisitions, the casino operator violated PGCB’s rules after it held two poker tournaments at the Rivers Casino that utilized a rule variation which lacked the necessary approval from the state regulator.
Holdings was also found to have failed to prevent a 20-year-old female to gain access to the Rivers Casino gaming floor and gamble at both table games and a slot machine. For these violations, the PGCB orders Holdings to cough up $30,000.
SugarHouse HSP Gaming, LP received a fine of $22,500 for three instances where individuals on the PGCBs problem gambler assistance program, the Voluntary Self-Exclusion List, were not prevented access to the gaming floor, to gamble and, in one of the incidents, to cash personal checks.
Under the rules, gaming establishments in the Commonwealth must turndown bettors from, and deny gaming privileges, including check cashing and cash advances, to individuals who are on the Self-Exclusion List.
Like Sugarhouse, the PGCB imposed a $22,500 fine against Sands Bethworks Gaming, LLC after its personnel failed to follow approved procedures for two instances, resulting in the compromise of the table play.
Finally, the fine against Mount Airy #1, LLC of $7,500 was the result of one instance in which table games play was compromised when personnel of the Mount Airy Casino Resort did not follow approved procedures.
The central government workers have an advantage over the ones from the private sector. Employees in central departments and PSUs got a Rs10,000 payout in cash last week. So even as weekly limits have been imposed on withdrawals, government departments and PSUs could withdraw a higher amount for giving the cash advances, under a special provision. This also sucked out substantial liquidity from the banks reducing the quota available for others. Apart from getting Rs10,000 cash the government employees can also line up at the banks and get withdrawals up to the weekly limit of Rs24,000.
Lark Energy has secured funding from the UK government-sponsored competition for the development of a mobile version of its solar thermal system.
The solar thermal system features the companys solar steam technology, which focuses the suns rays onto a tube which contains water through a Fresnel lens array.
Upon focusing, the water is heated which then creates steam. The resulting steam can be used in industrial process heating and cooling applications or for power generation, the company said.
Lark Energy renewable energy development engineer Simone Perini said: Solar steam has the potential to transform energy access in India and other developing countries.
In particular we are looking at delivering a mobile containerized energy system that is able to operate where the grid is unbalanced, unreliable or unavailable like rural India.
The proposal was submitted in the fourth round of the Energy Catalyst mid-stage technology development competition, which is funded by Innovate UK, the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Larkfleet proposed to build a lsquo;containerised version of its solar steam technology to deliver renewable heat and power to off-grid rural communities in India.
The two-year project will be developed by Lark Energy in partnership with Cranfield University and an Indian solar collector manufacturer.
The Energy Catalyst competition aims to develop and demonstrate the application of new technologies such as Larkfleets solar steam system which would address the elements of the global energy lsquo;trilemma low carbon emissions, affordability and security of supply.
Perini added: We are adapting this technology to have a positive impact on the generation of sustainable and renewable energy in areas where access to power is limited.
To show the global potential of the technology we are collaborating with academic and commercial partners to deliver this project in India but we are also seeking to demonstrate the viability of this technology in other regions.
Image: Lark Energy plans to build a mobile containerized solar thermal system. Photo: courtesy of Larkfleet Group.
PORT ANGELES Higher zoning densities have been approved for the Carlsborg Urban Growth Area.
Clallam County commissioners Tuesday passed a series of ordinances that upzoned the 560-acre hamlet west of Sequim.
The zoning map and code amendments increase the density of Carlsborgs residential areas from a maximum of two dwelling units per acre to a minimum of four homes per acre, Principal Planner Kevin LoPiccolo told commissioners.
The amendments increase commercial zoning along US Highway 101 to encourage economic development, reduce setback requirements and remove maximum building size standards in industrial and commercial zones, he added.
A Carlsborg Village zone along Carlsborg Road north of Spath Road was consolidated into a neighborhood commercial zone to eliminate duplication of similar land uses in the towns historic core.
The long-planned zoning update had been recommended by a 5-0 vote of the Carlsborg Community Advisory Council and a 7-0 vote of the Clallam County Planning Commission, LoPiccolo said.
Members of the Carlsborg Community Advisory Council, some of whom attended the public hearing to support the changes, had been working on the update for more than a decade.
All of their hard work is what youre seeing today. LoPiccolo said.
Carlsborgs residential zones were dived into three categories that share a four-unit-per-acre minimum density and varying maximum densities.
The new residential zones are:
Carlsborg residential 1 Allows 4 to 6 dwelling units per acre.
Carlsborg residential 2 Allows 4 to 8 homes per acre.
Carlsborg residential 3 Allows 4 to 10 homes per acre.
Commissioners Mark Ozias and Bill Peach voted unanimously to approve five related ordinances changing the zoning map, county code and comprehensive plan for the rezone.
Commissioner Mike Chapman was out with an excused absence.
The state Growth Management Act directs local jurisdictions to encourage development in urban areas where adequate public facilities and services exist or can be provided efficiently, LoPiccolo said.
In 2008, a Growth Management hearings board invalidated the Carlsborg Urban Growth because it lacked adequate infrastructure.
That ruling of invalidity, which prevented Carlsborg businesses from expanding, was lifted in 2010 when the county secured funding for the sewer that is now under construction.
Meanwhile, Clallam County and the Clallam County Public Utility District are working on an interlocal agreement to provide PUD water to Carlsborg properties that arent now being serviced by the PUD, LoPiccolo said.
Ozias and Peach called a 10-minute recess near the end of the hearing to allow staff to make last-minute revisions to the proposed rezone to allow duplexes in Carlsborg residential 2 and 3 zones and tourist shops in commercial zones.
The changes were based on public testimony from Lisa Donaldson, whose family purchased land in Carlsborg in 1968.
Donaldson said she supported the general concept of the rezone and offered suggestions for refinements.
I dont think any of us have any issues with crossing Is and changing things that grammatically are incorrect or overlooked, said Mark Smith, chairman of the Carlsborg Community Advisory Council.
And yes, if theres something thats confusing that Lisa brought up, by all means it should be looked at before it becomes permanent.
Ozias thanked the attending members of the advisory council for their hard work and involvement over the years.
And thanks to staff for your quick work to incorporate the comments that came up at the public hearing today, Ozias said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heartland Seniors Finance has won the award for Best Reverse Mortgage at Money magazines annual Best of the Best awards held in Sydney on Wednesday night.
Recognised for the value offered to its customers, CANSTAR assessed Heartlands Reverse Mortgage product based on a combination of features including its flexibility and lack of ongoing fees.
An industry leader in the Reverse Mortgage market, Heartland Seniors Finance caters to older Australians and offers the ability to meet the ever growing gap between superannuation, the pension and retirement needs.
The lenders winning product is designed to help older Australians manage their financial requirements in retirement, with common uses range from consolidating debt, completing household renovations or covering general living expenses. The amount borrowed depends on a number of factors, such as age (minimum 60 years), location and the valuation of their home.
Andrew Ford, Heartland Seniors Finance CEO, said they are thrilled to win the Best Reverse Mortgage award for the seventh year running.
To receive recognition from Money magazines prestigious Best of the Best awards is a great honour for Heartland. That said, helping thousands of Australians to live a better retirement is the most rewarding aspect of what we do.
With many senior Australians now living in homes that hold much of their wealth, Heartland is really pleased to help older Australians access funds through our Reverse Mortgage product, so they can enjoy their hard earned retirement and stay in their own home, said Ford.