Bookkeeper gets 4-10 yrs for $200,000 theft. Bank execs still not prosecuted

A 60-year-old Las Vegas bookkeeper is going to prison for illegally transferring $200,000 between two unrelated companies. It’s unclear if she personally profited from it. Meanwhile, banks like Wells Fargo and HSBC pay continual fines for laundering drug money and not a single executive is criminally prosecuted.

This is not accidental. Former Attorney General Eric Holder pointblank said big banks would not be prosecuted because doing do would be injurious to them. Yes, he really said that, weeping faux tears all the while. I’m sure he will become quite wealthy now that he has left government.

“I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,” Holder said, according to The Hill. “And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.”

Wells Fargo and HBSC just pay fines for obvious criminal actions.

The [California] Treasurer’s office has long relied on Wells Fargo as a partner to meet the state’s investment and banking needs, but the bank can “no longer be trusted with the public’s money when it has shown such little regard to the regular citizens,” State Treasurer John Chiang told a news conference.

Chiang last May banned the U.S. subsidiary of HSBC from participating in California’s $6.5 billion deposit program after receiving reports of money laundering and tax evasion.

Back to the bookkeeper. Sure, what she did was illegal and wrong. However, why does she go to prison and bank execs don’t?

A former Las Vegas bookkeeper was ordered to serve four to 10 years in prison Tuesday for illegally transferring more than $200,000 between two companies, including one owned by the wife of a Nevada Supreme Court justice.

Records stated that Sparks used Antonacci’s signature stamp to write unauthorized checks, made unauthorized cash transfers and used Antonacci’s Office Depot card to take $201,096.22 from Antonacci’s accounts and move it to Leslie Parraguirre’s.

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Iot devices lack security says open source cloud provider

IoT security

The Internet of Things, due to an appalling lack of security, is indeed a disaster waiting to happen. The recent ginormous DDOS attacks were almost entirely launched from hacked IoT devices. Has your thermostat joined the dark side? How will you even know if it has?

IoT vendors should assume their devices will be found and intrusions will be attempted. Their devices need to protect against this. Further, open source code can be used anywhere. The open source code you wrote for use in your house might be used elsewhere. Is the code bullet-proof? Probably not.

Insanely, many IoT devices routinely give the device full root privileges. That means if a hacker can access the device, they can probably access the entire system. The device should only be permitted to do certain things.

From New Stack, a consortium of open source cloud software supported by dozens of companies, including IBM and Intel.

Assume that every chip you deploy in the field is going to be fully available to anyone who has access to it, summarized Stephen Blum, founder and CEO of hosted app provider PubNub, in the panel.

It should contain no secrets, no hidden access, no keys to anything. It doesn’t matter where the chip will be deployed. “For chips,” he said, “Physical access is full access.”

“If you think just because your software is on a chip, that they can’t get it off of there, you are mistaken. If you think that someone will never be able to understand your custom vertical, you are mistaken. If you think no one will ever find that hidden account you have in there to do debugging or to access to certain features that you don’t want your customers to get access to, you are certainly mistaken.”

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Squatters trashing foreclosed / abandoned homes in Vegas

Realtor Ashley Hawks takes closer look at debris and leftover packaging following the eviction of squatter at one of her listed properties. (Ophelia Young/FOX5)

Realtor Ashley Hawks takes closer look at debris and leftover packaging following the eviction of squatter at one of her listed properties. (Ophelia Young/FOX5)

Squatters are becoming a serious problem in some parts of Las Vegas, illegally moving into abandoned and foreclosed homes. Sometimes the problem is so serious that entire condo complexes are overrun. (One does have to wonder why the HOAs and management companies are apparently unable to do anything to stop it.)

Casa Vegas was once a modest but solid community near Maryland Parkway and Vegas Valley Drive but squatters have turned it into a living hell. Residents are scrambling to get out. Realtors can’t rent or sell available units. And investors are seeing their money go down the drain.

This isn’t just homeless. This often is semi-organized crime. They rip out and sell anything of value. Fires have been started. The result of this in Casa Vegas is anyone who can leave is, even if that means selling at a loss. Then the condo complex just spirals down to being a complete wreck.

Thousands of squatters, among them suspected scam artists who scheme to get utilities turned on at their chosen targets, living for free as they plot their end game: getting a bank to pay them to leave in a racket known as cash-for-keys.

Using bogus leases, the scammers bring crime. Some have run drug, prostitution and weapons sale rings from their adopted homes. Others have started fires and slowly stripped houses of all resalable items.

Some squatters “lease” units to other squatters. New laws make unlawful occupancy and housebreaking crimes (why weren’t they already crimes?) and makes it easier to get police involved.

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On the ground Clinton campaign organizing


I’ve been volunteering with the Clinton campaign here in Vegas. It is a full throttle GOTV operation. Several of the staffers are in their twenties and were brought in from out-of-state. Some have been here since May. All of then routinely work 10-12 hours day 7 days a week.

Considering the Republican Party is fractured and at war with itself, I’m certain Trump campaign staffers have not been in Nevada since May. This is where Hillary has a huge edge. Because it’s all about Get Out The Vote.

It starts with voter registration. Volunteers stand outside stores and libraries signing up new voters. By law, they must accept registrations for all parties. New registrations are entered into the Democratic voter tracking system and sent to the Secretary of State. Then, Democrats are called using voter registration lists, and asked who they support, are they planning to vote the day of or early (Nevada has early voting at voting booths), and do they want to volunteer. This is a crucial part of the GOTV push. Thousands of calls are made each day in Vegas to Democratic voters. Likely Democratic voters are identified and later will be asked if they want rides to polls.

Then, neighborhoods are walked, contacting Democrats who did not give a phone number or who are never home when they are called. The whole point of this is to get Democrats to the voting booths. Never in any of this are they asked for money.

I’ve been spending a couple of hours a day doing deeply boring but crucial data entry. Happily, the software is well-thought-out and easy to use.

It’s paying off. Clinton and the Democratic ticket is now ahead in Nevada. And I’m quite sure the Trump campaign has nothing close to the sophistication of the GOTV effort and number of staff and volunteers that Clinton has.

Because on the ground is where races are won.

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Largest power plants worldwide are hydroelectric

biggest power plants hydro

Hydroelectric is the quiet workhorse of electricity generation. The nine biggest power plants in the world are hydroelectric. Three Gorges in China is the biggest by far, with a capacity of 22.5 GW. (One gigawatt can roughly power 725,000 homes in the US, probably more in China.)

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Japan has been shut down since Fukushima, thus the top nine are all hydroelectric. Big coal and nuclear plants come close to matching the 6.5 GW output from bottom-ranked Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam but do not surpass it.

Big hydro is indeed renewable energy, however not without environmental issues. Huge dams displace large number of people. The weight of all the water can trigger earthquakes. Eventually the lakes do silt up. And there are other issues too.

Dammed rivers have also impacted processes in the broader biosphere. Most reservoirs, especially those in the tropics, are significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions (a recent study pegged global greenhouse gas emissions from reservoirs on par with that of the aviation industry, about 4% of human-caused GHG emissions). Recent studies on the Congo River have demonstrated that the sediment and nutrient flow from the Congo drives biological processes far into the Atlantic Ocean, including serving as a carbon sink for atmospheric greenhouse gases.

Large dams have led to the extinction of many fish and other aquatic species, the disappearance of birds in floodplains, huge losses of forest, wetland and farmland, erosion of coastal deltas, and many other unmitigable impacts.

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