In plea papers, Mr. Edwards admits he stole more than 1,200 credit and debit card numbers via the darknet and internet chat rooms. He and his co-conspirators used counterfeit cards to book more than $250,000 in rooms and incidentals at hotels around Dallas.An agent testified in Court on Monday that Mr. Edwards sub-rented the rooms to drug dealers and pimps at a fraction of their true cost.Hotel personnel became suspicious when multiple people racked up hefty room service bills, all charged to Mr. Edward's account. Inside the rooms, law enforcement officers found altered credit cards as well as notebooks containing what appeared to be credit card numbers and URLs for digital credit card number generators.
[P]odesta, Polo, Portocarrero, and their employees in Peru used Internet-based telephone calls and claimed to be attorneys and government representatives to threaten victims in the United States. The callers falsely claimed that victims failed to pay for or receive a delivery of products. The callers also falsely claimed that victims would be sued and that the companies would obtain large monetary judgements against them. Some victims were also threatened with negative marks on their credit reports, imprisonment, or immigration status. The callers said these threatened consequences could be avoided if the victims immediately paid "settlement fees." Many victims made monetary payments based on these baseless threats.
A retired couple and their daughter-in-law brought this action alleging that they were fraudulently induced to purchase financial products by a representative of the Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation. According to the plaintiffs, Lincoln's representative falsely assured them that the products, known as variable annuities, would pay out a death benefit equal to the amount they invested, when in fact, their financial statements showed that their death benefits were declining while the annuities paid a monthly income. Because the plaintiffs did not file their action until many years after they began to receive such statements, the district court dismissed the case as time-barred. We agree and affirm the district court's judgment.In 2007, plaintiffs Alfred and Betty Snapp, a retired couple living in Virginia, met with Randy Watts, a locally-based Lincoln representative who was authorized to sell annuities from the RiverSource Life Insurance Company. According to the Snapps' complaint, Watts advised the couple to place their retirement savings into a RiverSource variable annuity. Watts allegedly promised the couple that they would receive a monthly disbursement of $2,150 for the rest of their lives, with the couple's full investment amount to be paid out as a death benefit when one of them died. The couple followed Watts's advice and placed approximately $350,000 into a RiverSource variable annuity.The next year, in 2008, the couple's daughter-in-law, Sharon Snapp, also purchased a RiverSource variable annuity from Watts based on similar assurances. She, too, allegedly was advised by Watts that the annuity would provide a monthly stipend for the rest of her life - in her case, $1,400 - and that her estate would receive a death benefit equaling the amount of money that she placed into the annuity, which was about $265,000.But Watts's alleged assurances about the permanence of the Snapps' death benefits were false. Shortly after purchasing their annuities, the Snapps began to receive quarterly financial statements from RiverSource showing that the value of their death benefits was declining as they were paid monthly disbursements. The Snapps noticed this discrepancy, and "would often question  Watts about statements received showing a reduction in the annuity's value." J.A. 19. In response, "Watts repeatedly assured [them] that their death benefit was still secure and it would not drop below the original amount invested." Id.The Snapps do not allege that they consulted with anyone other than Watts about the discrepancies they identified between their financial statements and Watts's original promises and later assurances. At some point around 2009, Betty Snapp did call RiverSource's toll-free number regarding her concerns, but did not inquire further after "[t]he customer service representative she spoke to told her to call [Watts] to explain it to her." J.A. 261. The Snapps "believed [Watts's assurances] to be true," according to the complaint, and therefore did not take further action. J.A. 19.The Snapps allege that they did not discover the true nature of their annuities until late in 2015, after Watts, under investigation for defrauding other customers, allegedly committed suicide. The Snapps then spoke with Watts's colleague and "found out for the first time that [Watts's] statements about the death benefit were not true." J.A. 19-20.On April 18, 2016, the Snapps commenced a FINRA arbitration proceeding against Lincoln and RiverSource, which was dismissed as untimely under the arbitration body's six-year limitations period.1 The Snapps subsequently commenced this court action, asserting statutory securities fraud violations and multiple claims under Virginia common law. The defendants again moved to dismiss the case as time-barred, pointing to the lapse of time between Watts's alleged point-of-sale misrepresentations in 2007 and 2008 and the Snapps' 2016 commencement of legal action.2 In response, the Snapps argued that Watts's misrepresentations prevented them from discovering the fraud before Watts's suicide in 2015, and that the relevant statutes of limitations should be tolled as a result. In a carefully reasoned opinion, the district court agreed with the defendants and granted their motion to dismiss.=====FOOTNOTE 1: FINRA - the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - is a private selfregulatory organization that regulates certain aspects of the securities industry. Under FINRA's arbitration rules, the dismissal of the Snapps' arbitration action was without prejudice to a later court action.FOOTNOTE 2: FINRA's rules provide for the tolling of otherwise applicable statutes oflimitations while arbitration is pursued. The parties thus agree that April 18, 2016, theday on which the Snapps commenced their arbitration action, should be treated as theoperative date on which their claims were asserted for statute-of-limitations purposes.We may proceed on that assumption, as the result in this case does not depend onwhether the operative date is April 18, 2016, or instead May 17, 2017, when the Snapps filed their court complaint.
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