Rumson Financial Advisor Facing Investor Lawsuit, Complaints

first_img“(Howley) and his immediate family are among more than 230 investors who were victims of a sophisticated Ponzi scheme perpetrated to defraud investors nationwide of nearly $400 million,” Hansen said in a prepared statement to The Two River Times. A financial advisor with ties to Rumson is facing accusations of wrongdoing. Howley’s home on Rumson Road is currently for sale, listed at $4.5 million. The complaint continues that “Howley used the GCR investment as a selling point for the Guardian Life Insurance policy that earned (Howley) a large stream of commissions.” “My relationship with (Howley) is restricted to running and charitable work,” local restaurateur, philanthropist and Rumson-Fair Haven High School running coach Tim McLoone said in an Aug. 12 inter view. “(Howley) has always been good to our athletes and a supporter of our charitable efforts. There was never any inkling of anything like (these allegations). He’s always been a very, very positive influence on our community.” In 2016, John “Jack” Howley, a founding board member of Rumson’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, was selected to be its Grand Marshal. Photo by The Two River Times Though five customer disputes are being arbitrated out of court by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, known as FINRA, a Two River-area couple filed a civil complaint in Monmouth County Superior Court in March. Though Howley was never charged by the SEC, the damages requested from complaints filed against him total more than $4.9 million. Howley chose not to comment for this story. But Mary P. Hansen, a partner with the Philadelphia law firm Drinker Biddle, is representing Howley during this legal process and said the allegations contained in the lawsuit “are without merit.” “Like other investors and sophisticated institutions, Mr. Howley placed his trust in Kevin Merrill, who in May admitted under taking the fraudulent Global Credit Recovery scheme, pled guilty to multiple federal criminal charges and is facing a lengthy prison sentence. At no time did Mr. Howley have knowledge of Kevin Merrill’s criminal enterprise or intent to defraud,” Hansen added. In May, GCR’s Kevin B. Merrill, 53, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud. GCR operated from 2013 through September 2018. Co-defendants Cameron R. Jezierski, 28, and Jay B. Ledford, 55, pleaded guilty in September for their involvement in the scheme. A Sept. 9, 2018 lawsuit against GCR and Merrill was filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States District Court in Maryland. The District Court indicted Merrill and two others Sept. 11, 2018 for conspiracy, identity theft, money laundering and wire fraud. Merrill and GCR’s assets were frozen two days later. According to former Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl, Howley is a “pay-it-forward, giving-back type of guy,” who served on the borough’s recreation committee. Howley also coached recreation and travel basketball and softball and was active in the local track and cross country community. The lawsuit alleges that over the next 15 months Howley recommended the purchase a $6 million life insurance policy from Guardian, a life insurance agency with which Howley has been an advisor since 1983. Howley also suggested an investment in Global Credit Recovery. Guardian could not be reached for comment. Hansen noted that Howley is hopeful the court-appointed arbitrator will soon begin distributing Merrill and GCR’s asset proceeds to investors who were harmed. Rumson resident John “Jack” C. Howley, 58, was discharged from the New York-based Park Avenue Securities Oct. 30, 2018 after failing to disclose private securities transactions and referring clients to investments not offered by the firm. Since the firm severed its ties with Howley, six customer complaints have been levied against him that are still pending decisions. The complaints stem from Howley’s alleged dealings with Global Credit Recovery (GCR), an investment offering the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) labeled a Ponzi scheme in September 2018. Despo’s complaint said that by December 2017 his clients invested a total of $1 million with GCR, an investment that “would be sufficient to pay the premium for the Guardian Insurance.” In 2016, Howley was named the Grand Marshal of the Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade, an event he helped found and for which he was a board of trustees member. The lawsuit seeks a total of $1 million in damages from Park Avenue Securities and Howley Financial Group, a financial services firm headed by Howley for 25 years. Its official website is not currently functional. Prior to the pending customer disputes against Howley, which date back to November 2018, the Rumson resident was an active part of the borough community and was celebrated professionally in May 2018 when he was inducted into the Guardian Life Insurance Hall of Fame. “We think we’ve been harmed, and I think we’ll be successful in what we’re seeking,” Despo said when reached by The Two River Times Aug. 5. Howley also organized the first Rumson Opening Day baseball/softball parade, a tradition that continues today. According to the civil complaint, which was submitted on behalf of the Two River-area couple by Rumson attorney William A. Despo, his clients first met with Howley in early 2017 for professional assistance with their investments, life insurance and retirement planning.last_img read more

Press Freedom Day: release Hammerl

first_imgJournalists and supporters gathered outside the Parliament building in CapeTown in April to voice their outrageat Hammerl’s continued imprisonment.(Image: Free African Media) MEDIA CONTACTS • Tanya de Vente-BijkerPublic relations, National Press Club+27 72 267 0751 RELATED ARTICLES • Tutu speaks out for press freedom • Press freedom in SA • Press freedom on Sanef agenda • New journalism centre for SU • Fifa guarantees press freedomSource: BuaNewsSouth Africa’s media have used World Press Freedom Day as an opportunity to urge the government to ensure that press freedom is upheld and that journalists are allowed to do their jobs without interference, intimidation or detention.In a statement to mark the event, the National Press Club also called on the Libyan government to immediately release South African photographer Anton Hammerl, who was seized by Libyan militia on 5 April, and other detained journalists.The UN General Assembly declared 3 May to be World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.World Press Freedom Day also marks the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.National Press Club chairman Yusuf Abramjee said: “The continued detention of our colleagues in Libya is worrying.”On behalf of the club, Abramjee appealed to the South African government to help with applying pressure to the North African country to release Hammerl, saying that he and the other captives are on many people’s minds.“I’ve recently had discussions with Libya’s ambassador to South Africa, Dr Abdoola Al-Zubedi, who promised to assist. We hope to meet him this week again to follow-up and see what, if any, progress has been made. “Abramjee said that journalists should be allowed to do their work without fear or harassment, and without being detained, although this is not the case in many parts of the world.The National Press Club also paid tribute to reporters who were killed in the line of duty.Abramjee said media freedom had to be protected, and that legislation that hampered the free functioning of the media would be “strongly opposed”. He asked newspapers to leave some pages blank in upcoming editions to symbolise censorship.“Radio and TV stations should also dedicate a few seconds of ‘dead air’ to create awareness around media clampdowns,” he said.Abramjee said there have been a number of worrying incidents where journalists have been intimidated and threatened with arrest and in some cases, even arrested while doing their job.“We will continue to raise our concerns with the police leadership,” he said. “We must be allowed to work freely.”He reiterated the need for the media to be fair, balanced and independent.“If and when we err, we must be bold enough to apologise with the same prominence as the original report,” he said. “Journalists have to be bold and fearless. We must continue to expose wrongdoing at every turn. We must be the watchdogs for society.”Media freedom in South AfricaAccording to media freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), South Africa is ranked at number 38 in the organisation’s 2010 Press Freedom Index. This puts the country ahead of France (44), Italy (49), and the US (99), and well within the top 50 countries said to have “genuine press freedom”.RSF’s ninth annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index, which covers the period from 1 September 2009 to 1 September 2010, reports on the degree of freedom journalists and news organisations enjoy in each monitored country, and the efforts made by governments to respect and ensure respect for this freedom.last_img read more

When it Comes to Spam, Everything Old is New Again

first_imgRelated Posts frederic lardinois Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Tags:#news#NYT#web Google released some interesting data about the volume and types of attacks its spam detection software identified over the last quarter. According to Google, overall spam levels in the second quarter of 2009 were 53% higher than during the first quarter, and 6% higher than a year ago. Even though the total volume of spam dropped by 70% after the the takedown of the infamous McColo ISP, it only took four months for spam levels to get back to normal. Last month, 3FN, an other large ISP spam source was also shut down, but spam volume only dropped by about 30%, and chances are that the spam market will simply rebound within a few months, as new spammers get into the market.The Return of Image SpamInterestingly, Google also notes that image spam, which is generally filtered out quite well by modern spam detection software, has seen a major resurgence. Amanda Kleha, a member of Google’s message security and archiving team, theorizes that this might be due to new spammers getting into the market after the shutdown of McColo and 3FN, and these new players are starting out with well established methods, even if they are not very effective. Kleha also notes that spammers might just be testing how well the current generation of spam filters handles these messages in order to perform statistical analysis based on which subject lines and content make it into users’ inboxes.Google also notes that one of the largest spam attacks in the last quarter was based on an old school “newsletter” template (with malevolent links and images thrown in there for good measure). This attack unleashed about 50% an average day’s spam volume in only 2 hours. So while it might not have been highly sophisticated, there was surely a massive network behind it that was able to send out this huge amount of spam in such a short time. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

4 Tips From Google To Make Your Website More Compelling

first_imgRelated Posts Yahoo learned this lesson the hard way. Consider this screenshot of the 1999 Yahoo homepage design, which is obviously dated, messy and vastly different from today’s Yahoo—which, by the way, still struggles for user attention long after abandoning the site’s original “catalog” design. The ideal way to feature your website’s offerings should be entirely dependent on the audience and how it seeks information, and Yahoo’s portal design only worked so long as there was no better alternative.Soon enough, there was. No one better understands how to serve up online information than Google. Its dependable homepage design has remained largely the same for roughly 14 years. While the algorithms that power Google’s search function are constantly tested and tweaked, the only significant design change in the past ten years is a larger sized search box, which each day answers more than a billion questions in 181 countries and 146 languages.The Google experience is intuitive, highly personalized and user driven—no two searches are alike. Search results are a combination of the user’s logged search history and Google’s own automated daily crawl of 20 billion websites in search of data that can be turned into results. Thanks to Google’s immense “Knowledge Graph,” only 15 percent of searches are new to Google and haven’t been seen before.What You Can Learn From GoogleGoogle retains its prominence among competitors because it knows and responds to user experience. It’s a great model for nonprofit, association, and government websites that face enormous challenges keeping their target audiences informed and engaged. Here are four guiding principles to help guide your website content organization strategy:WWUD. Make “What Will Users Do” your organization’s watchwords when posting new material. Sure, you think it’s important, but will your target audience? How are they finding it? Where do they go after reading it? Think about your audiences’ interests, but also their level of experience. Is there a way to present things differently for first time visitors and experienced veterans?Question taxonomy. Website architecture persists from inertia and lack of awareness about how (and whether) users are finding and getting the information they need. Smart organizations challenge assumptions and “the way it’s always been” and are perpetually curious about their target audiences. Like Google and Amazon, the websites that know their users and tailor their presentations accordingly are able to draw users from page to page to learn and do more. They attract more visitors, impart more information, clinch more memberships, and drive more action and purchases. Not coincidentally, these websites tend to be cleaner and offer users more relevant material suited to their needs and experience levels.Answer questions. Like Google, websites should be organized and tailored to answer user questions. Users come to the Web to learn and get answers—often to questions they didn’t even know to ask. The notion that websites should be serving up modules of learning tailored to users is alien to most organizations. That kind of unwillingness to adapt to the audience is why Yahoo, Infoseek, Altavista and other search engines failed while Google lives on.Test and refine. Knowing how to answer user questions requires knowing your users and how they navigate your website. Website analytics tools can help you dig in to learn about where visitors are going, how long they’re staying and when they leave. Experiment with placement and wording of information. As we build each website, every step along the way is an opportunity to get feedback from the client’s target audience to shape the most effective architecture and navigation tools. Incremental and continuous testing keeps us honest and stops us from making both big and little mistakes that result from faulty assumptions.If your website more closely resembles the rows and sections of a library than a user-friendly online learning expo, consider a new approach using these four principles to guide your strategy. You will be rewarded with an increase in quality Web traffic and a productive relationship with your target audience. In the high stakes world organizations, governments and companies live in, that’s well worth the effort. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Guest author Mark Tobias is president of the online consulting firm Pantheon.Most organizations are constantly adding material on their website—new sections, new toolbars, updated information and more. But how do you make sure that all the time and energy that goes into producing useful information doesn’t go to waste because it’s not arranged in ways that sync up with your visitors’ needs?Many organizations in this situation end up with confusing, cluttered websites that turn away frustrated visitors instead of drawing them in. This is particularly true when they select web designs based on aesthetics instead of focusing on how well they meet the needs of the target audience.The Ghost Of Melvil Dewey Haunts The WebUnfortunately, far too many websites feature an information architecture and content strategy more akin to the Dewey Decimal System then to today’s users needs. Dewey’s classification of books into searchable sections of the library was an excellent service for researchers and library lovers, but it’s a poor match for the online organization of information.The categorical approach inspired by the Dewey Decimal System forces website visitors to spend more time and effort trying to figure out how what they want to learn fits into pre-assigned categories. Let’s face it—patience isn’t much of a virtue online. Web users want what they want, when they want it. There is no tolerance for designs that force them to forage from section to section. If users can’t get their questions answered quickly, they leave. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img mark tobias Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Google#Information#organization last_img read more