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Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

Insider Trading Is Legal For Members Of Congress – And They Refuse To Pass A Law That Would Change That

Insider Trading Is Legal For Members Of Congress – And They Refuse To Pass A Law That Would Change That

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at The American Dream

Is insider trading wrong?  Most Americans would say that it is.  In fact, some very wealthy and very prominent Americans (including Martha Stewart) have gone to prison for it.  It just is not right for those with inside information that is not generally available to the public to make huge profits in the stock market by making key trades based on that information. 

But there is one group, members of the U.S. Congress, that can do all the insider trading they want and get away with it.  That is because insider trading is perfectly legal for members of Congress.  Yes, you read that correctly.  So how would that work?  Well, for example, a member of Congress may know that a law that is about to be proposed would have a very positive effect on a particular company and could buy up a ton of stock in that company a few days before that law is introduced.  Isn’t that wrong?  Of course.  Is there any law against it?  Not at all. 

You would think that some of the more ethical members of Congress would want to close this glaring loophole, but it just isn’t happening.  Legislation has been introduced from time to time that would end this practice, but it has gotten very, very little support.  The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about this issue which described the current situation this way….

"A few lawmakers proposed a bill that would prevent members and employees of Congress from trading securities based on nonpublic information they obtain. The legislation has languished since 2006."

But even though insider trading is legal for members of…
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The Art of Spinning: How to Identify Possible White Collar Criminals or at Least Unethical and Deceitful People Who You Should Avoid

Sam wrote this timeless piece a few years ago but searched it out specially for us. For non-criminal types, this article is pretty depressing, but if you feel entangled in one of these criminal-non-criminal, or unethical-ethical person, relationships, it behooves you to know how the game is played. If you are an aspiring white collar criminal, this essay can be used as a how-to manual. – Ilene 

The Art of Spinning: How to Identify Possible White Collar Criminals or at Least Unethical and Deceitful People Who You Should Avoid

sam antar Courtesy of Sam Antar 

White collar crime is a crime of persuasion and deceit. Since the white collar criminal uses persuasion and deceit to commit their crimes, it follows that such felons are artful liars.

People often ask me what characteristics I look for in other people that alert me to possible criminal activity or at least unethical and deceitful people.

Not all questionable conduct is illegal. A person can be unethical or deceitful (however they are defined) without committing any illegal acts as defined under the law.

However, most criminals use tools like spinning (see below) in the conduct of their crimes.

The Art of Spinning:

  • Sell people hope. My cousin ‘Crazy Eddie’ Antar taught me that “people live on hope” and their hopes and dreams must be fed through our spin and lies. In any situation, if possible, accentuate the positive.
  • Make excuses as long as you can. Try to have your excuses based on at least one truthful fact even if the fact is unrelated to your actions and argument.
  • When you cannot dispute the underlying facts, accept them as true but rationalize your actions. You are allowed to make mistakes as long as you have no wrongful intent. Being stupid is not a crime.
  • Always say in words you “take responsibility” but try to indirectly shift the blame on other people and factors. You need to portray yourself as a “stand up” guy or gal.
  • When you cannot defend your actions or arguments attack the messenger to detract attention from your questionable actions.
  • Always show your kindness by doing people favors. You will require the gratitude of such people to come to your aid and defend you.
  • Build up your stature, integrity, and credibility by publicizing the good deeds you have done in areas unrelated to the subject of scrutiny.
  • Build a


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The Serpent Swallows Its Own Tail

The Serpent Swallows Its Own Tail

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

Goldman Sachs and the SEC settled the great big fraud charge at a dollar amount of $550 million just now.  The regulators get to claim victory while the Eloi get to continue their frolic atop the fluffy clouds of privilege and untouchability.  Nobody admits wrongdoing, rightdoing or frankly, admits anything at all for that matter.

The image that comes to mind when I think of this battle is that of a serpent swallowing its own tail, like the mythological Ouroboros of the ancient Egyptians.

Let’s do a quick civics course for those who’ve lost track…

There are three branches of government in the United States – Wall Street, Hollywood and the Military.  Every once in a while, their courtesans in Congress feel the need to "tax" these firms for either actual dollars or for reasons of reputation and appearances.

So in this era, with trillions of dollars in wealth demolished and incinerated, the big case was finally brought to serve as a symbol that "someone on Wall Street was gonna pay."  Two government appendages, Goldman and the Commission, faced off in conference rooms and before the cameras on Capitol Hill.  After months of wrangling, they came to an agreement that allows shareholders and regulators alike to carry on business as usual and hold their heads up high.

Just as I predicted would happen, word for word.

Remember kids, crime never pays, but institutional influence and deep pockets can absolve you of anything. 


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US Ceding Parts of Arizona to Criminal Activity, As It Has Been Doing in the Financial Markets

US Ceding Parts of Arizona to Criminal Activity, As It Has Been Doing in the Financial Markets

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

This situation is an analogue to the US economy, where increasingly larger portions of the financial markets in the US are being ceded to white collar fraud and manipulation by the gangs of New York. The problem is not with law enforcement per se, but that the basic functions of government are being overwhelmed by inept and corrupt lawmakers and regulators, the powerful rule of special interests, and a general lack of concern and disdain for the needs of the ordinary citizens. These are the root cause of the failures of government in the US.

This is not a problem of Republicans versus the Democrats. It is the age old problem of the avarice of an oligarchy of the self-proclaimed elites against the rights of the private individual, and the common people.

"From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia…could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide."

Abraham Lincoln

"In a press conference ignored by the American national media, the sheriff described how his deputies were outmanned and outgunned by the cartel smugglers who increasingly operate using military tactics and weapons. The result, said Sheriff Babeu, was that a wide corridor of Arizona from the border North to the outskirts of Phoenix is effectively controlled by the cartels. "We do not have control of this area," the sheriff said.

At the same time as the sheriff’s ignored press conference, the national media did cover assurances from the Obama Administration that crime was down at the border; that the border had never been safer. This ludicrous propaganda was based on selected crime stats from San Diego, Phoenix, Austin and San Antonio. The new reign of terror on the border in Arizona was airbrushed out of the picture.

Here’s the real picture Obama does not want you to see. Warning signs were posted this past month by the federal government 80 miles…
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Crossing a Dangerous Threshold

Crossing a Dangerous Threshold

Courtesy of Michael Panzner at Financial Armageddon 

BeatDeadHorse

(Image: Source.)

Although it might seem like I’m beating a dead horse with my frequent updates on the troubles south of our border — see "No Glossing Over This Story," "As Bad As Ever," "Not So Sweet Lies," "Deteriorating Fast," "Failed State in Our Own Backyard" and "Morphing Into an Economic Problem" -- the reality is that things seem to be getting worse with each passing day. In fact, based on the following Human Events commentary by Roger Hedgecock, "Mexican Drug Cartels Control Parts of Arizona," some would say that events have crossed a dangerous threshold.

The United States is ceding parts of Arizona to the Mexican drug cartels. So says Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriff Paul Babeu.

In a press conference ignored by the American national media, the sheriff described how his deputies were outmanned and outgunned by the cartel smugglers who increasingly operate using military tactics and weapons. The result, said Sheriff Babeu, was that a wide corridor of Arizona from the border North to the outskirts of Phoenix is effectively controlled by the cartels. "We do not have control of this area," the sheriff said.

At the same time as the sheriff’s ignored press conference, the national media did cover assurances from the Obama Administration that crime was down at the border; that the border had never been safer. This ludicrous propaganda was based on selected crime stats from San Diego, Phoenix, Austin and San Antonio. The new reign of terror on the border in Arizona was airbrushed out of the picture.

Here’s the real picture Obama does not want you to see. Warning signs were posted this past month by the federal government 80 miles North of the border on the South side of I-8 between Casa Grande and Gila Bend urging U.S. citizens not to camp or hike in the "Active Drug and Human Smuggling Area" because "Visitors May Encounter Armed Criminals." Here is a picture of one of those signs:

Border

Think about it. A part of America is off limits to U.S. citizens because it is now controlled by an army of foreigners.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife staffers report that the 3,500 acre Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in this area is closed to U.S. citizens as well and is


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Global Peace Index: World Less Peaceful in 2010 Report, Violence Impacting Global Economy $7 Trillion Annually

Global Peace Index: World Less Peaceful in 2010 Report, Violence Impacting Global Economy $7 Trillion Annually

LONDON, June 8, 2010/PRNewswire/ -- 

The Past is Behind Us, The Future is Ahead/Let us all strive to make the future better and brighter than the past ever was. 1918. Color poster by Gerrit A. Beneker. Issued by Dept. of Labor. (U.S. Government Publications) Exact Date Shot Unknown NARA FILE #: 287-L.1.9:P26 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 719

- New Zealand Tops Rankings for Second Consecutive Year 

- Drop in Peace Due Largely to 5% Increase in Homicides, More Violent Demonstrations and Fear of Crime 

- 4-Year Trends Show Middle East and Africa With Most Gains in Peacefulness 

- South Asia Sees Sharpest Fall in Peace 

- Military Spending as a % of GDP Reaches its Lowest Point in 4 Years 

The world became less peaceful for the second consecutive year, according to the fourth annual Global Peace Index (GPI) published today. As the global economy continues to falter, this year’s data shows an intensification of conflicts and growing instability linked to the downturn that began in 2008, with several countries seeing sharp increases in homicides, violent demonstrations and fear of crime. 

To view the Multimedia News Release, please click: http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/prne/iep/42434   

The increase in violence is depriving the global economy of assets when they are needed most. A 25 percent reduction in global violence would free up $1.8 trillion USD annually[1] – enough to pay off Greece’s debt, fund the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and meet the EU’s 20-20-20 climate and energy targets. 

The only study to quantify global peacefulness, the GPI is produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). This year it has expanded to rank 149 independent states. Composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators, it combines internal and external factors ranging from military expenditure to relations with neighbouring countries and levels of violent crime. 

"The research carried out by the IEP based on 4 years of GPI data provides a quantifiable demonstration that improving peace can transform the global economy and unleash the wealth needed to tackle debt, fund economic expansion and create a more sustainable environment," said Steve Killelea, founder of the GPI. 

Top-ranked New Zealand was one of only three countries in the top ten to improve in peacefulness in the 2010 Index. Iceland moved into the #2 spot as the country’s economy stabilised after falling to #4 in last year’s ranking, the improvement demonstrating the resilience of peaceful nations. 

Commenting on the results, Prof. Jeff Sachs[2], Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University said: "The GPI continues its pioneering work in drawing the world’s attention to the massive resources we…
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Taibbi: Will Goldman Sachs Prove Greed Is God?

Taibbi: Will Goldman Sachs Prove Greed Is God?

Gordon GeckoCourtesy of John Lounsbury

Matt Taibbi has a feature article in The Guardian which parodies the Gordon Gecko "Greed is good" statement from the film "Wall Street". He carries the subject forward to develop a picture of Ayn Rand Objectivism taking over the world.

This is an article that will make some readers scream in disgust at the position Matt espouses and others scream in disgust at the Randian world he rants against. He concludes the article:

This debate is going to be crystallised in the Goldman case. Much of America is going to reflexively insist that Goldman’s only crime was being smarter and better at making money than IKB and ABN-Amro, and that the intrusive, meddling government (in the American narrative, always the bad guy!) should get off Goldman’s Armani-clad back. Another side is going to argue that Goldman winning this case would be a rebuke to the whole idea of civilisation – which, after all, is really just a collective decision by all of us not to screw each other over even when we can. It’s an important moment in the history of modern global capitalism: whether or not to move forward into a world of greed without limits.

Taibbi’s conclusion is similar to my repeated belief that it is important for the SEC vs. Goldman Sachs case to go to trial so the convoluted financial processes involved can be presented and reviewed by both plaintiff and defendant. The nature of the machinations must be understood by the masses and the limits of current law must be defined in order to have a rational debate. We need a complete expose so we can make logical decisions about where the financial system should go from here.

ayn randAbsent the trial or some other process of discovery we risk being doomed to divide into three camps:

  1. The Randians’ anything goes credo.
  2. Those who want to regulate everything to death.
  3. The vast majority who abandon hope of ever understanding enough to have an opinion.

We need a citizenry that understands what has happened to a sufficient extent to support some rational middle ground between the law of the jungle and all animals in zoo cages. 

Photo: Via Dangerous Minds 

 


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Confirmed: US Officials Say Terrorists Who May Have US Passports Are Plotting Another Attack Against US

Confirmed: US Officials Say Terrorists Who May Have US Passports Are Plotting Another Attack Against US

Courtesy of John Carney at Clusterstock/The Business Insider

gulf aden yemen middleeast saudiCredible intelligence has emerged that the branch of Al Qaeda Yemen is plotting another attack against the United States and U.S. interests abroad.

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official confirmed the terror plot to a number of news outlets, including the Daily News and Fox News.

The intelligence doesn’t provides specifics about time, place or method of attack. But officials are taking the threat seriously. The Yemeni group is said to have been emboldened by the Christmas Day attack.

"Our concerns have intensified," the official told The News.

Frighteningly, Fox reports that some of the suspected terrorists may have US passports.

From Fox:

Al Qaeda in Yemen and the Al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, known as Al Shabaab — translated as Mujahadeen Youth — are described as having "shared interests and shared goals."

U.S. counterterrorism officials say clear connections now can be traced between the two terrorist groups and they are not ruling out the possibility that they are working together to attack U.S. interests.

U.S. officials also remain concerned about two dozen Somali Americans who disappeared into the Al Shabaab training camps in Somalia in the last 18 months. Their American passports would allow them to reenter the United States.

 


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Goldman, Sears, Others Named In Insider Trading Subpoenas

Goldman, Sears, Others Named In Insider Trading Subpoenas (GS, SHLD)

Courtesy of Clusterstock, by Lawrence Delevingne

 

 


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New Insider Trading Arrests At Schottenfeld Group, Incremental Capital, And Ropes & Gray

New Insider Trading Arrests At Schottenfeld Group, Incremental Capital, And Ropes & Gray

Courtesy of Joe Weisenthal at Clusterstock

rajrajaratnam5.jpghere’s the complaint.

This new insider trading bust is not limited to Galleon, though one of the new 7 to be arrested did apparently work there.

According to CNBC, which first got the complaint, there have been arrests at hedge fund Incremental Capital, the Schottenfeld Group, and the law firm Ropes & Gray.

In addition to the 7 arrested, there are, it seems, an additional 7 who have been charged, but not aprehended.

Update: Bloomberg has the full list of names here:

Craig Drimal, who according to court documents worked at Manhattan-based Galleon, wasn’t an employee of the firm. Also arrested were Zvi Goffer, Arthur Cutillo, Jason Goldfarb, Emanuel Goffer, David Plate and Michael Kimelman. Charges against the men include conspiracy and fraud, according to documents filed in New York federal court. Names of the other seven defendants weren’t immediately available.

insider tradingStay tuned…

See Also:

New Insider Trading Arrests Will Be Announced At Noon Press Conference

FBI Arrests Seven More In Insider Trading Bust

AMAZING: Goldman Avoided Galleon, Just Like It Avoided Madoff (GS)

 


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Phil's Favorites

Alexis Tsipras "Open Letter" to German Citizens Regarding Extend-and-Pretend Unserviceable Debt

Courtesy of Mish.

Here's a story from January 13 that just came my way today thanks to a reader wootendw who posted a link as a comment to one of my articles.

The background to this story is SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras' "Open Letter" to German Citizens, published on Jan.13 in Handelsblatt, a leading German language business newspaper.

Alexis Tsipras, now prime minister of Greece, sent this letter to Handelsblatt:
Most of you, dear Handesblatt readers, will have formed a preconception of what this article is about before you actually read it. I am imploring you not to succumb to such preconceptions. Prejudice was never a good guide, especially during periods when an economic crisis reinforces stereotypes and breeds b...



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Zero Hedge

Is The Swiss Franc Tumbling Due To Month-End SNB Window-Dressing?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Facing what is likely the largest loss in its history, it would seem The Swiss National Bank has undertaken what every good asset manager does nowadays - Month-End window-dressing. The Swiss Franc has collapsed in the last week or so (against the Dollar and Euro) as a mysteriously active seller of Swissy has managed levels up to smooth out the collapse in value of the SNB's balance sheet...

If only you had a little morer margin to hang on to that Swiss Fra...



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Chart School

Accentuate the Positive: The Psychological Inflation of Quarterly GDP

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Pop Quiz! You just received your quarterly statement from the company that manages your 401(k). Which result would you prefer?

     A) Your portfolio is up 1.22% for the quarter.
     B) Your portfolio is up 4.97%* for the quarter.

Well, that's certainly a no-brainer question. You'd definitely choose option B.

However, buried in the fine print of the document for option B is the footnote for that little asterisk:

     *Compounded Annual Percent Change

So this was a trick quiz question! The two answers are identical. To two decimal places, the quarter-over-quarter gain of 1.22% becomes 4.97% if we state it as the compounded annual percent change....



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Market Shadows

What Would You Do?

What Would You Do?

Courtesy of Paul Price

Suppose you had the technical ability and raw materials to print up counterfeit dollars, euros or yen that were identical to the real things. Assume you could spend them as fast as you could create them with no fear of any repercussions.

Would you prudently print up only as much fresh currency as you needed for your current lifestyle? Would you create just a bit more than that to help relatives or those in need?

It is most likely you’d have your printing press running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Becoming the richest person in the world would confer great power upon you.

You could rationalize this action because you plan to use the money for good purposes. Imagine the warm feeling you’d get by giving every person in America one million do...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of January 26th, 2015

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: With the Fed fading into shadows, investors look overseas for new catalysts

Reminder: Sabrient is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

By Scott Martindale

Last week, the S&P 500 put an end to its streak of weekly losses, despite giving back some gains on Friday. Thursday provided the big catalyst, with the ECB’s announcement of its bold new monetary stimulus plan. Investors were cheered and soothed for the moment. And U.S. fundamentals still look strong. But with Greece trying to turn back time, with volatility elevated (and likely to continue as such), and with the technical situation still dicey, the near term outlook is still worrisome.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart...



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Digital Currencies

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services

So as I was saying yesterday (Bitcoin: The Biggest Clown Show In History?), Bitcoin has several obstacles on the path to potential success as an alternative currency. But I forgot to mention hacking and theft at Bitcoin exchanges and other technical problems. This is related to the lack of government backing and the fact that the value of Bitcoins is based entirely on confidence.  

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services 

By 



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Pharmboy

2015 - Biotech Fever

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs!   The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down!  The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months.  What could go wrong?

Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.

Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies.  A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly.

Click here and sign in with your user name and password. 

 

...

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Option Review

SPX Call Spread Eyes Fresh Record Highs By Year End

Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...



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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!




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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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