Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Recently in Crimes and Scams Category

If you were just getting your cannabiz off the ground, yesterday's news might've been quite the buzzkill. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded several Obama-era directives curtailing enforcement of federal prohibitions on the possession and sale of marijuana.

The memo directs U.S. Attorneys to "enforce the laws enacted by Congress and to follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities." So does this mean the feds are going to be raiding sellers in weed-legal states?

When most of us think "human trafficking," we think of semi trucks loaded with immigrants, some tragically not surviving the journey. We're generally not thinking about $700/night Ritz-Carlton hotels in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

But human trafficking has many different faces, requiring many different people to be vigilant in the fight against it. Recently, the focus has turned to training employees and managers in restaurants, hotels, and others in the hospitality industry to prevent, spot, and report human trafficking. Here's why:

You don't need anyone to tell you that work isn't confined to the four walls of your office. Gone are the days of punching in and out at a time clock, and clients, customers, and employees will want contact no matter where you are or what time it is. This means doing a lot of business on the phone, and smartphones only increase the amount of work you can do away from your desk.

But is all this freedom a security risk? And does using a personal phone for work increase that risk?

Gone are the days that small business owners can just focus on dollars and cents. If you're not on the lookout for crimes and scams, you stand to lose more than a little profit.

Scammers can destroy your small business' credit and reputation overnight, so you need to be vigilant when protecting what you've built. But you can't stop a scam if you don't know what to look for, so here are seven of the most common scams targeting small businesses.

While some small businesses are gearing up for the Christmas sale rush, others might be winding down for the holiday season. And whether you're anticipating a rush of customers into your business or a flood of employees out on vacation, you also have to be on guard for the annual holiday crime spike.

Whether its shoplifters who can't afford or don't want to pay for a gift, or staffing illegally adding to their year-end bonus, take these five tips to heart when trying to prevent Christmas crime at your small business.

Most have us, at some point in our daily lives or travels, have come across a shop serving its customers through bulletproof glass. Maybe it was a gas station or a convenience store, but the assumption is always pretty similar -- this must be a rough neighborhood, and this place probably has a good reason for having the glass up.

But Philadelphia is trying to bring the bulletproof glass down, at least in some of its establishments. And to understand why, it might be useful to explain how Philly's "beer delis" are a little different than your average corner store.

We might remember 2014 as the Year of the Data Breach. But 2017 saw what has the potential to be the most catastrophic hack in history. And 2018 might be the year when Congress cracks down on companies concealing data breaches.

Last week, three senators introduced new legislation that would require companies to report data breaches within 30 days, and even provide prison time for executives who knowingly conceal a data breach.

Most entrepreneurs dream of getting their small business off the ground, and growing it into a self-sustainable enterprise. Other employees will take over the day-to-day operations and sales while you think big picture. They'll rise through the ranks, hire their own employees, and you'll be further removed from much of the work and the grind, but still sharing in the success and the profits.

Multi-level marketing puts a slightly different twist on that idea. Also known as MLM or network marketing, multi-level marketing is a sales system in which independent salespeople or distributors sell consumer products supplied by a specific company. Distributors get paid based on what they sell, and are encouraged to build their own sales force by recruiting, training, and supplying others to sell products, thereby earning a percentage of those sales. Done right, it's perfectly legal; done wrong, it's an illegal Ponzi scheme.

One of the big new features on Apple's iPhone X is Face ID. What Touch ID did with your fingerprint, Face ID does with your face -- using facial recognition to unlock the phone, authenticate purchases, and sign in to apps. And while Face ID may make your phone less secure in the criminal law context, it might be music to the ears of employers, who won't have to worry about negligent employees mishandling their passwords.

So how might facial recognition work in the workplace? And is it time for your small business to make the upgrade?

By his own admission, Gurbaksh Chahal built his first business on a lie. He inflated his age to a London programmer and promised to pay him money Chahal did not have. Chahal sold that company for $40 million. A less successful second venture, a Bollywood restaurant that literally died in flames, taught another unsavory lesson: "Forget noble motivations," Chahal wrote in his memoir. "Pursue your own interests and focus on making yourself happy."

So perhaps it's not too surprising that a CEO with that kind of start would end up being accused in a lawsuit of routinely using racial slurs when speaking to subordinates and physically assaulting two female employees. Also not surprising? This is far from the first lawsuit ascribing this kind of behavior to Chahal.