Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Recently in Crimes and Scams Category

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that public accommodations must provide reasonable modifications in their policies, or procedures for those with disabilities and remove structural, architectural, and communication barriers when such removal is "easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty and expense." The Act also allows a private person to bring a lawsuit to enforce these requirements.

And while increasing access for disabled persons is essential, even the best intentions can be manipulated for personal gain. That's what Mike Murphy, owner of Jointed Cue Billiards in Sacramento, California, thinks is happening. The pool hall was sued by Scott Johnson, a quadriplegic attorney who claims the location is not ADA-compliant. Rather than upgrade the facilities or settle with Johnson, however, Murphy is closing the 50-year-old pool hall down.

You may have heard the term 'drug mule' -- a person who, wittingly or not, transports illicit drugs across the border. You may not, however, have heard of a 'money mule.' These folks set up bank accounts to funnel ill-gotten money from U.S. business to international scam artists.

Being a money mule can be incredibly easy, unbelievably lucrative, and most definitely illegal, as over 20 Floridians indicted for a laundry list of federal financial crimes recently found out.

Multiple shootings, assaults, aggravated robberies, narcotics, and other crimes. At least four patrons arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated. One intoxication assault of a police officer. A grand total of 90 arrests at the location since it opened. Perhaps Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg wasn't far off when she called Houston sports bar Bombshells a "crime factory."

Ogg's office filed a public nuisance lawsuit against the bar last week, and obtained a temporary restraining order banning the bar from serving booze until the case is resolved. And rather than serve food exclusively during the ban, the bar's owners chose to shut up shop completely.

How to Reduce the Risk of Cybercrime for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, you probably just want to go about your day-to-day operations, running your company, and thinking about ways to expand or improve. The last thing you need is the headache and financial stress caused by some cybercriminal trying to hack into your system. And yes, small businesses are at risk even though large corporations are the ones who garner all the cyber-attack headlines. Luckily, according to Entrepreneur, there are a number of preventative measures you can take to reduce the risk of cybercrime affecting your business.

Another news cycle, another malware story. With everyone from the biggest credit agencies to the smallest home businesses at risk for cybercrime, many small biz owners are reassessing their risk of being hacked. And while preventative measures are essential, they're not always perfect -- that's where insurance comes in.

Cyber insurance can cover everything from pre-incident security audits to post-incident criminal investigations. So how do you figure out if cyber insurance is right for your small biz? Here are five big questions -- and answers -- regarding small business cyber insurance.

Is It Legal to Sell Biohacking Tech or DIY Gene Therapies?

You've probably heard of a wide variety of DIY projects before -- home renovations, car mechanics, furniture builds, and the like. But what about more scientific DIY projects? Can you experiment with DNA and DIY gene therapies? Is it legal to sell these and other biohacking tech? With biohacking gaining popularity, the FDA is attempting to crackdown on the sale of these products, but many enthusiasts argue there is no law against what they're doing.

Its creators call it a 'life skills' program that contributes to 'restorative justice.' A California judge called it extortion. And a new lawsuit against the anti-shoplifting course's creators and the retail stores that use it, including Walmart, minced no words:

"Defendants are not small-time Mafia thugs. They do not break kneecaps; they do not torch storefronts ... But despite their glittering credentials, Defendants are all participants in a long-running, highly profitable extortion scheme that has extracted millions of dollars from thousands of poor, desperate people across the country. And RICO applies, with equal force, to street hoodlums and Harvard MBAs alike."

Corrective Education Company has been accused of railroading shoplifting suspects into admitting guilt and paying up to $500 to avoid store security contacting law enforcement, and the lawsuit even refers to Walmart as a "co-conspirator" in the extortion scheme. Needless to say, you might not want to use CEC to battle shoplifting in your store. So here are five other options:

Theranos Charged With 'Massive Fraud' by SEC

The once promising blood-testing company, Theranos, has been charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company, its CEO, and its president were accused of misleading investors and raising hundreds of millions of dollars by making false or exaggerated claims in defiance of the anti-fraud provisions of federal securities laws.

While the SEC is still pursuing its charges against Theranos' former president Ramesh Balwani, the company and CEO Elizabeth Holmes have resolved their charges, with Holmes being stripped of control, among other penalties.

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: