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A fake bank which was set up to look just like a real one has swindled Chinese savers out of 200m yuan ($32m; £21m), it's reported.
To customers in the eastern city of Nanjing the interior looked like any other state-owned bank, with uniformed clerks working behind the counters, the Southern Metropolis Daily website reports. Almost 200 people deposited their cash, including a businessman who handed over 12m yuan ($1.9m; £1.3m) in 2014. But he grew suspicious when he wasn't paid the promised interest on his money, and went to the police after the bank refused to return his savings. A police investigation found that it was actually a rural cooperative, which had none of the accreditations required to operate as a bank. It had been promising interest rates of 2% per week and high interest subsidies, police say.
The fact the "bank" was able to operate for so long has left some Chinese social media users incredulous. "More than a year, it looks like the authorities have gone blind," says one user on the Weibo social network. "Fake banks, and a fake local government," comments another user. Police have arrested five people over the scam, including a woman who reportedly high-tailed it to Macau, China's famous gambling centre, with the customers' money.
From Daily Mail:
There's a saying that a penny saved is a penny earned.
That was certainly true for one Texas man who saved all of his pennies over a staggering 65 years and had a collection of 81,600 pennies worth $816.
Ira Keys, 81, had been saving his pennies for nearly seven decades and finally decided to cash them in at a bank in Slaton, Texas.
Keys said his penny-saving obsession begun after his father encouraged him to save his money when he was a young man and some were saved when he was just 17-years-old.
He told KCBD-TV: '[My dad] says, 'Whatever you do son, save your money.'
Keys said: 'Back when I started in '52, I didn't have a lot of money, so I saved pennies and I just kept saving them.'
His collection weighed a whopping 500 pounds and Keys joked that he nearly 'broke the springs on his pickup truck' while he hauled them into the bank.
Bank staff at Prosperity Bank took more than an hour to count the pennies which were piled high in coffee containers.
Kari Lewis, a personal banker at Prosperity Bank, told KCBD that Keys' collection of pennies was unlike anything she has ever seen before.
'You see them on the ground and you're kind of like, 'Oh, I'm not picking that up,' but for him to collect it for years and years was pretty amazing,' she said.
She added: 'We ended up with $816 in pennies. Not a typical day at the bank, at all.'
However Keys admits that he still has a ton of pennies at home which he did not cash in and already has a plan for what he's going to do with them.
'I'm going to build a room divider and have pennies all in it,' he said, 'the shiny ones.'
But the 81-year-old is still holding on to his father's valuable lesson about saving. He says he will keep his piggy bank full.
'It's just a habit I've got into, and habits are hard to break sometimes,' Keys said, 'but I don't think I'll have this many when I cash them in again.'
He also believes that his father would have been annoyed that he'd cashed in his stash.
He joked: 'He'd say, I told you to save...not to cash them in.'
From Daily Mail:
An eccentric filmmaker who once held a lecturer position at MIT allegedly robbed a New York bank on New Year's Eve while filming the heist and said he did it for art's sake. The New York Post reports that Joseph Gibbons, 61, was charged with robbery on Friday after taking $1,000 from a Capital One bank in downtown Manhattan. According to court documents, Gibbons walked into a branch on Bowery and Grand Street armed with a camcorder.
He handed the bank teller a note, which asked for a donation to be made to his church, according to documents filed in court.
Rhode Island police believe that the former professor, who currently lives in a Boston suburb, is responsible for a similar heist at a bank in Providence.
According to the Providence Journal, a middle-aged man robbed a Citizens Bank in November, telling the clerk who handed over $3,000, 'Thank you, this is for the church.'
The Post reports that while waiting to be arraigned for the incident on New Year's Eve, Gibbons told another man who was locked up the inspiration for the robberies.
'He was doing research for a film,' said 27-year-old Kaylan Sherrard. 'It’s not a crime; it’s artwork… He’s an intellectual.'
In the past, Gibbons said he tried to cultivate a drug habit as research for a couple of his short films.
'I was involved with all this as research,' he told art magazine Big Red and Shiny. 'The romantic idea of the artist getting involved in these kinds of activities as a kind of research, gaining experience.'
According to Gibbons's LinkedIn profile, he was a visiting artist at Bard College for three months in 1990, and later took a lecturer position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Though as of Saturday, a page for Joe Gibbons on MIT's Program in Art, Culture and Technology turned up a dead link, an earlier version of the site shows Joe Gibbons was a lecturer there from 2002 to 2010.
A biography on that page states Gibbons's work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Reina Sofia in Madrid.
It also notes that his 2002 film 'Confessions of a Sociopath' was considered among the Best Films of the Year by Artforum magazine.
An email sent to an address attributed to Gibbons was not returned.via daily mail
From Lowering the Bar:
"Knowing Joe, it wasn't really a surprise," said one of Joe's friends about the news that Joe had robbed two banks. "I don't think he meant anything by it other than he was just trying to get some good footage."
Whether the footage was any good remains to be seen, but Joe did successfully get (1) about $4,000 and (2) charged with a crime.
Joe Gibbons was a lecturer in video arts at MIT from 2001 until 2010, and his LinkedIn page states that he is currently a video editor with (appropriately enough) "Fugitive Productions." He has stated that his films are often inspired by his real-life experiences, and that when he "ran out of his own problems" he "started creating them" as a kind of research. It would appear that he is now working on a film about crime.
He has admitted, says the Boston Herald, that he robbed a bank in New York on New Year's Eve, presenting a note that said among other things "This is a robbery." The teller gave him about $1,000, he put it in a bag and then fled the scene. So, a pretty standard bank robbery, except that Gibbons filmed the whole thing with a video camera he pulled out of his pocket. He has also admitted that he robbed a bank in Providence the month before, although it isn't clear whether he filmed that one or not.
The New York Post reports that Gibbons has a history of stealing things, apparently always as part of a "prank" or, as he described his most recent operations, "research." In 1977, the Post says, Gibbons took a painting off the wall of a museum during a cocktail party and walked right out the door with it. He then sent the painting back, but said he was holding the frame for ransom on behalf of the "Art Liberation Front." In that case he was charged with theft, but the charges were later dropped. Whether the same is going to happen here remains to be seen.
Under New York law, "robbery" is (basically) using or threatening the use of force in order to take property from another, "in the course of committing a larceny." Robbing a bank involves an implied threat of force, I believe, even if you are only armed with a note, as Gibbons was. So he did that, and he got money, and he left with the money.
But it isn't "robbery" unless done "in the course of committing a larceny," and "larceny" means wrongfully taking another's property "with intent to deprive" that person of it or "appropriate the same to himself or a third person." And there are lots of New York cases holding no robbery occurred where the evidence showed the defendant didn't intend to take the property permanently. For example, taking the victim's sneakers, throwing them across the train tracks and telling him "you're going home barefooted tonight!" Not a robbery. People v. Parker, 466 N.Y.S.2d 700 (2d Dep't 1983).
Here Gibbons' history is probably going to be relevant, although evidence of what he did with the money will probably be a lot more relevant. Did he intend to keep it? Or was he going to bring it back, maybe "hold it for ransom"? Time will tell. In most cases, though, saying you only committed the crime for "research" purposes is going to be a complete non-starter. See, e.g., "Man Says He Robbed Bank as Part of Research Project," Lowering the Bar (Mar. 3, 2005) (discussing defendant who told judge he wanted to be caught so he could continue his crime research "in seclusion"; judge gave him nine years to do so).
We’ve used those counterfeit detector pens at work, and I’ve gotten into the habit if calling them Phoney or Funny Finders and will even show customers how they work if asked.
I stopped using them and switched to looking for the strip inside the bill after we got a counter fit $50 that was so well done it nearly fooled the bank teller that was counting the
money for our deposit.
We would usually just run the Funny Finders over the bills to see of they came up black or yellow and since it came up yellow, we took it.
After the teller called the next morning, she got ahold of the Secret Service (since they handle such things) and let us know when they got back to her that it was actually a $5 bill that had been pretty heavily doctored, which is why the pen didn’t catch it.
The reason she suspected it was that there was something “not right” about it, but the only problem she found was that it had been missing that strip (which I have seen pulled out of a $20 before), so she got the Secret Service in on it just in case.
It's scary how well counterfeiters are getting