Patricia Lele waits for nightfall to go to work. As the sun sets in Kitale, in western Kenya, she hikes up her 2-year-old daughter on her hip, gathers some of her other eight children, and sets off down a dirt road. When she reaches the center of town, she spreads a blanket on the sidewalk outside a grocery store and carefully lays out her wares. [Read it]
Look out, the stranger on the phone warned. They’re coming for you. [Read the story] Update: Federal, state and local authorities are cracking down on the merchant cash advance industry in response to this story and the rest of the series I wrote with Zachary Mider. The U.S. Senate and House proposed bills, several New York State lawmakers called for a ban and the New York Attorney General started an investigation. New York’s mayor also called for a review of […]
It was a Davos for digital hucksters. One day last June, scammers from around the world gathered for a conference at a renovated 19th century train station in Berlin. All the most popular hustles were there: miracle diet pills, instant muscle builders, brain boosters, male enhancers. The “You Won an iPhone” companies had display booths, and the “Your Computer May Be Infected” folks sent salesmen. Russia was represented by the promoters of a black-mask face peel, and Canada made a […]
On the night he cut a deal with the FBI, Guy Gentile was on his way to a Connecticut casino for his cousin’s bachelor party. He’d jetted up from the Bahamas, where he was running an online stock brokerage that cleared a million dollars a year without much effort on his part. Then 36, he was a working-class kid who’d finagled his way into the dicier edges of finance, and he dressed the part, with neatly trimmed stubble, designer jeans, […]
Maurice Spagnoletti was hired to clean up Doral Bank. Did he uncover something that got him killed? [Read it] Update: Two years after this story, U.S. authorities charged four people with Spagnoletti’s murder.