Free genealogy class helps people learn family history

Bingo games for veterans

Veterans Northeast Outreach Center in Haverhill welcomes all veterans for bingo games.

The games are held on the last Wednesday of each month at 6 pm atVeterans Northeast Outreach Center,10 Reed St. The next game is Feb. 22.

The games are sponsored by VFW Ladies Auxiliary and outreach centerand are open to veterans only.

Game cards are free and small prizes of gift cards are awarded for each game. If you are not enrolled with Veterans Northeast Outreach, please bring identification of veteran status. More information is available by calling 978-372-3626.

Financial education classes offered

Sue Katz of American Consumer Credit Counseling will conduct a free Financial Education Classon the third Wednesday of every month at 5 pm at Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, 10 Reed St.

Each class lasts about twohours. Topics include budgeting, credit repair, building credit, tax information and investing.This is a group class with individual counseling afterwards. Classes are open to the public as well as to veterans. Katz has specific experience with veteran issues. Classes are ongoing and available on a drop-in basis. More information is available by calling 978-372-3626.

Boys amp; Girls Club to hold annual celebration

The Boys amp; Girls Club of Greater Haverhill will hold its annual celebration on March 4 at DiBurros function hall in Ward Hill.

Cocktail hour is at 6 pm, followed by dinner and a silent and live auction.

Special guest is New England Patriots Super Bowl Champion and 96.9 radio host Jermaine Wiggins.

Can’t be there on March 4 but want to take part in the action? Register and bid remotely on silent auction items via Auction items include concert tickets to Billy Joel at Fenway Park and Coldplay at Gillette Stadium, New England Patriots Tickets (four), Boston Celtics tickets (four), Renaissance Golf Club foursome package with dinner and overnight accommodations, and other items. All proceeds support the Boys amp; Girls Club of Greater Haverhill.

Tickets are $110 per person.

One Call to City Hall

Residents looking to connect with a particular department in City Hall, or who would like to request snow plowing, sanding, pothole repairs or any other city service can now dial 311 and a trained representative will respond.

In the event of an emergency requiring the response of police, firefighters or an ambulance, callers are advised to dial 911.

The citys new 311 service is available weekdays from 8 am to 4 pm, during normal City Hall business hours, however, in certain situations those hours could be extended by the mayor.

Callers from outside the city need to use the area code and regular numbers — 978-358-1311.

Australia’s Seek in talks to buy out James Packer’s stake in Chinese jobs site

Seek didnt offer an explanation for the move, but said it and private equity firms Hillhouse Capital Group and FountainVest Partners are in advanced discussions with a special committee of the board of Zhaopin about taking the company private.

While Seek has been expanding overseas, Mr Packer has been cutting back his offshore investments, in China in particular, since the authorities there arrested 18 of his Crown Resorts casino staff in October amid a gambling crackdown.

In December, Crown cancelled a spin-off listing of its offshore casinos and said it was instead selling down its stake in the Chinese gambling hub Macau.

Zhaopin, which Seek partially sold in a listing in 2013, said in a separate statement that it was discussing the potential deal but was uncertain if the parties would reach an agreement.

MC Sports begins merchandise sell-off after bankruptcy

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Customers showed up at MC Sports stores across Michigan to cash in on deals offered as the company closes up shop.

A judge approved a bankruptcy plan for MC Sports on Thursday and the well-known sports retailer has begun to sell off merchandise at 68 stores in seven states.

The plan is to sell off all of the merchandise by the end of April or early May.

Five key differences between real and fake investments

As with anything that involves money and risk, investing has never been a straightforward matter – if it were, everyone would be richer.

It is a skill. It takes know-how to get to grips with the detail and the pitfalls. Only time and experience teaches you how to tell the difference between a great opportunity and a massive gamble; when its worth pursuing despite the odds, and when to cut your losses and quit.

You might be one of the savvy ones. Perhaps you know your Pyramid from your Ponzi scheme, Forex from Binary Trading, Pump and Dump from Offshore Investments. The bad news is, financial fraudsters are trained to take whatever knowledge you have and build on it.

After all, this is why you pay a legitimate investment advisor to sift through the small print and pinpoint the opportunity that is ideal for you.

So here are five key differences between real and fake investment opportunities.

The website lacks a certain authenticity
It is professionally put together, you can call the number and reach a receptionist, but there may still be warning signs.

Perform a Who Is search. If the owner, address or registration details dont match the details on the website (or theyve paid to keep them hidden), something fishy is going on. A legitimate company is happy to let you know where they are based.

How to improving your credit rating: Credit Repair Companies

If you’ve been experiencing some financial challenges, chances are that your credit record (or credit history) has taken a bit of a battering. If you’ve been been unsuccessfully applying for lines of credit from finance providers, or if you’ve been having difficulty in meeting all of your bill payments, then this will be all form part of your credit history – and most likely will have an impact on your ability to obtain finance or credit in the future.

Getting the facts is important. If you’re worried about your credit record or history, there are a number of ways in which you can obtain a report that shows what will be revealed to any credit providers that you might be applying to in the future.

There’s a range of steps that you can take to improve your credit record and make you a more attractive proposition to potential lenders or credit providers.

One of the services that is regularly advertised or promoted is that of Credit Repair Companies. Credit Repair Companies will charge you money up-front and offer to remove negative information from your credit record -negative information such as bankruptcy or judgment.

However the benefits of using a Credit Repair Company may be extremely limited -if what is recorded in your credit history is accurate, then it can’t be removed. It stays on there. The only way to improve your credit record or credit history is to build a solid track record of consistently paying your debts and meeting your obligations -that takes time and effort. Past indiscretions lose their negative impact on your credit history as they fade with time and you consistently demonstrate your financial stability and credit worthiness.

While it varies a little depending on where you live, generally you will find that negative credit information will remain on your credit history for at least seven years, a bankruptcy will remain for at least ten years, and criminal convictions will permanently remain on your credit record.

If you are considering the services of a Credit Repair Company, here are some warning signs that will help you to find legitimate credit repair services. If a Credit Repair Company is asking for any of the following, then they are best avoided:

  • An upfront payment is required
  • Your legal rights are not disclosed -most jurisdictions will have detailed regulations about the disclosures required
  • You are discouraged from directly contacting the credit bureau
  • The steps that they are advising seem to be dishonest -for example, you can be charged with fraud if you try to create a new credit identity, or if you give false information when applying for credit.

Credit Repair Companies can have a positive impact in helping you to remove incorrect information that is recorded on your credit history, but you don’t actually need to pay anyone for that service – it’s something that you can do yourself. Generally you’ll find that if you’ve been denied credit due to concerns over your credit history, you’re entitled to request a copy of your credit record. If you identify any errors or outdated items, then you can raise these concerns with the credit bureau – you may need to support your claims with documentation.

The most important step that you can take in seeking to improve your credit history or credit record is to get back on track with paying your debts and financial obligations. Consistently managing your finances soundly is the first step in rebuilding your reputation as someone who is credit-worthy.

A Des Moines’ family’s dream home has turned into a legal nightmare

Towers, meanwhile,has had a litany of financial difficulty and is facing allegations of investmentfraud, Polk County court records show.

A breach of contract and fraud case pending in Polk County alleges that Towers, as owner of MTM investments and another company called Knight Watch Intelligence Agency operating from the same Merle Hay Road address, entered into contracts with a friend from Nevada, Denise Wayne, in 2015.

Under the contracts signed by both women, Wayne loaned MTM and Knight Watch money to invest in real estate and process diamonds. Wayne said she wired at least $231,000 to Towers and received none of her loan or the investment returns promisedunder the contracts.

Interviewed from Las Vegas, Wayne saidshe taught Towers in an online credit-repair course and the two became friends. After she received a settlement from an injury, she said, Towers persuaded her to wire investment money for real estate and took some of the money to buy diamonds instead.

Court records show 51-year-old Towers has been sued severaltimes in civil court for failing to payothers.

She and her husbandalso filed bankruptcy in 2011 and, in November 2016, were subjects of an IRS lien filed against them for nonpayment of $58,200 in taxes, Polk County records show.

The two have bought and sold dozens of properties around Des Moines under different company names and rounded up investment income for others in real estate. Some properties were transferred to Towers fathers church before being transferred into Karen and Steve Towers names, according to the Polk County Treasurers Office.

The Towerses also listed having a church of their own, Living Truth Church, at the same Merle Hay Road address and suite where they housed businesses.

House flipper: Willing to deal

Thomas Dean, a former pharmacist turned real estate developer, told Watchdog he has used Towers on deals to find buyers for homes he renovates and sells.

He said he doesnt try to meet those to whom he sells homes. Instead, he tries to assure they come to him with at least $10,000 to assure they can afford the houses he sells on contract.

As far as Im concerned, if they come in with the money, thats qualified for me.

Dean said hes never found Towers to be dishonest to him or to customers. But, he said, he has no idea what she might have told the couple or how they interpreted what she said.

I have never even talked to these buyers. Im a mortgage broker, he said. The middle man usually takes care of these things. What Karen did or did not say I dont know. My contract says what it says. They knew what they were signing.

He said the money the Hardings gave Towers for the down payment, monthly payments and taxes was given to him. He said he paid Towers a commission.

The monthly payments made up front, he said, take the Hardings to June and are as safe as a bird in a nest, Dean said. The taxes they gave him will be paid in March and September, he said.

The second water heater installed at the house was a 40-gallon unit used in many homes and is in great shape, he said.

Dean said he might be able to work out a deal if the Hardings determine they cannot afford the house. If a new buyer is found quickly, he said, there may be something he could do regarding the down payment they put toward buying it.

To me, thats the best way to find a solution over the next three months we have together, Dean said.

The Hardings have tried to get legal guidance and have been referred to Iowas Volunteer Lawyer Project.

Last week, Dean sent a colleague to the Hardings house to see if they wanted to put the house back up for sale.

But until the Hardings have legal representation, they said, they are not going to make any new deals.

Lee Roods Readers Watchdog column helps Iowans get answers and accountability from public officials, the justice system, businesses and nonprofits. Contact her, 515-284-8549, on Twitter@leeroodor

China’s crackdown on capital outflows could hit the Aussie property market hard

The Chinese government’s extensive crackdown on money exiting the country could hit the Australian property market hard, as private Chinese investors could experience problems settling on deals, KPMG’s China experts recently warned.

“There might be some problems in the residential real estate property markets in Australia and other centres where Chinese have been buying property,” Simon Gleave, KPMG’s head of financial services in China, told The Australian.

Gleave said KPMG was still monitoring developments to assess the full implications of tighter controls on capital outflows, which were announced late last year by various Chinese government departments.

The measures, which involve the stricter monitoring of existing rules and a crackdown on the nature of overseas investments by private and state-owned enterprises, were designed to help stabilise the renminbi, following record amounts of capital exiting the country.

“Last year an estimated [$1.04 trillion] flowed out of China. It is an astonishing amount of money to be leaving the country when you have a closed capital account,” Gleave said.

Stringent controls could deal a serious blow to the offshore investments made by private Chinese companies, particularly if Chinese authorities consider these investments to be speculative rather than as part of the core business.

Under the new measures, an offshore investment by a state-owned enterprise in its core areas would be approved, such as a state-owned bank buying into an offshore bank. On the other hand, if a company was looking to make a very large offshore transaction or one outside its core business (such as a state-owned bank investing in mining), then authorities would take a much tougher approach to requests to take foreign exchange out of the country.

Beijing’s crackdown follows a plummet in the country’s level of foreign exchange reserves, from approximately US$4trn in mid-2014 to approximately US$3trn at the moment.

Related Stories:
Government Seizes $14m Worth Of Property From Foreign Nationals
Alarm Raised On Illegal Property Purchases By Chinese Investors

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Stiletto Society hosts Ignite Savannah

SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – Those seeking new opportunities and getting their business startups off the ground came together this morning.

Ignite Savannah is a seminar hosted by the stiletto society. the focus this morning was channeling business growth for entrepreneurs all around Savannah. The program featured inspirational speakers who talked financial independence, wealth building, entrepreneurship, and leadership.

“Not just launching my website, not just selling a t shirt, not that kind of stuff I am talking about making a global impact. You could have a major multi million dollar, multi billion dollar company and that’s what today is about,” says Sarita Pittman, founder of Stiletto Society.