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Dirty tricks, traps & cons we all need be aware of, company management to be wary of, broker lurks etc
post Posted: May 20 2005, 03:23 PM
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This could come under the Shame!!!! Shame!!!! Shame !!!! file, I suppose?

Even more subsidies for political parties

By Stephen Mayne (of

As if public funding of political parties isn't bad enough, the Howard Government is now considering increasing the threshhold for the tax deductibility of political donations, according to a front page story in today's Fin Review.

Political welfare is already costing taxpayers almost $30 million each federal election because every candidate who polls more than 4% gets $2 per vote out of the public purse. Australia has long been a welfare state (Centrelink has 6.5 million "customers"), but Australia is out on its own in the democracy club when it comes to this sort of direct subsidy.

To fund all this welfare we have to have some of the highest and most punitive personal income tax rates in the world, even after Peter Costello's latest tax cuts. But now, according to the Fin Review, the wealthy are going to receive an incentive to donate to political parties because they will be able to deduct up to $5,000 from their tax each year. The current maximum deduction is only $100.

Even worse, a $5,000 donation will be secret because Special Minister of State Eric Abetz is also proposing to increase the dislosure limit from $1,500 to $5,000.

Under the current system, a farmer that received a huge handout after bleating about the drought could only secretly donate $1,499 of this back to the National Party without disclosing it. And only $100 of this could be tax deducted. Under the retrograde plans outlined by Senator Abetz to the Fin Review, this subsidised farmer could secretly donate $4,999 to the National Party and then save $2,350 in tax, assuming he or she was on the top marginal rate of 47%.

The hypocrisy of this proposal is astounding. At a time when the Howard Government is demanding better corporate governance and disclosure from publicly listed companies, it wants to move in the other direction on its own disclosure.

This might be an example of Senate control being an awkward thing for the governnment as Labor would equally benefit from the changes, but they can keep a clear conscience by voting against it. As they should.

The disclosure of political donations is already ridiculously slow. A cheque handed over on 1 July last year will not be publicly revealed until February next year – a 19-month delay. Now this already slow system will be far less comprehensive as well.

Great Stuff !! - (It's only a 'rort', IF you are, not in on it!)


post Posted: May 20 2005, 11:20 AM
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The banks are in the 'spotlight', once again. Something about the salaries + bonuses their 'chiefs' aquire, each year. Nice to know we all play a part, (one way or, the other) in supporting their greed!! - It's unbelievable!!

Banks reap $9 billion in fees

Date: 2005-May-19 07:02 PM

Banks reaped a whopping $9 billion from Australian households and businesses last year, with consumers for the first time paying more for the use of credit cards than fees on housing loans.

The nation's central bank said the total amount of fee income earned by banks grew to $9.005 billion in 2004, a rise of 4.0 per cent.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) said this compares with the bank fee income of $8.678 billion in 2003 and was the lowest rate of increase in the eight year history of the annual survey.

The RBA said the slower growth in overall fee income in 2004 for banks was primarily because of a sharp fall in merchant service fee income, because of the credit card reforms it introduced in late 2003.

Merchant service fees are the fees that banks charge merchants for providing credit card facilities.

However, the report showed that consumers paid a total of $3.443 billion to banks in 2004, an increase of 12 per cent in the year.

This compares with growth of 17 per cent in the previous two years.

The income from businesses was $5.562 billion, a fall of one per cent in the year.

In its monthly bulletin published Thursday, the RBA said strong growth in fee income from credit cards contributed most to the growth in bank fee income from households in 2004.

"For the first time, banks in aggregate earned more from households in credit card fees than they did from fees on housing loans," the RBA said.

Fees paid by households on credit cards grew by 30 per cent in 2004 to $787 million, in line with average growth of 29 per cent since 1998.

The report said growth in the number of credit card accounts and spending per credit card contributed to the rise in credit card fees, though some of it was also because of a rise in unit fees.

Compared to this, consumers paid $746 million in bank fees for housing loans, a ten per cent rise from the previous year and above the average growth of nine per cent since 1998.

The RBA said fee income for banks from loans to households grew at a slower pace in 2004.

"Housing loan fees rose by 10 per cent, which was a slower pace than in the preceding two years, consistent with the moderation in the growth of housing loans in 2004."

By Rhys Haynes



post Posted: Jan 20 2005, 01:42 PM
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I found this a very interesting post from a site (remote from stockboards) and thought others may 'enjoy' the sentiment to ponder on, also.

Woohoo! Forgive my lack of enthusiasm, but ever since the advent of the Martha Stewart Case, I've always gotten the impression that Stewart is nothing but a diversion from what's actually important: the corrupt economic system that gave her easy access to such exploitation. Jailing people like Martha isn't going to stop the problem; it's just going to make criminals try harder to not get caught. Does anyone else feel disgusted that such publicized, dramaticed trials, are essentially being implemented into pop culture (Making fun of Martha is the "cool" thing to do, she's basically the laughing stock of the pop-cult nation)?

It's really easy to point towards the Stewarts and Enrons of CNN as the "culprits," the "bad guys," seems that their abuses were simply the obvious products of a corrupt system. The US government is villianizing these people in the hopes of drawing attention away from the rest of the entire freakin system. It is alot easier to say "oh, there's nothing wrong with the system, these were just bad men/women...most people are GOOD capitalists/investors/CEOS/etc," than to actually say "Hey, this kind of thing has been going on since day 1, and is still going on right now...maybe we have a problem!"

I believe that Martha Stewart could have very easily been acquited, but was allowed to fall in order to draw attention away from the real problems in society. To put it plainly, the Bush administration found a small number of individuals who had lost favor with the crowd, and decided to focus ALL of their attention on them, jailing a few black sheep instead of fixing the system that they infact exploit on their own right.

Since the advent of mankind, the crowds of masses of society have cried for blood whenever injustice was done to them, and even since the beginning, they have always-and will always-come up empty handed. Why? Because throwing someone in jail doesn't bring back the economy. Executing a murderer doesn't bring back those whom he murdered, nor does it prevent another murder at the hands of a seperate individual. It's great that we "caught" these public figures and actually managed to charge them with something, but the cold hard fact of the matter is that we have accomplished absolutely nothing from it. The American Economy still bears the scars from economic scandal, and those wounds will be opened anew again, I guarantee it.

Deterance through fear of consequence has been proven again and again to fail as a system. People might hail the Stewart, Worldcom, and Enron cases as "Justice finally being served," but the truth of the matter is that Justice NEVER will be served, because these trials have nothing to do with it-the masses have called for blood, and thus they are rewarded.

Are there 'elements' within the ASX that may need a little adjustment or, two?


post Posted: Jan 20 2005, 12:58 PM
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Interest free car takes ASIC's Pie in the Sky award for 2005

13:05, Thursday, 20 January 2005

Sydney - Thursday - January 20: (RWE) ASIC has announced its
annual "Pie in the Sky" awards for 2005 and they are a stunning
collection of investor ripoffs and attempted cons until the Australian
Securities and Investments Commission caught up with them.
Like the thought of a car or home loan where you never pay any
If that doesn't appeal, what about 120 per cent returns on
investments in China, a slice of a Senegalese mortician's inheritance or
getting your super early through the Commonwealth of Dominica?
But surprise, surprise, they're not legitimate offers.
In fact, they're the PITS, and are the winners and runners-up of
ASIC's annual awards in this dubious category.
Greg Tanzer says, "ASIC announces the Pie In The Sky awards once
a year for the most outrageous financial schemes that are too good to be
The executive director of Consumer Protection and International
Relations declares the 2005 winner of 'Pie in the Sky' ... wait for it
... is a so-called 'interest-free loan' that was offered to
Queenslanders, with 220 people investing $2.4 million in The Carsworthy
People were told if they purchased a car through a car buyers
club, and borrowed a little more from their financier and invested it
offshore, the high returns would repay their car loans.
In fact when the offshore investments failed to deliver promised
returns, people were left to find their own repayments, often for very
high loans which they would probably not have otherwise entered into.
Another case involved Wide-I Design Corporation, a company
registered in Vanuatu, ETP Ventures Pty Ltd and Cyrus Strategies Pty Ltd
where car or home loans were offered on a similar basis.
In that case, ASIC's investigation found the unregistered managed
investment schemes promoted the investment of Australian investors funds
offshore, and raised at least $2.2 million.
ASIC's investigations found that these two separate schemes
combined raised at least $4.6 million from around 400 investors, many of
whom were members of church communities on the Sunshine Coast,
These illegal investment schemes have since been wound up.
"'As people continue to borrow more, ASIC is seeing more schemes
like this being advertised.
"It's high time that people realise that loans without interest
are just pie in the sky," Mr Tanzer said.
"The serious purpose behind these awards is to warn the public.
Financial scams still devastate far too many people.
"Scammers frequently use sophisticated props and hard selling
techniques that trap even financially experienced people," he warned.
"People should remember to always deal with licensed Australian
businesses because that way their rights are protected if something goes
"You can check ASIC's investor and consumer website for free at to make sure a business is licensed," Mr Tanzer
Anyone can nominate entries for ASIC's Pie In The Sky Awards via
ASIC awards $100 prize money for an entry that wins an award.r
FIDO also has a list of illegal schemes where ASIC has taken
action in the courts, obtained court orders and when those involved were
identified in court.

Stories of the 2005 "Pie In The Sky" runners-up
Pie In The Sky scheme: How to get it

Why wait till you retire? Get your super early. Set up a
self-managed super fund, invest offshore, and get a cheap loan from your
own fund. Use the 'Comcash' superannuation scheme and invest through the
Commonwealth of Dominica.
This scheme was closed down by ASIC. Such schemes are illegal and
can involve heavy penalties, including tax penalties.

A Senegalese mortician has inherited a sum of money from a priest
she used to work with in a morgue. You can get a slice of her
inheritance. Help collect the money with your identification. A
typical 'advance fee' fraud, similar to a 'Nigerian letter'.
Cash in on the booming Chinese economy. An Australian-based
scheme has struck exclusive rights to supply gas meters to Chinese
residential, commercial and industrial premises, and has the rights to
install 'car monitoring devices'. Returns of up to 120 per cent on offer.

The illegal investment scheme, which people were advised to join,
is now in liquidation, and two key figures were sentenced to jail, one
subject to appeal, as a result of ASIC's action. Unfortunately no
evidence of such 'rights' could be found, investors were told that the
factories were washed away in floods, and some of the money raised was
found to have been used to buy luxury cars instead.

post Posted: Oct 24 2004, 03:34 PM
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An article from the latest issue of Barrons

An article from the latest issue of Barron's Magazine

An Eyeful of Spam

A cautionary tale for speculators

THERE ARE THREE COMMON WAYS to play the market: Investing, trading or speculating wildly. And there are three common ways to learn about stocks: analyzing corporate documents, reading business publications or flinging yourself at rumors posted anonymously on Internet bulletin boards.

Here's a story about the difference....

Last March 3, a Seattle-based purveyor of brainy data-mining software blipped onto stock-watchers' radar screens: Insightful Corp. (IFUL) stock showed an increase in volume that lasted all afternoon. It took the small company from a sleepy average of 16,000 shares traded daily to 129,600 traded that day. The stock had been cruising near $3 for a month, and that's where it closed that Wednesday. Even so, a volume breakout is often a sign of news. Where would a duly diligent investor search for it?

Many finance Websites report breaking news, but one of the best is Yahoo Finance, because it delivers news from so many sources: Dow Jones (publisher of Barron's), Bloomberg, Reuters and others, and it also posts company press releases. On this day, however, a Web search would have revealed to IFUL ticker-watchers, um, nothing.

While at Yahoo, there's another place to look for news -- along with rumors, mindless blathering and heated arguments -- and that's on the 6,800 message boards, one to a company, that can be found here. On the night of March 3, however, IFUL posters were just scratching their heads; no news. The day's volume gain, however, left them hoping for the good word the following morning, and they turned off their lights and went to sleep.

All except one....

The next morning, Thursday -- instantly on the opening bell -- IFUL share price rocketed, and in the first 20 minutes of trading gained 63%. It peaked at $4.90, the equivalent of Wal-Mart going from $50 to $80 in just minutes. By day's end, more than 3.5 million shares had traded hands. The stock closed down from its highs, yet remained a bewildering 35% above the previous day. And still there was no news -- a major contract, product launch, merger -- anything to justify the frenzy. This should have caused alarm bells to clang in investors' ears all day long; but no, they clambered on. Day traders quickly piled on top of them, as IFUL's message board revealed. So what happened?

In fact, an early clue to this mystery was indeed on Insightful's Yahoo board. Wednesday evening, just prior to IFUL's moon launch, a user with the alias "skirinkumar" posted message No. 16,394 noting: "There are messages regarding IFUL on numerous Message Boards here at Yahoo Finance," and he provided links to three. He did not say, however, that the messages were virtually identical, so the clarion call "spam alert" never went out. His message was quickly overrun by hundreds of others.

A wary investor, however, would have used Yahoo's search feature, located at the bottom of each message page, to research skirinkumar's links. His efforts would have been rewarded by a floodtide of more than 600 near-identical posts promoting IFUL, which a busy-bee spammer had splashed all over Yahoo's stock-market bulletin boards. The onset of the spammer's efforts corresponded with the first signs of unusual activity in the stock.

Voilà, here was the missing "news." The spam worked so well, because it played into a feeding frenzy already under way: Two days before, Internet search-engine went from an average of 157,900 shares traded daily to more than, yes, 65 million for each of two consecutive days, and Mama was making headlines everywhere. And why? Because the company, which is in a hot sector, had announced net income of a penny a share on its tiny float. Gee.

The spammer's hundreds of posts likened data-miner Insightful Corp. to search engine and also to Google.

Alas for wannabe Google investors, Insightful's not in the same business. Its heavy-duty software products -- S Plus, Insightful Miner, InFact -- are used by pharmaceutical and biotech researchers, financial analysts, universities and government agencies that mine supersized databases, absent the Internet shopper. In fact, last spring Insightful was among the companies chosen by the U.S. Army Research Institute to try to develop software to hunt down terrorists. Insightful is attempting to do this with its product, InFact, which tracks and links events and language semantics, sifting through millions of documents to produce concept maps that visualize the analyzed information.

Using InFact for a Mamma-type key-word search would be like sending a shark after a guppy. But, does Insightful plan to direct its energies to Mamma-like or Google-type search-engine capabilities in the future? "I never think that way," says CEO Jeffrey Coombs.

The weekend after IFUL's run-up, a poster who calls himself "stock_picking_chump" made this observation: "Spammers...board pumpers looking for low-float stocks to this 1999 all over again?" He was referring to the dawn of the message-board universe, when spam was rampant and con artists could often move share price in small-caps. Yahoo would not police its boards then, holding high the First Amendment while users agonized about the spam, fraud and mind-numbing obscenity rampant on its boards.

As posters abandoned Yahoo for nascent forums such as and, Yahoo decided that maybe the First Amendment wasn't so red hot after all, and made some laws abridging freedom of speech. Today, Yahoo quickly deploys message-board clean-up crews to respond to complaints: All the IFUL spam was deleted within three days. Yahoo's efforts have largely succeeded and the spam problem now is tiny compared to what it once was. But, there will always be enough spam to ensnare investors who do not do their homework.

In the months since IFUL share price soared, it has plummeted to well below where it was when the hubbub began. This happened because Ernst & Young resigned as the company's auditor, but without providing any explanation to the company, according to CEO Coombs. At the same time, Insightful's CFO resigned, which left the company unable to file its 10-Q. As a result, two months ago the dreaded E was added to its ticker, IFULE, signaling noncompliance, and this sent shareholders running. In September, however, the new CFO, working with the new auditor, got the company's paperwork in, and the threat of delisting is now gone.

So, what's in the company's future? Likely something better than its present, which is under $2 a share: Early last month, Insightful announced its third consecutive profitable quarter, after three years of losses due to "investing in sales based on very optimistic targets that we didn't achieve," according to Coombs. He now expects 5% revenue growth above last year. Among the moves fueling the turnaround, Insightful recently purchased for $2 million from Lucent Technologies the copyright for its S Plus language, and this eliminates substantial annual-royalty payments. In August, the Department of Defense signed two new deals for InFact, worth $400,000 each, to be recognized over the next four quarters, according to Coombs; and he also anticipates a new version of InFact for release before long.

So today, the patient investor who bought the company at its highs may have something to hope for. And patience is a key word. So is restraint. Don't leap onto a stock because of rumors on message boards. Or rumors on television. Or in newspapers. Due diligence still is needed.

post Posted: Feb 22 2004, 10:53 AM
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I certainly hope this topic gets picked up. I’m sure my short trading experience has only scratched the surface of things to watch for. Here’s an e-mail bank scam I frequently get:

Every week or two I get an e-mail ostensively from a bank. These take many guises. One lurk is to warn me of a possible error with my account. The recommendation is that I log on immediately to confirm all is OK. A direct link is kindly provided. Catch is that the link does not go to the real bank - it goes to a clone of the banks log on page. The username and password if typed would be sent back to the criminal.

Some of these cloned logon pages could be convincing to some naïve users as all the links on the header, sidebar and footer actually connect to the genuine site and behave in the normal way. Ones I can recall getting have been for Westpac and Citibank but there have been a number of others. How long before these appear for share trading accounts?

Media-jolt free day - Your living is the factory, the product being manufactured is you the consumer.

post Posted: Feb 22 2004, 10:19 AM
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Posts: 189

This is a topic I (as a newbie) would certainly benefit from.

My congratulations go to Avenger (his post is below) on his honest post about his experience with CQT. On a number of occasions with other small companies I also have had my application cheque cashed only to get my money back a long time after the well-under-the-market shares are issued. Why do they cash our cheques if were not getting any of the offer? I could have used the money for other things at the time. ATX is one I can recall.

In some cases the return-of-money letter may be dated about the time of the issue but the postmark on the envelope (which most people would discard without examination) is a week or more after the issue. Could the company or arms length associates actually be using our money in some way? Would they be able to take up the offered shares and promptly sell at a profit on issue? The long delay of return of funds certainly provides plenty of time for on market selling.

Hello All

I would be a little bit careful with this stock unless you are a new shareholder.
The major objective of the company is paying Directors handsome wages.
Consider this from long term shareholders view:

1) Company does a right issue in December 2002 which finished about April 03.
2) As soon as the money was collected, the shares were consolidated on a one for two basis.
3) Immediately on comsolidation, a placement was announced, at $0.05. Existing shareholders by and large were excluded from this placement even though they accepted our cheques and banked them and kept them for two months or more. When asked for an explanation it was "Placement at Directors discretion, therefore no explanation needed. If you don't like it sell."
4) General shareholders asked to participate in shareholders purchase plan at $0.30.
Who benefits from this? Also implied threat to small shareholders who did not participate.

There is a distinctive lack of ethics by this bunch.
I hope for your sake that they have something, because if they don't and they run out of money, the next lot of shareholders who will be screwed to raise money will be you!

Good luck all

Media-jolt free day - Your living is the factory, the product being manufactured is you the consumer.

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