The 'secret sister' gift exchange on Facebook is actually an illegal pyramid scheme (FB)

Mark Zuckerberg

  • There’s yet another spammy chain mail post circulating on Facebook — and this one is actually illegal.
  • “Secret sister” promises that you’ll get 36 gifts, in return for only buying one.
  • But it’s actually an illegal pyramid scheme, and law enforcement is warning about it.

There’s a “secret sister” gift exchange circulating on Facebook, that promises that participants will receive up to 36 gifts while only giving one of their own.

It sounds too good to be true, and (unsurprisingly!) it is. And it’s not just a dubious idea — it’s actually an illegal pyramid scheme.

It has been circulating in some form since at least 2015, and has had a resurgence in the run up to the holiday season, prompting at least one local police force to issue a fresh warning. So how does it work?

It spreads via a Facebook post advertising the exchange (36 gifts in exchange for 1!) and asking six people to join in. When someone does so, they’re sent a message asking them to: 1) Send a gift worth $10 to the “secret sister #1,” the first name on a list they’re given, 2) Move the person currently in second place on that list — the person who made the post they responded to — into first place, 3) Put their own name in second place. 4) Re-post the public Facebook post to their own profile, and recruit six more people to do the same thing they just did.

secret sister pyramid scheme

If there’s 100% recruitment and participation, then the poster receives 36 gifts, as each of the six people they recruited recruits six more people who sends them gifts. 

But it only works up to a point. It’s a pyramid scheme, reliant on a constant inflow of new members to pay old members their promised gifts. This means the people at the bottom have to lose out eventually — as there’s only a finite number of people in the world.

As such, it’s not just inadvisable to participate, it’s outright illegal.

Earlier this week, the Wauwatosa Police Department in Wisconsin posted a warning on Facebook about the scam, and linking to an article from the US Better Business Bureau (BBB) about the problems with “secret sister” schemes.

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Services says that gift exchanges are illegal gambling and that participants could be subject to penalties for mail fraud,” the BBB wrote. 

“Pyramid schemes are illegal, either by mail or on social media, if money or other items of value are requested with assurance of a sizeable return for those who participate.”

A Facebook spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Do you work at Facebook? Got a tip? Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at, Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: I stopped making lunch for a week and switched to Ritual, the order-ahead app sweeping San Francisco that lets you skip the line. Here’s what I found.

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'A s—show in a dumpster fire': Attorney George Conway, husband of Kellyanne Conway, rails against the Trump administration

George Conway

  • Attorney George Conway, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, railed against the Republican Party and President Donald Trump during an interview with Yahoo News.
  • “I don’t feel comfortable being a Republican anymore,” Conway said on a Yahoo News podcast. “I think the Republican Party has become something of a personality cult.”
  • Conway, who declined an offer to lead the Justice Department’s civil division in June 2017, said he had reservations about taking a role within the Trump administration, which he described as a “s—show in a dumpster fire.”

Attorney George Conway, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, railed against the Republican Party and President Donald Trump during an interview with Yahoo News’ podcast “Skullduggery.”

“I don’t feel comfortable being a Republican anymore,” Conway said on the podcast. “I think the Republican Party has become something of a personality cult.”

Conway described Trump’s tweets criticizing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the ongoing indictments of Republican lawmakers Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins as “appalling,” and a sharp deviation from political norms.

“We’re talking about someone who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States,” Conway said, “and to criticize the attorney general for permitting justice to be done without regard to political party is very disturbing.”

Conway, a litigator for the New York-based law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, was reportedly the front-runner candidate to lead the Justice Department’s civil division. Conway declined the offer in June 2017, saying at the time that although he would “continue to support the president and his administration,” it was not “the right time to leave the private sector.”

Donald Trump James Comey

Conway said he had reservations about Trump’s relationship with the Justice Department as he was considering the offer.

“I’m filling out the financial forms and it’s like — I forget what time of year it was, it was like late April — man, I’m thinking,” Conway said on “Skullduggery.”

“I’m watching this thing, and it’s like the administration is like a s—show in a dumpster fire. And I’m like, ‘I don’t want to do that. I don’t know.'”

“And then you got the Comey firing, and then you got [Trump] going on TV saying, ‘I had Russia on my mind,’ and it’s like, ‘Oh, no,'” Conway said, referring to Trump’s 2017 firing of FBI director James Comey, who was investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

“And then I’m driving home one day from New York, and it’s like ‘Robert Mueller appointed special counsel,’ and then I realized, this guy is going to be at war with the Justice Department.”

Conway has not been shy about his views toward the Trump administration. In tweets and opinion columns, he has criticized the Trump White House in matters relating to the Justice Department and jurisprudence, among other things.

This week, Conway organized a high-profile group of conservative and libertarian attorneys called “Checks and Balances,” which provided “a voice and a network for like-minded attorneys” who believe the Trump administration has compromised the rule of law.

Conway said he considers Trump to be “the lesser evil” when compared to Hillary Clinton, as part of his calculus on voting for him in the 2016 presidential election. Conway said he was unsure whether he would vote for him again, adding that “If faced with the choice again, I’d probably move to Australia.”

SEE ALSO: Kellyanne Conway opens up about how the president is affecting her marriage

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An Arizona couple will have to pay Nintendo over $12 million for running websites that offered free downloads of classic video games

Nintendo (thank you)

  • Nintendo of America was recently awarded a $12.23 million dollar judgement in federal court against a married Arizona couple accused of copyright infringement.
  • Jacob and Cristian Mathias allegedly acknowledged they operated websites that distributed free, unofficial copies of Nintendo video games along with software that emulates Nintendo consoles.
  • The websites at the center of the lawsuit, and, offered free games to more than 17 million visitors per month.
  • The pair reportedly agreed to the judgement rather than face a lengthy court battle and even more potential damages owed to Nintendo.

A married Arizona couple will be responsible for paying $12.23 million dollars to Nintendo of America after being accused of copyright infringement in federal court.

In July, Nintendo filed a complaint against Jacob Mathias and Mathias Designs LLC in the U.S. District Court of Arizona, accusing the two of operating the websites and, both of which distributed unauthorized downloads of Nintendo video games and software.

According to court documents obtained by TorrentFreak, Jacob’s wife, Cristian Mathias, was later named and added to the complaint following the original lawsuit’ filing.

Though the site was taken offline shortly after the complaint was filed, LoveROMS was one of the most popular emulation websites on the internet, bringing in 17 million visitors a month, according to the court documents cited by TorrentFreak. The site offered unofficial downloads for hundreds of retro video games from Nintendo and other publishers, along with emulation software to make the games playable on a computer.

According to the report, Nintendo’s original complaint suggested that Mathias Designs should be responsible for paying $150,000 per Nintendo game hosted on the site, and $2,000,000 for each violated trademark. This would have been the maximum awarded damages allowed by law, and with LoveROMs hosting hundreds of Nintendo games, the damages could’ve mounted to more than $100 million.

Read more:  The hacker who targeted Xbox Live and PlayStation Network is facing 10 years in jail for knocking the gaming networks offline

Instead of arguing their case in court, the court documents cited by TorrentFreak say the couple acknowledged running the sites and entered into settlement talks with Nintendo. They ultimately agreed to the final judgement of $12,230,000 issued on November 9th, according to the report.

Nintendo’s legal action against LoveROMs has led other emulation sites to reconsider their practices, with some choosing to go offline preemptively following the complaint. As Nintendo and other gaming companies work to monetize their back catalogs with new digital versions of classic titles, unofficial software downloads will continue to be a threat to their business model.

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The hacker who targeted Xbox Live and PlayStation Network is facing 10 years in jail for knocking the gaming networks offline

hacker cyber code

  • In 2013, several video game companies were targeted by denial-of-service (DoS) attacks that limited access to their online services and forced them offline in some cases.
  • The attacks triggered an FBI investigation centered on the Twitter account @DerpTrolling, which had announced the attacks in advance.
  • Austin Thompson, 23-year-old, a native of Utah, pled guilty to one count of damage to a protected computer, which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
A Utah-based hacker who targeted several of the big gaming networks, including PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, temporarily knocking them offline and boasting about it, is facing a 10-year jail sentence.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California announced earlier this week that Austin Thompson, 23, had entered a guilty plea for one count of damage to a protected computer following an investigation by the FBI’s San Diego field office.

Operating under the Twitter handle @DerpTrolling, Thompson made a sport of incapacitating popular online gaming networks with denial-of-service attacks when he was a teenager, between December 2013 and January 2014.

Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks intentionally flood the target’s servers with more traffic than they can handle, preventing access for regular users and possibly forcing the service offline.

The plea agreement describes how Thompson would announce the attacks in advance via the @DerpTrolling Twitter account and later share screenshots and more tweets as evidence of a successful attack.

Multiple online gaming services, including Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Steam, and League of Legends were targeted by @DerpTrolling. The attacks resulted in significant downtime and delays, and the U.S Attorney reports at least $95,000 in damages as a result of Thompson’s actions.

Also read:  Online scammers are bombarding young ‘Fortnite’ players with fake offers for free v-bucks

There’s still no stated motive for the DoS attacks. The DerpTrolling account seemed satisfied with disrupting online gaming and creating chaos, going so far as to take requests from followers. The U.S. Attorney’s office states that Thompson is 23-years-old, which would make him 18 at the time of the crime.

Damage to a protected computer is a federal felony charge and Thompson could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 with three years supervised release. Thompson’s sentencing is set for March 1st, 2019.

SEE ALSO: A horrific video from ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ has become a flash point for what’s acceptable on YouTube

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Jeff Sessions got a spirited send-off as he left the Justice Department after stepping down as attorney general

jeff sessions firing

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions received a standing ovation as he left the Justice Department building following his forced resignation on Wednesday.
  • President Donald Trump asked Sessions to resign, just hours after the close of what has been a heated midterm-election season.
  • “It’s been an honor, sir,” acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker said to Sessions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions received a standing ovation as he left the Justice Department building following his forced resignation on Wednesday.

Sessions reportedly shook hands with acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker, his former chief of staff, amid a crowd of around 150 people.

“It’s been an honor, sir,” Whitaker said to Sessions, according to the Associated Press.

Sessions waved and thanked the crowd, at one point giving them a thumbs-up. Other senior Justice Department officials, including deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and solicitor general Noel Francisco, were also reportedly at the send-off.

After months-long reports of a frayed relationship with Trump, the former attorney general offered his resignation in an undated letter.

Two months after Trump became president, Sessions attracted his ire after recusing himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Sessions, who backed Trump early on in his 2016 presidential campaign, cited a Justice Department regulation that prohibits officials from investigating campaigns they were involved in.

Trump publicly berated Sessions in fiery statements and tweets as the months dragged on, fueling rumors Sessions would be on his firing line. According to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” Trump made pointed remarks against Sessions, such as calling him “mentally retarded” and “dumb Southerner.”

You can watch the video here »

SEE ALSO: Trump denied calling Jeff Sessions — or anyone — ‘mentally retarded,’ but old records show he has

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El Chapo's trial sees 27 jurors dismissed — some for the most bizarre reasons

El Chapo

  • 27 out of 60 potential jurors screened to be on drug-kingpin El Chapo’s case were dismissed, and some for bizarre reasons. 
  • El Chapo’s indictment lists 17 counts, and he pleaded not guilty to them all in January 2017. Opening statements will be read on Tuesday.
  • El Chapo is the leader of the Mexican “Sinaloa Cartel,” and was extradited to the United States from Mexico in January, 2017.
  • Frome eating Chapo-themed bagels to impersonating Michael Jackson, truly unusual circumstances have held back jurors from serving on the case. 

A 12-person jury has been confirmed for the trial of drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman — but 27 out of the 60 potential jurors had to be dismissed, some for bizarre reasons.

US District Judge Brian Cogan is overseeing jury selection, and made public why people had been dismissed during selection which lasted from Monday to Wednesday. 

One man, who reportedly asked the court clerk to help him get El Chapo’s autograph, was dismissed on Monday because he admitted: “I’m a bit of a fan.”

Just before he was sent packing, El Chapo’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, asked prosecutors to let the man join the jury, regardless of wanting an autograph, Reuters said.

Lichtman’s justification was: “I have the autograph of Charles Manson, and the two leaders of Hamas, and obviously I’m not a big fan of them,” the news agency reported. el chapo

Another man up for selection was sent home as he told the court he often ordered a bagel sandwich called the “El Chapo” at his local deli, CNN reported.

Read more: El Chapo’s sons are reportedly running his drug empire as the kingpin’s trial kicks off.

Another of the 27 potential jurors dismissed was let go because he was a Michael Jackson impersonator, Reuters reported, which Judge Cogan though may allow people to identify him.

Several people were rejected for more serious reasons, because they were scared, CNN said. 

This included one woman, who read a news report saying El Chapo had promised not to kill jurors and it had made her anxious about being on the jury, according to Reuters. 

A Justice Department summary document about the case, calls El Chapo: “The most notorious drug trafficker in the world.”

The seven women and five men on the jury are to remain anonymous throughout the case, which could last four months, Associated Press reported.

Read more: The Brooklyn Bridge is stuck in a traffic nightmare because of infamous drug kingpin El Chapo.

Nearly all the jurors who were ultimately selected said they knew who Guzman was, but could still make impartial decisions, CNN reported. 

El Chapo is the leader of the Mexican “Sinaloa Cartel,” and was extradited to the United States from Mexico on January 19, 2017, after he busted out of two Mexican prisons, and was captured again.

He faces 17 counts in his indictment, including “participating in an international conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana.”

He pleaded not guilty in January 2017. Opening statements will be read on Monday.

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As the corporate world deals with executive scandals, so-called 'Weinstein Misconduct Clauses' remain rare in M&A deals (INTL, GOOGL)

harvey weinstein 2

  • Sexual misconduct allegations have unseated plenty of powerful people and caused headaches for the people involved.
  • Despite this, dealmakers have been slow to add in so-called “Weinstein Misconduct Clauses,” which protect M&A buyers from making a deal with a team that is hiding executive misconduct, according to a survey by the law firm
  • Just 28% of executives surveyed by the law firm Dykema said that they participated in a deal where a misconduct clause was proposed.

From Intel to Google, sexual misconduct scandals have unseated powerful executives and caused a lot of pain to many people. 

Such scandals can be particularly problematic in the M&A space, where buyers take on risks financially and in reputation — sometimes without having all of the information before signing the deal. Executives are often seen as an asset to a company, so if one gets pushed out for misconduct, that devalues the acquisition. And past misconduct, as well as potential future misbehavior, opens the new owner up to risk of legal action and puts them at risk of making expensive payouts.

Read more:  Almost 17,000 Googlers walked out to protest of sexual misconduct at the company

Despite all of this, legal protections for buyers seem to be rare.

Less than a third of executives have been involved in a deal with so-called “Weinstein Misconduct Clause,” according to a new survey from the business law firm Dykema.

“Weinstein Misconduct Clauses” — named by Dykema for Harvey Weinstein, the now-infamous Hollywood film producer whose alleged misconduct was widely reported last year — are legally-binding assurances for the company’s leadership. 

These clauses effectively certify for the buyer that the leadership team of the company they’re acquiring hasn’t been accused of sexual harassment or misconduct.

Only 28% of the 203 US-based senior executives surveyed said they were involved in an M&A deal where a misconduct clause was proposed, “suggesting that the #MeToo movement may not have yet reached middle-market M&A to a substantial degree,” according to the report.

Of the respondents who participated in deals with such a clause, almost 9 out of 10 had a “knowledge qualifier,” which held the sellers liable only if they didn’t disclose misconduct that was known to the company.

Whether these clauses will grow in popularity is still to be seen, but what is clear is that sexual misconduct will continue to be a factor in corporate M&A. 

On Thursday, Business Insider reported on allegations of sexual assault against the former CEO of Apttus, who left the company just two months before the private equity firm Thoma Bravo acquired a majority stake in the startup.

SEE ALSO: A Silicon Valley lawyer explains why the Googles and Facebooks of the world keep losing out to non-tech companies in acquisition deals

SEE ALSO: As unicorn valuations become the norm, more venture capitalists are relying on a legal tactic used by Square’s investors to protect from down-round IPOs

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'I was angry, and I sent it out': Woman admits she fabricated a claim about writing an anonymous letter that accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault

chuck grassley brett kavanaugh

  • Senate Judiciary Committee investigators said that a woman who claimed to be the author of an anonymous sexual-assault allegation against Justice Brett Kavanaugh had “fabricated” the claim.
  • Republican Sen. Grassley of Iowa said his committee had investigated the allegations made by Judy Munro-Leighton, a Kentucky woman who claimed she was the author of an anonymous letter that detailed graphic sexual-assault allegations.
  • The “Jane Doe” in the letter claimed that Kavanaugh and his friend “sexually assaulted and raped me in his car,” but provided no timeframe of the incident, and no return address.
  • Munro-Leighton later sent an email claiming she was Doe. Investigators were able to find Munro-Leighton due to her “relatively unique name,” and determined she was an “activist … decades older than Judge Kavanaugh.”
  • Munro-Leighton, who had never met Kavanaugh in person, “admitted, contrary to her prior claims, that she had not been sexually assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh and was not the author of the original ‘Jane Doe’ letter,'” Grassley’s office said.
  • Grassley urged the FBI and attorney general to give “utmost consideration” to the case, but added that Munro-Leighton’s fabricated allegations should not discount sexual assault claims that were made in “good faith.”

Senate Judiciary Committee investigators concluded that a woman who claimed to be the author of an anonymous sexual-assault allegation against Justice Brett Kavanaugh had “fabricated” her accusation, according to a letter from Senate Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley.

In the letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Republican Sen. Grassley of Iowa said his committee had investigated the allegations made by Judy Munro-Leighton, a woman who claimed she was the author of an anonymous handwritten letter that detailed the graphic sexual assault allegations.

The anonymous, undated letter Munro-Leighton referenced was received by Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California in September, and was publicly released with Kavanaugh’s testimony on the Committee’s website on September 26. The “Jane Doe” in the letter claimed that Kavanaugh and his friend “sexually assaulted and raped me in his car,” but provided no timeframe of the incident, and no return address.

brett kavanaugh anthony kennedy

“Jane Doe will get no media attention,” Munro-Leighton wrote in an email she sent later, according to Grassley’s office. “But I am deathly afraid of revealing any information about myself or my family.”

Investigators were able to find Munro-Leighton due to her “relatively unique name,” and determined she resided in Kentucky. According to their findings, they deduced that she was what they described as a “left-wing activist,” who is “decades older than Judge Kavanaugh.”

After being interviewed by investigators on Thursday, Munro-Leighton, who had never met Kavanaugh in person, “admitted, contrary to her prior claims, that she had not been sexually assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh and was not the author of the original ‘Jane Doe’ letter,'” Grassley’s office said.

Read more: Text messages between Brett Kavanaugh and his classmates seem to contradict his Senate testimony

“No, no, no. I did that as a way to grab attention,” Munro-Leighton said to investigators. “I am not Jane Doe … but I did read Jane Doe’s letter. I read the transcript of the call to your Committee … I saw it online. It was news.”

Munro-Leighton, who said she called Congress multiple times to oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, also admitted she “just wanted to get attention” and that her actions were “just a ploy.”

“I was angry, and I sent it out,” Munro-Leighton said of her sexual assault allegation.

Christopher Wray

Grassley urged the FBI director and attorney general to give the case his “utmost consideration,” but added that Munro-Leighton’s fabricated allegations should not discount sexual assault claims that were made in “good faith.”

“The Committee is grateful to citizens who come forward with relevant information in good faith, even if they are not one hundred percent sure about what they know,” Grassley said. “But when individuals intentionally mislead the Committee, they divert Committee resources during time-sensitive investigations and materially impede our work.”

“Such acts are not only unfair; they are potentially illegal,” Grassley added. “It is illegal to make materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements to Congressional investigators.”

The accusation from the anonymous letter was one of many that were leveled against Kavanaugh, who would eventually replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Numerous people came forward with accounts of their past experiences with Kavanaugh, which ranged from sexual misconduct to habitual drinking.

Read the Senate Judiciary Committee’s full letter here:

SEE ALSO: How ‘the Forrest Gump of Republican politics’ Brett Kavanaugh became the Supreme Court’s most embattled justice in decades, after controversy over sexual misconduct allegations

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Take a look behind the scenes of 'The People's Court' to see how TV court shows really work

  • Court shows have been a staple of American entertainment since the Golden Age of Radio.
  • “The People’s Court,” which began in 1981, started a whole new era: arbitration-based reality shows.
  • But are the cases we see on TV court shows real? Are the participants paid? Are these even real judges?
  • Insider visited the set of “The People’s Court” and spoke to Judge Marilyn Milian to find out how these shows actually work.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: One of the best things about staying home from school as a kid was watching daytime court shows. My personal favorite? “The People’s Court.” Judge Milian is electric, and the cases are always so ridiculous.

Judge Milian: Where was your cart? By the watermelons, with you, or where the opening is? Okay, no, no.

Narrator: But what if I told you that this is not an actual courtroom? And when a person loses a case, they don’t even have to pay the settlement. So what’s actually going on?

Court shows have long been a staple of American television, but they didn’t start on TV. The first court shows popped up in radio’s golden age. The early programs were typically reenactments of real court cases.

Radio: There’s no telling what would happen to him or his life if he resists the authorities.

Narrator: But “The People’s Court,” which began in 1981, started a whole new era: arbitration-based reality shows. Presiding since 2001, Judge Marilyn Milian is the show’s longest serving host and the first Latina judge to host a nationally syndicated court show. Before “The People’s Court,” Milian was an assistant state attorney in Florida and was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Miami Circuit Court, working in the criminal division.

Judge Milian: I had a gubernatorial appointment, and it was a sure thing. And I had crossed every “T” and dotted every “I” to make sure that I had an upward trajectory in the judiciary. And I was giving all that up if I decided to join what many in the law see as the frivolity of television. Of course, now that it’s been on the air 20 years, I’m a genius. But back then, people were worried about what it is that was gonna happen in my career.

Narrator: What you see on the show are real small claims cases. They’re lifted directly out of the courthouse to be arbitrated by Judge Milian.

David Scott: If you get your case in small claims, there’s one judge, and there’s three or 400 cases that show up on any given day. And it’s very hard, impossible, for that one judge to get through those cases, so they offer you something called binding arbitration. And that is, you can go to a lawyer, plead your case to the lawyer with the person you’re suing, and that lawyer will decide the case. It’s binding arbitration, there’s no room for appeal, and you have agreed, and the defendant has agreed to allow this arbitrator to hear your case. And that’s basically exactly what we do.

Narrator: So how do they pick the cases?

David Scott: This is like panning for gold. We go out, and we go to all these courts, and we get all of these cases, and we sift through them. We love a relationship case. We love where an ex-wife is suing their ex-husband. We love cases where there’s a lot of personal kind of stuff along with the legal stuff. So it’s the personalities that we’re looking for. We’re looking for a good argument, we’re looking for a good defense. That’s how we select our cases.

Judge Milian: We shoot to bring the public the juiciest cases we can get. They were juicy then, they’re juicy now, and hopefully they’ll continue to be juicy.

Narrator: The show covers travel expenses for the participants and will pay the settlement if the case is ruled in your favor. But for most cases, it’s not really about the money.

Judge Milian: We once had a guy who paid $40 to file a case over a $5 lottery card. And it was a thing of beauty, because what it shows you is that small claims is never about the money. It’s always about the principle.

Narrator: So you’ve got a case. How do you get the judge on your side?

Judge Milian: Absolutely the biggest mistake people make is coming unprepared. If you want a judge to rule against somebody and believe you, you have to bring evidence. You can’t just show up with your flapping gums. People will just walk it in there, they’re insulted that you didn’t just take their word for it. It’s insanity. I think people think that because they believe their story so much, all they have to do is come forward and say it, and everyone else is gonna see it their way. But when there’s two sides involved, you have to prove what it is you’re saying.

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The Pittsburgh synagogue shooter was reportedly armed with an AR-15 — here's how it became the weapon of choice for America's mass shooters

ar-15 rifle

Parkland, Florida.

Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Now, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Recent deadly mass shootings in these US cities have at least one thing in common: the AR-15.

The gunman who stormed The Tree of Life Synagogue and opened fire on Saturday, killing at least eight and wounded eight more in the suspected hate crime, was reportedly armed with the weapon.

The suspected gunman has been identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers.

This weapon has become increasingly popular in the US, especially since the 1994 federal weapons ban expired in 2004, and has been used in many other mass shootings around the country. Not just the three listed above.

To understand how and why this has happened, we put together a historical overview of the weapon and spoke with David Chipman, a senior policy analyst at Giffords and former special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

The National Rifle Association did not respond to our request for comment.

SEE ALSO: A 15-year-old JROTC cadet sacrificed himself to save ‘dozens’ during the Florida shooting — and thousands of people want him buried with full military honors

The AR in AR-15 stands for Armalite Rifle — not assault rifle.

In the mid-1950s, the US Army asked a gun-manufacturing company called Armalite to develop a smaller version of the AR-10 to replace the M-1 Garand, which had been widely used in World War II and the Korean War.

The result was the AR-15.

But Armalite then sold the design to Colt, which in turn began selling the weapon to Pentagon. In 1962, the US Department of Defense changed the name of the AR-15 to the M-16.

In 1963, Colt began marketing the AR-15 to the American public as a “superb hunting partner.”

While it was still legal for gun dealers to sell automatic weapons until the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act, which banned new automatic weapons, these first Colt AR-15s were semi-automatic weapons.

An automatic continuously fires when the trigger is held down, whereas the operator must continuously pull the trigger to repeatedly fire a semi-automatic weapon.

However, to this day, civilians can still own automatic weapons that were grandfathered in before 1986.

And, even then, the AR-15 was incredibly lethal.

It shoots a .223 Caliber or 5.56 mm round at roughly 3,300 feet per second, which is about three times the muzzle velocity of a typical Glock pistol.

The AR-15’s effective firing range is also more than 1,300 feet at the least, whereas a typical Glock’s firing range is just over 160 feet.

Chipman, the senior policy analyst at Giffords and former ATF special agent, told Business Insider that the AR-15 is so powerful that they weren’t allowed to carry it during indoor raids because the rounds travel so fast that they could penetrate a victim, then a wall, then a bystander through that room.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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