The Blanche Report: Gangsterism, Flash ATM Mobs, Les Habs

Montreal has certainly made the news today beginning with what appears to be the meltdown of Les Habs. Everybody’s ailing, including the goalie.  Time to put them out of their misery and let everyone get on with their lives – without the false hope of a winning team. But fear not – everyone on the team will still collect their bloated salaries.

The ex-mayor of Laval, Gilles Vaillancourt was arrested today on what is being termed ‘breathtaking’ charges including gangsterism, fraud, corruption, money laundering and giving orders as part of a criminal organization. In other words, along with being mayor of the second largest city in Quebec, it appears that he was the well-dressed leader of a gang. He was released on $150,00 bail. No less than 37 other people were also arrested today including other politicians, political aides, lawyers and people with ties to the construction industry, including construction magnate Tony Accurso who is already facing charges of fraud, conspiracy and corruption.

The charge of gangsterism comes with a very long jail sentence, something we are certain Mr. Vaillaincourt will try to avoid. And finally, the Union Montreal party, of which our ex-mayor Gerald Tremblay was the founder is 2001, closed up shop today. Kaput, cuiso, ferme. The have ceased to exist. Those who still belong to the party will now sit as independents in city hall. The best part of this story is that they say that after all their debts are paid they will give whatever monies are in their coffers to the city of Montreal. Right… tell it to the marines. Whatever monies they have left should go to the citizens of Montreal to start paying them back for all the payoffs etc that went on all those years.

An one more thing: If Princess Pauline thinks these investigations are not coming to a theater near her, she’s in for a big surprise.

For this next story you will have to pay close attention, but it’s worth the read. A worldwide gang of criminals stole a total of $45 million in a matter of hours by hacking their way into a database of prepaid debit cards and then draining cash machines around the globe. Outmoded U.S. card technology may be partly to blame. It is believed that thousands of thefts were made from ATMs using bogus magnetic swipe cards carrying information from Middle Eastern banks. The fraudsters moved with astounding speed to loot financial institutions around the world, working in cells including one in New York.

Now here’s the part that you will have to read slowly. Here’s how it worked: Hackers got into bank databases, eliminated withdrawal limits on pre-paid debit cards and created access codes. Others loaded that data onto any plastic card with a magnetic stripe — an old hotel key card or an expired credit card worked fine as long as it carried the account data and correct access codes. A network of operatives then fanned out to rapidly withdraw money in multiple cities.

It appears no individuals lost money. The thieves plundered funds held by the banks that back up prepaid credit cards, not individual or business accounts. So far 7 people have been arrested.  It has been dubbed the virtual criminal flash mob and is the biggest ATM fraud to date.

Rich or poor it’s good to have money and Bill Gates has lots of it. Today he bought a 500-year-old manuscript penned by Leonardo da Vinci. At $30.8 million, it was probably a bargain to the Microsoft founder, who considers it a priceless symbol of knowledge. Yup. Not much more to say here.

Well, it appears that everyone has forgotten Prince Harry’s fun time in Las Vegas last year and he’s back on the circuit. Where was he today? You’ll never guess. At the White House having tea with Michelle. We kid you not. Mrs. Obama was hosting a pre-mother’s day tea and we are guessing that Prince Harry was the drawing card. What exactly he has to do with mother’s day is another story. We read that he saluted all the mothers present. It’s pretty sad as he doesn’t have a mother any longer…

If you don’t like losing your cookies or, shall we delicately say, upchucking, these rides are not for you. It seems that there are many, many people who love roller coasters. Frankly, we can’t even look at them, but we may be in the minority. In Cedar Point Park in Ohio there’s a roller coaster that will suspend riders 170 feet then send them hurtling through six inversions and stomach-dropping falls at close to 70 mph. In Marietta, Georgia there’s a ride called the Typhoon Twister which drops riders five stories into a wide bowl and then spits them into a corkscrew chute.  Blanche – get the barf bag for real. Ya know Blanche, maybe we’re also gonna need an umbrella. If we stand under dose dem rides, ya never know what can come flyin out. Feh.

Good Shabbos and Good Yom Tov. As Shavuot begins this Tuesday night at sundown, there will not be a Blanche report.

We’ll talk…

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