Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Best Buy Threatens To Replace A $2200 Sony Laptop With An Asus EeePC

By Meg Marco

Is there a difference between a Sony TZ ultraportable laptop and an Asus Eee PC? Reader Ignacio bought Best Buy's accidental damage protection plan for his $2200 Sony TZ laptop, and when he did, indeed, drop it — Best Buy threatened to replace it with a $600 Asus Eee PC, and finally decided to issue a $1200 gift card — the price of a 15" Dell notebook. Fair?

Ignacio says:

I would like anyone who has considered buying this plan for a computer or has one to be aware that this warranty is useless and a waste of money. Don’t buy it.

I had purchased a Sony Vaio TZ laptop about a year ago with the accidental protection damage (ACH) for several reasons, but mainly because the sales man suggested it for such a small laptop and for how expensive it was ($2200). Buying this warranty was a peace of mind that the sales man a year ago assured me of.

Jumping forward in time, a year later, I accidentally dropped my laptop and took in for repairs at the Geek Squad. The gentleman who attended me was very helpful and assured me that I would be taken care of with what he called “a high end laptop”. As a side note he even admired the size and weight of the laptop, which was the main selling factor for these laptops from Sony and why they were so expensive.

I received a call yesterday (10/31/08) from Best Buy saying the repairs were too costly and that my laptop would be replaced under warranty. I drove there today (11/1/08) to pick up a replacement. The attendant showed me a what she referred to as a comparable model (Vaio Z) and said I could take that as a replacement or use that money($2000) towards another computer , in essence store credit. I picked out a computer that was more expensive and she said it was fine, but I had to pay the difference. When we got to the register and as she started to ring me up, she stated that she had not done this type of return before and she asked a colleague to help her. She was told it was being done incorrectly and we were sent to talk to the supervisor of the computer department. This is where the trouble began.

I was told because of the specs of my computer the most comparable model was $600, which was an Asus EEE pc, but they would do me a favor and give me $1200 for a 15” Dell. When I stated to them that neither of them were comparable, because the sized and features that the TZ, they replied that they do it spec for spec and that my laptop only had 1gig of ram, a 1ghz processor and 100gig hard drive, and that was the closest computer. When I tried to explain to them that this computer was expensive because of the size features and ultra-portability; they ignored me and threatened to make my in-store credit less than $400 for some other netbook. I said that was not fair, the supervisor printed a gift card for $1200 gave it to me walked away. I asked to speak with the store manager.

The store manager, Huff, came and I explained to him what had happened in the last hour. He tried to understand what had happened and brought the supervisor from the Geek Squad department to help him out because he admittedly said, “I am not good with computers.” The supervisor told me the same as the rest that spec for spec there is no comparable computer, and that was the best they could do and I should be happy with that and instead of $600. I asked him to check Sony’s website so he can see that even a year later the TZ models are in fact cheaper, but more than $1200, and just as comparable with the one I bought. He said that he would not check any “junk” websites and only base his decision on what they had in the store. He told me to call Best Buy, and then yelled at the manager behind me, “This conversation is over,” and left. I was left standing at the cash register in the Customer Service area.

I called Best Buy customer relations from within the store, but they were of no help. They said they would not replace base on purchase price but “comparable technology.” When I said they were being unfair about comparing my computer the attendant on the phone said that was policy and there was nothing she could do.

So basically, to summarize, I bought a premium ultra portable laptop from Sony and it was compared to an Asus EEE netbook, under replacement, or a 15” Dell brick of a laptop that is worthless and not comparable. Salesmen are misleading when they are trying to sell you something. Good thing I didn’t order my laptop with the solid state hard dive, or else a comparable model would only have 60gigs of hard dive space. That is how “knowledgeable” the Geek Squad employees are, especially when the supervisor compares a premium notebook to a netbook.

I will not buy anything from Best Buy again. I spend thousands of dollars personally and more through my business, and I often refer my friends there as well. Not anymore, customer service is bad, the prices are more expensive when compared to internet shopping, and they rip you off. I encourage anyone not to buy from Best Buy and if you have to buy something there don’t waste your money any “peace of mind” insurance plans.


We think Ignacio should launch an EECB (Executive Email Carpet Bomb) and see what Best Buy has to say, but we thought we'd throw this one out to the crowd first.

So, what do you think?

Did Ignacio Get A Fair Deal?

View Results

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Who Is The Mystery Man Behind Prop 8?

Who is funding California's Prop 8, the country's most controversial ballot measure? The Mormons' donations are well known, and are a source of outrage among the church's more moderate elements. But little attention has been focused on two of the proposition's biggest individual donors: Elsa Broekhuizen, the mother of Blackwater founder Erik Prince, and Howard F. Ahmanson Jr., the reclusive theocratic millionaire who inherited $300 million from his philanthropist father at age 18.

When I profiled Ahmanson in a 2004 article for Salon.com, I became the first journalist in 20 years to interview him. Yesterday I resurrected my reporting for The Daily Beast, updating it to cover Ahmanson's recent machinations, particularly his role in Prop 8. As I wrote, Ahmanson few Americans have heard of Ahmanson -- and that's the way he likes it. His extreme politics and eccentric personality reveal the draconian underside of a ballot measure billed by its proponents as "pro-family."

During a 1985 interview with the Orange County Register, Ahmanson summarized his political agenda: "My goal is the total integration of biblical law into our lives."

Though Ahmanson's rhetoric has softened over the years, his politics are derived from the radical Christian Reconstructionist theology of R.J. Rushdoony, a far-right theologian who advocated replacing the US Constitution with biblical law. "God's government prevails," Rushdoony wrote, "and His alternatives are clear-cut: either men and nations obey His laws, or God invokes the death penalty against them." Those eligible on Rushdoony's long list for execution included disobedient children, unchaste women, apostates, blasphemers, practitioners of witchcraft, astrologers, adulterers, and, of course, anyone who engaged in "sodomy or homosexuality."

Rushdoony was the father Ahmanson never had, bringing him to radical right-wing Christianity not long after the anxiety-ridden, Tourette's-afflicted scion of wealth checked out of the Menninger Clinic. Ahmanson bankrolled Rushdoony's religious empire; in return, Rushdoony made Ahmanson a board member of his think tank, Chalcedon, which to this day advocates theocratic revolution in the United States. Ahmanson and his wife were at Rushdoony's bedside when he died in 2001.

(Read the full story on Ahmanson here).

My article is accompanied at the Daily Beast by a new video by Michael Wilson, creator of the brilliant documentary, Silhouette City. Wilson also co-produced my video documentary about Sarah Palin's belief in spiritual warfare, "In The Land Of Queen Esther."

On November 2, Wilson went to San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium to cover "The Call," an 80,000-strong Pentecostal rally for Prop 8. The Call organizer, Lou Engle, gathered his troops together for several days of fasting and prayer to stop what he called the "sexual insanity" of Prop 8 opponents. The rally culminated with Engle imploring his fervent crowd to become martyrs, to be willing to lay down their lives for the cause.

(Click here to see Wilson's video.)

The defeat of Prop 8 would be a nightmare for the Christian right. As Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said of the ballot measure, "It's more important than the presidential election... We will not survive [as a nation] if we lose the institution of marriage."

But behind the Christian right's panicked pleas for preserving "traditional marriage" lies a more deep-seated fear. California's rejection of Prop 8 would represent a decisive repudiation of the theocratic fantasy outlined by Rushdoony and mainstreamed by Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Lou Engle and countless evangelical minions. Ahmanson has spent what he could to keep his mentor's dream alive, but the movement's nightmare may arrive nonetheless.

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In Death, Einstein Makes More Money than John Lennon

einsteinWho said going into science wasn’t a lucrative career move? In Forbes’ latest ranking of the highest earning dead celebrities, Albert Einstein beat out the likes of John Lennon, Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe to take the fourth spot behind Elvis Presley, Charles Schultz and Heath Ledger. Even though the father of relativity has been dead for 53 years, he remains one of the most recognizable faces in the world. He’s been a consistent appearance on Forbes’ list and raked in $18 million last year.

But where is all this money coming from? And who gets it?

As it turns out, Einstein doesn’t have any living heirs. He bequested all his personal papers, intellectual property rights and the right to use his image to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The university hires the company Greenlight to manage these rights and dole out permission for Einstein paraphernalia. (Greenlight also manages the rights to Steve McQueen and the Wright brothers.)

Greenlight says they receive 400 applications a year to use Einstein’s image, but they only approve about 40 of them. According to Martin Cribbs, director and brand strategy manager of Greenlight, to receive approval a company needs to prove that they are serious about the product, provide three years of sales predictions, and demonstrate a commitment to green issues. Cribbs says they reject proposals for cigarettes, sex toys, and anything of a scatological nature, like toilet paper.

Among products that have made the cut are Einstein calendars, mugs, jigsaw puzzles, action figures and a Japanese brand of coffee made by Nestle. The biggest source of revenue to the Einstein estate, however, comes from parents hoping to raise their very own geniuses. Disney’s line of Baby Einstein products, including educational DVD’s, books, and toys for babies, brings in millions every year. Most recently, Einstein has also been seen hawking Kobe Bryant’s new Nike ZKIII sneakers as part of its Genius campaign.

Earlier this year, Hebrew University asked an Israeli telephone company to retract its advertisements for its new Google-enabled mobile phones because they used the slogan “Everyone’s become an Einstein.” The company was told that it would cost NIS 400,000 (more than $100,000) to use the frizzy haired scientist-celeb for their ad campaign. Take that, Elvis.

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Auto sales 'unsustainably weak'; GM's fall 45 pct.

An unsold 2008 300C sedan sits at a Chrysler-Jeep dealership in the southeast Denver suburb of Centennial, Colo., on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008. Chrysler LLC said Monday, its U.S. sales plunged 34.9 percent in October, blaming reduced fleet sales and an overall industry declines.
An unsold 2008 300C sedan sits at a Chrysler-Jeep dealership in the southeast Denver suburb of Centennial, Colo., on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008. Chrysler LLC said Monday, its U.S. sales plunged 34.9 percent in October, blaming reduced fleet sales and an overall industry declines. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) By Tom Krisher and Bree Fowler

DETROIT—General Motors' October U.S. sales plunged 45 percent, and Ford's and Chrysler's weren't far behind, as low consumer confidence and tight credit combined to bring the industry's sales to an "unsustainably weak level" that is the worst in 25 years.

Automakers sold 838,156 vehicles in October, 32 percent fewer than the same month last year and the worst performance since January 1991, according to Autodata Corp. and Ward's AutoInfoBank. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 10.6 million vehicles was the lowest since February 1983.

"It's really an unsustainably weak level for all manufacturers," said Mike DiGiovanni, GM's executive director of global market and industry analysis. "This is clearly a severe, severe recession for the U.S. automotive industry and something we really can't sustain."

The annual sales rate in October 2007 was 16.1 million.

Chrysler's sales tumbled 35 percent and Ford's dropped 30 percent. Toyota's sales fell 23 percent despite its zero-percent financing offer, and Nissan and Honda posted 33 percent and 25 percent declines, respectively.

Overall, General Motors Corp. sold 168,719 vehicles in October, while Ford Motor Co., including its Volvo brand, sold 132,278 light vehicles and Chrysler LLC's sales totaled 94,530 units.

If GM's sales were adjusted for population growth, October would be the worst month of the post-World War II era, DiGiovanni said.

"Clearly we're in a very dire situation," he said. Detroit-based GM said its light truck sales tumbled 51 percent compared with the same month last year, while demand for passenger cars fell 34 percent.

Despite the steep drop, GM's total was enough to keep it ahead of Toyota Motor Corp. for the No. 1 U.S. sales spot. Toyota, which rolled out an offer of zero-percent financing during the month, sold 152,101 vehicles. The Japanese company's light truck sales fell 34 percent, while car sales dropped 15 percent.

Honda Motor Co.'s sales fell to 85,864 vehicles as truck sales fell 29 percent. But sales of cars from its Acura luxury division rose 6 percent.

Nissan Motor Co. sold 56,945 vehicles, and its truck sales dropped 52 percent.

Ford officials said on a conference call with reporters and industry analysts that as bad as October sales were, it's probably not the bottom.

Emily Kolinski Morris, the Dearborn-based company's senior economist, said that because automobiles are more durable, people can wait without buying a new vehicle until they feel more confident in the economy.

"The answer to when we will start to come out of that trough lies in when the economy comes out of that trough," Kolinski Morris said.

Ford likely will announce car and crossover vehicle production cuts when it announces its third-quarter earnings on Friday, said George Pipas, Ford's top sales analyst. Truck production cuts earlier in the year have kept inventories low, but car and crossover inventories need to be brought into line, he said.

Sales of the company's F-Series pickup trucks, traditionally its top seller, fell 16 percent in October, better than Ford's light trucks as a whole, which dropped more than 30 percent. The company began selling a new version of the pickup last month and has announced plans to add 1,000 workers at its Dearborn Truck Plant in January to handle what it expects will be increased demand.

Even Ford's Focus small car, which had experienced sales increases during the summer, saw its sales drop 18 percent.

Pipas said that even cars that once were selling well aren't selling in a U.S. market that last month shrank to an annual sales rate of about 11 million vehicles.

"In an 11 million industry, you're not going to see very many products for very many manufacturers post year-on-year sales increases."

Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president of marketing, said it's likely auto companies will start their year-end sales promotions early to try to drum up business, although he would not say what steps Ford would take.

GM said it will start its annual "Red Tag" sale Tuesday, with lower pricing and customer cash back on most of its new models. The sale typically begins later in the year.

Chrysler said it would continue incentive programs introduced in November that include cash rebates of up to $6,000 and discounted financing on remaining 2008 model year vehicles.

The Auburn Hills-based company is also offering lease loyalty allowances of up to $750 for purchases made by returning lease customers, along with bonus cash of up to $2,000 on some 2008 vehicles for customers who lease through independent financial institutions.

After reeling from a 32 percent drop in September sales, Toyota launched zero-percent financing on almost all of its models, prompting analysts to predict that it could post better-than-average October sales and potentially surpass GM for the first time as the U.S. sales leader.

But, like at Ford, the vast majority of Toyota models still posted double-digit declines. Notable exceptions included sales of the Corolla, which rose 6.1 percent, and the Sequoia sport utility vehicle, which posted a 21 percent gain.

Toyota Division General Manager Bob Carter said the financing offer, which had been set to expire on Monday but will now be extended for another month, gave October's sales a needed boost.

"This managed to breathe some life into an otherwise lackluster month," Carter said.

GM's financing arm, GMAC Financial Services, said last month it was tightening its lending standards to require a credit score of at least 700, potentially shutting out some buyers.

Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president for North American sales, said steep cutbacks in leasing and lack of available credit accounted for half of GM's year-over-year sales decline.

"There really needs to be actions focused on the consumer and available credit," DiGiovanni said.

Analysts said GM's employee pricing incentives in September likely pulled in buyers who would have waited to purchase cars, further reducing October sales.

The Associated Press reports unadjusted auto sales figures, calculating the percentage change in the total number of vehicles sold in one month compared with the same month a year earlier. Some automakers report percentages adjusted for sales days. There were 23 sales days last month, two less than in October 2007.

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Circuit City Lies About Guitar Hero Release Date To Get You To Go Away

By Meg Marco

David went to Circuit City yesterday to buy a copy of the new Guitar Hero game, which, according to our extensive research, is currently on sale at Circuit City. Unfortunately, the employees at this particular store refused to sell him the game, then lied about its release date, so that they wouldn't have to correct an error in their computer system. Why were they so reluctant to fix the mistake? Because the game was priced at $10,000 in the system, and to mark it down to its actual price would "look bad."

David launched an EECB (Executive Email Carpet Bomb) on Circuit City and CC'd us. Let's listen in:

I came to Circuit City hoping to purchase Guitar Hero: World Tour Complete Band Set for my wife's birthday. I had tried several other stores before coming to Circuit City, but all were sold out. When I arrived and asked an associate if they had the complete band set in stock, I was pleased to learn that they had one left. However, when they attempted to ring the item up, instead of the $189.99 list price, the item rang up at $10,000.00. We all had a good laugh at this as the associate went for a manager to clear up the error.

The manager looked at the price and told me that that normally happens when an item is marked unavailable because the item was not yet at its release date. Of course, this game was released last Tuesday, Oct. 28, and the manager and various sales associates told me that they had already sold a ton of them. After speaking to his supervisor on the phone (I believe it was a district manager), I was told that they could do a price adjustment to the correct price, but since that would throw off some numbers, would it be all right with me if they set the item available online, where the price is correct, and just pay for it on the web with immediate "in-store" pickup? I was happy to do whatever was needed, and did not mind helping, so I said sure.

Unfortunately, for the next 45 minutes I waited as the employee trying to make this happen ran back and forth from computer to computer trying to get the inventory and the website to match up. Finally, as I had been in the store over an hour at that point, I asked that the manager just do the price adjustment and let me buy the game. He got back on the phone with the district or regional manager, and I was the told that the Guitar Hero: World Tour Complete Band Set was not supposed to be released until NEXT Tuesday, so they could not sell it to me. This is untrue. Multiple CC employees told me that they had sold many of the sets earlier in the week. Also, here is a small list of stores and sites selling the set as of RIGHT NOW:

—Best Buy
—CIRCUIT CITY (At multiple stores, according to the website)

When I told the manager this was not true and that the manager had in fact earlier offered to simply price adjust the price, the truth emerged. The district manager told the store manager that a price adjustment that large would make their numbers look really bad, so they could not do it. The "It hasn't been released yet" line was just that, a lie to tell me so I would leave. This is unacceptable.

This is what I would like from Circuit City:

1. An explanation why Circuit City's internal variance numbers are more important than a customer trying to spend several hundred dollars at your store, and why I was lied to.

2. An acknowledgment that the item I was trying to buy was in fact available, and that I should have been allowed to purchase it.

3. A phone call from the District Manager, Regional Manager, or higher up at corporate to explain 1. and 2. to me.

Finally, one personal observation...perhaps it is customer service like this that is forcing you to close 155 of your stores?



David has an update and a happy ending!

David says:

I wanted to give you an update for my Circuit City issue. This morning I got a phone call from the District Manager for the Memphis stores and surrounding areas, Michael. He was "mortified" and had investigated the issue with the store in question as well as the asset manager that the store called. He went over what happened with me and addressed all my points. Apparently, there was a company-wide glitch that goofed up the price for my item. He apologized profusely during our 15 minute conversation, and though I did not ask for it, he gave me the complete band set for free. I just got back from Circuit City, and the game was waiting for me there. So, Circuit City, or at least Michael, really went over and above to address my issue.

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Bush Administration Committed War Crimes Against Prisoners, Reveals Physicians for Human Rights

by: David Gutierrez

(NaturalNews) The Bush administration has committed war crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay in its practice of torturing prisoners, according to the conclusions of a medical examination conducted by the organization Physicians for Human Rights.

"After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes," wrote retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba in the preface to the report. "The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

Taguba was the general who led the investigation of allegations of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. After releasing a report documenting the torture performed there, Taguba was forced out of the army.

In the new report, titled "Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by US Personnel and Its Impact," physicians examined 11 former prisoners who claimed they had been subjected to torture by their U.S. captors. It was the first study to medically document first-hand accounts of torture "based on internationally accepted standards for clinical assessment of torture claims," the human rights group said.

The report "tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture," Taguba writes in the preface. "This story is not only written in words, it is scrawled for the rest of these individuals' lives on their bodies and minds. Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors."

The torture suffered by the former prisoners was not the result of a few decisions by lower-ranking soldiers, Taguba said, but of a policy that came straight out of the White House and of doctors and psychologists who colluded with torturers.

"In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded," he writes. "The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. And the healing professions, including physicians and psychologists, became complicit in the willful infliction of harm against those the Hippocratic Oath demands they protect."

"Through the experiences of these men in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, we can see the full scope of the damage this illegal and unsound policy has inflicted," he said.

The 121-page report documents medical evidence that the 11 prisoners examined had been subjected to beatings, shackling, involuntary medication, sleep deprivation, electric shock, sexual humiliation, anal rape, threats to their families and other forms of deliberate physical and psychological abuse.

"We found clear physical and psychological evidence of torture and abuse, often causing lasting suffering," medical evaluator Dr. Allen Keller said.

The Bush administration has repeatedly denied allegations that the U.S. tortures detainees.

Four of the men had been captured in or near Afghanistan between late 2001 and early 2003 before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay; seven had been captured in Iraq in 2003. All the men were eventually released without charge. Before their release, however, the report concludes that all were subjected to various forms of torture that "often occurred in combination over a long period of time."

Although the examination of 11 specific former prisoners did not allow the study's authors to make conclusions about the treatment of U.S. detainees in general, they noted that their findings were consistent with those of prior investigations. Because of this, it is "reasonable to conclude that these detainees were not the only ones abused, but are representative of a much larger number of detainees subjected to torture and ill treatment while in U.S. custody."

One of the former prisoners examined by physicians was an Iraqi man in his mid-40s, identified in the report as "Laith." The examination concluded that he had been subjected to electric shock and sleep deprivation, and that he and his family had been threatened with sexual assault.

"They took off even my underwear. They asked me to do some movements that make me look in a very bad way so they can take photographs. ... they were trying to make me look like an animal," Laith said. "And they asked me, 'have you ever heard voices of women in this prison?' I answered, 'yes.' They were saying, 'then you will hear your mothers and sisters when we are raping them.'"

"Laith appears to have suffered severe and lasting physical and psychological injuries as a result of his arrest and incarceration at Abu Ghraib prison," the report concluded.
Another case was that of "Youssef," detained while trying to cross the border from Pakistan into Afghanistan without a passport. He was taken to an Afghan prison, where he reported "being stripped naked, being intimidated by dogs, being hooded and being thrown against the wall on repeated occasions." He was then transferred to Guantanamo Bay, where he was forced to lie on the floor with his hands tied to his feet behind him, while interrogators demanded that he confess to being involved with the Taliban.

Physicians for human rights called on the U.S. government to formally apologize to all people who it had detained and tortured since autumn 2001. It further demanded that the Bush administration "repudiate all forms of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment"; establish an independent committee to investigate the cases and conditions of those detained at U.S. prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay; carefully monitor conditions at all U.S.-operated prisons; and hold torturers accountable.

"These men deserve justice as required under the tenets of international law and the United States Constitution," Taguba said. "And so do the American people."

Sources for this story include: blogs.usatoday.com; blogs.abcnews.com; brokenlives.info; www.cnn.com.

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Ex-Health Care CEO Convicted in $1.9 Billion Fraud Case

Andrew Welsh-Huggins
The Associated Press

A federal jury in Ohio on Friday convicted the former CEO of a failed health care financing company in a $1.9 billion fraud case that prosecutors likened to the Enron or WorldCom scandals.

Lance Poulsen, 65, founder of National Century Financial Enterprises, was accused of fabricating data, moving money between accounts to hide shortfalls and misleading investors who funded his business model.

He had been on trial for the past month on charges of securities fraud and money laundering. He was convicted on all 20 counts.

His attorneys said they will file an appeal. Poulsen faces up to 135 years in prison, although his actual sentence will likely be shorter under federal-sentencing guidelines. No sentencing date was set.

In closing arguments Thursday, U.S. trial attorney Leo Wise called the case one of the largest frauds ever investigated by the FBI.

Poulsen, who was convicted in March and sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempting to bribe a witness, characterized himself as a rags-to-riches success story whose legitimate business was destroyed by the government.

Poulsen remains disappointed that U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley allowed jurors to hear evidence of Poulsen's bribery conviction, defense attorney Pete Anderson said Friday.

Anderson said that information should have been excluded under rules of evidence. It's always a risk when a jury learns of a previous conviction, he said.

Prosecutors declined to comment.

Poulsen had testified he did nothing illegal and was guilty at most of overseeing a company that might have grown too fast.

But the government's key witness, former company Executive Sherry Gibson, testified that she falsified numbers in investors' reports on Poulsen's orders. Gibson pleaded guilty in 2003 to conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud.

The government said Poulsen kept two sets of books and signed off on falsified reports.

Poulsen founded National Century Financial Enterprises in Dublin, Ohio, in the early 1990s.

At its height, the company employed more than 300 people, most of them in the Columbus area. Executives made millions, with Poulsen alone earning more than $9.1 million between 1996 and 2002, according to the government. He also owned a yacht, a private corporate jet and a Florida mansion.

National Century offered financing to small hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers by purchasing their accounts receivable, usually for 80 or 90 cents on the dollar, so they wouldn't have to wait for insurance payments. National Century then collected the full amount of the payments.

The company raised the money to fund its business by selling bonds to investors. It declared bankruptcy in 2002 after the FBI raided its offices.

At least nine former National Century executives have been convicted of corporate fraud related to the case.

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