A 28-year-old man went to a financial adviser with $42 in his pocket. "I don't know what to do with this money," he said. "But I want you to show me." He saved all of his extra money every month and invested it like his adviser told him to. Thirty years later he retired a millionaire.
This is a true story, related by Adam Shepard in his book "Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream." It can also be your story.
That $42 is the "sock money" that I talked about in the last column , the money we have been putting aside to start our own investments. To be clear, you'll need a bit more: that 28-year-old man's experience began about 40 years ago. Because of inflation, we're probably talking about something like $177 these days. It's still achievable, though.
But what if we honestly have hunted through wallets, coin jars and checking accounts but haven't found more than a very small amount? Are we just out of luck?
No, we just get smarter.
One way to accumulate investment money is to start a small business. Something as uncomplicated as mowing even one neighbor's yard each week wouldn't be difficult to begin but can increase your investment potential considerably. With a $100 mower you can be on your way.
If you have just a small business, filing those taxes should be simple. You can file using your Social Security number instead of applying for a Taxpayer's Identification Number, says Debonney Fox of Dennis G. Fox P.C. in Glenwood Springs.
There may be other considerations that you should know about, though, such as carrying proper insurance if you're doing manual labor. Check with a qualified professional, a local small business consultant or online about legal obligations.
Freelance work is ramping up all over the world through websites. If you have a skill that can be put to use online, such as being a good typist, you might consider earning extra money that way.
Many legitimate work opportunities are out there, such as with Amazon's Mechanical Turk. In January 2015 The Economist reported: "Perhaps the most striking of all the on-demand-services is Amazon's Mechanical Turk, which allows customers to post any human intelligence task." (e.g., taking surveys, composing text messages, etc.) "You choose what to do according to task and price."
If you're interested, first read some reviews of Turk, as well as hints about how best to use it. The pay is often small, but if you complete tasks regularly and quickly you can definitely bring in cash that becomes your start.
Caution: There are plenty of scams on the web. One sign of a scammer is if the site tries to entice you to give out your credit card number with the promise of rewards for online work. That's your clue to keep looking.
Before I end this column, I want to take a minute to tell you why I'm writing it.
Looking back, people often realize something that was not obvious earlier: No matter how tight money seemed back when they were younger, they really could (and should) have saved and invested something. If they had known that earlier, their lives now would be far easier, more fun and less stressful.
Given time, your money possesses an amazing growth potential. I want you to know that if you're relatively young, even if you have just a regular, everyday job, you can you can turn your own scratch beginnings into something of a fortune. Not so young? It will take more of an investment and more effort, but it's still possible.
Get that money together. In two weeks: What to do with it.
NORTH AMITYVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — Police say three churches on Long Island have been vandalized with Satanic graffiti.
Suffolk County police say someone spray-painted the graffiti on the three churches between Friday night and Saturday morning.
They were Shaw Temple A.M.E. Zion Church, Zion Gospel Church and Amityville Full Gospel Tabernacle.
Zion Gospel's spiritual leader, Willard Price, told Newsday that he will pray for the individual who vandalized his church.
Price said he would remove the graffiti in time for Sunday services.
LAKE RONKONKOMA, NY –
Two skimming devices were found on gas pumps at a Lake Ronkonkoma gas station Tuesday morning, Suffolk Police said.
Two internal skimming devices were discovered on pumps at the Gulf station located at 292 Ronkonkoma Ave. at about 8:15 a.m. by a person who was servicing the machines, police said.
Identity Theft Unit detectives are investigating.
Skimmers capture debit and credit card numbers that thieves can then use to make fraudulent charges and drain bank accounts.
LINDENHURST, NY – A Long Island woman saved her daughter's life and then lost her own after being struck by a car Sunday morning.
According to Suffolk Police, Diane Aluska and her 16-year-old daughter Jenna were walking on the sidewalk in front of 225 Wellwood Avenue in Lindenhurst when they were struck by a 2005 Toyota Corolla that was backing out of a diagonal parking spot at about 9:10 a.m.
The Corolla, being driven by 80-year-old Ann Riolo, drove onto the sidewalk in reverse, police said. The car struck the Lindenhurst Fire Department after hitting the pedestrians.
Diane Aluska pushed her daughter out of the way of the car, police said.
"From what we see, I have no doubt that she
her daughter's life," Det. Sgt. James Murphy said, according to a News 12 report.
Diane Aluska, 55, was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip where she was pronounced dead. Jenna Aluska and Riolo, of Lindenhurst, were also transported to Good Samaritan for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
No criminal charges have been filed. Police are asking anyone with information on the crash to call the First Squad at 631-854-8152 .
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — It’s the final chapter in a troubling case of illegal dumping — a case prosecutors say caused an environmental catastrophe in Suffolk County.
On Thursday, a judge called for the end of ‘business as usual’ and sentenced two men — a hauler and his employee — to jail.
Toxins including pesticides, PCBs, and other chemicals that have been banned for a long time were dumped, and Thomas Datre Jr admitted to doing it, but claimed it was unintentional.
“To anybody who was impacted, I was not out to hurt nobody,” he said.
“He knew that there were rules and regulations in place and where this stuff is supposed to be disposed. He knows there are high costs associated with that, but when you find holes in Suffolk County and you don’t care where it is, it’s pure profit in your pockets,” Assistant Suffolk County D.A. Michelle Pitman said.
Prosecutors said four properties were riddled with thousands of tons of hazardous rubble, the court-ordered cleanup moving at a snail’s pace.
Darte Jr’s attorney said he recklessly cut corners, but had no bad intentions.
“We don’t believe anybody has been hurt, or anyone has been harmed,” attorney Kevin Kearon said.
Taxpayers spent nearly $4-million for cleanup. Wetlands were dumped on, and an affordable housing development for war veterans was contaminated.
One Marine said his dream home was turned into a nightmare.
“Who knows if I am going to develop some form of disease in the future, having that in my mind every day,” Eric Petrie said.
Judge Fernando Camacho sentenced Datre Jr to a year in jail.
“You cannot line your pockets by dumping your filth and poison into our communities,” he said.
Charges against Datre’s father, Thomas Sr. were dismissed. He said the case was devastating.
“Destroyed my name, destroyed my business, destroyed my family,” he said.
Also destroyed were three years of park-going in Brentwood, a community struggling with gang violence.
“A park sits padlocked when they need it more than anything. They can’t have it,” Camacho said, “Because of you.”
Datre Jr’s company was also ordered to pay $600,000 in fines. Parts of Roberto Clemente Park may finally be re-opened this summer.
Adam Sandler and Chris Rock will be on Long Island this summer to shoot a new movie for Netflix.
Titled “The Week Of,” the comedy stars Sandler and Rock as parents whose children — a daughter and son, respectively — are about to get married. The film covers a week of preparation for the wedding.
Directed by “Saturday Night Live” veteran Robert Smigel, who co-wrote with Sandler, “The Week Of” marks Sandler’s fourth film for Netflix, which recently extended its original deal to include another four films. The streaming service says that Sandler’s previous features — “The Ridiculous 6,” “The Do-Over” and “Sandy Wexler” — have been “three of the biggest film releases ever on Netflix,” though the company does not provide viewership breakdowns.
Rock, who starred in Sandler’s two “Grown Ups” movies, is currently working on two stand-up comedy specials for Netflix.
A Netflix representative could not say exactly where on Long Island filming would take place. The streaming service announced the film is set to premiere in 2018.
An elderly pedestrian was hit and killed by a truck in Lynbrook Monday morning, in what police are deeming an accident.
According to detectives, a 38-year-old driver was backing up a box truck in front of a home on Daley Place at 11:45 a.m. Stephanie O'Neill, 80, of Lynbrook, was walking behind the truck and was hit.
An ambulance took O'Neill to a local hospital. She sustained head trauma and internal injuries, and was pronounced dead by a doctor at 12:53 p.m.
Police conducted a brake and safety check of the truck at the scene, and said there is no apparent criminality.
SOUTHAMPTON, NY — A man extradited back to the United States after sexually abusing a girl, 6, in Hamptons Bays, was a defrocked priest, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.
Augusto Cortez pleaded not guilty Monday at his arraignment before Judge Barbara Kahn in Riverhead, Spota said.
Cortez, 53, pleaded not guilty to the three charges in the indictment: first degree criminal sexual act, first degree sexual abuse, and endangering the welfare of a child, Spota said.
The court remanded the defendant without bail and set a return date of May 15; a temporary order of protection was issued for the victim, Spota said.
Cortez is a registered sex offender who was convicted of forcible touching in Brooklyn in 2009, Spota said.
Spota said the crimes alleged in the indictment occurred in June of 2014 and Cortez was indicted by a grand jury in October of that year, Spota said.
Cortez was extradited and arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport Saturday, police said.
Three Long Islanders -- one the alleged ringleader -- are among nine that were indicted Monday for a mortgage fraud scheme. According to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the scheme spanned two boroughs of New York City and resulted in more than $1 million in fraudulent gains.
Among those arrested were Janelle Defreitas, 37, of Uniondale; Lester Wayne Mackey, 63, of Wyandanch; and Darren Downes, 36, of Baldwin. Also charged were Raymond McKayle, 53, of East Flatbush; Jaipaul Persaud, 54, of Fresh Meadows; Roxanne Harmon, 51, of Jamaica; June Whyte, 54, of Ozone Park; Rickley Gregoire, 33, of Brooklyn; and Paula Blackwood-Sambury, 50, of Cambria Heights.
The nine were charged with many crimes, including money laundering, grand larceny, residential mortgage fraud, offering false instruments for filing, conspiracy and related charges.
"Our investigation uncovered a brazen and elaborate scheme to defraud mortgage lenders and steal over $1 million," said Schneiderman. "We have zero tolerance for anyone who tries to cheat the system — and we won’t hesitate to bring them to justice."
According to the Attorney General, from 2012 to 2015, Defreitas, McKayle, Mackey, and Persaud allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders and steal mortgage proceeds. In the course of the scheme, they allegedly used sham corporations to acquire titles to four properties in Brooklyn and Queens, and then allegedly conspired with Downes, Harmon, Whyte, Gregoire, and Blackwood-Sambury to obtain mortgages to “buy” the properties in manufactured resales. They allegedly concealed the fact that the buyers couldn’t afford the homes by submitting fraudulent mortgage applications showing grossly inflated incomes from fake jobs, bank accounts with fabricated balances and other false information.
Prosecutors say that Defreitas acquired the titles two locations in Brooklyn and two in Queens through shell corporations that included West North Capital, Inc., Housing Enhancement and Lifetime Planning (“HELP”), and others. Defreitas allegedly used Downes, Whyte, Gregoire and Blackwood-Sambury to “purchase” the acquired real estate from herself and her companies at significantly higher prices.
To facilitate the sales, it is alleged that McKayle, a licensed mortgage loan originator, would direct Defreitas on how to alter and falsify information in loan applications so that unqualified buyers would be approved for loans they could not afford.
In certain instances, it is alleged, the defendants would acquire properties via a short-sale. According to prosecutors, Harmon, who is an investigator for the New York City Department of Investigation, owed approximately $512,000 on her mortgaged property. Harmon and Defreitas allegedly conspired to fraudulently apply for a short-sale via Harmon’s mortgage holder. Defreitas allegedly concealed her involvement by purporting to represent Harmon through one of the shell companies.
Eventually, based on Harmon’s supposed hardship, the mortgage company agreed to a $100,000 short sale to West North Capital – which was also owned by Defreitas. As a result of alleged misrepresentations made by Harmon and Defreitas to the mortgage company, Harmon’s debt was reduced by approximately $412,000, and Defreitas owned the property without a mortgage lien. A few months later, Defreitas and McKayle allegedly submitted a fraudulent mortgage application so that defendant June Whyte, Harmon’s sister-in-law, could “buy” the property from West North Capital. Whyte’s fraudulent application, including fake paystubs and W-2 statements created by Persaud, was approved and West North – and Defreitas – collected almost $400,000 in mortgage loan proceeds.
The investigation originated from a 2014 complaint to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit, as well as an automobile insurance fraud case handled by the New York State Attorney General’s Office involving Defreitas and Downes, for which Downes is currently serving time in jail.
MONTAUK, N.Y. — The Coast Guard came to the rescue of a crew member on board a fishing boat off Long Island on Friday night.
The rescue happened about 65 miles south of Montauk.
The crew member was sick and needed a doctor.
A Coast Guard helicopter lowered a rescuer onto the deck. Then, the 47-year-old man was lifted up in a basket.
There was no word on his condition.
HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — Police say a 90-year-old driver has been killed in a head-on crash on Long Island.
It happened at 2 p.m. Friday in Hicksville.
Nassau County police say 90-year-old Marie Capelli was driving a Hyundai when she hit a Toyota head on.
Capelli was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
The driver of the Toyota was treated at an area hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.