Thursday, November 29, 2012

Consolidating Private Student Loans With Bad Credit Can Alleviate Financial Woes

The cost of a college education means students spend most of their time securing funding. So, when it comes to graduation day, they face huge debts that ensure they are under acute financial pressure even before they can begin their careers. Refinancing the debt is a wise move, especially when it comes to private student loans with bad credit.

Private loans are more expensive than the federal equivalent, but are also the most common. Often, the terms include a period of grace, but once that ends the full weight of the debt comes down to bear. As a result, repaying college debts becomes very difficult.

Refinancing the student loans through a consolidation program is widely recognized as the most effective option. This means that the original college debts are cleared, but with the terms of the consolidation loan better, the pressure of repaying it is significantly less.

Consolidation Programs Explained

Getting private student loans with bad credit is not a particularly difficult task. Most lenders understand that students have little or no income, but also that their education is the best way of securing a good job. The result is a greater open-mindedness towards students than other bad credit borrowers.

The problem is the cost of covering tuition fees and living expenses. And since each college year brings with it new expenses, as many as 5 loans can have been taken out by a typical student before they reach graduation day.

Taking this into account, repaying college debt is far from easy. But a consolidation program allows these individual debts to be combined, paid off and replaced by a more manageable loan. And as an added bonus, because the student loans are actually repaid in full, and not written off as in bankruptcy, the credit history of the student is greatly improved.

Typical Consolidation Loan Terms

As with all financial agreements, the terms of a consolidation loan need to be as good as possible. This is fairly likely when the borrower had secured private student loans with bad credit. Those terms would not have been ideal, making the potential for improvement much bigger. However, not all college loans are private; there are federal loans to consider too.

There is a major difference between private and federal student loans, with the government supported federal option usually coming with good terms anyway. Therefore, a typical private loan consolidation program will not provide the benefits to make the move worthwhile. So, repaying college debts from federal loans needs a special federal consolidation program.

There is no doubt that consolidating multiple student loans is the best option when trying to clear these debts, but be sure to choose the right program for each.

Qualifying for a Program

While a consolidation loan is viewed by lenders as another loan product, from which they will make a tidy profit, it is generally a simple process to qualify for one. Even getting private student loans with bad credit required some faith on the part of the lenders, but a consolidation program is seen as a replacement that fully repays the original loans.

Basically, the lenders who granted the original loans get their money back along with all the interest due. This is clearly a happy conclusion from their point of view. Still, there are some criteria to meet, such as having a minimum debt of ,000 and that repaying college debts is unlikely under the existing terms.

They also need confirmation that the consolidation loan is affordable too. If not, then the loan term can be extended to help lower it. But while the overall interest paid over a longer term is more, clearing those student loans makes such things worthwhile.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The United Mileage Plus Signature Visa Card - Pros and Cons

The United Mileage Plus Signature Visa Card, issued by Chase, is designed for those who travel frequently with United Airlines and have an excellent credit history.

Through the reward program, cardholders earn one mile for every dollar spent on the card. Miles can be used for travel on United Airlines and can be combined with the United Airlines frequent flyer program. New cardholders receive between 15.000 and 20,000 bonus miles (depending on promotion) after their first purchase and have the opportunity to earn additional miles at participating restaurants. Cardholders also receive a United discount travel certificate and a free one-way, 1,000 mile, one-class upgrade certificate after their first purchase.

The card has no pre-set spending limit; however, purchases are approved based on credit record, account history, and personal resources. The airline reward Miles are compatible with Frequent Flyer Programs.

APR (Purchases): 18.24% Variable
The APR for purchases is based on the Prime Rate.
APR (Cash Advances): 22.74% Variable
To view the most current rates, see the most recent: Terms and Conditions

Late Payment Fee: if balance is less than 0; if balance is 0 or more
Over-The-Limit Fee: None
Cash Advance Fee: 3%, minimum
Balance Transfer Fee: 3%, minimum, maximum

Credit Card Pros and Cons

Pros - Most Attractive Feature(s): No pre-set spending limit; additional miles at participating restaurants; various additional benefits and services to cardholders; bonus miles; card uses 'Average Daily Balance' method in determining finance charges, which is less costly when carrying occasional balances as compared to the "Two Cycles Average Daily Balance" method that is frequently used by Chase.

Those who can afford to pay in full each month (to avoid finance charges), currently fly with United Airlines (to combine earned miles with the frequent flyer program), and would like the additional travel services and discount certificates will benefit most from what the United Mileage Plus Signature Visa Card has to offer.

Mileage Plus Premier, Premier Executive, or Premier Executive 1K members, there is no limit to the amount of miles that can be earned. Miles do not expire as long as the cardmember earns or redeems miles within a three-year period.

The card offers a variety of additional cardholder benefits that include:

Various Internet account related services
Travel accident insurance
Emergency card replacement
Lost and stolen card reporting.
No liability for unauthorized transactions
Year-end financial statement (upon request)
Purchase protection
Extended warranty for purchases
Auto rental insurance (Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver)
Various travel and emergency assistance services

Cons - Least Attractive Feature(s): Slightly high annual fee of above average APR for purchases; no introductory rate available. There is a yearly limit of 60,000 miles that can be earned.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cash Advance Loans - A Solution To Stretched Finances

January is generally a time of year when people find it difficult to make ends meet. The excesses of the holidays often leave bank balances in sorry shape, credit card balances frighteningly high, and plenty of vying demands on whatever spare money is unspent. It's not surprising then that for many of us, our January budget is an unsolvable problem, and towards the end of the month cash simply runs out.

If you're lucky, your overdraft limit may be able to come to the rescue, letting you defer sorting out some of your expenses until your finances settle down again in springtime. Or, you might have credit on your credit card that you can use to cover essential costs, although getting out cash on cards is notoriously overpriced.

Is there another choice if neither of these options are appropriate?

The answer is, for many, to arrange a wage advance. While wage advance loans are far from cheap, they are quick to arrange and are accessible for nearly anyone who has a regular job and a suitable bank account, with poor credit not normally being important. Payday loans are usually for a small amount, a few hundred or thereabouts, and are borrowed over a term of weeks rather than months or years. A fixed charge of around 15-20% of the amount you borrow is charged, which you pay when you repay the loan on your next payday.

Most loans also have the option of being renewed or extended, so that you can put off paying back the loan for a further month, albeit at the cost of a fresh set of charges. While this is conveniant for some, it is also hazardous: it can be simple to get stuck into a spiral of finance which is a problematic drain on even the most sound of finances. The expense is also important, as pay day loans are very pricey when compared to most other forms of finance.

Nevertheless, if you find yourself in a hole come the end of the month and can't make ends meet, then a cash advance could be a quick and easy answer - just ensure you know about and can handle the perils involved.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Expert Witnesses: Striking A Late Designation

When it comes to issues that both sides anticipate will be disputed at trial, a party cannot merely reserve its right' to designate experts in the initial exchange, wait to see what experts are designated by the opposition, and then name its experts only as purported rebuttal' witnesses. ...The trial court erred by acquiescing in it.

Section 2034.260 of the Code of Civil Procedure requires that all parties exchange information concerning expert witnesses on or before the date set for the exchange.

Except for certain exceptions, the Code states that the trial court shall exclude from evidence the expert opinion of any witness that is offered by any party who has unreasonably failed to list that witness as an expert under Section 2034.260.

In Fairfax v. Lords , the Court of Appeal expressly rejected the idea of a party gaming the system' by not identifying any expert witnesses in the first go around, waiting to see who the other party designates, and then identifying supplemental' rebuttal witnesses.

The Court of Appeal opened its opinion by stating In this case, we conclude that simultaneous' means occurring at the same time.' In this case the defendant (Lords) exchanged a First Designation of Expert Witnesses in which he did not designate any experts but stated that he reserved the right to designate rebuttal experts.

After receiving the plaintiff's designation, the defendant submitted a Second Designation of Expert Witnesses in which he now designated purported rebuttal' witnesses.

The Plaintiff moved for an order striking the supplemental designation, which the trial court denied. Plaintiff thereafter brought a motion in limine on the same issue. Defense counsel argued that since he had made the original exchange, he was guaranteed the right to identify any retained experts he chose to hire as rebuttal' experts.

Defense counsel also argued it is simply prudent litigation defense practice to minimize the cost of litigation by allowing plaintiff to declare the issues he intends to retain experts for, and for the defense to then offer appropriate rebuttal experts. It would also be poor litigation strategy for the defendant to designate an expert prior to knowing what type of expert plaintiff has chosen. The Court of Appeal rejected this approach.

There are two significant problems with Lords' reasoning. First, he seems to be assuming there is no way for defendant to determine what claims are at issue in a particular case until plaintiff reveals his expert witness list. That is simply untrue. The complaint itself is a rich source for determining what claims are at issue. Moreover, ordinary discovery is also available.

The second, and more fundamental problem with Lords' argument is that it is simply inconsistent with the clear statutory requirement of a simultaneous' exchange. Even if we agreed that defendants' interests would be better served by a system which allowed them to designate experts only after seeing plaintiffs' list (and it would be difficult to dispute the point), that is simply not an appropriate basis for ignoring the requirements of the statute.

Our system requires that defendants participate in the litigation essentially simultaneously with plaintiff. Section 2034 expressly requires it with respect to expert designations. If Lords would like to see that requirement changed, his remedy is with the Legislature, not the courts.

We therefore conclude the court erred in denying Fairfax's motion to strike Lords' second designation' of expert witnesses. The motion should have been granted, as Lords had no right to simply delay his designation of retained experts until after he had the opportunity to view the designation timely served by Fairfax.

As the California Supreme Court noted, Late disclosure of experts ... frustrates the very purposes of the discovery statutes.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Buy Austin Homes For Investment Through Reliable Real Estate Agents

Many people who visit Texas enjoy the warm climate and look for Austin Homes to purchase as investment or for setting up residence. Austin is the capital and fourth largest city in Texas. The real estate market is booming in Austin as many people are focusing on investment opportunities in this beautiful state where the scenery is magnificent and the weather is warm and inviting. Values of homes are now skyrocketing and people realize the necessity of building up a good investment portfolio. Investors can own homes with owner financing in Austin or the surrounding areas such as Round Rock or West Lake Hills, RX.

When the industry starts shrinking, the demand automatically goes up and this is exactly why the current sales are steadily rising since 2012. Anyone interested in learning what is owner financing, when buying properties or Austin homes, should contact the best real estate agency in the area that is qualified and experienced to handle the entire transaction. You can look for these service companies in your area through the internet. Read the testimonials and review the feedback to be assured of their quality service. The real estate agent should be able to discuss financial strategies to help you invest without using your own credit or cash. They should also be able to help you purchase home spending less cash on the dollar. They should be able to enlighten you on the way it works.

Owner financing proves beneficial to the sellers because they are able to make money upfront without the need to become a landlord. Buyers also are able to obtain loans for houses with this type of financing. Since there are many non-licensed investors who do not complete the process properly, they may put buyers and sellers at high risk by trying to cut corners because they are not 100% sure of the legal processes. Owner financing is a legitimate way to see real estate when it is difficult to get convention financing.

What is Owner Financing? The buyer makes an offer through an agent or on their own when the owner advertises his house for sale. Instead of the buyer trying to get a bank loan, the seller carries back the amount agreed upon which includes a 10% down payment on the total amount. This balance is taken back by the seller as a note and mortgage. It could also be a real estate contract or a deed of trust depending on the documents that are customary for that state. A title company carries out the closing transaction and a real estate attorney drawn up the legal documents.

An agreement is made for the amount of interest that has to be paid by the buyer per month. He will expect the entire payment to be paid within a certain period. This is referred to as owner financing, private mortgage or seller carry-back. The seller has the same rights of foreclosure if the buyer is unable to make the payments. This type of transaction is popular in Texas when you are looking to buy beautiful Austin homes in Texas.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pilot in Alabama Plane Crash Found to be Fatigued

Alabama - Whenever anybody hears of a plane losing altitude and crashing, the immediate assumption is that there might have been something wrong with the plane. When you hear the term 'pilot error,' you assume that the pilot made an error in judgment. When you hear the word 'stall,' you assume that something was wrong with the plane's engine.

However, various assumptions that might have been made surrounding a plane crash which took the lives of two people last December in Randolph County, Alabama were put to rest this week, when it was determined that a contributing factor to the crash was, indeed, restor more correctly, lack thereof.
Flight Instructor and Student Pilot Killed

It was December 7th of last year when a single-engine Cessna plane, built in 1978 stalled, went into a nosedive and crashed into a hillside near Bethel East Church. Both occupants of the plane, a flight instructor and her student pilot, were killed in the crash. Emily Clark, 28 of Madison and her student James Brown, 37 of Huntsville were returning from Orlando where Brown had been attending a conference.

A probable-cause report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Wednesday served to dispel some of the myths that may have been circulating around the tragic airplane crash just a few weeks prior to Christmas last year.
Age of Plane Not a Factor, But Pilot Fatigue Was

The plane, although nearly 30 years in the air, was mechanically sound. Thus, causes of the airplane crash were listed as unknown forces responsible for a loss of control of the aircraft, together with an 'inadvertent' stall.

Crew fatigue was noted as a contributing factor.

The word 'stall' in this context has nothing to do with the engine. Encountering a condition of stall in the air is not necessarily the same thing as stalling the motor in your car, or the outboard on the fishing boat at the cottage. Rather, 'stall' in this context relates to a lack of lift pertaining to the wings of the aircraft.

According to Alex Lemishko, assistant deputy director for the NTSB's regional operations, something caused the pilot to lose control of the plane, which in turn put the Cessna into a maneuver where the wings could not generate sufficient lift to keep the plane in the air.

While there was no conclusion drawn as to what might have caused the plane to go into a stall, a previous report into the accident revealed that both Clark and Brown had been awake for 20 hours without sleep at the time of the crash. Thus, speculation that the pilot may have become sleepy while at the controls, fatigue which is believed to have been a contributing factor in the crash.
Fatigue a Common Factor in Accidents

There have been many examples, over the years, in other industries where fatigue has been a factor in accidents. Truck drivers are required to keep detailed logbooks of their waking, and sleeping hours, lest they push the limits for reasons of efficiency and profit, and risk harm to themselves and others on the road in the process.

To that end, extreme fatigue while driving, and the impairment that results, has been likened to alcohol impairment: reflexes are slow, and judgment is poor. Is the person up ahead in the car in front of you weaving because he is drunk? Or sleepy?

There are strict regulations for both commercial, and private pilots with regard to rest periods. In the end a well-maintained and mechanically sound plane is only as good as the pilot, who is charged with making a myriad of important decisionseverything from having the wisdom to defer to poor weather if conditions warrant, to properly loading the plane to safe parameters.

And ultimately, piloting the plane safely. If your life has been put in danger by a pilot who has had too little sleep, know that pilot fatigue is an actionable offense.
Contacting a Wrongful Death Lawyer

When you need a lawyer who will exhaustively investigate your case and make sure that every responsible party is held accountable, contact The Killino Firm, where Keeping America Safe is our primary goal. To speak to one of our attorneys, please call us toll free at 800-815-2603, or contact a Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer via email. We will respond promptly to your inquiry so that you can experience The Killino Firm Difference.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lease, Rent, or Buy? Your Guide to Car Leases

When thinking about leasing a car, a lot of people ask themselves one question: Should I lease, rent, or buy?

Leasing, buying, and renting a car are all very different processes. Car leases and purchases are both methods of auto financing - with leasing, you're paying to drive the vehicle for a certain amount of time (often two or three years), whereas buying entitles you to actually own the vehicle.

Cars leasing is advantageous to drivers that prefer new vehicles, are unsure of their long-term vehicle needs, and/or do not want to deal with the hassle of selling their cars later on. Alternatively, buying is perfect for drivers who are more concerned with long-term costs and needs.

Renting a car is something different altogether. Unlike buying and leasing, whose costs are largely determined by set factors such as the vehicle's market value and expected depreciation, rental expenses do not follow a definite formula. Thus, renting a car is generally not cost-effective, and is only recommended for short term use (less than one year - ideally just a couple of days).

If you've decided to lease new cars, you might think you're done asking yourself questions, but here's one more to consider: Do I want closed-end or open-end car lease deals? Open- and closed-end leases are the two primary types of car leasing deals. Closed-end leases are more financially beneficial to the lessee, while open-end leases protect the leasing company.

Before going any further, it's important to remember one important concept of leasing a car: residual value. In car leases, a vehicle's residual value represents its predicted worth at the end of the lease. A ,000 car with a 50% residual percentage after 24 months, for example, would have a residual value of ,000. In this case, the lessee would agree to pay the difference - ,000 - plus the appropriate fees.

To predict a car's residual value, car leasing companies look at the history of the vehicle's make and model, in addition to factoring in the duration of the lease and the expected mileage. Therefore, the residual is an estimation - not a sure thing - meaning that at the end of the lease the vehicle could be worth more or less than anticipated.

Now, let's discuss the difference between open- and closed-end leases. Closed-end car lease deals are also known as "walk-away" leases, because they allow the lessee to simply walk away at the end of the lease, regardless of the car's actual value. The lessee will only have to pay for damages and/or extra mileage as stipulated in the contract. In an open-end lease, however, the lessee must cover the difference between the final worth and the forecasted residual.

Let's consider the ,000 New York lease mentioned above. Although the residual value after 24 months is ,000, it's possible that the car will be worth a lesser amount, such as ,000. In this case, the vehicle's worth will have decreased by ,000, even though the initial lease was only set for ,000. In a closed-end lease, the Brooklyn cars leasing company absorbs this cost, however open-end leases require the lessee to pay for the extra ,000 of depreciation.

What about if the car is worth more than expected at the end of the lease? In closed-end car leasing deals, the lessee can choose to purchase the vehicle at the residual price (as long as the contract included an option to buy). So, if the car wound up worth ,000, the lessee could buy the vehicle for ,000, then sell it for ,000 to profit.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Securing Home Loans With Bad Credit: Some Tricks That Make It Happen

Excellent credit histories are pretty rare these days. Even mortgages, arguably the biggest single debt anyone will take on in their lifetime, are being applied for by applicants with low credit scores. But is it even possible to get home loans with bad credit?

The simple answer is yes. Approval for any kind of loan depends on the strength of the application, not on the credit score the applicant has. Employment and affordability are much more significant factors in any loan approval process, so securing mortgage approval is about having a good income and a healthy debt-to-income ratio.

But that is not to say matters cannot be improved in advance of submitting an application. The right moves (and 3 in particular) can strengthen the home loan application overall, increasing greatly the chances of success. These three involve knowing your financial reputation; taking time to improve your credit score; and offering a large down payment.

Know Your Financial Reputation

Knowing your own financial reputation is a very useful thing when it comes to building a strong loan application. This is done by reading your own credit report, which details the nature of your credit history, and reveals the weaknesses that lenders will take note of. Knowing where the faults lie can help greatly when seeking home loans with bad credit.

The credit score is only a calculated value of the risk factor of a particular applicant, but the accuracy of that evaluation has come into question in recent years. But they still have a limited influence, with low scores meaning higher interest rates charged, which in turn affects the affordability of the required repayments. So, the chances of securing mortgage approval can still be affected.

When the score is very low (around 500), then it is obvious that some effort needs to be made to improve it if a home loan is to be secured. But if the score is high (around 700) the application is going to be pretty strong in any case.

Increase Your Credit Score

But how can these scores be improved? Well, the only way is to reduce the amount of debt that exists by paying at least some of them off. With every debt cleared, the score is adjusted upwards, so gradually the score rises to a higher level. This can help to secure a home loan with bad credit, with the interest is lowered and the debt-to-income ratio improved.

Clearing debts can be done in two ways. Firstly, with a single consolidation loan paying all of the remaining balances in one go. Because 4 individual loans come with 4 individual interest rates, the overall cost can be quite high. Replacing them with one loan and one interest rate creates considerable savings. So, securing mortgage approval becomes easier.

Also, because the amount of debt falls, the debt-to-income ratio improves. More funds become available for any new debt, so a home loan can be deemed affordable.

Consider a Larger Down Payment

A down payment is important, not just because it seals the transaction, but because it lowers the amount needed to borrow to complete the transaction. This can be very beneficial when seeking a home loan with bad credit, with smaller loans meaning lower monthly repayments.

For example, a 10% down payment on a home worth 0,000, means a mortgage of 5,000 is required to purchase the property. But a down payment of 20% lowers the required home loan to 0,000. This effectively lowers the monthly repayments from 0 to 0 (over 30 years).

And with greater affordability, securing mortgage approval becomes that little bit easier. Of course, saving ,000 to make a 20% down payment is the difficult part, and can typically take years to do.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Get Bad Credit Car Loans

You are looking for a vehicle and when you check your credit history it reports bad credit. A credit score under 600 is not considered to be good. Borrowers of this category are taken as risk among the lenders and lenders are reluctant in helping these people out. However, with time things have changed and there are a number of lenders these days that are ready to sponsor the needs of people with bad credit.

Let us see the basic qualification criteria and what your options available with these loans are.

Before applying for these loans

Before you go ahead with these loans you should get a copy of your credit report and check it thoroughly .There are times that you can find errors in your report and by getting these errors corrected your credit score can improve and you can qualify for a better interest rate.

When you take a auto loan you are required to make a down payment. The thumb of the rule is that more the amount of down payment lower would be the interest rate .So try and arrange for a down payment that is bigger in amount. Try to finance at least 7-10% of the loan amount through the down payment.

Make sure that you compare the price offered by at least 3-4 lenders so that you have an idea as to what rates you are being offered and what is the best deal that you can get. Do not just compare the interest rate on the loan. Make sure that you also compare the terms of the loan.

Before you apply for these loans make sure that your payments towards the other credits is made on time. When the lender checks your credit report they would see that you have been making the payments on time and this would add a positive effect to your loan application.

What should you be aware of?

When you take a bad credit auto loan it is advised that you look out for the terms of the loan. The loan is usually distributed over a period of 3-5 years. Make sure that the term that you get on the loan is not too strict and you would be able to pay off the loan on time.

Look at the interest rates and the other costs associated with the loan. There are a number of costs that come along with the bad credit auto loans. Make sure that you ask the lender about the other costs also .It is better to compare the APR on the loan that would give you the total cost so that you can assess how much would you pay on an annual basis towards the loan.

If you are adding payment protection insurance along with the loan then be aware that the cost of the loan will rise. However, this factor can protect you in case you are unable to meet the payment for a few months because of some reason.

What are the available options?

When applying for the bad credit auto loans you can have three different options available.

* Conventional lenders: These are the usual lenders that give out these loans. They charge an interest slightly higher than that available to people with good credit .Qualifying for this loan would be easy if you have maintained a good payment schedule over the past few months.

* Credit Unions: If you are a member of a credit union then it is advised that you take the help of union. These can be affordable and help you in getting the vehicle.

* Auto dealer: The dealer from whom you take the vehicle can provide you with an option for the finance. The dealers are in touch with a number of lenders and provide finance regardless of the credit score to their customers. However, this can prove to be an expensive deal. Hence it is advised that you opt for this type of finance only if there is no other option available.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stephen Fry and Two New Teenage Credit Card Fraudsters: Spot the Difference

Two British schoolboys, Nick Webber and Ryan Thomas, were arrested earlier this year on charges of a multi-million pound internet credit card fraud. It is alleged that they managed to hack into over 65,000 bank accounts and sell the details on a dodgy internet site. Apparently over £8 million was subsequently stolen from the accounts. Other alleged illegal activities by the young gentlemen included running a website called 'Ghostmarket', which offered advice to crooked customers on how to use stolen card details to buy goods, wire cash and call sex phone lines. Sentencing is due on February 28 2011.

Stumbling upon this article on the Sun's website brought back memories of an earlier story about that other infamous teenage card fraudster Stephen Fry. In the latest volume of his autobiography, 'The Fry Chronicles', he relates how, as a teenager, he once pilfered a credit card from a friend of his parents and used it to fund a Bertie Wooster-style spree at the London Ritz. Playing truant from school, and dressed up in his grandfather's clothes, he managed to spend two days propping up the bar, sipping cocktails and smoking Balkan Sobranies. He was eventually discovered, expelled from his public school, and detained for three months at Her Majesty's pleasure in Pucklechurch Prison, a Young Offenders' Institution near Bristol. Thankfully he survived this experience without sinking into a life of crime and depravity, achieving a First at Queens's College and going on to become one of the best and brightest British stars of both television and the cinema.

Like Stephen Fry, Nick Webber is also a Public Schoolboy; like him, he was first arrested back in October 2009 after running up a bill of more than £1000 in a ritzy London hotel using a 'compromised credit card'. Why then do these young men strike me as so much less delightful than Stephen Fry? Maybe it's because their ill-gotten gains were used to finance a life-style including exotic foreign holidays, designer clothes and a Hummer 4x4 (despite the fact they have not yet passed their driving tests).

Let us give them the benefit of the doubt, however, and hope that they too will go on to become polymaths and national treasures…Somehow I seriously doubt it, but we can always hope. They are clearly intelligent, ambitious and resourceful youths, to say the least. Perhaps, like the young Stephen Fry, they will be sent to a Young Offenders Institution, similar to the now-defunct Pucklechurch Prison, learn useful life-skills and go on to become pillars of society. If the state of our prisons is a fair measure of the state of our society, Stephen Fry's 3 months at Her Majesty's Pleasure was a good advertisement for Britain and its criminal justice system.To be strictly fair, I don't think Stephen Fry would be too happy if I ascribed his success solely to this early incarceration in a young offenders unit…there may be an element of natural ability involved too.

Post Script. Is this story actually for real? I mean to say, 'Nick Webber' accused of online fraud?