Baum's accountant Amelia -- an elderly Russian woman in New Jersey -- would then calculate fake
withholding taxes for each of the girls and issue a new set of checks, which were messengered back to
415 Broadway and distributed on Friday afternoon. "I asked to see a breakdown," says Lisandra fuming.
"Where's the social security, the FICA, all that stuff ? They said, 'Oh, this is just an estimate. Trust us. This
will be to your benefit.'" In a feeble attempt to disguise the larceny Brenda, the senior office manager,
began issuing pay stubs that documented the phony tax deductions (still no FICA). The small slips of
unevenly cut white paper looked as if they were produced in a kindergarten arts-and-crafts class. And the
withholding taxes that were listed were never consistent. Two shift managers making the exact same
salary and have the same deduction would end up with completely different totals.
And when the system wasn't crashing intentionally, it was crashing unintentionally. "They brought in a tech
crew that didn't know what they were doing" says Jennifer. "The router wasn't put up properly. The
stream line wasn't tested. The fire wall wasn't up. The computers weren't adequate either. They were
all mismatched. The system was overloaded and would crash constantly." "The girls are getting ripped
says Tom Hines, the editor of AVN News, a sex industry trade publication. "The end user is still
getting charged for that 20 minutes. So Baum is keeping the money. It could be a code that automatically
cuts off one of every twenty calls. They don't care, because the guy will call back. They may even be
billing for the full hour. That's not a sophisticated scam. That's out-and-out theft." "Having a sweat
shop like this is not common,"
Hines continues "It's very much on the periphery of adult internet. I've
never come across this. I wouldn't even include these gumbahs in the industry. This illustrates perfectly
how anyone can become an adult webmaster. You put up some cameras, you hook up to a domain and set
up the merchant account and -- presto ! You're a pornopreneur." The most blatant fraud perpetrated
at Baum Multimedia, though is: the forging of checks. Every Thursday the girls' BBR Services
payroll checks arrive by FedEX. Cecilia, admittedly, a Chilean immigrant who worked as the Baum
Multimedia office manager would then rubber-stamp the back of each of the checks and
under Fred
Baum's direction forge each of the girl's signatures. Baum would then walk down Broadway to
the Merchant's Bank and deposit the falsely endorsed checks into the Baum Multimedia LLC. account.
It was to the point where the business did 1,500 minutes and there were 800 missing." "A girl who works
an eight-hour shift gets maybe twelve shows," explains Lisandra, another former Baum girl. "Of those
twelve shows, three or four of them are frozen or knocked out. At the end of the shift you'd count your
total minutes from the host web site and you'd discover that the shows that had complications wouldn't
show up."

written by Rene Chun


Sweat Shop"

No part of this Works, may be published or
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