PALM SPRINGS CANCER VICTIM CHARGED WITH TRYING TO BLOW UP HOUSE

A 55-year-old Palm Springs man with cancer was arrested Friday and charged with trying to blow up his home, which was in foreclosure.

Tony Garcia Sr. hobbled into court on Saturday morning using a walker and said little in response to questions by County Judge Barry Cohen.

According to a four-page, single-spaced police report:

Firefighters and police saw a large plume of smoke and flames coming from a window in the 300 block of Osbourne Drive, west of Congress Avenue, when they arrived just before 10:30 a.m. June 28. The kitchen and several other rooms were burning but no one was in the house, according to the report.

Firefighters found a 20-pound liquid propane tanking leaking gas in the living room. Also inside the house investigators found several small gas camping cylinders on the kitchen counter-tops, floor, stove and toaster oven. Similar canisters were found throughout the house.

Laminate from the kitchen counter-tops had been removed, exposing the wood. A melted bottle of lighter fluid and a candle with melted wax were found on the stripped counter-tops.

Garcia was found later that day at a nearby bar. When asked about the fire and the propane tank, Garcia said he “used to own a gas grill and forgot the about the gas cylinder in the living room.” He denied there were any problems with the valve on the tank and that it was not open when he left earlier in the morning.

When investigators asked why there were gas cylinders in the kitchen, the toaster oven and throughout the house, Garcia told the investigator that “he leaves things lying around and since he lives alone, he doesn’t care where these items are left.”

The arrest affidavit also included comments from a Palm Springs police officer, who said Garcia had made prior threats to harm police and firefighters and that Garcia’s address was flagged in their computer system as a “dangerous location.”

More from The Palm Beach Post here…

Barclays Asks Judge to Throw Out New York Dark Pool Suit

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s lawsuit accusing Barclays Plc (BARC) of bilking customers to expand its dark pool was scrutinized by a judge for not naming specific victims of the alleged fraud.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich asked a Schneiderman deputy at a hearing Thursday in Manhattan about a parallel lawsuit by investors in federal court over similar allegations. The judge said she found the state’s suit hard to follow, adding that the complaint cited trade journals and newspapers as evidence of the bank’s misleading statements and not alleged victims.

“It’s hard for me to believe that a very sophisticated investor would base his choice of investment platform on a newspaper article,” Kornreich said.

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Ally Financial Gets DOJ Subpoena In Subprime Auto Loan Probe

Law360, Los Angeles (December 18, 2014, 9:44 PM ET) — Ally Financial Inc. on Thursday disclosed that the U.S. Department of Justice has requested internal documents as part of its ongoing probe into subprime auto lending, months after the lender received a subpoena connected to securities regulators’ investigation into the same practices.

In a disclosure form filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, Ally stated it recently received a subpoena from the DOJ requesting information in connection with its investigation into subprime automotive finance and related securitization activities.

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NY Regulator Lawsky to Banks: Speed Up Payments Innovation — Or Else

WASHINGTON — Benjamin Lawsky, New York’s top financial regulator, sharply criticized banks for their failure to speed up the payment system, warning that the government may step in if they continue to lag behind.

“If banks do not make significant progress soon, regulators should consider actively pushing for, or even perhaps mandating, improvements,” Lawksy, the superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, said Thursday at a Bipartisan Policy Center event in Washington.

Lawsky also used his speech to outline changes to his state’s proposed regulation of digital currencies like Bitcoin, highlighting ways to ease several requirements.

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18 Senators, mortgage bankers tell HUD: Time to lower FHA premiums

A group of 18 U.S. Senators and the Mortgage Bankers Association both sent letters to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday, stating that the time has come for the Federal Housing Administration to lower its mortgage insurance premiums.

In two separate letters both addressed to HUD Secretary Juliàn Castro, the group of senators and the MBA both cited the improved financial health of the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund as the main reason why the FHA should reexamine its mortgage insurance fees immediately.

In the FHA’s actuarial report on the MMIF, the agency declared that there had been a $21 billion improvement since late 2012, when the agency implemented a series of financing changes.

Senators Barbar Boxer (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Edward Markey (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) asked Castro to ensure that the fees on FHA loans are “priced appropriately” to both cover expected losses and serve the agency’s stated mission of helping Americans achieve homeownership.

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Regulators Delay Key Volcker Implementation Date Until 2017

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators announced Thursday that they are delaying implementation of certain aspects of the Volcker Rule’s prohibition on bank ownership of private equity and hedge funds, giving institutions an additional two years to comply.

Under the rule — named after former Fed Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker, who proposed it — banks are forbidden from proprietary trading and investing in certain private equity or hedge funds. While regulators left the proprietary trading implementation date alone, they extended for one year, until July 21, 2016, the effective date governing investment in so-called “legacy covered funds.” The agencies further signaled their intent to delay the effective date of that part of the rule again until July 21, 2017. The delay only covers funds already owned by banks prior to Dec. 31, 2013.

Investments in funds made this year would still be subject to the 2015 compliance date.

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U.S. Slides Again As Denmark Tops Forbes’ Best Countries For Business

The U.S. is the world’s undisputed economic superpower with a GDP of $16.7 trillion last year, nearly a quarter of the global total. It is the financial capital of the world and has largely recovered from the Great Recession. The economy recently posted its best six-month performance in more than a decade and unemployment stands at 5.9%, down from its 2009 peak of 10%.

Yet for all of its financial might, the U.S. lags behind many other developed nations when it comes to its business climate, and the gap is growing. The U.S. ranks 18th in Forbes’ ninth annual ranking of the Best Countries for Business, down four spots from last year. It marks the fifth straight year of declines since 2009, when the U.S. ranked second.

Blame an expanded government, as well as expensive new regulations in finance and health care. The U.S. is the only country to record a loss of economic freedom seven straight years in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. More than 130 major new federal regulations on starting a business have been added since 2009 at an annual cost of $60 billion, according to the Heritage Foundation. The U.S. ranks 81st out of 146 countries for monetary freedom, according to Heritage, with only the U.K. and Turkey faring worse among OECD nations.

The U.S. also gets knocked for its corporate tax climate, which ranks 43rd (out of 146 we ranked countries) in the World Bank’s Doing Business report. The statutory corporate rates in the U.S. are the highest in the world among developed countries and the complexity of the code keeps an army of accountants busy. Companies get a break on their taxes thanks to numerous deductions, but the reality of having the highest published rates in the world makes for bad PR.

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18 United States

United States

1.6 52,800 -2.2 318.9