Daily Archives: August 12, 2014

Why is the Cuomo Administration Automatically Deleting State Employees’ Emails?

New York State Employees’ Emails Are Automatically Deleted After 90 Days Unless:

  • Employees specifically save individual emails in a special folder. They can also “save” them by printing them out or pasting them into Microsoft Word documents.
  • The state’s rules for which emails have to be saved run to 118 pages and include 215 separate categories — including two separate categories dealing with office supplies.

A previously unpublished memo raises new questions about New York State’s policy of purging emails after 90 days.

This story was co-published with the Albany Times-Union and WNYC.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration — which the governor pledged would be the most transparent in state history — has quietly adopted policies that allow it to purge the emails of tens of thousands of state employees, cutting off a key avenue for understanding and investigating state government.


Last year, the state started deleting any emails more than 90 days old that users hadn’t specifically saved — a much more aggressive stance than many other states. The policy shift was first reported by the Albany Times Union.

A previously unpublished memo outlining the policy raises new questions about the state’s stated rationale for its deletions policy. What’s more, the rules on which emails must be retained are bewilderingly complex – they fill 118 pages – leading to further concern that emails may not be saved at all.

“If you’re aggressively destroying your email, it looks like you’re trying to hide something,” said Benjamin Wright, a Dallas lawyer who has advised companies and government agencies on records retention.

ProPublica obtained the memo through a public records request.

Read on.

Ex Utah A.G.s Mark Shurtleff, John Swallow face civil lawsuit over Bank of America case

SALT LAKE CITY — Already facing multiple criminal charges, former Utah Attorneys General Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow have been sued by a Salt Lake couple over their handling of a lawsuit against Bank of America.

Darl and Andrea McBride say Shurtleff and Swallow personally benefitted from their involvement in the case at the expense of Utah homeowners, including the McBrides, whose houses Bank of America had foreclosed on. The couple says the bank forced them into default as a condition of modifying their loan and then tried to take their home.

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Watch: The late Robin Williams on playing Wall Street addicts

Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) — Actor Robin Williams died Tuesday at age 63 of suspected suicide. This is a clip of Charlie Rose’s interview with Williams from 2009 when the comic was getting back into stand-up for HBO’s “Weapons of Self Destruction.” “Charlie Rose” airs weeknights on Bloomberg Television at 8p & 10p ET.


CFPB Orders Amerisave To Pay $19M For ‘Bait And Switch’ Scheme

Law360, New York (August 12, 2014, 1:27 PM ET) — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday slapped Atlanta-based mortgage company Amerisave Mortgage Co. with a $19.3 million penalty for running what CFPB Director Richard Cordray called a “bait and switch” scheme that locked borrowers into loans with inflated rates and fees.

Amerisave allegedly lured tens of thousands of borrowers with deceptive online advertisements that promised borrowers low mortgage interest rates but then locked in higher rates when the loans were issued, according to the CFPB.

The company also charged high upfront and appraisal fees, all while…

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Former hedge fund managers agree to plead guilty to fraud

Two former hedge fund managers who boasted Ivy League credentials and invested some of their clients’ money with swindlers Bernard Madoff and Thomas Petters, agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges that they lied about their investment record, the U.S. attorney in Boston said on Tuesday.

Gabriel Bitran, 69, a former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and associate dean at its business school, and his son Marco Bitran, 39, will be sentenced to serve at least two years but no more than five years in prison if the court accepts the pleas, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a statement.

No dates have been set for when the men will make their guilty pleas or when they will be sentenced.

The men founded hedge fund GMB Capital Management in 2005 and raised more than $500 million from wealthy investors who wanted a piece of the MIT’s professor’s exclusive computer models, which the pair falsely said had never suffered a down year and delivered double-digit returns ranging between 16 percent and 23 percent.

But instead of investing the money themselves, the Bitrans who boasted degrees from MIT and Harvard University and work experience at Wellington Management, put it with others, including Tom Petters’ and Madoff’s frauds.

At the height of the financial crisis when several of the Bitrans’ funds plunged in value in the fall of 2008, the pair pulled roughly $12 million of their own money out but left their investors stuck in tumbling investments, Ortiz said. The men lost more than $140 million of GMB investors’ principal.

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Deutsche Bank : German prosecutors seek charges against Deutsche Bank co-CEO in Kirch case-sources

German prosecutors are seeking charges against Deutsche Bank co-CEO Juergen Fitschen and several former executives at the bank in connection with the long-running Kirch bankruptcy case, legal sources said on Tuesday.

The decision to pursue charges, while widely expected, is a serious blow to Fitschen and Germany’s largest bank, which faces an array of legal problems, including investigations into possible manipulation of benchmark interest rates and foreign exchange markets.

Prosecutors have been investigating whether Fitschen, his predecessors Josef Ackermann and Rolf Breuer, and others gave misleading evidence in a civil suit, brought by heirs of the late media magnate Leo Kirch, which ended in February after 12 years of legal wrangling.

A Munich court must now decide whether to accept the case and press charges, a decision expected to take several months.

Deutsche Bank said it had received no written notice of the prosecutor’s decision.

“Deutsche Bank fundamentally does not comment on ongoing cases and points to earlier statements that the bank is convinced that any suspicion against Juergen Fitschen will be shown to be unfounded,” the bank said in a written statement.

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New York prosecutors file criminal charges against payday lenders – New York Times

(Reuters) – Manhattan prosecutors filed criminal charges against a dozen companies and their owner, Carey Vaughn Brown, accusing them of making payday loans that defied New York’s limits on interest rates, the New York Times reported.

Prosecutors explained how Brown amassed “a payday syndicate,” controlling every part of the loan process, the Times said. Payday loans are usually taken by employees before they get their paychecks and are paid when they receive their salaries.

Brown, along with the chief operating officer for several companies, Ronald Beaver, and legal adviser Joanna Temple, “carefully crafted their corporate entities to obscure ownership and secure increasing profits,” New York Times quoted the authorities as saying. (http://nyti.ms/1kXYOej)

Brown incorporated Mycashnow.com, an online payday lending arm, in the West Indies, to try to put the company beyond American authorities’ reach, the Times said.

Read on.