Monthly Archives: March 2016

County mulls credit cards for homes in foreclosure

Otsego County officials are looking at new ways to help financially-distressed property owners keep the tax foreclosure wolf away from their doors.

The county’s annual tax auction in 2014 left county government mired in three lawsuits filed by property owners who objected to the fact their houses were sold under the gavel to the highest bidder, causing them to lose all equity and leave the county with the profit.

While the latest discussions do not involve extending the payment deadline up to the time of the auction, the plan under consideration would give all taxpayers a new option: paying their tax bills by credit card.

Under New York’s General Municipal Law, local governments are allowed to accept credit and debit card payments for fees, fines, taxes and other charges, according to the state Comptroller’s office in Albany.

Critics of the county’s firm adherence to deadlines for delinquent tax payments have contended that the goal of tax enforcement should be to simply get the tax bills collected — not to have the county reap a major profit at the expense of someone losing his or her house.

Read on.

U.S. judge rejects Lehman workers’ claims on stock awards

Former senior employees of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc [LEHLO.UL] who once commanded seven-figure pay packages failed to persuade a federal judge to restore hundreds of millions of dollars of stock awards that become worthless after the Wall Street bank’s collapse.

In a decision made public on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan said the awards should be classified as equity, subject to being wiped out, rather than as contract claims entitling the workers to cash payouts from Lehman’s estate.

The decision covers an estimated $200 million or more of restricted stock units (RSUs) that Lehman awarded as an incentive to perform well over the long-term, before its Sept. 15, 2008 bankruptcy helped trigger that year’s global financial crisis.

Read on.

SEC claims brothers targeted elderly with real estate Ponzi scheme

A pair of brothers ran a Ponzi scheme that defrauded dozens of senior citizens out of more than $2.7 million by promising “guaranteed monthly income” in exchange for investing in real estate, but delivered no such returns, the Securities and Exchange Commission said this week.

Instead of providing the approximately 30 “elderly and unsophisticated” investors with returns on their investments, Matthew and Daniel Rivera pocketed the investors’ money and used some it to pay back other investors, the SEC alleged.

Read on.

Fraud is the New Norm! So Where is the Outrage?

Well it looks as if I spoke too soon. In last week’s post, I was excited about the National Archives release of the first of many FCIC documents which had been sealed for five years, including my behind-closed-doors testimony (available here). I commented on the coincidence of this five year lockup period paralleling the statute of limitations.
And I was excited that the media had discovered and immediately jumped on the FCIC having made a referral to the DOJ for possible violations of law by Robert Rubin, quoting the March 13, Fortune Magazine article by Stephen Gandel about the referrals and Rubin’s and Citi’s involvement.
I thought this was huge, and I was particularly excited because I noted that the newly released documents that the FCIC also made a second Citigroup referral for possible violations of law, with this second referral based solely on my testimony and evidence provided to the Commission. And there was no doubt in my mind that the media would be all over this and finally justice would prevail.
Well, I was wrong.

Fraud Key Profit Center for Wall Street

BWU/NEP’s Bill Black is interviewed by Greg Hunter over at The topic is fraudulent banking. You can view the post here.

PAC vs. Super PAC and group led by backers of Clinton filed three complaints with FEC against Sanders

So what is the difference between a PAC vs. a Super PAC?:

A PAC, or political action committee, is a type of organization that collects campaign contributions from members and donates those funds to campaign for or against candidates, ballot initiatives or legislation.

An organization becomes a PAC when it receives or spends more than $2,600 to influence a federal election.

A Super PAC, also known as “independent-expenditure only committees” may not make contributions to candidate campaigns or parties, but may engage in unlimited political spending independently of the campaigns. Unlike PACs, Super PACs can raise funds without any legal limit on donation size.


And what sets it apart from the presidential superPACs? The donor list…From Wikipedia on PAC:

At the state level, an organization becomes a PAC according to the state’s election laws.

  • Contributions from corporate or labor union treasuries are illegal, though they may sponsor a PAC and provide financial support for its administration and fundraising;
  • Union-affiliated PACs may only solicit contributions from members;
  • Independent PACs may solicit contributions from the general public and must pay their own costs from those funds.

Federal multi-candidate PACs may contribute to candidates as follows:

  • $5,000 to a candidate or candidate committee for each election (primary and general elections count as separate elections);
  • $15,000 to a political party per year; and
  • $5,000 to another PAC per year.
  • PACs may make unlimited expenditures independently of a candidate or political party


And from on the SuperPAC:

According to FEC advisories, Super PACs are not allowed to coordinate directly with candidates or political parties. This restriction is intended to prevent them from operating campaigns that complement or parallel those of the candidates they support or engaging in negotiations that could result in quid pro quo bargaining between donors to the PAC and the candidate or officeholder. However, it is legal for candidates and Super PAC managers to discuss campaign strategy and tactics through the media.

And in the latest news on the Democratic Presidential race,  group led by backers of Hillary Clinton filed three complaints on Tuesday with FEC against Bernie Sanders.

USA Today:

A group led by backers of Hillary Clinton filed three complaints Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission against Sen. Bernie Sanders and two super PACs that support him.

The American Democracy Legal Fund, established by David Brock, charges that Sanders and his campaign repeatedly accepted contributions in excess of the $2,700 legal limit for individuals per election.

Another complaint alleges a Facebook ad encouraging donations after Sanders’ New Hampshire win did not disclose who paid for the communication. Finally, the legal fund accuses the super PAC Progressive Kick of illegally using Sanders’ name and claims that group and the super PAC Nurses National Nurses United for Patient Protection are illegally coordinating with the Sanders campaign.

The Sanders campaign last month described an FEC warning about excessive contributions as “standard” and said the campaign would address the FEC’s questions. On Tuesday, the campaign dismissed the Brock group’s complaint as frivolous and noted it follows Clinton’s chief strategist Joel Benenson call for Sanders to change his negative tone.

“Just one day after the Clinton campaign said we needed to change our tone, the leaders of their coordinated super PAC, which is funded by millions from Wall Street, filed baseless and frivolous complaints with the FEC,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said in a statement. “Tells you all you need to know.”

The Clinton campaign declined to comment on the complaints.

Brock, founder of the pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record, has targeted Sanders throughout the campaign, raising questions about his commitment to the Black Lives Mattermovement and his medical records.

MSNBC reports this is the first time ADLF has filed a complaint against a Democrat.

And who is super PAC Progressive Kick?According to the website:

Progressive Kick is a national progressive SuperPAC & 527, focused on elections and incumbent accountability.
We target the United States Congress and state legislators.

And who are the super PAC Nurses National Nurses United for Patient Protection? According to website:

National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in U.S. history.

NNU was founded in 2009 unifying three of the most active, progressive organizations in the U.S.—and the major voices of unionized nurses—in the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses, and Massachusetts Nurses Association.

Combining the unparalleled record of accomplishments for nurses and patients embodied in the proud history of those nurses associations, which for some span more than 100 years, the establishment of NNU brought to life the dream of a powerful, national movement of direct care RNs.

Nurses National Nurses United for Patient Protection endorsed Sanders for President in August 2015 as this same organization endorsed Obama in 2012.

Trump’s tariff plan could boomerang, spark trade wars with China, Mexico

Donald Trump’s threats to slap steep tariffs on Chinese and Mexican imports may have won him votes in Republican primaries but they would likely backfire, severely disrupting U.S. manufacturers that increasingly depend on global supply chains.

The Republican presidential front-runner’s campaign pledges to impose 45 percent tariffs on all imports from China and 35 percent on many goods from Mexico would spark financial market turmoil and possibly even a recession, former trade negotiators, trade lawyers, economists and business executives told Reuters.

“I don’t mind trade wars when we’re losing $58 billion a year,” Trump said in a Feb. 25 debate, referring to the 2015 U.S. goods trade deficit with Mexico. Economists dispute the idea the United States is “losing” money as the trade deficit is simply the difference between what the United States imports and what it exports to a country.

“Imposing tariffs or putting up trade barriers may sound good, but it will hurt our economy and credibility,” said Wendy Cutler, the former acting deputy U.S. Trade Representative who helped lead U.S. negotiations in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal last year.

Read on.

HSBC to introduce mortgage loans in 2016

Daily News Egypt:

HSBC is lining up several lending products and is planning to introduce mortgage loans during 2016, head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC Mustafa Ramzi told Daily News Egypt.

“The intent to cater for this need is there,” Ramzi said. He added that the bank will start offering this product to its premier clients and clients who are relationship-managed.

Further details of client categories to whom the bank plans to offer the mortgage loans are still being considered, the bank executive highlighted.

“We are still in the development stage but we will introduce it this year,” Ramzi said. “We might [offer it in different stages] but it is something that we are evaluating and it something our customers need.”


Deutsche Bank agrees to pay $4 million for trading violations

A Deutsche Bank AG unit will pay more than $4 million to settle allegations that it failed to properly report data on millions of options trades, according to a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) document.

The alleged conduct between 2010 and 2015 violated FINRA rules aimed at identifying holders of large options positions who may be trying to manipulate the market or violate other industry rules, the Wall Street watchdog said in its settlement with the unit, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.

Deutsche Bank did not admit to or deny FINRA’s findings, according to the settlement, which was dated Monday and posted to FINRA’s website on Tuesday.

A Deutsche Bank spokesman declined to comment on the settlement, which included a fine of $4.07 million (2.8 million pounds) to FINRA.

Read on.

U.S. district judge strikes down designation of MetLife as ‘too big to fail’

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer on Wednesday struck down the designation made by the heads of the country’s financial regulatory agencies that major insurer MetLife Inc (>> Metlife Inc) is systemically important to the U.S. financial system.

MetLife had argued in court that the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) used a secretive and flawed process when, in 2014, it determined that a collapse of the insurer could devastate the U.S. financial system just as much as failure of a major bank such as Citigroup (>> Citigroup Inc).

Collyer’s opinion is currently sealed, but parts may be made public next month, according to the judge’s order, which also said the federal government may appeal.

Read on.