Daily Archives: June 3, 2016

NYDFS reportedly probing dozens of online lenders

From Reuters:

The New York Department of Financial Services sent the letter to San Francisco-based Prosper, the second largest online lender, as well as to Avant, Funding Circle, Upstart and others, according to the person, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter. Those companies could not be immediately reached for comment.

The department, in the letter, demanded “immediate compliance” with New York licensing requirements for debt collection, money transmission and mortgage lending activities. Companies that do not believe they require New York licenses must respond with information, such as descriptions of products and services the online lenders make available to New Yorkers, as well as cash flow charts, according to the letter dated Tuesday.

Letting ‘Wall Street’ Walk

Legal double standards are the norm in the U.S. – no jail for law-flouting Wall Street bankers but mass incarceration for average citizens, especially minorities, who get caught up in the prison-industrial-complex, as Michael Brenner describes.

By Michael Brenner

Illicit financial behavior has been decriminalized in the United States – for all practical purposes. Despite the revelations of massive misconduct by banks and other financial services businesses, criminal investigations are rare, indictments exceptional and guilty judgments extraordinary.

Most potentially culpable actions are overlooked by authorities, slighted, reduced from criminal to civil status when pursued, individuals evade penalties much less punishment, and the appeals courts take extreme liberties in exonerating culprits when and if the odd conviction reaches them.

The last mentioned are establishing new frontiers in the formulation of ingeniously sophistic arguments to justify letting financial malefactors off the hook. As some wit suggests, all 32 or so judicial inventions should be assembled in a legal code called the Goldman Variations.

Our elected officials, our regulators, our politicos and the media have come to accept this as the natural order of things. Business Sections of newspapers, likeThe New York Times, read like the gazette for the world of organized crime in its heyday when the five Mafia families were on top of their game. (substitute Goldman Sachs, Chase Morgan, Bank of America, CITI, Wells Fargo). As for the Wall Street Journal and the legion of business magazines, they blend features of VARIETY andOsservatore Romano.

The reasons for this phenomenon are multiple: the rule of money in our politics; the neutering of regulatory bodies by the appointment of business friendly officers in symbiotic relationships with former or prospective employers; a wider culture in which the cult of wealth pervades all; and the timidity of a political class that defers to the power centers who enjoy rank, status and respect.

Read on.

Why did Wells Fargo fire woman who had been a man? Discrimination lawsuit settled

Wells Fargo and a former employee settled the worker’s lawsuit alleging she was wrongfully fired because of her decision to transition from a man to a woman.

In her Los Angeles Superior Court complaint filed last July 14, Marco “Marlo Kaitlin” Gallegosalleged discrimination, hostile work environment harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. She sought unspecified damages.

But Wells Fargo denied any wrongdoing, stressing its longstanding support for the LGBT community.

“Wells Fargo’s strong commitment and service to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community dates back over 25 years,” a statement read. “At Wells Fargo, we believe that discrimination of any kind and against any  group is wrong. The claims in this case are wholly inconsistent with how Wells Fargo treats its team members.”

Despite the legal disagreement, attorneys for Gallegos and the bank have now told Judge William Fahey that the case has been resolved. No terms were divulged.

Read on.

Bank of America puts single mom through hell after she tries to access money from death lawsuit

Seriously, the Bank of America employees need to retake the Bank Secrecy Act and money laundering classes. This is another embarrassment to Bank of America and their hiring of employees. The amount that woman was wired from an insurance settlement and monies withdrew over several days can trigger a bank freeze on the account due to suspicious activities. Unfortunately, the act is under the Patriot Act of 2001. And the woman has the right to know why her account was being frozen. 

A Detroit woman is accusing Bank of America of discrimination after they placed a hold on money she received as part of an insurance settlement over the death of her brother — and then accused her of fraud.

Christina Anderson, a single mother of four, told Fox News 2 Detroit that her younger brother recently died and she received $50,000 as part of insurance settlement that was wired directly to her account with Bank of America on May 20.

According to Anderson, the bank told her there was an initial two-hour hold on the money and afterwards she was free to draw against it, which she did over the course of several days by making two substantial withdrawals.

“I drew $8,000; drew $5,000. No questions. ‘Just swipe your card and enter your pin, ma’am,’” she recounted.

But after she totaled her car on May 24 and went to get another $5,000 to buy a new one so she could get to work, she was denied by a bank teller who questioned where she got the money.

“The guy behind the counter started asking me where did I get the money from, and a bunch of questions” she recalled. “And I told him, I feel that’s none of his business, so I’m going to go to another branch where I feel more comfortable.”

According to Anderson, she went to a different Bank of America branch to withdraw the money, only to be told that her account had been frozen for fraud, causing her to angrily accuse an employee of the bank of discrimination.

“‘I feel like you guys are discriminating against me; is it because I’m black?’ And then … she told me to leave out the back because I was upset,” Anderson claims she told the bank staffer. “Yes, I was [upset]. I was mad because these are my funds.  Why can’t I receive my funds?”

Anderson said the bank has kept her in the dark and her funds unavailable since the confrontation, with the bank issuing a statement saying they are still investigating her situation.

Read on.

Elizabeth Warren Slams Donald Trump’s “Huge Conflicts of Interest”loans from Deutsche Bank

Earlier this week, Mother Jones reported that Donald Trump’s loans from the German-based Deutsche Bank—totaling at least $100 million and possibly much more—would pose a significant conflict of interest, should Trump, the GOP’s presumptive nominee, become president. After all, the bank was recently caught manipulating markets around the world (and had to pay $2.5 billion in fines), and it has tried to evade US laws aimed at curtailing risky financial shenanigans and has attempted to influence the US government via lobbying.

Richard Painter, an attorney who teaches at the University of Minnesota and who was the chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, noted that Trump’s relationship with the overseas financial giant was disturbing: “Having a president who owes a lot of money to banks, particularly when it’s on negotiable terms—it puts them at the mercy of the banks and the banks are at the mercy of regulators.” He added, “That is a potentially very troublesome business model for someone in public office.”

In response to the article, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) says Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank—and his connections with other major financial institutions—could indeed pose trouble, were he to win the White House. In a statement toMother Jones, the senator slammed Trump’s relationship with the bank:

The job of the President is to enforce the law fairly. If a serial lawbreaker like Deutsche Bank is caught manipulating markets again, how would Trump hold it accountable knowing that the bank had the power to pull the plug on his own businesses? That’s a question that should worry every American. These financial entanglements—along with many of his other ongoing business concerns and arrangements—present huge conflicts of interest.

Read on.

MacDraw v. CIT Financial: A reminder to Trump if he tried to remove Judge Gonzolo Curiel

Law Newz:

In addition, if Trump’s lawyers were to file a motion for recusal, there is a possibility they could be sanctioned. Lawyers in the case,MacDraw v. CIT Financial, tried to do just that. The attorneys claimed that federal Judge Denny Chin should be recused because he was appointed by the “Clinton Administration” and because of his race and ethnicity. Judge Chin imposed sanctions, and the United States Court of Appeals Second Circuit upheld them on appeal.

“Judge Chin’s imposition of sanctions was well within his discretion,” the circuit judges wrote.

Latest and powerful Bernie Sanders poverty and inequality ad: Meet Chris Wilson

This is a very powerful and inspiring Bernie Sanders ad. And this is not about politics, but about a man named Chris Wilson, an African-American, who lived in poverty, incarcerated, Give a second chance in life, and got his life back on track to inspire others. Chris’ story and many others are much needed to be told in the media. From Inquisitr:

Bernie’s latest ad features the story of Chris Wilson, a young black man whose life went off the rails due to poverty and inequality, landing him in prison with a natural life sentence, but he got it back on track by using what he calls “positive delusion,” creating an outrageously ambitious “master plan” and using every opportunity he had in jail to further his education.