Monthly Archives: August 2016

Wells Fargo, U.S. Trustee Program Reach Mortgage Settlement

Aug. 26 — The U.S. Trustee Program announced Aug. 25 that it has reached an agreement with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. requiring the bank to pay close to $3.5 million in remediation on account of 8,000 homeowners in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Wells Fargo and the USTP filed an amendment to a prior settlement entered in a Maryland Chapter 13 bankruptcy case on Nov. 19, 2015 (In re Green, Bankr. D. Md., No. 11-33377-TJC, 8/25/16 ), according to a press release sent to Bloomberg BNA.

The amendment is the result of an independent reviewer’s oversight of Wells Fargo practices with regard to filing and serving payment change notices in active Chapter 13 cases, and increase payments to be made by the bank by approximately $3.5 million. Wells Fargo previously agreed to pay about $81.6 million in remediation for “its repeated failure to provide homeowners with payment change notices (PCNs) as required under federal bankruptcy law,” the USTP, a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, told Bloomberg BNA in an Aug. 25 e-mail.

Read on.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook published an open letter to customers in Europe after European Commission ordered Ireland to collect up to $14.5B in unpaid taxes from Apple

The Verge:

In the letter, published on Apple’s website, Cook described the Commission’s decision as “unprecedented,” adding that it will have a “profound and harmful effect” on investment and jobs in Europe. Apple and Ireland have already said that they plan to appeal the decision.

Read Cook’s full letter below.

A Message to the Apple Community in Europe

Thirty-six years ago, long before introducing iPhone, iPod or even the Mac, Steve Jobs established Apple’s first operations in Europe. At the time, the company knew that in order to serve customers in Europe, it would need a base there. So, in October 1980, Apple opened a factory in Cork, Ireland with 60 employees.

At the time, Cork was suffering from high unemployment and extremely low economic investment. But Apple’s leaders saw a community rich with talent, and one they believed could accommodate growth if the company was fortunate enough to succeed.

We have operated continuously in Cork ever since, even through periods of uncertainty about our own business, and today we employ nearly 6,000 people across Ireland. The vast majority are still in Cork — including some of the very first employees — now performing a wide variety of functions as part of Apple’s global footprint. Countless multinational companies followed Apple by investing in Cork, and today the local economy is stronger than ever.

The success which has propelled Apple’s growth in Cork comes from innovative products that delight our customers. It has helped create and sustain more than 1.5 million jobs across Europe — jobs at Apple, jobs for hundreds of thousands of creative app developers who thrive on the App Store, and jobs with manufacturers and other suppliers. Countless small and medium-size companies depend on Apple, and we are proud to support them.

As responsible corporate citizens, we are also proud of our contributions to local economies across Europe, and to communities everywhere. As our business has grown over the years, we have become the largest taxpayer in Ireland, the largest taxpayer in the United States, and the largest taxpayer in the world.

Over the years, we received guidance from Irish tax authorities on how to comply correctly with Irish tax law — the same kind of guidance available to any company doing business there. In Ireland and in every country where we operate, Apple follows the law and we pay all the taxes we owe.

The European Commission has launched an effort to rewrite Apple’s history in Europe, ignore Ireland’s tax laws and upend the international tax system in the process. The opinion issued on August 30th alleges that Ireland gave Apple a special deal on our taxes. This claim has no basis in fact or in law. We never asked for, nor did we receive, any special deals. We now find ourselves in the unusual position of being ordered to retroactively pay additional taxes to a government that says we don’t owe them any more than we’ve already paid.

The Commission’s move is unprecedented and it has serious, wide-reaching implications. It is effectively proposing to replace Irish tax laws with a view of what the Commission thinks the law should have been. This would strike a devastating blow to the sovereignty of EU member states over their own tax matters, and to the principle of certainty of law in Europe. Ireland has said they plan to appeal the Commission’s ruling and Apple will do the same. We are confident that the Commission’s order will be reversed.

At its root, the Commission’s case is not about how much Apple pays in taxes. It is about which government collects the money.

Taxes for multinational companies are complex, yet a fundamental principle is recognized around the world: A company’s profits should be taxed in the country where the value is created. Apple, Ireland and the United States all agree on this principle.

In Apple’s case, nearly all of our research and development takes place in California, so the vast majority of our profits are taxed in the United States. European companies doing business in the U.S. are taxed according to the same principle. But the Commission is now calling to retroactively change those rules.

Beyond the obvious targeting of Apple, the most profound and harmful effect of this ruling will be on investment and job creation in Europe. Using the Commission’s theory, every company in Ireland and across Europe is suddenly at risk of being subjected to taxes under laws that never existed.

Apple has long supported international tax reform with the objectives of simplicity and clarity. We believe these changes should come about through the proper legislative process, in which proposals are discussed among the leaders and citizens of the affected countries. And as with any new laws, they should be applied going forward — not retroactively.

We are committed to Ireland and we plan to continue investing there, growing and serving our customers with the same level of passion and commitment. We firmly believe that the facts and the established legal principles upon which the EU was founded will ultimately prevail.

Tim Cook

Did HSBC close my accounts after 20 years because I bought Swiss francs?

When Dan Strauss received a letter from HSBC stating that it would be closing his accounts after more than 20 years as a customer, he thought there had been some kind of mistake.

The voice over artist, who is 53 and lives in Cambridge, holds several accounts with the bank, including his main current and two savings accounts.

A few weeks ago he received a letter from the bank that read: “At HSBC we carry out regular reviews of the accounts, products and services we offer our customers.

“We recently reviewed your accounts and I am sorry to tell you that we are no longer able to provide you with banking products and services.”

He was granted two months to make alternative banking arrangements, but given no reason for why his 20-year relationship with the bank was being terminated.

Read on.

Trump Fights to Call Former Trump U. Students to Testify

SAN DIEGO (CN) — Donald Trump wants to call his own selection of former Trump University students to testify in a looming trial in San Diego Federal Court, and says a motion to bar him from doing so is “unprincipled.”
Trump filed a 22-page memorandum late Friday in support of being able to call former Trump University students as witnesses in Low v. Trump University, the older of two federal class-action cases against the Republican presidential nominee and his now-defunct real estate school.
The six-year-old case is scheduled to go to trial in late November following the presidential election.
Low and the other plaintiffs claim Trump scammed Trump University students out of thousands of dollars based off the claim they would learn his insider real estate secrets from instructors and mentors “handpicked” by Trump himself. But the “insider secrets” they doled out thousands for turned out to be nothing more than infomercial-quality advice, the students claim.
In his latest court filing, Trump claims a motion in limine filed by the plaintiffs seeking a blanket order from U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel excluding Trump from calling any former Trump University students as witnesses, except for class representatives in the lawsuit, “unprincipled and unsupported.”

Read on.

Michigan sets parole for ‘Linda Green’ robo-signer

And none of the bank execs responsible for the financial crisis are in prison..

The only person jailed in connection with a foreclosure forgery scandal that swept through Michigan and the rest of the country after the collapse of the housing bubble spends her days confined to the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Pittsfield Township.

But not for long.

Sentenced in May 2013 to serve up to 20 years on racketeering charges, Lorraine Brown, now 55, will be paroled sometime this week, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections, after serving her 40-month minimum sentence. Brown will then be transferred to federal custody to serve the remainder of a 58-month federal sentence after pleading guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Brown’s scheme netted $60 million between 2003 and 2006 for the parent company DocX, her Georgia-based document processing firm that forged more than 1 million foreclosure documents used by banks and attorneys to illegally turn homeowners homeless.

Read on.

Fed Wants $1.2M Fine, Ban For Ex-Barclays Forex Trader

Law360, New York (August 29, 2016, 3:00 PM ET) — Barclays PLC’s former global head of its foreign exchange spot business should be fined $1.2 million and banned from the banking industry after using chat rooms with competitors to manipulate the market, the Federal Reserve Board said Monday.

Christopher Ashton’s “personal dishonesty” and disregard for his employer constitute unsafe and unsound banking practices and a breach of fiduciary duty under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, the board said in its notice. The London-based trader was fired in May 2015 for misconduct while the bank pled guilty to criminal…

Source: Law360

Layoffs at PHH: HSBC doesn’t plan to continue using PHH as subservicer

Housingwire:

Late last week, PHH announced that it recently received notice from HSBC Bank that it plans to sell the mortgage servicing rights on approximately 139,000 mortgage loans currently subserviced by PHH to an unknown buyer.

And worse for PHH, HSBC informed the company that the purchaser of the mortgage servicing rights does not plan to continue using PHH as a subservicer.

According to a report from Buffalo Business First, HSBC’s decision will lead to PHH laying off a number of employees from its Amherst location.

Buffalo Business First reported that the number of job cuts is currently unknown, but stated that the company has 300 employees currently at its Amherst location.