Daily Archives: September 9, 2016

Guccifer 2.0 Denies Russian Involvement in Hack of Democratic Party

Seriously, the so-called journalists need to read the interview with Vice News and the hacker. 

WASHINGTON—A hacker believed responsible for leaking damaging information about the Democratic Party on Wednesday denied assertions that it is working on behalf of the Russian government, saying it was convenient for people to blame Russia or China for breaches without proof.

A correspondent identifying itself as Guccifer 2.0, in a series of direct messages sent to The Wall Street Journal through social media, said these allegations were “nonsense.”

National Intelligence Director James Clapper suggested Wednesdaythat these hacks, which stole information from the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, were perpetrated by Russians, and at least one cybersecurity company has said it believes Guccifer 2.0 has used an internet protocol address with Russian links.

Read on.

Florida Man Pleads Guilty To Making False Statements In Mortgage Loan

And not one single bank execs gone to jail…

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Stevie McDonald (41, Winter Haven) has pleaded guilty to making false statements in a mortgage loan application. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to court documents, on November 10, 2007, McDonald entered into a contract to purchase a home in Port Richey. He then applied for a mortgage loan from Washington Mutual Bank. In the loan documents that he signed and submitted to the bank, McDonald made false statements about his income and his employment. In December 2007, during the course of the closing on the property purchase, Washington Mutual paid more than $35,000 to a woman McDonald knew and later married. This payment was purportedly a satisfaction of an existing lien on the sale property. Subsequent investigation revealed that no such lien existed. Washington Mutual Bank suffered a financial loss as a consequence of McDonald’s default on this loan.

Read on.

Fed Wants To Bar Banks From Owning Physical Commodities, Equities

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other banks that invest in companies are officially on notice: The Federal Reserve wants that ability taken away.

Among several recommendations issued by U.S. banking regulators, one from the Fed urged Congress to prohibit merchant banking, in which firms buy stakes in companies rather than lend them money. In a report released Thursday, the agency also pushed for limits on Wall Street’s ownership of physical commodities after lawmakers accused Goldman Sachs and other banks of seizing unfair advantages in metal and energy markets in recent years.

The report — based on a multi-agency study of banks’ investment activities required by the Dodd-Frank Act — highlighted ways to fix potential risks that regulators didn’t think were handled by the law’s Volcker Rule ban on certain trading and investments. The need for Congress to pass legislation presents the greatest hurdle to the Fed’s recommendations on merchant-banking and the ability of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to operate mines, warehouse aluminum and ship oil.

“Congress has an obligation to give their recommendations serious attention,” U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, the most senior Democrat on the Banking Committee, said in a statement.

Read on.

Bank of America agrees to pay ex-Merrill Lynch brokers $12.8 million

Former Merrill Lynch advisers who were fired after Bank of America merged with the brokerage in 2008 won back some of the deferred compensation on which they had missed out, according to a settlement filed this week in a North Carolina district court.

Bank of America agreed to pay $12.8 million to settle claims made by more than 270 former employees that the bank failed to follow proper procedures after terminating them. The ex-employees held that the procedures would have allowed them to argue they deserved to leave the firm with some of their deferred compensation that was not yet paid out.

Many Wall Street brokerages offer bonuses and other compensation in the form of deferred cash, seeing it as a way to delay immediate payouts and to lock in employees who might be tempted to jump to rival firms.

Read on.

Wells Fargo to Pay Huge Fines for Sham Accounts, 5,300 employees were fired in connection

Wells Fargo has long been the envy of the banking industry for its ability to sell multiple products to the same customer, but regulators on Thursday said those practices went too far in some instances.

The largest U.S. bank by market capitalization will pay $185 million in penalties and $5 million to customers that regulators say were pushed into fee-generating accounts they never requested.

“We regret and take responsibility for any instances where customers may have received a product that they did not request,” the bank said of a settlement reached Thursday with California prosecutors and federal regulators.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will receive $100 million of the total penalties – the largest fine ever levied by the federal agency.

“Today’s action should serve notice to the entire industry that financial incentive programs, if not monitored carefully, carry serious risks that can have serious legal consequences,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

Los Angeles officials and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency were also party to the settlement.

In a complaint filed in May 2015, California prosecutors alleged that Wells Fargo pushed customers into costly financial products that they did not need or even request.

Bank employees were told that the average customer tapped six financial tools but that they should push households to use eight products, according to the complaint.

The bank opened more than 2 million deposit and credit card accounts that may not have been authorized, the CFPB said Thursday.

Read on.

Here is the court document. Click here.

ICYMI: Ocwen given OK to move forward on 17,000 foreclosures

Ocwen Financial got the official go-ahead from the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight to lift the foreclosure sale hold placed on more than 17,000 loans earlier this year after it mailed corrected loan modification denial notices to affected borrowers and provided a sufficient timeframe for the borrower to appeal the denial.

According to the most recent third and fourth quarter 2015 oversight report from Joseph Smith, monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement, “After Ocwen mailed corrected loan modification denial notices to affected borrowers in May 2016 and provided a sufficient timeframe for borrowers to appeal their denials, I permitted Ocwen to lift the foreclosure hold in July 2016.”

Read on.

Congress set to consider Republican plan to abolish Dodd-Frank

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX made wavesearlier this year when he announced a Republican-crafted plan to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and replace it with a “pro-growth, pro-consumer” alternative.

Many of the tenets of the Republican plan, called the Financial CHOICE Act, were later echoed by the Republican Party’s national platform, adopted during its convention in July.

Included in the Financial CHOICE Act (“CHOICE” in this instance stands for “Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs”) is an end to “too-big-to-fail bailouts, dramatic reforms to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and an overhaul of a financial regulatory system that is choking the country’s economic recovery.

Now, the Financial CHOICE Act is about take one step closer to becoming reality.

The Republican arm of the House Financial Services Committee announced Thursday that the Committee will begin meeting next week to discuss the Financial Choice Act.

Read on.

The Bank Foxes are Guarding the SEC Chicken Coop!

In this last week’s World Finance, reporter Gretchen Cashen highlights Eric Ben-Artzi’s bold gesture in refusing a Whistleblower reward and why he did so, his experience at Deutsche, and the parallels with mine at Citigroup.
Most importantly, it takes a hard look at one of the most egregious issues in government: that of the regulators, most specifically, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). My own experience is indicative of their lack of accountability. When I could not persuade Citigroup’s Board of Directors to conduct an internal investigation of the bank’s financial malpractices, I turned to the SEC.
Turns out it was all in vain, as the 1,000 pages of fraudulent activity I had documented was not only buried, it was locked up. The SEC classified my testimony as “confidential and trade secrets” and has repeatedly refused to release it, despite much of it being public information.
Like Ben-Artzi, I believe, there is an “incestuous” revolving door relationship between Wall Street banks and the regulators. Anyone who leaves the SEC has a ready-made position within the banks or those who support them.