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The natural, inalienable rights and legal rights of the citizenry to be accurately informed must not, by corruption, be perverted, lest that citizenry, acting on such perversion in their daily judgments,  certainly suffer to their physical and spiritual detriment.

©2014 Edgar Rogers-Chairman            Human Utilities Whole Armour®

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PRESS RELEASES



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You are subscribed to Civil Penalties Information and/or Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Recent Actions updates for the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Release of OFAC Civil Penalties Information​​

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced a settlement with BitPay, Inc., a private company based in Atlanta, Georgia, that offers a payment processing solution for merchants to accept digital currency as payment for goods and services. BitPay agreed to remit $507,375 to settle its potential civil liability for 2,102 apparent violations of multiple sanctions programs. BitPay allowed persons who appear to have been located in the Crimea region of Ukraine, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, and Syria to transact with merchants in the United States and elsewhere using digital currency on BitPay’s platform even though BitPay had location information, including Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and other location data, about those persons prior to effecting the transactions. 

For more information, please visit the following web notice.

New information on OFAC Civil Penalties and Informal Settlements is now available.


Offices of the United States Attorneys

02/01/2021 12:00 AM EST

A former Dublin, Ohio, woman was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to 30 months in prison for conspiring to steal exosome-related trade secrets concerning the research, identification and treatment of a range of pediatric medical conditions. Li Chen, 47, also conspired to commit wire fraud. Chen admitted in her guilty plea in July 2020 to stealing scientific trade secrets related to exosomes and exosome isolation from Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Research Institute for her own personal financial gain.
02/01/2021 12:00 AM EST

A California man was charged in a complaint unsealed today for his alleged participation in a coordinated cryptocurrency and securities fraud scheme that used purported digital currency platforms and foreign-based financial accounts.
01/21/2021 12:00 AM EST


Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

by Jim Kreidler
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Using your own vehicle to deliver packages for Amazon and earn extra money. Sounds good, right? But has Amazon been keeping the tips its drivers are making when delivering for its Amazon Flex program? According to the complaint the FTC issued today, the answer is yes. 

Read more >




FTA today announced a total of $14 billion in Federal funding allocations to continue to support the Nation’s public transportation systems during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency. Funding is provided through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA) (H.R. 133), signed by President Donald J. Trump on December 27, 2020. FTA previously announced $25 billion in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding in April 2020.

FTA is allocating $14 billion to recipients of urbanized area and rural area formula funds, with $13.27 billion allocated to large and small urban areas, $678.2 million allocated to rural areas and tribes, and $50 million allocated for the enhanced mobility of seniors and individuals with disabilities. Similar to the CARES Act, the supplemental funding will be provided at 100-percent federal share, with no local match required.

CRRSAA directs recipients to prioritize payroll and operational needs. Funding will also support expenses traditionally eligible under the relevant program. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about this funding will be available on FTA’s web site. FTA will host a webinar series to provide further information.

 The U.S. Department of Transportation continues to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other Federal partners to provide guidance to the public transportation industry in response to COVID-19. FTA has held regular conference calls and listening sessions with transit stakeholders and posted updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding COVID-19 on its web site.

Links:

News Release
FTA CRRSAA information page
Apportionments and Allocations
FAQs
CDC COVID-19 information 
Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021






The United States Department of Justice

Peter G. Strasser
United States Attorney
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2020

 

 


 

LOUISIANA COMPANY SENTENCED FOR ROLE IN CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE GOVERNMENT AND VIOLATE THE PROCUREMENT INTEGRITY ACT

NEW ORLEANS, La. – United States Attorney Peter G. Strasser and Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, announced that CAJAN WELDING & RENTALS LTD., a company located in Opelousas, Louisiana, was sentenced by United States District Judge Greg G. Guidry after previously pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to violate the Procurement Integrity Act, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.

According to the plea agreement, CAJAN WELDING & RENTALS LTD. conspired with unnamed co-conspirators to defraud the United States by corrupting and impairing the government procurement process, and by obtaining non-public pricing and cost information in order to obtain subcontract awards and payments from the U.S. Department of Energy in connection with its operation of the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. 

Judge Guidry sentenced CAJAN WELDING & RENTALS LTD. to a criminal fine of $400,000 and a mandatory special assessment fee of $400.

“Fraud against the U.S. government, regardless of its scope and means of orchestration, is a serious crime.  Especially egregious is fraud that undermines the government procurement processes, which erodes public trust,” said U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Louisiana Peter G. Strasser.  “It is imperative that fair bidding procedures are preserved.  This sentencing sends a clear message that our office will vigorously investigate and prosecute all such corruption cases.”

“The investigation and prosecution of organizations that cheat, collude, and seek to undermine the integrity of government procurement remain priorities for the division,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “The division is dedicated to protecting the public purse from conspiracies that rob taxpayers and critical federal programs — like the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — of the benefits of competition.”

This case is the result of a federal investigation being conducted by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal II Section, and the Department of Energy’s Office of the Inspector General.

# # #


Press Release

 

December 4, 2020

FDIC Issues List of Banks Examined for CRA Compliance

 

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today issued its list of state nonmember banks recently evaluated for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The list covers evaluation ratings that the FDIC assigned to institutions in September 2020.

 

The CRA is a 1977 law intended to encourage insured banks and thrifts to meet local credit needs, including those of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations. As part of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), Congress mandated the public disclosure of an evaluation and rating for each bank or thrift that undergoes a CRA examination on or after July 1, 1990.

 

You may obtain a consolidated list of all state nonmember banks whose evaluations have been made publicly available since July 1, 1990, including the rating for each bank, or obtain a hard copy from FDIC's Public Information Center, 3501 Fairfax Drive, Room E-1002, Arlington, VA 22226 (877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200).

 

A copy of an individual bank's CRA evaluation is available directly from the bank, which is required by law to make the material available upon request, or from the FDIC's Public Information Center.

 

Attachments:
December 2020 List of Banks Examined for CRA Compliance
Monthly List of Banks Examined for CRA Compliance

 


 

FDIC: PR-132-2020





U.S. Department of Justice


12/03/2020 12:00 AM EST
A Maryland lawyer was charged in an 11-count indictment for his alleged role in a scheme to fraudulently obtain control of more than $12.5 million that was held by financial institutions on behalf of the Somali government, to improperly take part of those funds for fees and expenses, and to launder a portion of those funds to accounts for the benefit of his co-conspirators.


11/30/2020 12:00 AM EST
An Indian national was sentenced today to 20 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release in the Southern District of Texas for his role in operating and funding India-based call centers that defrauded U.S. victims out of millions of dollars between 2013 and 2016.


Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Settlement Of Lawsuit Against Pharmacist For Fraudulent Billing Practices
11/24/2020 12:00 AM EST

WASHINGTON – Doctor’s Choice Home Care, Inc. and its former executives, Timothy Beach and Stuart Christensen, have agreed to pay $5.15 million to resolve allegations that the home health agency provided improper financial inducements to referring physicians through sham medical director agreements and bonuses to physicians’ spouses who were Doctor’s Choice employees, the Department of Justice announced today.




The United States Department of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2020

WWW.JUSTICE.GOV/NEWS

 

 

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FILES ANTITRUST CASE AND SIMULTANEOUS SETTLEMENT REQUIRING NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® TO REPEAL AND MODIFY CERTAIN ANTICOMPETITIVE RULES

Settlement Will Increase Competition to the Benefit of American Homeowners and Homebuyers and Allow for Innovation in Brokerage Markets

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice today filed a civil lawsuit against the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) alleging that NAR established and enforced illegal restraints on the ways that REALTORS® compete.

The Antitrust Division simultaneously filed a proposed settlement that requires NAR to repeal and modify its rules to provide greater transparency to home buyers about the commissions of brokers representing home buyers (buyer brokers), cease misrepresenting that buyer broker services are free, eliminate rules that prohibit filtering multiple listing services (MLS) listings based on the level of buyer broker commissions, and change its rules and policy which limit access to lockboxes to only NAR-affiliated real estate brokers. If approved, the settlement will enhance competition in the real estate market, resulting in more choice and better service for consumers.

“Buying a home is one of life’s biggest and most important financial decisions,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Home buyers and sellers should be aware of all the broker fees they are paying. Today’s settlement prevents traditional brokers from impeding competition — including by internet-based methods of home buying and selling — by providing greater transparency to consumers about broker fees. This will increase price competition among brokers and lead to better quality of services for American home buyers and sellers.”

According to the complaint, NAR’s anticompetitive rules, policies, and practices include: (i) prohibiting MLSs that are affiliated with NAR from disclosing to prospective buyers the commission that the buyer broker will earn; (ii) allowing buyer brokers to misrepresent to buyers that a buyer broker’s services are free; (iii) enabling buyer brokers to filter MLS listings based on the level of buyer broker commissions offered; and (iv) limiting access to the lockboxes that provide licensed brokers with access to homes for sale to brokers who work for a NAR-affiliated MLS. These NAR rules, policies, practices have been widely adopted by NAR-affiliated MLSs resulting in decreased competition among real estate brokers.

NAR is a trade association of more than 1.4 million-member REALTORS® who are engaged in residential real estate brokerages across the United States. NAR has over 1,400 local associations (called “Member Boards”) organized as MLSs through which REALTORS® share information about homes for sale in their communities. Among other activities, NAR establishes and enforces rules, policies, and practices that are adopted by the Member Boards and their affiliated MLSs.

The proposed settlement will be published in the Federal Register as required by the Antitrust Procedures and Penalties Act. Any person may submit written comments regarding the proposed final judgment within 60 days of its publications to Chief, Office of Decree Enforcement and Compliance, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20530. At the conclusion of the 60-day comment period, the court may enter the proposed final judgment upon a finding that it serves the public interest.

###



Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner

 

The Federal Trade Commission has sent a warning letter to a company that markets financial aid prep assistance to post-secondary students, notifying the company that it could potentially be misleading consumers about access to a coronavirus relief program.

The letter to the operators of Frank Financial Aid (Frank) highlights the company’s claims that it gives students “everything you need” to apply for emergency grants available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and that there are four identified eligibility criteria for the emergency relief.

In fact, as the FTC’s letter notes, Frank’s purported assistance to students consists primarily of providing a form letter that may lack the information a student would need to apply for one of the grants from his or her school. The CARES Act program for students is administered by individual colleges and universities, and each has its own unique application process and grant eligibility criteria.

The FTC’s letter also warns Frank about offers of cash advances that can be paid back “when your financial aid comes in” and with “no interest, no fees – ever.”  The letter notes that the company’s terms, however, appear to require the advance to be paid back within 61 days, whether or not the student has received any aid from his or her college or university by that time.  Additionally, Frank charges a $19.90 monthly fee, according to the FTC’s letter.

The letter warns Frank to take prompt action to ensure all deceptive or unlawful claims are removed or corrected, and any other required disclosures are provided. The letter also instructs the company to notify the FTC by November 17 about the specific actions it has taken to address the agency’s concerns.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and to protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and report scams, fraud, and bad business practices online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, get consumer alerts, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

Contact For Consumers:

Warning Letters



Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner

 

The Federal Trade Commission is sending refunds totaling nearly $1.5 million to individuals who were affected by allegedly unlawful financing and sales practices by Bronx Honda.

According to the FTC, Bronx Honda and its general manager told sales employees to charge higher financing markups and fees to African-American and Hispanic customers. The defendants told employees that these groups should be targeted due to their limited education, and not to attempt the same practices with non-Hispanic white consumers.

The FTC further alleged that Bronx Honda failed to honor advertised sale prices, changed the sales price on paperwork in the middle of the sale without telling the consumer, double-charged consumers for taxes and fees, and misrepresented to consumers that they were required to pay extra reconditioning and warranty fees to purchase “certified” vehicles.

The FTC is providing refunds, averaging about $371 each, to 3,977 victims of Bronx Honda’s practices. Those who receive checks should deposit or cash their checks within 60 days, as indicated on the check. The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.

Recipients who have questions about the refunds, or consumers who financed a car purchase from Bronx Honda in 2016 through 2018 and have not previously requested a refund, should contact JND Legal Administration at 888-921-0727.

The FTC’s interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of FTC refunds. FTC actions led to more than $642 million in refunds to consumers across the country in fiscal year 2020.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and report fraud online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.


Contact Information

Contact For Consumers:
Refund Administrator
JND Legal Administration
888-921-0727

>



U.S. Department of Justice


11/05/2020 12:00 AM EST


11/05/2020 12:00 AM EST
Seattle - A 36-year-old Bothell, Washington man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to securities fraud for his insider trading activity, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran

11/05/2020 12:00 AM EST
An Arizona man pleaded guilty today to a massive investment fraud conspiracy that cost victims tens of millions of dollars.


Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Mail Fraud Conspiracy Charge in Maryland for Scamming Elderly Victims of More Than $939,000
11/04/2020 12:00 AM EST
David Green, age 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida, pleaded guilty yesterday to a federal mail fraud conspiracy charge, in connection with a scheme in which he defrauded more than 28 elderly victims of more than $939,000.
11/04/2020 12:00 AM EST

TULSA, Okla. – A Norman man pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court for his role as a money launderer in a Nigerian romance scam that defrauded multiple victims, including elder Americans, of millions, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. Afeez Olajide Adebara, 35, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering before U.S. District Court Judge Gregory K. Frizzell. Adebara’s sentencing hearing is set for Feb. 3, 2021.


U.S. Department of the Treasury Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates Update

Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates for U.S. Department of the Treasury. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield







U.S. Department of Justice

10/28/2020 12:00 AM EDT
A former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) public affairs officer was sentenced today to seven years in prison for defrauding at least a dozen companies of over $4.4 million by posing falsely as a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Beam Suntory Inc. Agrees to Pay Over $19 Million to Resolve Criminal Foreign Bribery Case
10/27/2020 12:00 AM EDT
Beam Suntory Inc. (Beam), a Chicago-based company that produces and sells distilled beverages, has agreed to pay a criminal monetary penalty of $19,572,885 to resolve the department’s investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

10/27/2020 12:00 AM EDT

10/26/2020 12:00 AM EDT

Marquet Antwain Burgess Mattox, AKA Marquet Antwain Burgess Mattox El, AKA Marquet Burgess Mattox, AKA Asim Ashunta El, AKA Asim El Bey, 48, of Lilburn, Georgia was charged by a federal grand jury on September 17 with nine counts of wire fraud, ten counts of false claims against the U.S. Government and one count of theft of government funds.


Press Release

 

October 16, 2020

United Fidelity Bank, fsb, Evansville, Indiana, Assumes All of the Deposits of First City Bank of Florida, Fort Walton Beach, Florida

 

FDIC Customer Service Call Center
Toll Free - 1-800-517-8236

 

WASHINGTON – First City Bank of Florida, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, was closed today by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. The failed bank experienced longstanding capital and asset quality issues, operating with financial difficulties dating back to 2009, which are not related to the current economic conditions resulting from the pandemic.

 

To protect depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with United Fidelity Bank, fsb in Evansville, Indiana, to assume all of the deposits of First City Bank of Florida. The two branches of First City Bank of Florida will reopen as branches of United Fidelity Bank, fsb on Saturday, October 17. The drive-up windows will be open during normal business hours; however, lobbies of these locations will remain accessible by appointment only. The FDIC strongly encourages bank customers to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on social distancing and utilize online and electronic banking capabilities.

 

Depositors of First City Bank of Florida will automatically become depositors of United Fidelity Bank, fsb. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, and customers do not need to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits. Customers of First City Bank of Florida should continue to use their existing branch until they receive notice from United Fidelity Bank, fsb that it has completed systems changes to allow other United Fidelity Bank, fsb branches to process their accounts as well.

 

This evening and over the weekend, depositors of First City Bank of Florida can access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. Checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.

 

As of June 30, 2020, First City Bank of Florida had approximately $134.7 million in total assets and $131.4 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits, United Fidelity Bank, fsb agreed to purchase essentially all of the failed bank’s assets.

 

The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $10 million. Compared to other alternatives, United Fidelity Bank, fsb’s acquisition was the least costly resolution for the DIF, which is an insurance fund created by Congress in 1933 and managed by the FDIC to protect the deposits at the nation’s banks.

 

Customers with questions about the transaction should call the FDIC toll-free at 1-800-517-8236. The phone number will be operational this evening until 9:00 p.m., Central Time (CT); on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., CT; on Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m., CT; on Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., CT; and thereafter from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., CT. Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's website.

 

 

FDIC: PR-112-2020


NYSE

NYSE PILLAR - SESSIONS FOR NYSE FLOOR BROKERS - UPDATE

The introduction of NYSE Pillar sessions for Floor Broker systems scheduled to begin on October 19, 2020 is being postponed until November 9, 2020.


10/15/2020 12:00 AM EDT

Fourteen members of the transnational criminal organization, QQAAZZ, were charged by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania in an indictment unsealed today.  A related indictment unsealed in October 2019 charged five members of QQAAZZ.  One additional conspirator, a Russian national, was arrested by criminal complaint in late March 2020 while visiting the United States, bringing the total number of charged defendants to 20.  Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady for the Western District of Pennsylvania, made the announcement today.





10/14/2020 12:00 AM EDT
J&F Investimentos S.A. (J&F), a Brazil-based investment company that owns and controls companies involved in multiple industries, including the meat and agriculture industry, has agreed to pay a criminal monetary penalty of $256,497,026 to resolve the department’s investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  The resolution arises out of J&F’s scheme to pay millions of dollars in bribes to government officials in Brazil in exchange for obtaining financing and other benefits for J&F and J&F-owned entities.
10/14/2020 12:00 AM EDT
PROVIDENCE – Four individuals in Florida have been arrested and more than $1.2 million dollars in cash has been seized in a wide-ranging, ongoing joint federal and state investigation into a significant number of fraudulent unemployment insurance claims submitted to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT), and elsewhere, for benefits funded in part by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act was passed by Congress to assist, among others, individuals whose employment has been impacted by the pandemic.
10/14/2020 12:00 AM EDT
U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel yesterday sentenced Saulina Helen Eady, age 38, of Los Angeles, California, to three years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain goods using what appeared to be a military e-mail address, but was actually a registered Yahoo e-mail address. Judge Hazel also entered an order requiring Eady to forfeit and to pay restitution in the full amount of one of the victim’s losses, which is $640,172.80. Eady has been detained since her arrest in October 2018.


Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENTIAL PERMIT
 
AUTHORIZING EXPRESS PIPELINE, LLC, TO OPERATE AND MAINTAIN EXISTING PIPELINE FACILITIES AT THE INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA
 
 
     By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States of America (the "President"), I hereby grant this Presidential permit, subject to the conditions herein set forth, to Express Pipeline, LLC (the "permittee").  The permittee is a limited liability corporation incorporated in the State of Delaware.  Permission is hereby granted to the permittee to operate and maintain existing pipeline Border facilities, as described herein, at the international border of the United States and Canada near Wild Horse, Montana, for the transport between the United States and Canada of all hydrocarbons and petroleum products of every description, refined or unrefined (inclusive of, but not limited to, crude oil, naphtha, liquefied petroleum gas, natural gas liquids, jet fuel, gasoline, kerosene, and diesel), but not including natural gas subject to section 3 of the Natural Gas Act, as amended (15 U.S.C. 717b).
 
     This permit supersedes and revokes the Presidential permit issued to the permittee, dated July 9, 2015, see 80 Fed. Reg. 45695 (July 31, 2015); the Presidential permit issued to the permittee, dated September 27, 2004; and the Presidential permit issued to the permittee's predecessor in interest, Express Pipeline Partnership, dated August 30, 1996.
 
     This permit does not affect the applicability of any otherwise-relevant laws and regulations.  As confirmed in Article 2 of this permit, the Border facilities shall remain subject to all such laws and regulations.
 
     The term "Facilities," as used in this permit, means the portion in the United States of the international pipeline project associated with the permittee's November 6, 2019, application for an amendment to its existing permit, and any land, structures, installations, or equipment appurtenant thereto.
 
     The term "Border facilities," as used in this permit, means those parts of the Facilities consisting of a 24-inch diameter pipeline in existence at the time of this permit's issuance extending from the international border between the United States and Canada near Wild Horse, Montana, to and including the first mainline shut-off valve located in the United States, approximately 5.89 miles from the international border, and any land, structures, installations, or equipment appurtenant thereto.
 
     This permit is subject to the following conditions:
 
     Article 1.  The Border facilities herein described, and all aspects of their operation, shall be subject to all the conditions, provisions, and requirements of this permit and any subsequent Presidential amendment to it.  This permit may be terminated, revoked, or amended at any time at the sole discretion of the President, with or without advice provided by any executive department or agency (agency).  The permittee shall make no substantial change in the Border facilities, in the location of the Border facilities, or in the operation authorized by this permit unless the President has approved the change in an amendment to this permit or in a new permit.  Such substantial changes do not include, and the permittee may make, changes to the average daily throughput capacity of the Border facilities to any volume of products that is achievable through the Border facilities, and to the directional flow of any such products.
 
     Article 2.  The standards for, and the manner of, operation and maintenance of the Border facilities shall be subject to inspection by the representatives of appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies.  Officers and employees of such agencies who are duly authorized and performing their official duties shall be granted free and unrestricted access to the Border facilities by the permittee.  The Border facilities, including the operation and maintenance of the Border facilities, shall be subject to all applicable laws and regulations, including pipeline safety laws and regulations issued or administered by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
 
     Article 3.  Upon the termination, revocation, or surrender of this permit, unless otherwise decided by the President, the permittee, at its own expense, shall remove the Border facilities within such time as the President may specify.  If the permittee fails to comply with an order to remove, or to take such other appropriate action with respect to, the Border facilities, the President may direct an appropriate official or agency to take possession of the Border facilities -- or to remove the Border facilities or take other action -- at the expense of the permittee.  The permittee shall have no claim for damages caused by any such possession, removal, or other action.
 
     Article 4.  When, in the judgment of the President, ensuring the national security of the United States requires entering upon and taking possession of any of the Border facilities or parts thereof, and retaining possession, management, or control thereof for such a length of time as the President may deem necessary, the United States shall have the right to do so, provided that the President or his designee has given due notice to the permittee.  The United States shall also have the right thereafter to restore possession and control to the permittee.  In the event that the United States exercises the rights described in this article, it shall pay to the permittee just and fair compensation for the use of such Border facilities, upon the basis of a reasonable profit in normal conditions, and shall bear the cost of restoring the Border facilities to their previous condition, less the reasonable value of any improvements that may have been made by the United States.
 
     Article 5.  Any transfer of ownership or control of the Border facilities, or any part thereof, or any changes to the name of the permittee, shall be immediately communicated in writing to the President or his designee, and shall include information identifying any transferee.  Notwithstanding any such transfers or changes, this permit shall remain in force subject to all of its conditions, permissions, and requirements, and any amendments thereto, unless subsequently terminated, revoked, or amended by the President.
 
     Article 6.  (1)  The permittee is responsible for acquiring any right-of-way grants or easements, permits, and other authorizations as may become necessary or appropriate.
 
     (2)  The permittee shall hold harmless and indemnify the United States from any claimed or adjudged liability arising out of construction, connection, operation, or maintenance of the Border facilities, including environmental contamination from the release, threatened release, or discharge of hazardous substances or hazardous waste.
 
     (3)  To ensure the safe operation of the Border facilities, the permittee shall maintain them and every part of them in a condition of good repair and in compliance with applicable law.
 
     Article 7.  The permittee shall file with the President or his designee, and with appropriate agencies, such sworn statements or reports with respect to the Border facilities, or the permittee's activities and operations in connection therewith, as are now, or may hereafter, be required under any law or regulation of the United States Government or its agencies.  These reporting obligations do not alter the intent that this permit be operative as a directive issued by the President alone.
 
     Article 8.  Upon request, the permittee shall provide appropriate information to the President or his designee with regard to the Border facilities.  Such requests could include, for example, information concerning current conditions or anticipated changes in ownership or control, construction, connection, operation, or maintenance of the Border facilities.
 
     Article 9.  This permit is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
 
     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, have hereunto set my hand this third day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.
 
 
                               DONALD J. TRUMP



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Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENTIAL PERMIT
 
AUTHORIZING FRONT RANGE PIPELINE, LLC, TO OPERATE AND MAINTAIN EXISTING PIPELINE FACILITIES AT THE INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA
 
 
     By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States of America (the "President"), I hereby grant this Presidential permit, subject to the conditions herein set forth, to Front Range Pipeline, LLC (the "permittee").  The permittee is a wholly owned subsidiary of CHS Inc., an agricultural business cooperative incorporated in the State of Minnesota.  Permission is hereby granted to the permittee to operate and maintain existing pipeline Border facilities, as described herein, at the international border of the United States and Canada at Toole County, Montana, for the transport between the United States and Canada of all hydrocarbons and petroleum products of every description, refined or unrefined (inclusive of, but not limited to, crude oil, naphtha, liquefied petroleum gas, natural gas liquids, jet fuel, gasoline, kerosene, and diesel), but not including natural gas subject to section 3 of the Natural Gas Act, as amended (15 U.S.C. 717b).
 
     This permit does not affect the applicability of any otherwise-relevant laws and regulations.  As confirmed in Article 2 of this permit, the Border facilities shall remain subject to all such laws and regulations.
 
     The term "Facilities," as used in this permit, means the portion in the United States of the international pipeline project associated with the permittee's April 30, 2019, application for a Presidential permit, and any land, structures, installations, or equipment appurtenant thereto.
 
     The term "Border facilities," as used in this permit, means those parts of the Facilities consisting of one 10-inch diameter pipeline and one 12-inch diameter pipeline in existence at the time of this permit's issuance extending from the international border between the United States and Canada at Toole County, Montana, to and including the first mainline shut-off valve in the United States, located in that county approximately one third of a mile from the international border, and any land, structures, installations, or equipment appurtenant thereto.
 
     This permit is subject to the following conditions:
 
     Article 1.  The Border facilities herein described, and all aspects of their operation, shall be subject to all the conditions, provisions, and requirements of this permit and any subsequent Presidential amendment to it.  This permit may be terminated, revoked, or amended at any time at the sole discretion of the President, with or without advice provided by any executive department or agency (agency).  The permittee shall make no substantial change in the Border facilities, in the location of the Border facilities, or in the operation authorized by this permit unless the President has approved the change in an amendment to this permit or in a new permit.  Such substantial changes do not include, and the permittee may make, changes to the average daily throughput capacity of the Border facilities to any volume of products that is achievable through the Border facilities, and to the directional flow of any such products.
 
     Article 2.  The standards for, and the manner of, operation and maintenance of the Border facilities shall be subject to inspection by the representatives of appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies.  Officers and employees of such agencies who are duly authorized and performing their official duties shall be granted free and unrestricted access to the Border facilities by the permittee.  The Border facilities, including the operation and maintenance of the Border facilities, shall be subject to all applicable laws and regulations, including pipeline safety laws and regulations issued or administered by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
 
     Article 3.  Upon the termination, revocation, or surrender of this permit, unless otherwise decided by the President, the permittee, at its own expense, shall remove the Border facilities within such time as the President may specify.  If the permittee fails to comply with an order to remove, or to take such other appropriate action with respect to, the Border facilities, the President may direct an appropriate official or agency to take possession of the Border facilities -- or to remove the Border facilities or take other action -- at the expense of the permittee.  The permittee shall have no claim for damages caused by any such possession, removal, or other action.
 
     Article 4.  When, in the judgment of the President, ensuring the national security of the United States requires entering upon and taking possession of any of the Border facilities or parts thereof, and retaining possession, management, or control thereof for such a length of time as the President may deem necessary, the United States shall have the right to do so, provided that the President or his designee has given due notice to the permittee.  The United States shall also have the right thereafter to restore possession and control to the permittee.  In the event that the United States exercises the rights described in this article, it shall pay to the permittee just and fair compensation for the use of such Border facilities, upon the basis of a reasonable profit in normal conditions, and shall bear the cost of restoring the Border facilities to their previous condition, less the reasonable value of any improvements that may have been made by the United States.
 
     Article 5.  Any transfer of ownership or control of the Border facilities, or any part thereof, or any changes to the name of the permittee, shall be immediately communicated in writing to the President or his designee, and shall include information identifying any transferee.  Notwithstanding any such transfers or changes, this permit shall remain in force subject to all of its conditions, permissions, and requirements, and any amendments thereto, unless subsequently terminated, revoked, or amended by the President.
 
     Article 6.  (1)  The permittee is responsible for acquiring any right-of-way grants or easements, permits, and other authorizations as may become necessary or appropriate.
 
     (2)  The permittee shall hold harmless and indemnify the United States from any claimed or adjudged liability arising out of construction, connection, operation, or maintenance of the Border facilities, including environmental contamination from the release, threatened release, or discharge of hazardous substances or hazardous waste.
 
     (3)  To ensure the safe operation of the Border facilities, the permittee shall maintain them and every part of them in a condition of good repair and in compliance with applicable law.
 
     Article 7.  The permittee shall file with the President or his designee, and with appropriate agencies, such sworn statements or reports with respect to the Border facilities, or the permittee's activities and operations in connection therewith, as are now, or may hereafter, be required under any law or regulation of the United States Government or its agencies.  These reporting obligations do not alter the intent that this permit be operative as a directive issued by the President alone.
 
     Article 8.  Upon request, the permittee shall provide appropriate information to the President or his designee with regard to the Border facilities.  Such requests could include, for example, information concerning current conditions or anticipated changes in ownership or control, construction, connection, operation, or maintenance of the Border facilities.
 
     Article 9.  This permit is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
 
     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, have hereunto set my hand this third day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.
 
 
                               DONALD J. TRUMP



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A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Dr. William Harwin, founder and former President of Florida Cancer Specialists & Researc











Press Release

 

October 5, 2020

FDIC Issues List of Banks Examined for CRA Compliance

 

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today issued its list of state nonmember banks recently evaluated for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).  The list covers evaluation ratings that the FDIC assigned to institutions in July 2020. 

 

The CRA is a 1977 law intended to encourage insured banks and thrifts to meet local credit needs, including those of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations.  As part of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), Congress mandated the public disclosure of an evaluation and rating for each bank or thrift that undergoes a CRA examination on or after July 1, 1990.

 

You may obtain a consolidated list of all state nonmember banks whose evaluations have been made publicly available since July 1, 1990, including the rating for each bank, or obtain a hard copy from FDIC's Public Information Center, 3501 Fairfax Drive, Room E-1002, Arlington, VA 22226 (877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200).

 

A copy of an individual bank's CRA evaluation is available directly from the bank, which is required by law to make the material available upon request, or from the FDIC's Public Information Center.


Attachments:

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FDIC: PR-107-2020


09/29/2020 12:00 AM EDT

09/29/2020 12:00 AM EDT
A South Texas doctor has agreed to pay $3,234,900.50 to resolve allegations he fraudulently submitted claims to the Medicare program for medically unnecessary tests and procedures


The United States Department of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2020
   

 

FORMER CANCER CENTER PRESIDENT INDICTED FOR PARTICIPATION IN LONG-RUNNING ANTITRUST CONSPIRACY

WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Dr. William Harwin, founder and former President of Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute LLC (FCS), for conspiring to allocate medical and radiation oncology treatments for patients in Southwest Florida, the Department of Justice announced today.

The indictment, filed in the U.S. District Court in Fort Myers, Florida, charges Harwin for participating in a criminal conspiracy with a competing oncology group in Collier, Lee, and Charlotte counties (Southwest Florida).  Beginning as early as 1999 and continuing until at least 2016, Harwin and his co-conspirators entered into an illegal agreement to allocate medical oncology treatments, such as chemotherapy, to FCS and radiation oncology treatments to a competing oncology group.  The conspiracy allowed FCS and the competing oncology group to operate with minimal competition in Southwest Florida and limited valuable integrated care options and choices for cancer patients. 

“As the charge demonstrates, the division remains committed to holding culpable executives accountable for their crimes, especially when they impact vulnerable Americans, such as those in need of life-saving treatments,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “The Antitrust Division will continue to work to protect competition and integrity in the healthcare industry.” 

“It is unconscionable for a doctor to prioritize profits over patient care,"  said Michael F. McPherson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Tampa Field Office.  “The FBI will persist in exposing unscrupulous medical providers who deny the public access to a competitive healthcare marketplace.”

The indictment follows a felony charge filed against FCS in April 2020 for its role in the same conspiracy in which Harwin is alleged to have participated.  The Antitrust Division and FCS resolved the charge with a deferred prosecution agreement, under which the company admitted to conspiring to allocate treatments for cancer patients and agreed to pay a $100 million criminal penalty.  FCS also agreed to waive and refrain from enforcing any non-compete provisions with its current or former oncologists or other employees who, during the term of the deferred prosecution agreement, open or join an oncology practice in Southwest Florida. 

An indictment merely alleges that a crime has been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The charge in the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals.  The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by victims if either amount is greater than $1 million.

Today’s announcement is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into market allocation and other anticompetitive conduct in the oncology industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal II Section and the FBI’s Tampa Field Office – Fort Myers R.A.  Anyone with information in connection with this investigation or anticompetitive conduct in the healthcare industry generally is urged to contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258 or visit https://www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html.

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Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

by Bridget Small
Division of Consumer & Business Education

Refund checks worth about $147 million are going out to almost 33,000 people who sent money to scammers through Western Union wire transfers. This is the second group of payments related to the Western Union settlement. These refunds are going to people in the US and other countries, including many older adults who lost money to grandparent, lottery, sweepstakes, or romance scams.

Read more >

Department of Justice

09/16/2020 12:00 AM EDT


09/14/2020 12:00 AM EDT
The U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced today a proposed settlement with German automaker Daimler AG and its American subsidiary Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (collectively, “Daimler”) resolving alleged violations of the Clean Air Act and California law associated with emissions cheating. 
09/14/2020 12:00 AM EDT

09/14/2020 12:00 AM EDT
Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, John Comito, Chief Executive Officer of AutoExec Computer Systems, Inc., pleaded guilty before United States Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann to wire fraud in connection with his theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars that was earmarked for the installation of internet access at 26 Catholic Elementary, Middle and High Schools in New York City.

Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner

 

Settlements will permanently prohibit defendants from charity fundraising business, require them to pay back money for use by legitimate charities

A sprawling fundraising operation that allegedly scammed consumers out of millions of dollars will be permanently banned from charitable fundraising along with its owner and others involved in its operation as a result of a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission and Attorneys General of New York, Virginia, Minnesota, and New Jersey.

The operation is made up of multiple companies all under the control of owner Mark Gelvan, along with his associates Thomas Berkenbush, William English, and Damian Muziani. The complaint filed by the FTC and the states alleges that the defendants served as the primary fundraisers for a number of sham charities that were the subject of numerous law enforcement actions.

The complaint alleges that the sham charities claimed to use consumers’ donations to help homeless veterans, retired and disabled law enforcement officers, breast cancer survivors, and others in need. In fact, these organizations spent almost none of the donations on the promised activities.

“This action puts fundraisers on notice:  the FTC will not only shut down sham charities, it will aggressively pursue their fundraisers who participate in the deception,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “If you’re giving to charity and want to make sure your donations count, start at ftc.gov/charity to learn how to spot the scams.”

“It is critically important that donors are able to trust that their contributions are being used as they intended, and not to line the pockets of individuals who exploit the generosity of others,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James. “My office will continue to work with partners such as the FTC and other states to take action that protects donors and charitable entities.”

The complaint alleges that as much as 90 percent of the money raised by the defendants for these sham charities went to the defendants themselves as payment for their fundraising services. What little money the charities did receive was rarely spent on any of their supposedly charitable missions, sometimes less than two percent.

According to the complaint, the defendants orchestrated the sham charities’ fundraising operations by soliciting donations, writing fundraising materials, and providing other key support to the sham charities. Defendants placed calls misrepresenting how donations would be used, and in many instances, the calls violated consumers’ do-not-call requests.

The defendants in the case, who have worked with each other for as long as 30 years, have been subject to numerous law enforcement actions dating back as far as 1996.

Under the proposed settlements, all of the defendants will be permanently prohibited from participating in any charity fundraising, and from deceiving consumers in any other fundraising effort, including for political action committees (PACs). The defendants will be required to clearly inform consumers at the time they ask for money that any donations are not charitable and not eligible for tax deductions. In addition, the defendants will be subject to significant monetary judgments and required to surrender assets as follows:

Gelvan, Outreach Calling, Inc., Outsource 3000, Inc., and Production Consulting Corp.: These defendants will be subject to a monetary judgment of $56,023,481, which is partially suspended based on their inability to pay. The corporate defendants will be required to surrender $45,386. Gelvan will be required to surrender $800,000, and will be required to sell two New Jersey properties he has a stake in and surrender any net proceeds of those sales.

Damian Muziani: Muziani will be subject to a monetary judgment of $484,172, which is partially suspended due to his inability to pay. He will be required to surrender $12,369.

Thomas BerkenbushBerkenbush will be subject to a monetary judgment of $1,132,155, which is partiall suspended due to his inability to pay. He will be required to surrender $5,000.

William English: English will be subject to a monetary judgment of $873,293, which is partially suspended due to his inability to pay. He will be required to surrender $30,000. The terms of his settlement also prohibit him from participating in any fundraising activity of any kind.

The funds being surrendered by the defendants will be paid to the State of New York, which will contribute the funds on behalf of New York, Virginia, and New Jersey to legitimate charities that perform services that mirror those promised by the sham charities.

In the event any of the defendants either fails to surrender the amounts they owe or is found to have misrepresented their ability to pay, the full amount of their judgment would become payable immediately.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint and stipulated final orders was 3-0-2, with Commissioners Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Christine S. Wilson recorded as not participating. The FTC filed the complaint and final orders in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the named defendants are violating or are about to violate the law and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).

Contact Information

Contact For Consumers:



Press Release

 

September 4, 2020

FDIC Issues List of Banks Examined for CRA Compliance

 

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today issued its list of state nonmember banks recently evaluated for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).  The list covers evaluation ratings that the FDIC assigned to institutions in June 2020. 

 

The CRA is a 1977 law intended to encourage insured banks and thrifts to meet local credit needs, including those of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations.  As part of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), Congress mandated the public disclosure of an evaluation and rating for each bank or thrift that undergoes a CRA examination on or after July 1, 1990.

 

You may obtain a consolidated list of all state nonmember banks whose evaluations have been made publicly available since July 1, 1990, including the rating for each bank, or obtain a hard copy from FDIC's Public Information Center, 3501 Fairfax Drive, Room E-1002, Arlington, VA 22226 (877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200).

 

A copy of an individual bank's CRA evaluation is available directly from the bank, which is required by law to make the material available upon request, or from the FDIC's Public Information Center.

 

Attachments:


# # #

 

 

FDIC: PR-101-2020



Offices of the United States Attorneys
09/03/2020 12:00 AM EDT

09/03/2020 12:00 AM EDT

09/03/2020 12:00 AM EDT

An international conspiracy that profited from drug trafficking and the illegal wildlife trade and conspired to hide the illegal nature of the proceeds has been shut down in a multi-agency law enforcement operation.
09/03/2020 12:00 AM EDT

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez, along with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, announces several recent arrests in “Operation Pocket Dial” – a joint investigation targeting heroin and fentanyl distribution networks in Tampa and Kissimmee.


Offices of the United States Attorneys
08/28/2020 12:00 AM EDT
A federal grand jury has indicted Dennis Mbongeni Jali, age 35, formerly of Upper Marlboro, Maryland; John Erasmus Frimpong, age 40, of Upper Marlboro; and Arley Ray Johnson, age 61, of Bowie, Maryland on federal charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. The indictment was returned on July 27, 2020, and was unsealed today.
Florida Man Sentenced to 105 Months in Prison for Role in $16 Million Miami Health Care Fraud and Wire Fraud Scheme
08/26/2020 12:00 AM EDT

Miami, Fl. – A federal judge in Miami sentenced Roberto Murillo, 44, of North Port, Florida, to 105 months in prison for his role in a massive health care fraud and wire fraud scheme involving fraudulent physical therapy claims. Senior U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz imposed the sentence, which came after a Miami jury found Murillo guilty in January 2020 of all counts charged, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, and several counts of health care fraud.


Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner

 

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that Eldorado’s $17.3 billion agreement to acquire Caesars likely would violate federal antitrust law.

According to the complaint, which was first announced in June, the proposed acquisition would likely harm competition for casino services in the South Lake Tahoe area of Nevada and the Bossier City-Shreveport area of Louisiana.

The final order requires the parties to divest casino-related assets to Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Inc. in both markets. Independent of its proposed acquisition of Caesars, Eldorado sold its Isle of Capri casino in Kansas City, Missouri on July 2, 2020, obviating the need for the Commission to take any further action to protect competition in that area.

The Commission vote to approve the final order was 3-1-1.  Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter did not participate and Commissioner Rohit Chopra voted no.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about how competition benefits consumers or file an antitrust complaint.  

Contact Information



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The United States Department of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2020
   

 

SEVENTH GENERIC DRUG MANUFACTURER IS CHARGED IN ONGOING CRIMINAL ANTITRUST INVESTIGATION

Consumers Were Allegedly Overcharged at Least $350 Million

WASHINGTON – Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. (Teva) has been charged with conspiring to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate customers for generic drugs, the Department of Justice announced today.  

According to a superseding indictment filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the company participated in three conspiracies from at least as early as May 2013 until at least in or around Dec. 2015.  

“Today’s charge reaffirms that no company is too big to be prosecuted for its role in conspiracies that led to substantially higher prices for generic drugs relied on by millions of Americans,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “The division will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure that companies that blatantly cheat consumers of the benefits of free markets are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Count one charges Teva for its role in a conspiracy that included Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA (Glenmark), Apotex Corp. (Apotex), and others.  On May 7, Apotex admitted to its role in this conspiracy and agreed to pay a $24.1 million penalty.  On July 14, a grand jury returned an indictment against Glenmark for its role in the same conspiracy, which today’s indictment supersedes.  According to the charge, Teva, Glenmark, Apotex, and unnamed co-conspirators agreed to increase prices for pravastatin and other generic drugs.  Pravastatin is a commonly prescribed cholesterol medication that lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Count two charges Teva for its role in a conspiracy with Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. (Taro U.S.A.), its former executive Ara Aprahamian, and others.  On July 23, Taro U.S.A. admitted to its role in this conspiracy and agreed to pay a $205.7 million penalty to resolve that charge as well as its role in a separate antitrust conspiracy.  Aprahamian was indicted in February 2020 for his role in the conspiracy with Teva, among other charges, and is awaiting trial.  According to the charge, Teva and its co-conspirators agreed to increase prices, rig bids, and allocate customers for generic drugs including, but not limited to, drugs used to treat and manage arthritis, seizures, pain, skin conditions, and blood clots. 

Count three charges Teva for its role in a conspiracy with Sandoz Inc. and others.  In March 2020, Sandoz admitted to its role in this conspiracy, as well as in conspiracies with other generic drug manufacturers, and agreed to pay a $195 million penalty.  According to the charge, Teva and its co-conspirators agreed to increase prices, rig bids, and allocate customers for generic drugs including, but not limited to, drugs used to treat brain cancer, cystic fibrosis, arthritis, and hypertension.

“During these difficult times, it is absolutely essential that our pharmaceutical companies conduct business with the well-being of the consumer in mind,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven Stuller, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.  “When generic drug companies conspire to artificially increase prices, they do so to the detriment of many who depend on these medications to maintain good health.  Along with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and our partners at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the USPS Office of Inspector General remains committed to investigating those who would engage in this type of harmful conduct.”

“Today’s charges, the latest in a series of law enforcement actions taken against large drug companies, confirm that this kind of criminal behavior in the generic pharmaceutical industry will not be tolerated,” said James A. Dawson, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  “Price fixing and bid rigging is a crime, and the American people—who rely on these drugs to treat serious ailments—are the ones who pay the price when companies like Teva conspire to raise their costs.  The FBI remains committed to holding companies accountable for their illegal and reprehensible activity.”

“Today’s superseding indictment against Teva is another important step in this ongoing criminal investigation, which has already recovered hundreds of millions of dollars,” said U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  “Along with our partners at the Antitrust Division, we remain heavily focused on illegal price fixing and market allocation in generic drugs and on addressing the impact those practices have on federal healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid.”

Teva is the seventh company to be charged for its participation in conspiracies to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate customers for generic drugs.  Five previous corporate cases were resolved by deferred prosecution agreements, and Teva’s co-conspirator Glenmark is awaiting trial.  Four executives have also been charged; three have entered guilty pleas, and one is awaiting trial.

A criminal charge merely alleges that crimes have been committed.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Each of the charged offenses carry a statutory maximum penalty of $100 million for companies.  The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime if either amount is greater than $100 million.  

This case is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, market allocation, bid rigging, and other anticompetitive conduct in the generic pharmaceutical industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division with the assistance of the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington and Philadelphia Field Offices, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Anyone with information on market allocation, price fixing, bid rigging, or other anticompetitive conduct related to the generic pharmaceutical industry should contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html.

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logoNYSE TRADER UPDATE
 
08/17/2020, 13:51

NYSE - NEW SECURITY NOTIFICATION FOR SYMBOL NYC

NYSE has determined that the Class A Common Stock issued by New York City REIT, Inc. is part of a new security offering that will trade under the ticker NYC with CUSIP 649439205 on August 18, 2020. As this new offering has not previously traded on any listing market and has no prior day's closing price, Regulation SHO Rule 201 will not apply to security NYC until its second day of trading on NYSE. Further, NYSE Rule 123D(d) will apply and the security will be in a regulatory halt until the NYSE has opened trading.



08/18/2020 12:00 AM EDT
BOSTON – The U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed a complaint under the False Claims Act against Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., and Teva Neuroscience, Inc., the maker of Copaxone, a drug for multiple sclerosis (MS).

Puerto Rico Legislator Indicted for Theft, Bribery, and Fraud
08/17/2020 12:00 AM EDT
A federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a 13-count indictment against legislator María Milagros Charbonier-Laureano (Charbonier), aka “Tata,” a member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, as well as her husband Orlando Montes-Rivera (Montes), their son Orlando Gabriel Montes-Charbonier, and her assistant Frances Acevedo-Ceballos (Acevedo), for their alleged participation in a years-long theft, bribery, and kickback conspiracy.


seal - centered header for gov delivery

The United States Department of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2020

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT BRINGS ENFORCEMENT ACTION AGAINST CENTURYLINK

In Significant Action, CenturyLink Agrees to Extend Term, Appoint Independent Monitor, and Reimburse Taxpayers for the Costs and Fees of the Violations

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today that CenturyLink, Inc. has agreed to settle allegations that CenturyLink violated the court-ordered Final Judgment designed to prevent anticompetitive effects arising from its acquisition of Level 3 Communications, Inc. 

Despite provisions in the Final Judgment barring CenturyLink from soliciting customers that switched to the buyer of the divestiture assets, CenturyLink failed to comply, initiating contact on over 70 occasions over more than a year with former Level 3 customers who elected to switch to the divestiture buyer in the Boise City-Nampa, Idaho MSA (Boise MSA).  CenturyLink does not deny the United States’ allegations and has agreed to the Amended Final Judgment.

“When a defendant violates the terms of a settlement decree, it must be held accountable to its obligations to the department and the American consumer,” said Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Today’s motion to amend the Final Judgment ensures that consumers get the benefit of competition otherwise lost by CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3 Communications.  I also commend CenturyLink for its cooperation in resolving the department’s concerns.”

The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division today filed an unopposed motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to amend the current Final Judgment, entered on March 6, 2018, in order to resolve the department’s concerns.  As part of the settlement, CenturyLink has agreed to:

  • extend the non-solicitation period by two years for the Boise MSA;
  • the appointment of an independent monitoring trustee; and
  • pay the United States to defray the costs of the department’s investigation of CenturyLink’s violations of the court order.

These provisions will allow the divestiture buyer to have the benefit of the original court order which was designed to enable the divestiture buyer to replace competition lost as a result of CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3, ensure that CenturyLink follows the court order going forward, and recoup taxpayer funds.  CenturyLink also agreed to the addition mandated by AAG Delrahim of the four new standard provisions that the department has required in all recent antitrust settlements that make the Antitrust Division’s consent decrees easier to enforce.

CenturyLink, one of the largest wireline telecommunications providers in the United States, is the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) in portions of 37 states and is also a global communications, hosting, cloud, and IT services company.  The company provides broadband, voice, video, data, and managed services over a robust 450,000 route-mile global network, connecting approximately 170,000 fiber-based on-net enterprise buildings.  In 2019, CenturyLink had revenues of approximately $22.4 billion. 

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08/14/2020 12:00 AM EDT
The Justice Department today announced the successful disruption of a multimillion dollar fuel shipment by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated foreign terrorist organization that was bound for Venezuela.

 

 

EXIM Board Votes to Notify Congress of Two Potential Transactions Totaling $450 Million Supporting Approximately $1 Billion of Existing and Future U.S. Exports and an Estimated 1,600 American Jobs

EXIM COVID-19 Economic Recovery Measures Could Support Jobs in Alabama, California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 11, 2020



WASHINGTON – The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) Board of Directors on Tuesday, August 11 unanimously voted to notify the U.S. Congress, pursuant to the law, of its consideration of two potential transactions that would utilize EXIM COVID-19 economic recovery measures. The potential transactions totaling $450 million could support approximately $1 billion in existing and future export sales from the United States Steel Corporation (U. S. Steel), headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and an estimated 1,600 American jobs as calculated by EXIM at U. S. Steel and its suppliers in 17 states throughout the country and the District of Columbia.

In the first transaction, EXIM’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to forward for Congressional notification a 95 percent guarantee of a $250 million working capital loan facility under EXIM’s Working Capital Guarantee Program from PNC Bank, N.A., in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to U. S. Steel. EXIM’s guarantee of the 11-month loan facility would allow U. S. Steel to monetize a portion of the value of three of its existing contracts to supply iron-ore pellets to buyers in North America and Asia. EXIM’s guarantee is needed to enable the lender to accept the risks of the foreign contracts and U. S. Steel to fulfill the supply contracts. The potential transaction is estimated by EXIM to support an estimated 900 U.S. jobs in Minnesota and other states.

In the second transaction, EXIM’s Board unanimously voted to forward for Congressional notification a 95 percent guarantee of a $200 million supply chain finance facility from LSQ Funding Group, L.C., in Orlando, Florida, and Huntington National Bank, N.A. (HNB), in Columbus, Ohio, to U.S. Steel under EXIM’s Supply Chain Finance Guarantee Program. EXIM’s guarantee of the 12-month facility would support the purchase of accounts receivable due from U.S. Steel to 50 to 60 of its U.S. suppliers in approximately 16 states and the District of Columbia. LSQ Funding Group would enter into receivables purchase agreements with U.S. Steel suppliers under LSQ’s existing supply chain finance program, and HNB would further purchase the receivables from LSQ. EXIM would guarantee payment of the receivables, thereby extending its support to U.S. Steel and its network of suppliers across the United States.

Suppliers potentially benefiting from the Supply Chain Finance Guarantee Program transaction are located in Alabama, California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The potential transaction is estimated by EXIM to support 700 U.S. jobs.

In addition to the Congressional comment period, the transactions are subject to mutually satisfactory negotiation of terms and conditions among U. S. Steel and the lending banks, as well as final approval by the EXIM Board of Directors and U. S. Steel Board of Directors.

“With today’s unanimous Board action, we are notifying Congress of EXIM’s consideration of these potential transactions. Now, more than ever, our U.S. companies need to be competing in the global marketplace. We at EXIM were swift to focus on COVID-19 economic recovery measures, and these transactions, when approved final, will support 1,600 American jobs at a major U.S. employer, the United States Steel Corporation, and their suppliers in states across the country,” said EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly Reed.

“This is a very inventive approach, and I applaud EXIM for helping get a major American employer and exporter through the challenges posed by COVID-19,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, an ex officio Member of EXIM’s Board of Directors, who also participated in the virtual Board of Directors meeting. “I believe that U. S. Steel is on its way to becoming the low-cost producer of integrated steel mills in the U.S. This is a win-win situation.”

“The two transactions considered today will support jobs in the industrial heartland of America, and it is important, relevant, and timely for EXIM to engage in supporting these exports and associated jobs,” said EXIM Board Member Judith D. Pryor. “Maintaining a robust domestic manufacturing base is a win-win when it comes to the economy and our national security, and I’m pleased to notify Congress of these transactions.”

“The transactions that EXIM notified Congress of today will support approximately 1,600 jobs across over 50 companies in the supply chain during a time when the industry’s finances are struggling due in part to COVID-19,” said EXIM Board Member Spencer T. Bachus, III. “EXIM COVID-19 relief measures continue to support the exporting community during this time of crisis.”

In March 2020, as part of EXIM’s COVID-19 response initiatives, EXIM temporarily approved an increased guarantee coverage option to 95 percent under its Working Capital Guarantee Program and Supply Chain Financing Guarantee Program, an increase from the agency’s standard 90 percent guarantee. The guarantees utilizing the increased coverage option are not to exceed one year effective from the date of the financing.

ABOUT EXIM:

EXIM is an independent federal agency that promotes and supports American jobs by providing competitive and necessary export credit to support sales of U.S. goods and services to international buyers. A robust EXIM can level the global playing field for U.S. exporters when they compete against foreign companies that receive support from their governments. EXIM also contributes to U.S. economic growth by helping to create and sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs in exporting businesses and their supply chains across the United States. In recent years, approximately 90 percent of the total number of the agency’s authorizations has directly supported small businesses. Since 1992, EXIM has generated more than $9 billion for the U.S. Treasury for repayment of U.S. debt.





Offices of the United States Attorneys

The United States Department of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FRIDAY, AUGUST 7, 2020

 

 

 

FEDERAL COURT TERMINATES PARAMOUNT CONSENT DECREES

WASHINGTON – A federal court in the Southern District of New York today terminated the Paramount Consent Decrees, which for over seventy years have regulated how certain movie studios distribute films to movie theatres. The review and termination of these Decrees were part of the Department of Justice’s review of legacy antitrust judgments that dated back to the 1890’s and has resulted in the termination of nearly 800 perpetual decrees.   

“We appreciate the Court’s thoughtful opinion and ruling today granting our motion to terminate these outdated Decrees,” said Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “As the Court points out, Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and It’s a Wonderful Life were the blockbusters when these Decrees were litigated; the movie industry and how Americans enjoy their movies have changed leaps and bounds in these intervening years.  Without these restraints on the market, American ingenuity is again free to experiment with different business models that can benefit consumers.” 

In summary, the Court concluded that the government had offered a persuasive explanation for why termination of the Paramount Decrees serves the public interest in free and unfettered competition.  The conspiracy and practices that existed decades ago no longer exist.  New technology has created many different movie platforms that did not exist when the Decrees were entered into, including cable and broadcast television, DVDs, and streaming and download services. 

The litigation underlying the Decrees dates back to 1938. After several years of litigation, including a Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Paramount, 334 U.S. 131 (1948), the Antitrust Division and the defendants entered into a series of consent decrees, collectively called the Paramount Decrees.  These Decrees required the movie studios to separate their distribution operations from their exhibition businesses.  They also banned various motion picture distribution practices, including block booking (bundling multiple films into one theatre license), circuit dealing (entering into one license that covered all theatres in a theatre circuit), resale price maintenance (setting minimum prices on movie tickets), and granting overbroad clearances (exclusive film licenses for specific geographic areas). 

The Court terminated the Decrees, effective immediately, but allowed for a two-year sunset period on the Decrees’ provisions banning block booking and circuit dealing to.  This sunset provision was at the request of the Antitrust Division to allow the theatre and motion picture industry to have an orderly transition to the new licensing changes.

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ATR

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08/06/2020 12:00 AM EDT
The owner of a biofuel company was sentenced to seven years in prison followed by a three-year term of supervised release and ordered to pay $10,207,000 in restitution for defrauding multiple federal agencies and customers.
08/06/2020 12:00 AM EDT


Imperial Pacific International and MCC International Saipan Executives Indicted on Federal Charges
08/05/2020 12:00 AM EDT


Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

by Alvaro Puig
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

The FTC sued the makers of Suboxone®, a prescription drug to treat opioid addiction, alleging they were preventing patients from choosing lower priced generic versions of the drug. The companies agreed to pay $60 million to consumers to settle the FTC charges. That means if you got a prescription for Suboxone® film in the United States between March 1, 2013 and February 28, 2019, you may be eligible for a payment.

Read more >

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The United States Department of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FRIDAY, JULY 31, 2020

 

 

 

STATEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANTITRUST DIVISION ON THE CLOSING OF ITS INVESTIGATION OF LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP AND REFINITIV

WASHINGTON – Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice issued the following statement today in connection with the closing of the division’s investigation into the proposed acquisition of Refinitiv by the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG):

“After an extensive review of the proposed transaction, the Antitrust Division determined that the combination of LSEG and Refinitiv is unlikely to result in harm to competition or American consumers.”

LSEG, headquartered in London, operates the London Stock Exchange, the Italian stock exchange, Borsa Italiana, and a number of other trading platforms for trading of stocks, other equity-like exchange traded products, bonds and derivatives.  LSEG offers indexes such as the FTSE 100 and Russell 2000, analytical tools, and data solutions through its FTSE Russell business.

Refinitiv, headquartered in New York City, is one of the main providers of financial markets data and infrastructure.  Refinitiv offers consolidated real-time and non-real time data feeds of stocks and other discrete content, and desktop solutions and terminals for financial industry professionals.  It also supplies foreign exchange benchmarks and controls several electronic trading venues in various asset classes.

In August 2019, LSEG and Refinitiv announced that LSEG had reached an agreement to acquire Refinitiv in a transaction valued at approximately $27 billion.  Following that announcement, the Antitrust Division conducted a comprehensive eight-month investigation, during which it reviewed documents, analyzed data, and interviewed industry participants.

In conducting its analysis, the division considered the vertical relationships between LSEG and Refinitiv where one firm serves as a supplier to the other of needed inputs, as well as the horizontal aspects of the transaction where LSEG and Refinitiv offer competing products.  In analyzing these different aspects to the transaction, the division used both the recently released Vertical Merger Guidelines, released by the division and the Federal Trade Commission, and the Horizontal Merger Guidelines, issued by the Antitrust division and the Federal Trade Commission..

When analyzing the vertical aspects of the transaction, the division considered how the proposed transaction could affect the ability and incentives of LSEG and Refinitiv to change the licensing terms for proprietary data feeds used by their rivals to supply products that compete against similar products from LSEG and Refinitiv.  Examples of such data feeds include pricing data for financial instruments, currency benchmark rates, and securities identifiers.

The division’s analysis considered how changes in the licensing of LSEG’s and Refinitiv’s proprietary data feeds could affect competition for financial indexes and financial data products, and found that the proposed transaction is unlikely to significantly lessen competition for those products where rivals rely on LSEG and Refinitiv for inputs.  In many instances, for example, the rivals who purchase products and services from LSEG or Refinitiv also sell products and services back to LSEG and Refinitiv.  The division’s analysis took into account the competitive significance in the United States of LSEG’s and Refinitiv’s products compared to their rivals’ products, and the bargaining relationships these rivals have with LSEG and Refinitiv.  The division’s analysis also considered the possible competitive effects of the proposed transaction on customers in the United States of LSEG, Refinitiv, and their rivals. Because LSEG and Refinitiv’s rivals would maintain significant bargaining leverage that would make post-transaction price increases unlikely, and because any potential increase in the fees of the combined firm would not likely be passed on to customers, the division concluded the vertical aspects of the transaction would not cause a significant lessening of competition.

With respect to the horizontal aspects of the transaction, the division found that in areas where LSEG and Refinitiv offer similar products, such as financial indexes, that the combination of the companies’ products are unlikely to significantly lessen competition.  This analysis was based on a review of LSEG’s and Refinitiv’s products that are similar to each other, an analysis of whether these products actually compete against each other in the United States, and the small changes the transaction would likely cause in post-transaction market concentration for these products based on the companies’ market shares in the United States.

The division considered several theories of harm in its review of the proposed transaction, and concluded that these theories were not supported by the available evidence.  For these and other reasons, the division determined that the proposed transaction is unlikely to substantially harm consumers in the United States and therefore closed its investigation.

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Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

by Jonathan Cohen
Senior Attorney, Division of Enforcement, FTC

You might remember that, back in 2016, the FTC sued and then settled with Volkswagen and Porsche over their multi-million dollar “clean diesel” marketing campaigns. The problem? The VWs, Audis, and Porsches they said were “clean” actually had an illegal device to let the cars pass emissions tests. Not so clean, after all. The settlement that the FTC attorneys and I negotiated – along with the private bar – got Volkswagen and Porsche to agree to pay up to $10 billion to replace or repair the more than 550,000 cars affected. That meant the full retail price of those cars – plus repaying people for things including their time, and taxes and registration fees.

Read more >


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The United States Department of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THURSDAY, JULY 23, 2020
 

SIXTH PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY CHARGED IN ONGOING CRIMINAL ANTITRUST INVESTIGATION

Fifth Company to Admit It Fixed Prices of Generic Drugs

WASHINGTON – Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. (Taro U.S.A.) has been charged for conspiring to fix prices, allocate customers, and rig bids for generic drugs, the Department of Justice announced today. 

A two-count felony charge was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, charging Taro U.S.A. with participating in two criminal antitrust conspiracies, each with a competing manufacturer of generic drugs and various executives.     

The Antitrust Division also announced a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) resolving the charges against Taro U.S.A., under which the company agreed to pay a $205,653,218 criminal penalty and admitted that its sales affected by the charged conspiracies was in excess of $500 million.  Under the DPA, Taro U.S.A. has agreed to cooperate fully with the Antitrust Division’s ongoing criminal investigation.  As part of the agreement, the parties will file a joint motion, which is subject to approval by the Court, to defer for the term of the DPA any prosecution and trial of the charges filed against the defendant.

“Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A.’s unlawful conspiracies to raise the prices of critical drugs robbed consumers at pharmacy counters across America,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “Today’s resolution marks another important step toward ensuring that competitively priced generic drugs are available to the millions of American consumers who rely on them.” 

“During these difficult times, it is more important than ever that our pharmaceutical companies conduct business with the well-being of the consumer in mind,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven Stuller, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.  “When generic drug companies conspire to artificially increase prices, they do so to the detriment of many who depend on these medications to maintain good health.  Along with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and our partners at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the USPS Office of Inspector General will remain committed to investigating those who would engage in this type of harmful conduct.”

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to working with our partners to combat price-fixing and antitrust violations that ultimately harm the American public,” said Timothy R. Slater, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  “We will continue to pursue these investigations to call attention to this criminal activity in order to ultimately ensure a competitive market and access to generic drugs.”  

“The charges filed today in the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania are indicative of my Office’s ongoing efforts to investigate and charge companies and executives who fix the prices of generic pharmaceuticals,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “We and our partners at the Antitrust Division and other federal law enforcement agencies remain heavily focused on price-fixing and illegal market allocation in generic drugs. These charges and the related deferred prosecution agreement, subject to approval by the court, are yet another important accomplishment in that area.”

In the deferred prosecution agreement, Taro U.S.A. admitted to participating in two charged conspiracies between 2013 and 2015.  Specifically, Count One charges Taro U.S.A. for its role in a conspiracy with Sandoz Inc., former Taro U.S.A. Vice President of Sales and Marketing Ara Aprahamian, and other individuals, from at least as early as March 2013 and continuing until at least December 2015.  Count Two charges Taro U.S.A. for its role in a second conspiracy with a generic drug company based in Pennsylvania and other individuals, from at least as early as May 2013 and continuing until at least December 2015.  According to the charge and DPA, Taro U.S.A. and its co-conspirators agreed to fix prices, allocate customers, and rig bids for numerous generic drugs, including medications used to prevent and control seizures and treat bipolar disorder, pain and arthritis, and various skin conditions. 

This is the tenth case to be filed in the Antitrust Division’s ongoing investigation into the generic pharmaceutical industry.  To date, five of the six companies charged—including Taro U.S.A.’s co-conspirator Sandoz Inc.—have admitted to their roles in antitrust conspiracies and resolved through DPAs under which they’ve collectively agreed to pay over $426 million in criminal penalties.  In addition, four executives have been charged for their roles in fixing prices of generic drugs.  Former Taro U.S.A. executive Ara Aprahamian was indicted in February 2020 and is awaiting trial.  The other three executives have pleaded guilty, including a former senior executive at Sandoz Inc.

The charged offense carries a statutory maximum penalty of a $100 million fine per count for corporations, and the maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by victims if either amount is greater than $100 million. 

This case is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, market allocation, bid rigging, and other anticompetitive conduct in the generic pharmaceutical industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division with the assistance of the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the FBI’s Washington and Philadelphia Field Offices, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Anyone with information on price fixing, market allocation, bid rigging, or other anticompetitive conduct related to the pharmaceutical industry should contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

by Colleen Tressler
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Just about a year ago, we told you about a case the FTC brought against a student loan debt relief firm. The FTC alleged that the operators of Mission Hills Federal, Federal Direct Group, National Secure Processing, and The Student Loan Group bilked borrowers out of millions of dollars. Today, we have some great news to share: a federal court in California has ruled in our favor.

Read more >

U.S. Department of Justice

07/23/2020 12:00 AM EDT
07/14/2020 12:00 AM EDT
A Washington, D.C. man was sentenced today to one year in prison for aiding and abetting the illegal straw purchase of five firearms.
07/14/2020 12:00 AM EDT
BOSTON – A Weston man has agreed to plead guilty in connection with a scheme to defraud private high schools and international students of millions of dollars in tuition and other fees.
Universal Health Services, Inc. and related entities to pay $122 million to settle False Claims Act allegations relating to medically unnecessary inpatient behavioral health services and illegal kickbacks
07/10/2020 12:00 AM EDT
Universal Health Services, Inc., UHS of Delaware, Inc.(together, UHS), and Turning Point Care Center, LLC (Turning Point), a UHS facility located in Moultrie, Georgia, have agreed to pay a combined total of $122 million to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act for billing for medically unnecessary inpatient behavioral health services, failing to provide adequate and appropriate services, and paying illegal inducements to federal healthcare beneficiaries, the Department of Justice announced today. UHS owns and provides management and administrative services to nearly 200 acute care inpatient psychiatric hospitals and residential psychiatric and behavioral treatment facilities nationwide. UHS is headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.




IRS Newswire July 9, 2020

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Issue Number:    IR-2020-145

Inside This Issue


IRS.gov has answers about filing, paying and July 15 due date

WASHINGTON — As the July due date for filing a tax return draws closer, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers about the many resources available on IRS.gov. Whether on home computers or mobile devices, the number of taxpayers visiting IRS.gov continues to grow year after year.

Easy-to-use tools, available 24 hours a day on the IRS website, have been used more than 1.2 billion times this year.

IRS.gov is home to IRS Free File, "Where's My Refund?", the Tax Withholding Estimator and a host of other convenient applications. Additional help is available in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, available on IRS.gov. Publication 17 is also available as an eBook.

Taxpayers who have yet to file their tax returns should file electronically now and choose direct deposit if they’re getting a refund. Taxpayers who owe for tax year 2019 can pay anytime up to the July 15 due date.

File electronically for free

Taxpayers whose income was $69,000 or less last year are eligible to use the IRS Free File software to do their taxes. Also, regardless of income, any taxpayer who is comfortable preparing their own taxes can use Free File Fillable Forms. Taxpayers can use these electronic versions of IRS tax forms to complete their taxes and file them online. Free File options are available at IRS.gov/freefile.

Get answers to tax questions

Taxpayers can find answers to many of their questions using the Interactive Tax Assistant. It’s a tax law resource that uses a series of questions and responses to help. IRS.gov also has answers to Frequently Asked Questions on a variety of topics. The IRS website also has tax information in: Spanish (Español); Chinese (中文); Korean (한국어); Russian (Pусский); Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt); and Haitian Creole (Kreyòl ayisyen).

"Where's My Refund?"

Taxpayers can easily find the most up-to-date information about their tax refund using the "Where's My Refund?" tool on IRS.gov and on the IRS mobile app, IRS2Go. Within 24 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of an electronically filed return, taxpayers can start checking on the status of their refund.

Schedule a payment

Taxpayers can file now and schedule their federal tax payments up to the July 15 due date. They can pay online, by phone or with their mobile device and the IRS2Go app. When paying federal taxes electronically, taxpayers should remember:

  • Electronic payment options are the best way to make a tax payment.
  • They can pay when they e-file by using tax software online.
  • If using a tax preparer, taxpayers should ask the preparer to make the tax payment through an electronic funds withdrawal from a bank account.
  • IRS Direct Pay allows taxpayers to pay online directly from a checking or savings account for free.
  • Taxpayers can choose to pay with a credit card, debit card or digital wallet option through a payment processor. No fees go to the IRS.
  • The IRS2Go app provides mobile-friendly payment options, including Direct Pay and payment processors on mobile devices.
  • Taxpayers may also enroll in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System and pay online or by phone.
  • They can pay with cash at a retail partner. New locations available.
  • Taxpayers can go to IRS.gov/account to securely access information about their federal tax account. They can view the amount they owe, access their tax records online, review their payment history and view key information for the most recent tax return as originally filed.

Not required to file a tax return? Non-Filers tool available to register for Economic Impact Payments

People who are not normally required to file a tax return and don’t plan to do so can use the Non-Filers tool to get an Economic Impact Payment. The only way they can get this payment is to register with the IRS by using this free tool. Available in both English and Spanish, the tool was developed jointly by the IRS and the Free File Alliance. The registration deadline is Oct. 15, 2020.

More information

IRS.gov/COVIDtaxdeadlines
IRS.gov/payments
IRS.gov/account
IRS.gov/ITA
IRS.gov/estimatedtaxes

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07/03/2020 11:57 AM EDT
CBP officers discovered the counterfeit productshidden in between generic versions of the sleepingdressesin a clear smuggling attempt.LOS ANGELES— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists assigned to the Los Angeles/...


06/30/2020 12:00 AM EDT

The chief executive officer of Indivior PLC, Shaun Thaxter, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Abingdon, Virginia to a one-count information charging him with causing the introduction into interstate commerce of the opioid drug Suboxone Film, which was misbranded in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. 



Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner

FTC and DOJ Issue Antitrust Guidelines for Evaluating Vertical Mergers

New Vertical Merger Guidelines provide transparency on analytical techniques, practices, and enforcement policies

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Department of Justice (“DOJ” or “Department”) issued today new Vertical Merger Guidelines that outline how the federal antitrust agencies evaluate the likely competitive impact of vertical mergers and whether those mergers comply with U.S. antitrust law. These new Vertical Merger Guidelines mark the first time the Department and the FTC have issued joint guidelines on vertical mergers, and represent the first major revision to guidance on vertical mergers since the Department’s 1984 Non-Horizontal Merger Guidelines, which the Department withdrew in January of this year.

“These new Vertical Merger Guidelines are an important step forward in maintaining vigorous antitrust enforcement, and reaffirm our commitment to challenge vertical mergers that are anticompetitive and would harm American consumers,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “The new Guidelines reflect our current enforcement approach and, through increased transparency, will help businesses and practitioners understand how we evaluate vertical transactions. The new Guidelines also reflect our strong collaboration with the Department of Justice, and the substantial input that we received from the public.”

“These new Vertical Merger Guidelines provide transparency in the important area of vertical merger analysis,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim. “They explain our investigative practices as we apply them today and have applied them in recent years.  The Guidelines will give greater predictability and clarity to the business community, the bar, and enforcers. I am grateful for the commitment, thoroughness, and dedication with which staff from both agencies worked on this project. This has been a successful process because of our robust public engagement and our excellent collaborative relationship with the FTC.”

A primary goal of the new Vertical Merger Guidelines is to help the agencies identify and challenge competitively harmful vertical mergers. To accomplish this, the Guidelines detail the techniques and main types of evidence that the agencies typically use to predict whether vertical mergers may substantially lessen competition. The Guidelines will help businesses, antitrust practitioners, and other interested persons by increasing transparency into the agencies’ principal analytical techniques, practices, and enforcement policies for evaluating vertical transactions.

The Commission vote to issue the Vertical Merger Guidelines was 3-2, with Commissioner Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter voting no. Chairman Simons and Commissioners Noah Joshua Phillips and Christine S. Wilson issued a statement. Commissioners Chopra and Slaughter issued dissenting statements.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about how competition benefits consumers or file an antitrust complaint.

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More news from the FTC >>





U.S. Department of Justice

The United States Department of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2020
   

 

FORMER BUMBLE BEE CEO SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR FIXING PRICES OF CANNED TUNA

WASHINGTON – Christopher Lischewski, former chief executive officer and president of Bumble Bee Foods LLC, was sentenced to serve 40 months in jail and pay a $100,000 criminal fine for his leadership role in a three-year antitrust conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna, the Department of Justice announced.

Lischewski was charged on May 16, 2018, in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in San Francisco.  After a four-week trial in late 2019, he was convicted on the single count of participating in a conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna.  In imposing Lischewski’s 40-month prison sentence, the court found that Lischewski was a leader or organizer of the conspiracy and that it affected over $600 million dollars of canned tuna sales. 

“The sentence imposed today will serve as a significant deterrent in the C-suite and the boardroom,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Executives who cheat American consumers out of the benefits of competition will be brought to justice, particularly when their antitrust crimes affect the most basic necessity, food.  Today’s sentence reflects the serious harm that resulted from the multi-year conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna.”

“This sentence is the result of our commitment to holding corporations and senior leadership accountable for their actions, whether they operate in the food supply industry or elsewhere,” said FBI San Francisco Division Special Agent in Charge, John F. Bennett.  “This brings us closer to our goal; allowing our citizens to be able to purchase food in an unbiased market within an efficient and fair economy, free of corporate greed.”

Bumble Bee pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a $25 million criminal fine.  In September, StarKist Co. was sentenced to pay a statutory maximum $100 million criminal fine.  In addition to Bumble Bee and StarKist, four executives, including Lischewski, were charged in the investigation.  The other three executives pleaded guilty and testified in Lischewski’s trial.

The sentence announced today is a result of the department’s ongoing investigation into price fixing in the packaged-seafood industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office.  Anyone with information on price fixing, bid rigging, or other anticompetitive conduct related to the packaged-seafood industry should contact the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office at 415-934-5300, visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html, or call the FBI tip line at 415-553-7400.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

###



Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner


FTC Reaches Settlement with Kohl’s over Allegations it Failed to Provide Victims with Information Related to Identity Theft

Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc. has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $220,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that the Wisconsin-based retailer violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by refusing to provide complete records of transactions to consumers whose personal information was used by identity thieves.

In a complaint filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC, the Commission alleges that Kohl’s refused to provide information identifying the thieves to identity theft victims, despite the fact that the FCRA guarantees victims access to this information. The FTC also alleges that the company failed to provide the information within 30 days, as required by the FCRA. The information sought by identity theft victims included records of sales made by the identity thieves using stolen personal information, along with the perpetrator’s name and contact information.

“If someone stole your identity, it’s your right to get the records related to the theft – and that’s a right the FTC takes seriously,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “This case is a warning to other companies: We will hold you responsible if you fail to give identity theft victims the required business records.”

This is the first case the FTC has brought using its authority under Section 609(e) of the FCRA, which Congress added to the statute to require companies to provide victims of identity theft with application and business transaction records about fraudulent transactions made in their names within 30 days.

In addition to the civil penalty, Kohl’s is required to provide identity theft victims, who provide valid verification of their identity and the identity theft, with access to business transaction records related to the theft within 30 days. The company also must post a notice on its website informing identity theft victims about how to obtain records related to identify theft, and certify that it has reached out to victims who were unlawfully denied access to such records in the past.

The Commission voted 5-0 to authorize the complaint and stipulated final order to be filed. The Department of Justice, on behalf of the FTC, filed the complaint and stipulated final order in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the named defendants are violating or are about to violate the law and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

More news from the FTC >>

U.S. Department of Justice

06/11/2020 12:00 AM EDT
A former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) public affairs officer pleaded guilty today to defrauding at least a dozen companies of over $4.4 million by posing falsely as a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

06/10/2020 12:00 AM EDT
Bay Area Hospitality And Automotive Executive Charged With Fraud
06/05/2020 12:00 AM EDT
06/05/2020 12:00 AM EDT
Four Florida men were charged in an indictment unsealed Thursday for their alleged participation in a compound pharmacy kickback scheme.




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Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner


FTC Halts Deceptive Payday Lender That Took Millions From Consumers’ Accounts Without Authorization

Defendants drew repeated interest-only charges, leaving consumers to pay more than promised

The Federal Trade Commission has charged a payday lending enterprise with deceptively overcharging consumers millions of dollars and withdrawing money repeatedly from consumers’ bank accounts without their permission. A federal court has entered a temporary restraining order halting the operation and freezing the defendants’ assets, at the FTC’s request.

According to the FTC, the 11 defendants, through Internet websites and telemarketing, and operating under the names Harvest Moon Financial, Gentle Breeze Online, and Green Stream Lending, used deceptive marketing tactics to convince consumers that their loans would be repaid in a fixed number of payments. In fact, in many instances, the FTC alleges, consumers found that long after the promised number of payments had been made, the defendants had applied their funds to finance charges only and were continuing to make regular finance-charge only withdrawals from their checking accounts.

In addition, the FTC charges that the defendants failed to make required loan disclosures, made recurring withdrawals from consumers’ bank accounts without proper authorization, and illegally used remotely created checks.

“Harvest Moon bled consumers dry, by promising a single payment payday loan, but then automatically debiting consumers’ bank accounts for finance charges every two weeks, in perpetuity,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

The FTC charges the defendants with violating the FTC Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z, and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and Regulation E. The defendants named in the case are: Lead Express, Inc.; Camel Coins, Inc.; Sea Mirror, Inc,; Naito Corp.; Kotobuki Marketing, Inc.; Ebisu Marketing, Inc.; Hotei Marketing, Inc.; Daikoku Marketing, Inc.; La Posta Tribal Lending Enterprise; Takehisa Naito; and Keishi Ikeda.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 5-0. The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada entered the temporary restraining order on May 19, 2020.

The FTC has information for consumers about payday loans, including alternative options and information for military consumers.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the named defendants are violating or are about to violate the law and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

CONTACT FOR CONSUMERS:
Consumer Response Center
877-382-4357

Related Cases


05/18/2020 12:00 AM EDT
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and U.S. Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the unsealing of a six-count federal indictment against Seyed Sajjad Shahidian, 33, Vahid Vali, 33, and PAYMENT24 for conducting financial transactions in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran. The defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit offenses against and to defraud the United States, wire fraud, money laundering, and identity theft. Shahidian, who was arrested and extradited from the United Kingdom, made his initial appearance earlier today before Magistrate Judge David T. Schultz in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Vali remains at large.





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United States Drug Enforcement Administration
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Release

Omnicare, Inc., agrees to pay more than $15 million to resolve allegations it improperly dispensed narcotics at long-term care facilities

WASHINGTON – Omnicare, Inc., a subsidiary of CVS Health and a leading provider of pharmacy services to long-term care facilities, has agreed to pay the United States a $15.3 million civil penalty to resolve allegations that it violated federal law by allowing opioids and other controlled substances to be dispensed without a valid prescription, DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon announced today.

Omnicare operates “closed door” pharmacies, which are pharmacies that are not open to the public, that deliver controlled substances to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Omnicare makes daily deliveries of prescription medications to residents of long-term care facilities; but it also pre-positions limited stockpiles of controlled substances at long-term care facilities in “emergency kits,” which are to be dispensed to patients on an emergency basis. These emergency kits, which often include opioids and other controlled substances that are commonly abused and diverted, remain part of Omnicare’s inventory and must be tightly controlled and tracked. The controlled substances may be dispensed only pursuant to a valid prescription.

“Omnicare failed in its responsibility to ensure proper controls of medications used to treat some of the most vulnerable among us,” said Acting Administrator Dhillon. “DEA is committed to keeping our communities safe by holding companies like Omnicare accountable for such failures, while ensuring continuity of care and necessary access to emergency prescription drug supplies.”

The United States alleged that Omnicare violated the federal Controlled Substances Act in its handling of emergency prescriptions, its controls over the emergency kits, and its processing of written prescriptions that had missing elements. The federal investigation found that Omnicare failed to control emergency kits by improperly permitting long-term care facilities to remove opioids and other controlled substances from emergency kits days before doctors provided a valid prescription. The investigation also revealed that Omnicare had repeated failures in its documentation and reporting of oral emergency prescriptions of Schedule II controlled substances.

As part of the settlement agreement announced today, Omnicare agreed to pay the $15.3 million civil penalty and entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Drug Enforcement Administration that will require Omnicare to increase its auditing and monitoring of emergency kits placed at long-term care facilities.

This matter was investigated by the DEA’s Field Divisions in Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, in conjunction with five U.S. Attorney’s Offices: the Central District of California, the Eastern District of California, the District of Colorado, the District of Oregon, and the District of Utah. The settlement agreement, which was finalized on May 6, resolves Omnicare’s civil liability for the alleged Controlled Substances Act violations in those five districts.

The claims settled by this civil agreement are allegations. In entering into this settlement agreement, Omnicare did not admit to any liability.

# # #


05/11/2020 12:00 AM EDT



Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

by Colleen Tressler
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Every day we are reading about researchers studying potential ways to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. However, at this time there certainly are no products you can buy online, or services you can get at a neighborhood clinic, that are proven to work. But that doesn’t stop some sellers from pitching products that claim to protect or heal you.

Read more >

F D I C Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Press Release

May 4, 2020

FDIC Issues List of Banks Examined for
CRA Compliance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON - The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today issued its list of state nonmember banks recently evaluated for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The list covers evaluation ratings that the FDIC assigned to institutions in February 2020.

The CRA is a 1977 law intended to encourage insured banks and thrifts to meet local credit needs, including those of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations. As part of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), Congress mandated the public disclosure of an evaluation and rating for each bank or thrift that undergoes a CRA examination on or after July 1, 1990.

You may obtain a consolidated list of all state nonmember banks whose evaluations have been made publicly available since July 1, 1990, including the rating for each bank.

A copy of an individual bank's CRA evaluation is available directly from the bank, which is required by law to make the material available upon request, or from the FDIC's Public Information Center.

Attachments:
February 2020 List of Banks Examined for CRA Compliance
Monthly List of Banks Examined for CRA Compliance

# # #


U.S. Department of Justice

The United States Department of Justice

 

05/07/2020 12:00 AM EDT
Apotex Corp., a generic pharmaceutical company headquartered in Florida, was charged with fixing the price of the generic drug pravastatin, the Department of Justice announced today.  According to the one-count felony charge filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Apotex and other generic drug companies agreed to increase and maintain the price of pravastatin, a commonly prescribed cholesterol medication that lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke.  The conspiracy began in May 2013 and continued through December 2015.

 

05/04/2020 12:00 AM EDT
The former Director of Procurement for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and the president and chief executive officer of a government contracting firm pleaded guilty today to conspiring to bribe a public official.

05/04/2020 12:00 AM EDT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THURSDAY, APRIL 30, 2020

 

 

 

LEADING CANCER TREATMENT CENTER ADMITS TO ANTITRUST CRIME AND AGREES TO PAY $100 MILLION CRIMINAL PENALTY

WASHINGTON – Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute LLC (FCS), an oncology group headquartered in Fort Myers, Florida, was charged with conspiring to allocate medical and radiation oncology treatments for cancer patients in Southwest Florida, the Department of Justice announced.  This charge is the first in the department’s ongoing investigation into market allocation in the oncology industry.

According to a one-count felony charge filed today in the U.S. District Court in Fort Myers, Florida, FCS participated in a criminal antitrust conspiracy with a competing oncology group in Collier, Lee, and Charlotte counties (Southwest Florida).  FCS and its co-conspirators agreed not to compete to provide chemotherapy and radiation treatments to cancer patients in Southwest Florida.  Beginning as early as 1999 and continuing until at least 2016, FCS entered into an illegal agreement that allocated chemotherapy treatments to FCS and radiation treatments to a competing oncology group.  This conspiracy allowed FCS to operate with minimal competition in Southwest Florida and limited valuable integrated care options and choices for cancer patients.  

The Antitrust Division also announced a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) resolving the charge against FCS, under which the company admitted to conspiring to allocate chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer patients.  FCS has agreed to pay a $100 million criminal penalty —the statutory maximum— and to cooperate fully with the Antitrust Division’s ongoing investigation.  FCS has also agreed to maintain an effective compliance program designed to prevent and detect criminal antitrust violations.

“Today’s resolution, with one of the largest independent oncology groups in the United States, is a significant step toward ensuring that cancer patients in Southwest Florida are afforded the benefits of competition for life-saving treatments,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “For almost two decades, FCS and its co-conspirators agreed to cheat by limiting treatment options available to cancer patients in order to line their pockets.  The Antitrust Division is continuing its investigation to ensure that all responsible participants are held accountable to the maximum extent possible.”

“The FBI has no tolerance for medical providers who stand to profit by criminally exploiting cancer patients,” said Michael McPherson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office.  “We will not turn a blind eye while executives pad their pockets to the detriment of vulnerable Americans.  We will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that the public has access to a competitive marketplace for healthcare.”

Additionally, the agreement includes a non-compete waiver aimed at increasing competition in the treatment of cancer patients in Southwest Florida.  Under the agreement’s terms, FCS has agreed not to enforce any non-compete provisions with its current or former oncologists or other employees who, during the term of the DPA, open or join an oncology practice in Southwest Florida.

This charge is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into market allocation and other anticompetitive conduct in the oncology industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division and the FBI’s Tampa Field Office – Fort Meyers RA. 

The Florida Office of the Attorney General separately announced today that, in connection with its own independent investigation, FCS agreed to settle civil claims that it violated Florida antitrust laws.

Anyone with information on market allocation, price fixing, bid rigging, or other anticompetitive conduct in the health care or any other industry should contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html.  If you believe that you were a victim of this crime, please visit http://www.justice.gov/atr/victims-rights.

NOTE: To view the FCS Deferred Prosecution Agreement, click here; to view the FCS Information, click here; to view the FCS Deferred Prosecution Agreement Q&A, click here.

 

###



Attorney Agrees to Plead Guilty to a String of Crimes, Including Paying Bribes to Two Federal Law Enforcement Officials
04/28/2020 12:00 AM EDT
A Calabasas man has agreed to plead guilty to five federal offenses – one related to a credit card “bust-out” scheme, and the others related to more than $250,000 in bribes he paid to two federal agents for assistance that included sensitive law enforcement information.





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Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner

Federal Trade Commission Closes Investigation of Johnson & Johnson’s Proposed Acquisition of TachoSil from Takeda Pharmaceutical Company

The Federal Trade Commission has closed its investigation into Johnson & Johnson’s proposed acquisition of the fibrin sealant surgical patch TachoSil from Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.

“Staff of the Bureau of Competition and Bureau of Economics thoroughly investigated Johnson & Johnson’s proposed acquisition of Takeda’s surgical patch, TachoSil,” said FTC Chairman Joseph Simons. “The investigation focused on the potential loss of competition between TachoSil and Johnson & Johnson’s Evarrest—the only two fibrin sealant patches approved in the United States to stop bleeding during surgery. As a result of that investigation, staff had significant concerns about the likely anticompetitive effects and had recommended that the Commission block the transaction. Now that the deal has been abandoned, patients and surgeons will continue to benefit from competition between these life-saving devices.”

Throughout the investigation, FTC staff cooperated closely with staff of the European Commission’s DG Competition.

The Commission had previously denied a motion to quash compulsory process filed by the parties. The Commission vote to close the investigation was 5-0.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about how competition benefits consumers or file an antitrust complaint.



The United States Department of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8, 2020

WWW.JUSTICE.GOV/NEWS

 

 

DOJ AGREES TO CIVIL SETTLEMENT WITH ADDITIONAL FIRM INVOLVED IN BID RIGGING AND FRAUD TARGETING DEFENSE DEPARTMENT FUEL SUPPLY CONTRACTS FOR U.S. MILITARY BASES IN SOUTH KOREA

WASHINGTON  South Korea-based company Jier Shin Korea Co. Ltd., and its president, Sang Joo Lee, have agreed to pay $2 million to the United States for civil antitrust and False Claims Act violations for their involvement in a bid-rigging conspiracy that targeted contracts to supply fuel to U.S. military bases in South Korea, the Department of Justice announced today. 

The United States previously reached civil settlements totaling over $205 million relating to the conspiracy with GS Caltex Corporation, Hanjin Transportation Co. Ltd., Hyundai Oilbank Co. Ltd., SK Energy Co. Ltd., and S-Oil Corporation.  As with the prior civil settlements, this settlement reflects the important role of both Section 4A of the Clayton Act and the False Claims Act to ensure that the United States is compensated when it is the victim of anticompetitive conduct. 

“Today’s settlement represents the final chapter of our efforts to use Section 4A of the Clayton Act to ensure that the companies involved in this conspiracy compensate American taxpayers for their anticompetitive activity,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Antitrust Division.  “Together, these are the largest Section 4A settlements in American history, and we will continue to use this important enforcement tool when taxpayers are harmed by cartels.”

“This is the sixth False Claims Act settlement arising from the bid rigging of contracts to supply fuel to U.S. military bases in South Korea,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Civil Division.  “We will pursue and hold accountable those who seek to defraud the American taxpayers, including those who conspire with others to do so.”

“You will pay the price if you rig bids and especially if you target our military bases while doing so,” said U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers for the Southern District of Ohio.  “Today’s settlement shows that we will not stop until we hold accountable all responsible parties.”

The Department’s Antitrust Division today filed a civil antitrust complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and, at the same time, filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the lawsuit against Jier Shin Korea and Mr. Lee for their anticompetitive conduct targeting the U.S. military in South Korea.  The proposed settlement requires that Jier Shin Korea and Mr. Lee pay $2 million to the United States to resolve the civil antitrust violations.  In addition, Jier Shin Korea and Mr. Lee have agreed to continue to cooperate with the United States’ civil investigations and to abide by an antitrust compliance program.  The amount to be paid by Jier Shin Korea and Mr. Lee reflects the value of their cooperation, limitations on their ability to pay, and cost savings realized by avoiding extended litigation.  The settlement further provides that the United States, if it discovers any material misrepresentations in the financial statements provided by Jier Shin Korea and Mr. Lee regarding their ability to pay, may recover the full amount by which Jier Shin Korea or Mr. Lee understated that ability.

The payment will also resolve civil claims that the United States has under the False Claims Act against Jier Shin Korea and Mr. Lee for making false statements to the government in connection with their agreement not to compete.  The Civil Division has entered into a separate settlement agreement with Jier Shin Korea and Mr. Lee to resolve these claims.

The civil settlement was handled by the Antitrust Division’s Transportation, Energy, and Agriculture Section, by the Civil Division, and by the Civil Fraud Section of the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Ohio.

The United States’ civil investigation resulted from a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  Those provisions allow for private parties to sue on behalf of the United States and to share in any recovery.

The proposed civil antitrust settlement, along with the Antitrust Division’s competitive impact statement, will be published in the Federal Register, as required by the Antitrust Procedures and Penalties Act.  Any person may submit written comments concerning the proposed settlement within 60 days of its publication to Robert Lepore, Chief, Transportation, Energy, and Agriculture Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 8000, Washington, D.C. 20530.  At the conclusion of the 60-day comment period, the court may enter the civil antitrust settlement upon a finding that it serves the public interest.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

###




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04/07/2020 12:00 AM EDT
A Savannah-area pharmacy and its pharmacist have agreed to settle federal claims that they unlawfully dispensed controlled substances pursuant to prescriptions by a notorious pill-mill doctor.

04/07/2020 12:00 AM EDT
Dear Hospital Executives: As the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, I am the chief federal law enforcement officer in approximately half of Ohio’s counties. My office’s primary responsibility is to enforce the laws of the United States on behalf of the citizens we serve. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our office is prioritizing the deterrence, investigation, and prosecution of wrongdoing related to the coronavirus – including those engaged in hoarding and/or price-gouging with regard to critical medical supplies. These practices are not only morally repugnant in light of the pandemic we are facing, but also, if left unchecked, can inhibit hospitals, physicians and other health care professionals, governmental agencies, and the public from fully implementing measures designed to save lives and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.



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F D I C Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Press Release

April 3, 2020

FDIC Issues List of Banks Examined for
CRA Compliance

WASHINGTON - The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today issued its list of state nonmember banks recently evaluated for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).  The list covers evaluation ratings that the FDIC assigned to institutions in January 2020. 

The CRA is a 1977 law intended to encourage insured banks and thrifts to meet local credit needs, including those of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations.  As part of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), Congress mandated the public disclosure of an evaluation and rating for each bank or thrift that undergoes a CRA examination on or after July 1, 1990.

You may obtain a consolidated list of all state nonmember banks whose evaluations have been made publicly available since July 1, 1990, including the rating for each bank, or obtain a hard copy from FDIC's Public Information Center, 3501 Fairfax Drive, Room E-1002, Arlington, VA 22226 (877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200).

A copy of an individual bank's CRA evaluation is available directly from the bank, which is required by law to make the material available upon request, or from the FDIC's Public Information Center.

Attachments:

# # #

Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's banks and savings associations, 5,177 as of December 31, 2019. It promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars—insured financial institutions fund its operations.





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IRS Newswire March 25, 2020

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Issue Number:    IR-2020-59

Inside This Issue


IRS unveils new People First Initiative; COVID-19 effort temporarily adjusts, suspends key compliance programs

WASHINGTON – To help people facing the challenges of COVID-19 issues, the Internal Revenue Service announced today a sweeping series of steps to assist taxpayers by providing relief on a variety of issues ranging from easing payment guidelines to postponing compliance actions.

“The IRS is taking extraordinary steps to help the people of our country,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “In addition to extending tax deadlines and working on new legislation, the IRS is pursuing unprecedented actions to ease the burden on people facing tax issues. During this difficult time, we want people working together, focused on their well-being, helping each other and others less fortunate.”

“The new IRS People First Initiative provides immediate relief to help people facing uncertainty over taxes,” Rettig added “We are temporarily adjusting our processes to help people and businesses during these uncertain times. We are facing this together, and we want to be part of the solution to improve the lives of all people in our country.”

These new changes include issues ranging from postponing certain payments related to Installment Agreements and Offers in Compromise to collection and limiting certain enforcement actions. The IRS will be temporarily modifying the following activities as soon as possible; the projected start date will be April 1 and the effort will initially run through July 15. During this period, to the maximum extent possible, the IRS will avoid in-person contacts. However, the IRS will continue to take steps where necessary to protect all applicable statutes of limitations.

“IRS employees care about our people and our country, and they have a strong desire to help improve this situation,” Rettig said. “These new actions reflect just one of many ways our employees are working hard every day to assist the nation. We care, a lot. IRS employees are actively engaged, and they have always delivered for their communities and our country. The People First Initiative is designed to help people take care of themselves and is a key part of our ongoing response to the coronavirus effort.”

More specifics about the implementation of these provisions will be shared soon. Highlights of the key actions in the IRS People First Initiative include:

Existing Installment Agreements – For taxpayers under an existing Installment Agreement, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020 are suspended. Taxpayers who are currently unable to comply with the terms of an Installment Payment Agreement, including a Direct Deposit Installment Agreement, may suspend payments during this period if they prefer. Furthermore, the IRS will not default any Installment Agreements during this period.  By law, interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances.

New Installment Agreements – The IRS reminds people unable to fully pay their federal taxes that they can resolve outstanding liabilities by entering into a monthly payment agreement with the IRS. See IRS.gov for further information.

Offers in Compromise (OIC) – The IRS is taking several steps to assist taxpayers in various stages of the OIC process:

  • Pending OIC applications – The IRS will allow taxpayers until July 15 to provide requested additional information to support a pending OIC. In addition, the IRS will not close any pending OIC request before July 15, 2020, without the taxpayer’s consent.
  • OIC Payments – Taxpayers have the option of suspending all payments on accepted OICs until July 15, 2020, although by law interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances.
  • Delinquent Return Filings - The IRS will not default an OIC for those taxpayers who are delinquent in filing their tax return for tax year 2018. However, taxpayers should file any delinquent 2018 return (and their 2019 return) on or before July 15, 2020.
  • New OIC Applications – The IRS reminds people facing a liability exceeding their net worth that the OIC process is designed to resolve outstanding tax liabilities by providing a “Fresh Start.” Further information is available at IRS.gov

Non-Filers –The IRS reminds people who have not filed their return for tax years before 2019 that they should file their delinquent returns. More than 1 million households that haven’t filed tax returns during the last three years are actually owed refunds; they still have time to claim these refunds. Many should consider contacting a tax professional to consider various available options since the time to receive such refunds is limited by statute. Once delinquent returns have been filed, taxpayers with a tax liability should consider taking the opportunity to resolve any outstanding liabilities by entering into an Installment Agreement or an Offer in Compromise with the IRS to obtain a “Fresh Start.” See IRS.gov for further information.

Field Collection Activities - Liens and levies (including any seizures of a personal residence) initiated by field revenue officers will be suspended during this period. However, field revenue officers will continue to pursue high-income non-filers and perform other similar activities where warranted.

Automated Liens and Levies – New automatic, systemic liens and levies will be suspended during this period.

Passport Certifications to the State Department – IRS will suspend new certifications to the Department of State for taxpayers who are “seriously delinquent” during this period. These taxpayers are encouraged to submit a request for an Installment Agreement or, if applicable, an OIC during this period. Certification prevents taxpayers from receiving or renewing passports.

Private Debt Collection – New delinquent accounts will not be forwarded by the IRS to private collection agencies to work during this period.

Field, Office and Correspondence Audits – During this period, the IRS will generally not start new field, office and correspondence examinations. We will continue to work refund claims where possible, without in-person contact. However, the IRS may start new examinations where deemed necessary to protect the government’s interest in preserving the applicable statute of limitations.

  • In-Person Meetings - In-person meetings regarding current field, office and correspondence examinations will be suspended. Even though IRS examiners will not hold in-person meetings, they will continue their examinations remotely, where possible. To facilitate the progress of open examinations, taxpayers are encouraged to respond to any requests for information they already have received - or may receive - on all examination activity during this period if they are able to do so.
  • Unique Situations - Particularly for some corporate and business taxpayers, the IRS understands that there may be instances where the taxpayers desire to begin an examination while people and records are available and respective staffs have capacity. In those instances when it’s in the best interest of both parties and appropriate personnel are available, the IRS may initiate activities to move forward with an examination -- understanding that COVID-19 developments could later reduce activities for an agreed period.
  • General Requests for Information - In addition to compliance activities and examinations, the IRS encourages taxpayers to respond to any other IRS correspondence requesting additional information during this time if possible. 

Earned Income Tax Credit and Wage Verification Reviews – Taxpayers have until July 15, 2020, to respond to the IRS to verify that they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit or to verify their income. These taxpayers are encouraged to exercise their best efforts to obtain and submit all requested information, and if unable to do so, please reach out to the IRS indicating the reason such information is not available. Until July 15, 2020, the IRS will not deny these credits for a failure to provide requested information. 

Independent Office of Appeals – Appeals employees will continue to work their cases. Although Appeals is not currently holding in-person conferences with taxpayers, conferences may be held over the telephone or by videoconference. Taxpayers are encouraged to promptly respond to any outstanding requests for information for all cases in the Independent Office of Appeals.

Statute of Limitations - The IRS will continue to take steps where necessary to protect all applicable statutes of limitations. In instances where statute expirations might be jeopardized during this period, taxpayers are encouraged to cooperate in extending such statutes. Otherwise, the IRS will issue Notices of Deficiency and pursue other similar actions to protect the interests of the government in preserving such statutes. Where a statutory period is not set to expire during 2020, the IRS is unlikely to pursue the foregoing actions until at least July 15, 2020.

Practitioner Priority Service – Practitioners are reminded that, depending on staffing levels and allocations going forward, there may be more significant wait times for the PPS. The IRS will continue to monitor this as situations develop.

“The IRS will continue to review and, where appropriate, modify or expand the People First Initiative as we continue reviewing our programs and receive feedback from others,” Rettig said. “We are committed to helping people get through this period, and our employees will remain focused on these and other helpful efforts in the days and weeks ahead. I ask for your personal support, your understanding – and your patience – as we navigate our way forward together. Stay safe and take care of your families, friends and others.”

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Mariner Credentialing Program Impacts – Update #1

The Coast Guard published Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) 08-20 announcing several updates based on the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective March 19, 2020, the Coast Guard’s 17 Regional Examination Centers (REC) and 3 Monitoring Units (MU) are closed to the public until further notice.

 

All REC/MU customer walk-in service is suspended and all scheduled examinations and appointments are cancelled. REC appointment calendars are closed. The National Maritime Center (NMC) will closely monitor the situation and restore these services as soon as possible.

In an effort to minimize customer service disruptions:

  • The Customer Service Center call center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. You may reach the call center at 1-888-IASKNMC (427-5662) and IASKNMC@uscg.mil. Mariners are asked to not try to reschedule appointments until the NMC re-opens the appointment calendars. The NMC will provide notice when the calendars are available.
  • For improved service and security use the electronic submission process. Guidance and REC/MU e-mail addresses are located on the NMC website. Be advised that electronic submissions will only be accepted in PDF format. Other formats such as .zip files and camera captured images will not be accepted.
  • National Endorsements: Merchant Mariner Credentials (MMC) and Medical Certificates (National Endorsements only) that expire between March 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020, are extended until October 31, 2020. Mariners actively working on expired credentials that meet the expiration criteria must carry the expired credential with a copy of MSIB 08-20.
  • STCW Endorsements: MMCs with STCW endorsements that expire between March 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020, are extended until October 31, 2020. Mariners who are actively working on expired credentials that meet the expiration criteria must carry the expired credential with a copy of MSIB 08-20.
  •  STCW Medical Certificates: STCW Medical Certificates are valid for 3 months from the expiration date in accordance with STCW Regulation I/9. Mariners who are actively working on expired Medical Certificates that meet the expiration criteria must carry the expired certificate with a copy of MSIB 08-20.
  •  Additional Administrative Measures: The following items that expire between March 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020, are extended until October 31, 2020: Additional Information letters, Qualified Assessor letters, Designated Examiner letters, Proctor Approval letters, Approved to Test letters, Mariner Training course completion certificates.
  • Pilot Annual Physical Examinations: 46 USC 7101(e)(3) requires that pilots undergo an annual physical examination each year while holding a credential. The Coast Guard does not intend to enforce this requirement given the current national emergency and the lack of medical care. This measure ONLY relaxes the requirement for an annual physical and not the actual medical standards.

 At this time, NMC operations in Martinsburg, WV, are being minimally impacted by COVID-19. This is a dynamic situation and updates will be provided as needed. The NMC understands this reduction in service may affect our industry customers and stakeholders, and we apologize for any potential inconvenience.

 

Sincerely,

/K. R. Martin/ Kirsten R. Martin

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard Commanding Officer



03/19/2020 12:00 AM EDT
TULSA, Okla. – As the United States Attorney’s Office continues its public safety mission, U.S. Attorney Trent Shores cautions the public to be aware of fraud schemes seeking to exploit the evolving COVID-19 public health crisis.


logo MARKET STATUS
 
 
STATUS: INFORMATIONAL MESSAGE
 
03/20/2020, 08:38

NYSE OPTIONS QUOTE RELIEF

NYSE American Options and NYSE Arca Options has granted double width quote relief for all option symbols for March 20, 2020




logoNYSE TRADER UPDATE
 
03/18/2020, 17:34

NYSE TO MOVE TEMPORARILY TO ALL-ELECTRONIC TRADING MONDAY, MARCH 23

On Monday, March 23, New York Stock Exchange will initiate its business continuity plan (“BCP”) and move, on a temporary basis, to fully electronic trading.

All-electronic trading will begin with Monday’s market open. The facilities to be closed comprise the NYSE equities trading floor in New York, NYSE American Options trading floor in New York, and NYSE Arca Options trading floor in San Francisco. The decision to temporarily close the trading floors represents a precautionary step to protect the health and well-being of employees and the floor community in response to COVID-19.

“NYSE’s trading floors provide unique value to issuers and investors, but our markets are fully capable of operating in an all-electronic fashion to serve all participants, and we will proceed in that manner until we can re-open our trading floors to our members,” said Stacey Cunningham, President of the New York Stock Exchange. “While we are taking the precautionary step of closing the trading floors, we continue to firmly believe the markets should remain open and accessible to investors. All NYSE markets will continue to operate under normal trading hours despite the closure of the trading floors.”

The NYSE has robust, regularly tested contingency plans in place to initiate fully electronic trading on its exchanges that have physical trading floors. On the NYSE’s equities market, the Exchange’s Designated Market Makers will connect to the exchange electronically to provide liquidity in their stocks, however floor broker order types will be unavailable. On the NYSE’s options markets, electronic trading will continue normally but open-outcry trading will be suspended with the closure of the options trading floors.


BCP Frequently Asked Questions Document



03/16/2020 12:00 AM EDT
A federal jury in Salt Lake City, Utah, convicted California businessman Lev Aslan Dermen, also known as Levon Termendzhyan, of criminal charges today relating to a $1 billion renewable fuel tax credit fraud scheme, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, U.S. Attorney John W. Huber for the District of Utah, Don Fort Chief of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) - Criminal Investigation, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Lance Ehrig for the Denver Area Office of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Criminal Investigation Division, and Special Agent-in-Charge Michael Mentavlos for the Denver Area Office of Defense Criminal Investigative Service.




logo NYSE TRADER UPDATE
 
03/12/2020, 09:37

MWCB LEVEL 1 - 7 % S&P 500 DECLINE - ALL TRADING HALTED

Due to a 7 percent decline in the S&P 500 index, in accordance with the NYSE, NYSE Arca, NYSE American, NYSE National and NYSE Chicago Rule 7.12, equity trading at the NYSE Exchanges has been halted. Information about order entry during the halt and the reopening process is available here

The market will re-open today at the following time: 9:50:44 ET


03/11/2020 12:00 AM EDT
The former CEO of an Irvine-based financial services and insurance company has been sentenced to 121 months in federal prison for defrauding elderly victims who thought their money was being invested in a certificate of deposit at a major bank – but, instead, was actually used to fund his lavish lifestyle.

03/11/2020 12:00 AM EDT

Tampa, Florida – Richard De La Cruz (55, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to making false statements relating to health care matters in connection with writing opioid prescriptions. De La Cruz faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. According to the plea agreement, De La Cruz was a Florida-licensed physician who worked for MD2U, a now-shuttered, Kentucky-based company that provided a network of in-home primary care for patients. MD2U commonly used nurse practitioners, instead of physicians, to conduct in-person examinations and evaluations of patients in the Tampa Bay area, including those who were prescribed opioids. In mid-2014, the Florida Board of Medicine (“FBOM”) determined that De La Cruz and MD2U’s practice of prescribing controlled substances without an in-person evaluation by a physician violated Florida medical standards and regulations. Contrary to the FBOM ruling, De La Cruz continued to write opiate prescriptions to MD2U patients without personally meeting with and evaluating the patients. De La Cruz concealed this in claims later submitted to Medicare for payment of the opiate prescriptions. This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Middle District of Florida Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit. The Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit was created by the Department of Justice to focus on opioid-related health care fraud, using data to identify and prosecute individuals who contribute to the prescription opioid epidemic. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kelley Howard-Allen and Greg Pizzo.
03/11/2020 12:00 AM EDT
A federal jury sitting in Houston, Texas, found a pharmacist guilty Tuesday of charges related to health care fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

03/11/2020 12:00 AM EDT
Matthew Harrell has been sentenced for his role in organizing and managing a health care fraud scheme that stole millions in Medicaid funds in Georgia, Louisiana, and Florida



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First Round of Refunds Totaling $153 Million Sent to Consumers As a Result of Multi-Agency Case Against Western Union

Approximately $153 million is being mailed to 109,000 consumers in the first distribution of refunds resulting from the law enforcement actions brought against Western Union by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The affected consumers are receiving compensation for 100 percent of their losses.

Explore Data with the FTC - Learn more about FTC refunds to consumersThe FTC’s complaint against Western Union alleged that for many years, Western Union was aware that fraudsters around the world used the company’s money transfer system to bilk consumers, and that some Western Union agents were complicit in the frauds. The FTC’s complaint alleged that Western Union failed to put in place effective anti-fraud policies and procedures and to act promptly against problem agents.

“Western Union turned a blind eye to the fraudulent payments made through its money transfer system,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We’re glad to be returning money to those consumers who were ripped off by fraudsters exploiting the Western Union system, and we will not tolerate Western Union or other payment companies facilitating fraud.”

“The $153 million distribution announced today brings some measure of justice for the elderly and other victims who were financially harmed by the fraudulent schemes in this case,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Department remains resolute in its efforts to not only prevent fraud from occurring in the first place, but also to find and return ill-gotten gains.”

“Money Transfer Businesses such as Western Union are particularly susceptible to misuse by scammers,” said U.S. Attorney David J. Freed for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. “In nearly every case of this nature that we have encountered in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, money transfer businesses are used to facilitate the crimes. Working together with MLARS and the skilled and dedicated investigators of the Postal Inspection Service, we have achieved outstanding results – bringing fraudsters to justice and holding businesses such as Western Union accountable. In addition to increased fraud detection and protections, an integral part of that accountability involves Western Union making victims whole. $153 Million is a good start.”

“The losses and the number of victims in this case are staggering. This initial disbursement will provide relief to more than 100,000 individuals, who lost $153 million,” said Assistant Postal Inspector in Charge John Walker of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Philadelphia Division. “Some lost their life’s savings as a result of these scammers. Postal Inspectors continue to be out front when it comes to investigating these con men and in protecting American citizens from them. Today, we are happy to play a third role—returning money to those who were scammed. Delivering justice, and in this case, delivering restitution.”

The company’s settlement with the FTC required Western Union to pay $586 million in monetary relief. That money was paid to DOJ in connection with Western Union’s joint settlement with that agency. DOJ’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section is administering the consumer refund program. This distribution is the first of multiple payments over the coming months to consumers who lost money due to Western Union’s actions.

More information about the Western Union refund program and its compensation to victims is available on the Western Union remission website at www.westernunionremission.com. Further questions may be directed to the Western Union Remission Administrator by phone at 844-319-2124 or by email at info@WesternUnionRemission.com.

The FTC’s new interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of refunds, as well as refund programs from other FTC cases. In 2019, FTC actions led to more than $232 million in refunds to consumers across the country.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).

Contact Information

CONTACT FOR CONSUMERS:
Redress Administrator
844-319-2124

Related Refunds




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Credit Repair Company Settles FTC Charges It Deceived Consumers By Telling Them “Piggybacking” on Others’ Credit Could Boost Scores

Defendants promise “huge” credit score increases, ease in obtaining mortgages

A Colorado-based credit repair company and its owner have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges they mislead consumers with promises to “drastically and immediately” improve credit scores and increase access to lower rates on mortgages.

In its complaint against the operators of BoostMyScore.net (BMS), the FTC alleges that the defendants guaranteed consumers that, in exchange for fees ranging from $325 to $4,000, they could “piggyback” on unrelated consumers’ good credit, artificially inflating their own credit score in the process.

“Good credit isn’t for sale,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “This company charged people thousands of dollars based on hollow promises that ‘piggybacking’ on a stranger’s good credit would raise their credit score or help them get a mortgage.”

In piggybacking, a consumer pays to be listed on another person’s well-maintained credit account, ostensibly receiving the benefit of the good account on their own credit even though they can’t access the account. In this case, the FTC alleges, defendants charged struggling consumers steep, illegal fees and made unsupported promises about how piggybacking would pave the way to new credit, including mortgages and other loan products.

According to the complaint, BMS made unwarranted promises in various advertisements that consumers’ credit scores would increase by anywhere from 100 to 120 points over two to six weeks. BMS also allegedly charged consumers upfront for the credit repair services they offered, which is illegal under the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). The complaint alleges that the defendants violated the FTC Act, CROA, and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).

Under the terms of the proposed settlement with the FTC that will soon be filed with the court, BoostMyScore, LLC, BMS, Inc., and William O. Airy will be prohibited from selling fake access to another consumer’s credit as an authorized user and from collecting advance fees for credit repair services, as well as other violations of CROA. They will also be prohibited from misrepresenting a product or service as being legal, as well as from misrepresenting the terms of a refund or return policy. The defendants also will be banned from further violations of the TSR. The settlement also includes a monetary judgment of $6,630,678, which will be partially suspended upon payment of $64,863 due to the defendants’ inability to pay. Should the defendants be found to have misrepresented their financial condition, the full judgment would be immediately payable.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint and stipulated final order was 5-0. The FTC filed the complaint and final order in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the named defendants are violating or are about to violate the law and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Related Cases

More news from the FTC >>



U.S. Department of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2020

 

 

 

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CONCLUDES HISTORIC ARBITRATION OF A MERGER DISPUTE

Arbitration Will Resolve the Issue of Product Market Definition in the Novelis-Aleris Merger

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice this week concluded an arbitration that will resolve a civil antitrust lawsuit challenging Novelis Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Aleris Corporation. 

The lawsuit seeks to preserve competition in the North American market for rolled aluminum sheet for automotive applications, commonly referred to as aluminum auto body sheet.  This marks the first time the Antitrust Division has used its authority under the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996 (5 U.S.C. § 571 et seq.) to resolve a matter.

“This first-of-its-kind arbitration has allowed us to resolve the dispositive issue in this case efficiently, saving taxpayer and private resources, while providing critical time-certainty,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “The Antitrust Division looks forward to the arbitrator’s opinion, and will study this matter both to assess the circumstances in which arbitration may be appropriate and to identify possibilities for further streamlining the process.  We will continue to examine ways to enforce our competition laws in a manner that maximizes the Division’s scarce enforcement resources to protect American consumers.”

On Sept. 4, 2019, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio seeking to block Novelis Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Aleris Corporation.  Prior to filing the complaint, the Antitrust Division reached an agreement with defendants to refer the matter to binding arbitration if the parties were unable to resolve the United States’ competitive concerns with the defendants’ transaction within a certain period of time. 

As described in Plaintiff United States’ Explanation of Plan to Refer this Matter to Arbitration, filed on the district court’s docket, fact discovery proceeded under the supervision of the district court.  Following the close of fact discovery, the matter was referred to binding arbitration to resolve a single issue: whether aluminum auto body sheet constitutes a relevant product market under the antitrust laws. 

The arbitration procedure allowed for a flexible and efficient proceeding presided over by an arbitrator with extensive expertise in antitrust law and economics.  Former Federal Trade Commission Director of the Bureau of Competition and experienced antitrust lawyer, Kevin Arquit, was selected as the arbitrator.  The hearing was held over ten days (including some partial days) in the Antitrust Division’s Anne K. Bingaman Auditorium and Lecture Hall in the Liberty Square Building in Washington, D.C.  Eleven fact witnesses and three expert witnesses testified in the proceedings.  The parties agreed to dispense with certain evidentiary requirements to allow for a more flexible and efficient hearing.  The parties also dispensed with the need for post-trial briefing and agreed that the arbitrator will render a short decision of no more than five pages by March 13.

If the United States prevails, the United States will then file a proposed final judgment that requires Novelis to divest certain agreed-upon assets to preserve competition in the relevant market.   If the defendants prevail, the United States will seek to voluntarily dismiss the complaint.  Novelis has held separate the agreed-upon divestiture assets pursuant to a hold separate stipulation and order entered by the district court, and defendants are permitted to close the transaction pursuant to this order. 

Novelis is a Canadian corporation headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.  It offers flat-rolled aluminum products in three segments: automotive, beverage can, and specialty products.  In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, Novelis’s revenues were approximately $12.3 billion.  Novelis is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hindalco Industries Ltd., an Indian company headquartered in Mumbai, India. 

Aleris is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.  It offers flat-rolled aluminum products to the automotive, aerospace, and building and construction industries, among others.  In 2018, Aleris’s revenues were approximately $3.4 billion. 

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

###

ATR 

20-282





logoNYSE TRADER UPDATE
 
03/05/2020, 12:29

NYSE - BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANS (BCP) TESTING REMINDER

As previously announced, on March 7, 2020, the NYSE Group exchanges, the FINRA/NYSE TRF and Global OTC will conduct BCP/DR testing in the Cermak Data Center between 8:30 - 11:00 am ET. All platforms will be available and customers will be able to connect to their DR sessions, submit orders and subscribe to market data. All symbols will be available for firms to send messages and to receive data. For details, please click here.


logo TRADER UPDATE
 
03/06/2020, 09:00

NYSE ARCA EQUITIES - TEMPORARILY WIDENS CORE OPENING AUCTION PRICE COLLARS TO 10%

On Friday, March 6, 2020, NYSE Arca Equities will temporarily widen the price collars for its Core Open Auction to 10% for all securities per NYSE Arca Rule 7.35-E (a)(10)(A). The price collars for the Closing Auctions and Halt Re-opening Auctions remain unchanged.

Core Open Auction price collar percentages will revert to standard levels on Monday, March 9, 2020


03/05/2020 12:00 AM EST



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by Cristina Miranda, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

Who doesn’t want to earn easy, fast money online, and make six figures a year? That’s what an online business coaching and investment opportunity called “My Online Business Education”, or MOBE, promised. Finding the company behind it didn’t deliver on their claims, the FTC shut them down in 2018. Even with the company shuttered, FTC then went after Affiliates who had promoted MOBE.

Read more>

FTC and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Challenge Proposed Merger of Two Major Philadelphia-area Hospital Systems

The Federal Trade Commission has authorized an action to block the proposed merger of Jefferson Health and Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, two leading providers of inpatient general acute care hospital services and inpatient acute rehabilitation services in both Philadelphia County and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

The FTC issued an administrative complaint (a public version of which will be available and linked to this news release as soon as possible) alleging that the proposed merger would reduce competition in both Philadelphia and Montgomery counties.

According to the complaint, Jefferson and Einstein have a history of competing against each other to improve quality and service, including by upgrading medical facilities and investing in new technologies. The proposed merger would eliminate the robust competition between Jefferson and Einstein for inclusion in health insurance companies’ hospital networks to the detriment of patients.

“Patients in the Philadelphia region have benefitted enormously from the competition between the Jefferson and Einstein systems,” said Ian Conner, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “This merger would eliminate the competitive pressure that has driven quality improvements and lowered rates. Throughout our investigation, we have benefited from close cooperation with our partners in the Office of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania.”

The Commission has authorized staff to seek a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to prevent the parties from consummating the merger, and to maintain the status quo pending the administrative proceeding. The FTC, jointly with the Pennsylvania Attorney General, will file a complaint in federal district court.

Jefferson and Einstein offer a broad range of medical and surgical diagnostic and treatment services that require an overnight hospital stay, known as inpatient general acute care, or GAC, services. Einstein’s GAC hospitals compete significantly with Jefferson’s GAC hospitals in and around North Philadelphia and Montgomery County. The complaint alleges that, as a result of the merger, the parties would control at least 60% of the inpatient GAC hospital services market in and around North Philadelphia, and at least 45% of that market in and around Montgomery County.

Inpatient rehabilitation facilities, or IRFs, provide intensive multi-disciplinary rehabilitation services to patients previously treated at GAC hospitals who are recovering from serious, acute conditions such as a stroke, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury. Collectively, Jefferson and Einstein operate six of the eight IRFs in the Philadelphia area in and around Einstein’s flagship Moss at Elkins Park facility. According to the complaint, as a result of the merger, the parties would control at least 70% of the inpatient acute rehabilitation services market in the Philadelphia area.

The Commission vote to issue the administrative complaint and to authorize staff to seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction was 4-0-1, with Chairman Joseph J. Simons recused. The administrative trial is scheduled to begin on Sept. 1, 2020. The federal court complaint and request for preliminary relief will be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The issuance of the administrative complaint marks the beginning of a proceeding in which the allegations will be tried in a formal hearing before an administrative law judge.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about how competition benefits consumers or file an antitrust complaint. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

 

Related Case

 


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Rent-to-Own Operators Settle Charges that They Restrained Competition through Reciprocal Purchase Agreements

FTC alleges that agreements by Aaron’s Inc., Buddy’s Newco, LLC, and Rent-A-Center, Inc. reduced competition, lowered quality and selection of products

Rent-to-own operators Aaron’s Inc., Buddy’s Newco, LLC, and Rent-A-Center, Inc. have agreed to settle FTC charges that they negotiated and executed reciprocal purchase agreements in violation of federal antitrust law.

The complaints allege that from June 2015 to May 2018, Aaron’s, Buddy’s, and Rent-A-Center each entered into anticompetitive reciprocal agreements with each other and other competitors. These agreements swapped customer contracts from rent-to-own, or RTO, stores in various local markets. An outcome was that one party to the agreement closed down stores and exited a local market where the other party continued to maintain a presence. These reciprocal agreements likely led to store closures that may not have occurred otherwise, resulting in reduced competition for quality and service in the remaining stores, according to the complaints. In addition, many consumers travel to their designated store to make their regular payments in person. If their store closes, these customers must travel to the next-closest location, which may significantly increase their travel time and costs.

These agreements also explicitly required the selling party not to compete within a specified territory, typically for a period of three years.

“These agreements affected consumers who already had few options for furnishing a home on a limited budget,” said Ian Conner, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “The FTC’s orders get rid of the agreements, reopen affected markets to competition, and bar these companies from doing this again.”

The FTC’s consent agreements prohibit the three RTO companies and their franchisees from entering into any reciprocal purchase agreement or inviting others to do so, and from enforcing the non-compete clauses still in effect from the past reciprocal purchase agreements. The three RTO companies must also implement antitrust compliance programs, notify the Commission in the event of certain changes in corporate governance, and grant the Commission access to company facilities as needed to ensure compliance with the order. Finally, due to prior board-level relationships between Aaron’s and Buddy’s, these firms are barred from having any of their representatives serve as a board member or officer of a competitor, and from allowing any competitor’s representative to serve on their boards.

Further details about the consent agreements are set forth in the analysis to aid public comment for this matter.

The Commission vote to issue the complaint and accept the proposed consent order for public comment was 3-2. Chairman Joseph J. Simons and Commissioner Noah Joshua Phillips issued a joint statement. Commissioner Rohit Chopra issued a dissenting statement.

The FTC will publish the consent agreements package in the Federal Register shortly. Instructions for filing comments appear in the published notice. Comments must be received 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Once processed, comments will be posted on Regulations.gov.

NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $43,280.