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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®

BUSINESS/FINANCIAL NEWS

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PRESS RELEASES







Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

By Gema de las Heras

Donating is a great way to help people affected by natural disasters like the earthquake that hit Japan on New Years Day. But you know scammers try to take advantage of people recovering, and those who try to help. So, how can you be sure your money goes where it’s needed?

Read more >

90th Anniversary Banner

PRESS RELEASE | DECEMBER 29, 2023

FDIC Makes Public November Enforcement Actions
No Administrative Hearings Scheduled For January 2024

WASHINGTON — The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today released a list of orders of administrative enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals in November 2023.  There are no administrative hearings scheduled for January 2024.

The FDIC issued 12 orders and one Notice of Charges (Notice) in November 2023.  The administrative enforcement actions in those orders consisted of five consent orders, three prohibition orders, two orders terminating consent orders, one order to pay a civil money penalty (CMP), and one order dismissing both a notice of assessment of CMPs and order to pay.  The Notice seeks an order to cease and desist and an order for restitution.

To view orders, adjudicated decisions and notices and the administrative hearing details online, please visit the FDIC’s webpage by clicking the link below.

November 2023 Enforcement Decisions & Orders

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U.S. Department of the Treasury

Office of Public Affairs

 

Press Release:             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 1, 2024

 

          

U.S. Beneficial Ownership Information Registry Now Accepting Reports

Existing Companies Have One Year to File; New Companies Must File Within 90 Days of Creation or Registration

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) began accepting beneficial ownership information reports. The bipartisan Corporate Transparency Act, enacted in 2021 to curb illicit finance, requires many companies doing business in the United States to report information about the individuals who ultimately own or control them.

“The launch of the United States’ beneficial ownership registry marks a historic step forward to protect our economic and national security,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen. “Corporate anonymity enables money laundering, drug trafficking, terrorism, and corruption. It harms American citizens and puts law-abiding small businesses at a disadvantage. Having a centralized database of beneficial ownership information will eliminate critical vulnerabilities in our financial system and allow us to tackle the scourge of illicit finance enabled by opaque corporate structures.”

Filing is simple, secure, and free of charge. Companies that are required to comply (“reporting companies”) must file their initial reports by the following deadlines:

  • Existing companies: Reporting companies created or registered to do business in the United States before January 1, 2024 must file by January 1, 2025.
  • Newly created or registered companies: Reporting companies created or registered to do business in the United States in 2024 have 90 calendar days to file after receiving actual or public notice that their company’s creation or registration is effective.

Beneficial ownership information reporting is not an annual requirement. A report only needs to be submitted once, unless the filer needs to update or correct information. Generally, reporting companies must provide four pieces of information about each beneficial owner:

  • name;
  • date of birth;
  • address; and
  • the identifying number and issuer from either a non-expired U.S. driver’s license, a non-expired U.S. passport, or a non-expired identification document issued by a State (including a U.S. territory or possession), local government, or Indian tribe. If none of those documents exist, a non-expired foreign passport can be used. An image of the document must also be submitted.

The company must also submit certain information about itself, such as its name(s) and address. In addition, reporting companies created on or after January 1, 2024, are required to submit information about the individuals who formed the company (“company applicants”).

FinCEN is committed to providing America’s small businesses with the resources and information they need to make filing as quick and easy as possible. FinCEN’s Small Entity Compliance Guide walks small businesses through the requirements in plain language. Filers can also view informational videos and webinars, find answers to frequently asked questions, connect to the contact center, and learn more about how to report at www.fincen.gov/boi.

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The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted on December 29, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction to prevent IQVIA Holdings Inc. (IQVIA) from acquiring Propel Media, Inc. pending the Commission’s administrative proceeding seeking to permanently block the proposed deal.

View Press Release

01/03/2024 07:00 AM EST

A Virginia lobbyist and a New Jersey political consultant each have entered into Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) to resolve allegations that they failed to comply with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and committed related offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, FBI Special Agent in Charge Kurt Ronnow, of the FBI Washington Field Office Counterintelligence Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney General for National Security Matthew G. Olsen.
   
01/02/2024 07:00 AM EST

An eight-count federal grand jury indictment was unsealed today charging Olusegun Samson Adejorin, of Nigeria, for wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and unauthorized access to a protected computer related to a $7.5 million scheme to defraud two charitable organizations by impersonating employees, and gaining access to the employees’ email accounts.  Adejorin was arrested in Ghana on December 29, 2023 and is detained pending his initial appearance in Ghana.
01/02/2024 07:00 AM EST

JOHN MATAVA, 59, of Coventry, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to offenses related to his receipt of COVID-19 relief funds.
01/02/2024 07:00 AM EST

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A Washington man was sentenced on Dec. 28, 2023, to one year home confinement, followed by two years of supervised release, for interfering with a flight crew in April 2023.
01/02/2024 07:00 AM EST

Anthony Lutz appeared in federal court on an indictment charging him with a single count of unlawful dealing in firearms.
01/02/2024 07:00 AM EST

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging ODOGWU BANYE MMOBUOSI, a/k/a “Dozy Mmobuosi,” with securities fraud, making false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), and conspiracy charges. 


12/27/2023 07:00 AM EST

NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that MUNIRA SCHOFIELD, age 28, a resident of LaPlace, Louisiana, was charged last week for her role in preparing and filing false applications for loans related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). SCHOFIELD was charged in a one-count bill of information with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371 and 1343. SCHOFIELD’s co-conspirators, Lynn Schofield and Bashir Schofield, were charged previously. 



12/27/2023 07:00 AM EST

A Missouri City couple has been indicted for orchestrating a fraudulent financing and refinancing mortgage loan scheme
06/16/2023 12:00 AM EDT
A federal jury convicted a Florida man for his role in a $54 million bribery and kickback scheme involving TRICARE, a federal program that provides health insurance benefits to active duty and retired service members and their families. 



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PRESS RELEASE | JUNE 15, 2023

FDIC Demands Three Companies Cease Making False or Misleading Representations about Deposit Insurance

 

WASHINGTON – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today issued a letter demanding three companies and certain of their officers cease and desist from making false and misleading statements about FDIC deposit insurance. The FDIC is demanding that Bodega Importadora de Pallets (“Bodega”), Money Avenue, LLC, and OKCoin USA, Inc. take immediate corrective action to address these false or misleading statements.

Based upon evidence collected by the FDIC, the companies and certain officers made false representations by stating or suggesting that the companies are FDIC-insured, uninsured financial products are insured by the FDIC, misusing the FDIC name or logo, misrepresenting the nature or extent of deposit insurance, and/or failing to identify insured depository institutions with which it has a relationship for the placement of customer deposits and into which funds can be deposited.

These material misrepresentations and omissions are false and misleading, and have the potential to harm consumers. Additionally, in the case of Bodega, the false and misleading representations were contained on a Spanish website.  For this reason, the demand letter to Bodega and this press release are also being issued in Spanish to ensure that potentially-impacted consumers are put on notice of the FDIC’s concerns. 

The FDIC has observed an increasing number of instances online where firms or individuals have misused the FDIC’s name or logo, or have made false or misleading representations about deposit insurance,” said FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg. “These practices can confuse consumers about whether they are dealing with an insured institution and if they are protected by deposit insurance.”

The Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDI Act) prohibits any person from representing or implying that an uninsured financial product is FDIC–insured or from knowingly misrepresenting the extent and manner of deposit insurance. The FDI Act further prohibits companies from implying that they are FDIC-insured or their products are FDIC–insured by using “FDIC” in the company’s name, advertisements, or other documents. The FDIC is authorized by the FDI Act to enforce this prohibition against any person.

FDIC deposit insurance protects customers in the unlikely event of the failure of an insured financial institution. To determine if an institution is FDIC–insured, you can ask a representative of the institution, look for the FDIC sign at the institution, or use the FDIC’s BankFind tool. For general information about FDIC deposit insurance, read the following frequently asked questions. For more information about FDIC insurance and digital asset companies, read the following fact sheet.

 

Attachments:

Read the FDIC’s letter to Bodega Importadora de Pallets (English)

Read the FDIC’s letter to Bodega Importadora de Pallets (Spanish)

Read the FDIC’s letter to Money Avenue, LLC

Read the FDIC’s letter to OKCoin USA, Inc.

 



Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

By Alvaro Puig

We’re hearing about a new scheme that involves imposters preying on people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. The imposters pretend to be from the funeral home and say that, unless the family pays more money immediately, the funeral will be canceled. Can you imagine anything more despicable?

Read more >



Russian Nationals Charged With Hacking One Cryptocurrency Exchange and Illicitly Operating Another
06/09/2023 12:00 AM EDT

The Justice Department unsealed charges related to the 2011 hack of the cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox and the operation of the illicit cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e.




Agency issues order to additional GPO as it examines the impact of vertically integrated PBMs on prescription drug prices and access

As part of its ongoing study on pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and their impact on the accessibility and affordability of prescription drugs, the Federal Trade Commission has issued a compulsory order to a third group purchasing organization (GPO) that negotiates drug rebates on behalf of PBMs.

View Press Release

The Federal Trade Commission has finalized its order against motocross and ATV parts maker Cycra and its officer, Chad James, for falsely claiming that the company’s products were manufactured in the U.S.

View Press Release

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission finalized a consent order settling charges that Anchor Glass Container Corp. illegally imposed noncompete restrictions on more than 300 workers across a variety of positions.

View Press Release


FTC Suit Leads to $16.7 Million Judgment Against Principals and Celebrity Endorsers of Real Estate Investment Training Program

Court order agreed to by principals permanently bans them from selling “wealth creation” programs

As a result of a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Utah Division of Consumer Protection (DCP), the principals of a Utah-based real estate investment training company will pay $15 million and be banned from selling money-making opportunities under a court order they have agreed to.

View Press Release


Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

By Jim Kreidler

Say you’re struggling to pay off your credits cards — which is already difficult with high interest rates — and you hear about a company that promises to reduce or eliminate your credit card debt for a fee. Sounds great, right? But how can you tell if that offer is legitimate or a scam?

Read more >


u s department of homeland security u s immigration and customs enforcement

05/17/2023 04:53 PM EDT
Andres Urias-Soto, 28, of Phoenix, Arizona, further pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Transport Illegal Aliens for Profit Resulting in Death and admitted to violating a condition of supervised release.




Agency issues policy statement addressing emerging technologies that might harm consumers and violate the FTC Act

The Federal Trade Commission today issued a warning that the increasing use of consumers’ biometric information and related technologies, including those powered by machine learning, raises significant consumer privacy and data security concerns and the potential for bias and discrimination.

View Press Release



FTC Launches Inquiry into Small Business Credit Reports

Commission to examine compilation and dissemination of business credit reports that can impact small businesses’ success

The Federal Trade Commission has launched an inquiry into the small business credit reporting industry, ordering five firms in that industry to provide the Commission with detailed information about their products and processes.

View Press Release

 



U.S. Department of Justice


05/17/2023 12:00 AM EDT

05/16/2023 12:00 AM EDT

The former president of a New York-based non-governmental entity (NGO) was sentenced today to three years and six months in prison for paying bribes to elected officials of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) in exchange for passing certain legislation.
02/17/2023 12:00 AM EST


Jacksonville Postal Employee Pleads Guilty To Stealing Parcels Of Mail
12/30/2022 12:00 AM EST
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Jonisha M. Williams (36, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to stealing deposits from the mail. Williams faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.


Four Men Arrested In Transnational Wire Fraud And Identity Theft Conspiracy
12/05/2022 12:00 AM EST

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the unsealing of four indictments charging Akinola Taylor (Nigeria), Olayemi Adafin (United Kingdom), Olakunle Oyebanjo (Nigeria), and Kazeem Olanrewaju Runsewe (Nigeria), with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, filing false claims with the United States, theft of public money or property, and aggravated identity theft. Taylor, Adafin, and Runsewe, were each arrested on November 30, 2022, and Oyebanjo was arrested on December 1, 2022. Taylor, Adafin, and Oyebanjo were apprehended in London, United Kingdom, and Runswewe was apprehended in Malmo, Sweden. Each will face extradition proceedings. In conjunction with the arrests, foreign authorities conducted searches of the residences of Taylor and Runsewe.

Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

By Colleen Tressler, FTC, Division of Consumer and Business Education

The FTC enforces the Eyeglass Rule, which gives you the right to get your eyeglass prescription — whether you ask for it or not — and at no extra charge once your eye exam has been completed. Having a copy of your prescription lets you shop around and get the best deal. But based on public comments and consumer reports we’ve gotten, it’s clear that some eye doctors aren’t following the Rule.

Read more >


Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission
By Rosario Mendez


When car shopping, you shouldn’t be charged more than the advertised price, or more than other people because of the way you look or where you’re from. That’s wrong, dishonest, and illegal. Today the FTC announced a lawsuit and settlement with a dealership and its owners for allegedly doing just that. Now they have to pay $3.3 million to refund people harmed by their actions and change their allegedly deceptive and unfair practices.

Read more >

09/28/2022 12:00 AM EDT
The Justice Department announced today an agreement to resolve allegations that Lakeland Bank (Lakeland) engaged in a pattern or practice of lending discrimination by “redlining” in the Newark metropolitan area, including neighborhoods in Essex, Somerset and Union counties in New Jersey. This resolution is part of the Justice Department’s nationwide Combatting Redlining Initiative and represents the third-largest redlining settlement in department history.




Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

By Seena Gressin

People are telling us they’ve gotten emails warning that their sensitive personal information is being sold in the shadowy marketplaces of the dark web. Some emails list the stolen information, like all or part of the person’s Social Security number, date of birth, and driver’s license number. If you’ve gotten one of these emails, take steps to help protect yourself against financial loss from identity theft.

Read more >





Offices of the United States Attorneys
09/27/2022 12:00 AM EDT

09/27/2022 12:00 AM EDT

WASHINGTON – A Florida man pleaded guilty today to conspiring to commit health care fraud in an $8.3 million scheme where pharmacy owners paid kickbacks and bribes to telemarketers and telemedicine providers to secure orders for medically unnecessary prescriptions that were billed to Medicare.

Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

By Amy Hebert

If you’re having a hard time making your mortgage payments, we have some advice on what to do next. We also want you to know that there are companies out there who will say they’ll help but are out to take advantage of you.

Read more >


The Federal Trade Commission has taken action against credit services company Credit Karma for deploying dark patterns to misrepresent that consumers were “pre-approved” for credit card offers.

View Press Release 
More news from the FTC


 
 
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08/19/2022 12:00 AM EDT
A former South Florida pharmacy executive was sentenced today to seven and a half years in prison for defrauding Tricare and CHAMPVA of approximately $88 million through a compounding pharmacy fraud scheme.



Construction Company Owner Convicted of Fraud in Securing More Than $240 Million in Contracts Intended for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, a federal jury in San Antonio, Texas, convicted the owner of several companies in the construction industry for his role in a long-running scheme to defraud the United States.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Michael Angelo Padron, along with co-conspirators Michael Wibracht and Ruben Villarreal, conspired to defraud the United States to obtain valuable government contracts under programs administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The evidence showed that Padron conspired to install Villarreal, a service-disabled veteran, as the ostensible owner of a general construction company held out as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). Padron, along with his co-conspirator and business partner Wibracht, exercised disqualifying financial and operational control over the construction company. According to court documents, the conspirators concealed that control in order to secure over $240 million in government contracts that were set aside for SDVOSBs in order to benefit their larger, nonqualifying businesses.

“Yesterday’s verdict is a victory for the rule of law,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “The Antitrust Division and its Procurement Collusion Strike Force welcome this decisive outcome, which protects service-disabled veterans from cheaters and schemers.”

“Using any SBA program fraudulently undermines the spirit and true intent of bolstering the backbone of the nation’s economy — small businesses,” said Special Agent in Charge Sharon Johnson of the SBA Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG), Central Region. “OIG continues to relentlessly root out and protect the integrity of all SBA’s programs. I want to thank the Antitrust Division and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and pursuit of justice.”

“Yesterday’s verdict is a testament to the tenacity of Army CID’s special agents to detect and investigate those who attempt to defraud our military,” said Special Agent in Charge L. Scott Moreland of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division’s (CID) Major Procurement Fraud Field Office.

“Federal agencies rely on the accuracy and validity of the information contained in GSA’s System for Award Management to make sound contracting decisions,” said Special Agent in Charge Jamie Willemin of the General Services Administration Office of Inspector General (GSA-OIG), Southwest and Rocky Mountain Division. “We will continue to work with our investigative partners to hold accountable those who fraudulently obtain government contracts by providing false information in the system.”

“Fraudulently obtaining multimillion-dollar government contracts from a program designed to benefit service-disabled veterans is reprehensible,” said Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Breen of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s (VA-OIG) South Central Field Office. “Yesterday’s guilty verdict sends a clear message that the VA-OIG will work diligently to hold those who would do so accountable. The VA-OIG thanks the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and our law enforcement partners for their efforts in this case.”

“This case demonstrates the commitment of the Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), along with our law enforcement partners, to aggressively pursue those who undermine the integrity of government-sponsored small business initiatives,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael Mentavlos of the DCIS Southwest Field Office. “Individuals who engage in activity that deprive legitimate program participants of valuable economic opportunities will be thoroughly investigated and held accountable.”

Padron was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States and six counts of wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 19, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy count, and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each wire fraud count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal II Section prosecuted the case, which was investigated by SBA-OIG, U.S. Army CID Major Procurement Fraud Unit, VA-OIG, DCIS, and GSA-OIG. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas and the Army Audit Agency also assisted with the investigation.

Anyone with information in connection with this investigation is urged to call the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal II Section at (202) 598-4000, or visit https://www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html.

In November 2019, the Department of Justice created the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF), a joint law enforcement effort to combat antitrust crimes and related fraudulent schemes that impact government procurement, grant, and program funding at all levels of government – federal, state and local. To learn more about the PCSF, or to report information on market allocation, price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct related to defense-related spending, go to https://www.justice.gov/procurement-collusion-strike-force.

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Brockton Man Charged with Fraudulently Obtaining Over $1.5 Million in COVID-Relief Funds
07/25/2022 12:00 AM EDT

BOSTON – A Brockton man was charged on July 21, 2022 in connection with a scheme to submit false applications to obtain Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) funds through the Small Business Administration (SBA) which were made available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
07/22/2022 12:00 AM EDT

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Kathryn K. Mizelle today sentenced Tracy Lee Jedlicki (56, Delray Beach) to 30 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  As part of her sentence, the Court also ordered Jedlicki to forfeit $750,000, a 4.01 carat diamond ring, a 11-carat diamond necklace, and a South Florida residence worth more than $2 million.  The Court also ordered Jedlicki to pay $3,244,592 in restitution to the victims.  Jedlicki had pleaded guilty on February 24, 2022. 


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06/27/2022 12:00 AM EDT
Jacksonville, FL - After a 24-day trial, a federal jury in the Middle District of Florida convicted two individuals for their roles in a conspiracy that fraudulently billed approximately $1.4 billion for laboratory testing services in a sophisticated pass-through billing scheme involving rural hospitals.

05/18/2022 12:00 AM EDT

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced today that $15,111,453.84 in illicit proceeds derived from an international digital fraud scheme has been transferred by Switzerland to the United States government pursuant to a Final Order of Forfeiture entered by United States District Judge Eric R. Komitee in the matter of United States v. Sergey Ovsyannikov, et al.

Member of hacking group sentenced for scheme that compromised tens of millions of debit and credit cards
04/07/2022 12:00 AM EDT

Seattle – A Ukrainian man was sentenced today in the Western District of Washington to 5 years in prison for his criminal work in the hacking group FIN7.



Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner

FTC Charges HomeAdvisor, Inc. with Cheating Small Businesses Seeking Leads for Home Improvement Projects

Since 2014, Angi affiliate has misrepresented the quality, source of leads,  and likelihood they would result in actual jobs, agency alleges

The Federal Trade Commission today issued an administrative complaint against Denver-based HomeAdvisor, Inc. – a company affiliated with Angi – alleging it used a wide range of deceptive and misleading tactics in selling home improvement project leads to service providers, largely small businesspeople operating in the “gig” economy.

The FTC’s complaint against HomeAdvisor alleges that since at least the middle of 2014 it has made false, misleading, or unsubstantiated claims about the quality and source of the leads the company sells to service providers, such as general contractors and small lawn care businesses, who are in search of potential customers.

“Gig economy platforms should not use false claims and phony opportunities to prey on workers and small businesses,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Today’s administrative complaint against HomeAdvisor shows that the FTC will use every tool in its toolbox to combat dishonest commercial practices.”

For example, HomeAdvisor told service providers that its leads resulted in actual home improvement jobs at rates higher than HomeAdvisor’s own data supported. HomeAdvisor also misled service providers about the cost of an optional one-month subscription to a software platform that HomeAdvisor sold along with its leads, according to the FTC’s complaint.

As a result of these misrepresentations, the complaint alleges, service providers often spend time following up on leads that are below the quality HomeAdvisor promises, and even more time seeking refunds from the company for those leads.

HomeAdvisor, which also does business as Angi Leads and HomeAdvisor Powered by Angi, recruits service providers using marketing materials and agents who call the service providers and try to persuade them to join the company’s network. Once service providers join HomeAdvisor’s network, HomeAdvisor then sells them leads, which service providers use to contact potential customers for home services like kitchen remodeling or lawn care.

Many of the leads HomeAdvisor sells consist of information submitted by consumers on the company’s website. It also resells leads it buys from third parties, known as affiliates, who generate the leads, in part, from web-based forms that ask consumers about potential home projects they are considering.

Service providers who join HomeAdvisor’s network pay an annual membership fee of $287.99, in addition to a separate fee for each lead they receive. This can range from $10 to more than $250, depending in part on the type and location of the home project the lead concerns. As part of their HomeAdvisor membership package, many service providers have also paid an additional $59.99 for an optional one-month subscription to a service called mHelpDesk, which includes software that helps with scheduling appointments and processing payments.

This brings the total subscription fee to $347.98, with the mHelpDesk program automatically renewing at $59.99 per month until it is canceled. According to the complaint, HomeAdvisor’s sales agents and marketing materials have misrepresented the quality, characteristics, and source of the leads the company provides. First, while HomeAdvisor states that its leads concern consumers who intend to hire a service provider soon, many of them do not, the FTC contends.

Many of the leads the company sells to its service providers are not from consumers looking to get work done soon. Many are from consumers who have specifically informed HomeAdvisor that they are not ready to hire a service provider. Some leads are facially suspect, or list non-existent addresses or disconnected phone numbers.

In addition, while HomeAdvisor represents that services providers only will receive leads matching the types of services they provide and their preferred geographic area, many of them do not. HomeAdvisor also represents to service providers that its leads are from consumers who knowingly sought HomeAdvisor’s assistance in selecting a service provider , while many of the leads it sells are actually purchased from affiliates and did not come from HomeAdvisor’s website .

The complaint also alleges HomeAdvisor often tells service providers that its leads result in jobs at rates much higher than it can substantiate. While the company’s representatives have used language including, “[O]ur closing rate, our average closing rate, is like 1 in 3,” HomeAdvisor’s own calculations indicate that the average rate at which its leads result in an actual job for a service provider was significantly lower.

Finally, the complaint alleges that HomeAdvisor’s sales agents misrepresented the cost of the optional one-month mHelpDesk subscription by telling service providers that the first month is free with an annual membership package. In reality, the first month of the subscription is not free, resulting in a package that costs $59.99 more than properly informed service providers might have otherwise paid.

The Commission vote to issue the complaint was 4-0. A redacted version of the complaint will be posted soon on the FTC’s website.

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 consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).

More news from the FTC >>




Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

by Colleen Tressler
Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

As part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts to protect you from shady sellers during the pandemic, the agency sent cease and desist demands to 25 companies that claimed their products can prevent or treat COVID-19.

Read more >

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FTC Sues to Block Lockheed Martin Corporation’s $4.4 Billion Vertical Acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc.

Agency Seeks to Prevent World’s Largest Defense Contractor from Eliminating Last Independent U.S. Missile Propulsion Provider and Further Consolidating Markets Critical to National Security and Defense

Today, the Federal Trade Commission sued to block Lockheed Martin Corporation’s $4.4 billion proposed vertical acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc, the last independent U.S. supplier of missile propulsion systems. Aerojet supplies advanced power, propulsion, and armament systems, which are critical components for the missiles made by Lockheed and other defense prime contractors. The agency’s complaint alleges that if the deal is allowed to proceed, Lockheed will use its control of Aerojet to harm rival defense contractors and further consolidate multiple markets critical to national security and defense. This is the agency's first litigated defense merger challenge in decades.

“The FTC is suing to block Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, from eliminating Aerojet, our nation’s last independent supplier of key missile inputs,” said FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova. “Lockheed is one of a few missile middlemen the U.S. military relies on to supply vital weapons that keep our country safe. If consummated, this deal would give Lockheed the ability to cut off other defense contractors from the critical components they need to build competing missiles. Without competitive pressure, Lockheed can jack up the price the U.S. government has to pay, while delivering lower quality and less innovation. We cannot afford to allow further concentration in markets critical to our national security and defense.”

The U.S. Department of Defense (“DoD”) reviewed the acquisition and considered the potential impacts of the transaction on national security, the nation’s industrial and technological base, competition, and innovation. As part this assessment, the DoD facilitated a series of FTC-led interviews with DoD-impacted stakeholders. DoD’s assessment was provided to the FTC for its deliberations and final decision-making.

“I deeply appreciate the collaborative relationship between DoD and FTC staff who worked closely throughout this investigation,” said Director Vedova. “The FTC determined that the proposed transaction harms competition for several weapons systems that DoD relies on to defend the nation and there is no sufficient remedy to alleviate those harms.”  

Lockheed is the world’s largest defense contractor and a leading missile supplier in a highly concentrated sector. Lockheed, and its U.S missile competitors—Raytheon Technologies, Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, and The Boeing Company—act as missile system prime contractors to DoD. These prime contractors are key intermediaries between the U.S. government and the rest of the missile systems supply chain, including the subcontractors such as Aerojet which provide system components to them. DoD relies on prime contractors to develop, produce, sustain, and source a variety of weapons, including missile systems, hypersonic cruise missiles, and missile defense kill vehicles. Each of these weapons depend on critical propulsion technologies of the type supplied by Aerojet.

Aerojet, as a subcontractor, is the last independent U.S. supplier of critical inputs for missile systems, hypersonic cruise missiles, and missile defense kill vehicles. Aerojet and only one other competitor – Northrop Grumman – compete to provide propulsion inputs for missile systems and hypersonic cruise missiles to defense prime contractors. Aerojet and Northrop Grumman both provide solid rocket motors for missile systems and supersonic combustion ramjets, or “scramjets,” which are air-breathing engines that propel hypersonic cruise missiles. Further, Aerojet is the only proven U.S. supplier of divert-and-attitude control systems that propel missile defense kill vehicles.      

Lockheed’s proposed acquisition of Aerojet would give Lockheed control over critical propulsion inputs that its rivals require to compete against Lockheed. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the proposed acquisition would give Lockheed the ability and incentive to deny, limit, or otherwise disadvantage competitors’ access to critical propulsion inputs for various weapons systems. The combined firm could disadvantage rivals by affecting the price or quality of the product, the quality of the engineering support, and the schedule and contract terms for developing and supplying it or otherwise disadvantage its rivals. As a subcontractor, Aerojet also has had access to prime contractors’ sensitive information about technological advancements, cost, schedule, and business strategies. The complaint alleges that post-acquisition, Lockheed would have an incentive to exploit its access to its rivals’ proprietary information to gain an advantage in competitions against them. 

The U.S. government in turn would be harmed because the cost of missile systems, missile defense kill vehicles, and hypersonic cruise missiles would likely increase, innovation would be lessened, and quality would be reduced, hindering national security and defense interests.

According to the complaint, the proposed transaction could impact research and development as well as innovation into the future, which is vital to ensure that the U.S. remains a leader in these technologies. As an independent supplier, Aerojet has the incentive to allocate its research and development funds based on the potential return the funds would generate regardless of which prime contractor it is supporting. The complaint alleges that post-acquisition, the combined firm would be incentivized to allocate Aerojet investment dollars for the combined firm’s benefit alone, which would stifle innovation.

The Commission vote to issue the administrative complaint (a public version of which will be available and linked to this news release as soon as possible) and to authorize staff to seek a preliminary injunction was 4-0.The FTC will file a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking a Preliminary Injunction to stop the deal pending an administrative trial. The administrative trial is scheduled to begin on June 16, 2022.

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.  For the latest news and resources, follow the FTC on social media, subscribe to press releases and read our blog.




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Today, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote held “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli liable for antitrust claims brought by the Federal Trade Commission and a group of seven state enforcers.  Finding that Shkreli’s conduct was “egregious, deliberate, repetitive, long-running, and ultimately dangerous,” the Court imposed a lifetime ban against Shkreli participating in the pharmaceutical industry and found Shkreli liable for $64.6 million in disgorgement

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan issued the following statement regarding today’s decision:

“Judge Cote’s decision to ban Shkreli for life from the pharmaceutical industry is a significant victory for American consumers. This precedent-setting relief should be a warning to corporate executives everywhere that they may be held individually responsible for the anticompetitive conduct they direct or control. Many thanks and congratulations are due to the exceptional FTC staff and state attorneys general for vigorously pursuing this case and delivering this just outcome. Today's win reflects their talent, hard work, and deep commitment to serving the public.”

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.  For the latest news and resources, follow the FTC on social media, subscribe to press releases and read our blog.

Contact Information



Settlement Agreement between the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control and Sojitz (Hong Kong) Limited

The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced a settlement with Sojitz (Hong Kong) Limited ("Sojitz HK"), a Hong Kong, China-based company that engages in offshore trading and cross-border trade financing. Sojitz HK agreed to remit $5,228,298 to settle its potential civil liability for apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR). The apparent violations occurred when Sojitz HK made U.S. dollar payments through U.S. financial institutions for Iranian-origin high density polyethylene resin (HDPE) from its bank in Hong Kong to the HDPE supplier's banks in Thailand. In doing so, Sojitz HK caused the U.S. financial institutions that processed the funds to engage in and facilitate prohibited financial transactions related to goods of Iranian origin. The settlement amount reflects OFAC's determination that Sojitz HK's apparent violations were non-egregious and voluntarily self-disclosed, and accounts for Sojitz HK's remedial response and cooperation with OFAC.

For more information on the Settlement Agreement, please visit the following web notice.



Press Release  |  December 31, 2021

FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams Announces Resignation

FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams today sent the following letter to the President of the United States:

 

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC  20500

Dear Mr. President,

After serving as the 21st Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) since June 2018, I intend to resign as Chairman effective February 4, 2022. 

When I immigrated to this country 30 years ago, I did so with a firm belief in the American system of government.  During my tenure at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the United States Senate, and the FDIC, I have developed a deep appreciation for these venerable institutions and their traditions.  It has been a tremendous honor to serve this nation, and I did not take a single day for granted.  Throughout my public service, I have been constantly reminded how blessed we are to live in the United States of America.

Serving the American people alongside the dedicated career professionals of the FDIC has been the highlight of my professional life.  Throughout my tenure, the agency has focused on its fundamental mission to maintain and instill confidence in our banking system while at the same time promoting innovation, strengthening financial inclusion, improving transparency, and supporting community banks and minority depository institutions, including through the creation of the Mission Driven Bank Fund.  Today, banks continue to maintain robust capital and liquidity levels to support lending and protect against potential losses.

The unexpected shock of COVID-19 tested the resilience of our financial system beginning in March 2020, and the FDIC took swift actions to maintain stability and provide flexibility for banks and consumers.  The core of our financial system not only weathered the storm, but was a tangible source of strength for the American economy.  The committed staff of the FDIC deserve great credit for these results, and they have my profound gratitude.  I am humbled by their dedication to the FDIC’s mission and honored to have served with them. 

Sincerely,


Jelena McWilliams

###



U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Settlement Agreement between the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and TD Bank, N.A.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced a $115,005.04 settlement of two cases involving T.D. Bank, N.A. (“TDBNA”) for apparent violations of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations and the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations. In the first matter, TDBNA processed transactions and maintained accounts on behalf of employees of the North Korean mission to the United Nations without a license from OFAC. In the second matter, TDBNA maintained accounts for a U.S. resident who was listed on OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. The apparent violations in both matters were voluntarily self-disclosed and were non-egregious.

For more information on the Settlement Agreement, please visit the following web notice.




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Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners, a body controlled by licensed dentists, violated antitrust laws by requiring on-site supervision by licensed dentists of tooth alignment scans for prospective patients who are seeking to address misaligned teeth or gaps between teeth.

Under the terms of the settlement, the Board must no longer impede clear aligner platforms, or dental professionals affiliated with them, from providing clear aligner therapy through remote treatment.

First announced in September 2021, the complaint alleged that although these scans are  routinely administered by dental assistants and other non-dentist practitioners, in 2017, the Board amended a rule so as to prohibit dental assistants and other non-dentist practitioners from performing scans inside a patient’s mouth without on-site dentist supervision. The Dental Board’s requirement limited consumer choice and impeded competition from new providers in the state of Alabama, according to the complaint. The Board’s enaction of this requirement was not supervised by neutral state officials with the power to veto or modify the Board’s action.

The Commission vote to approve the final order was 4-0. 

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.  For the latest news and resources, follow the FTC on social media, subscribe to press releases and read our blog.

 

 


Federal Reserve Board Notification 

Thu, Dec 9, 11:07 AM (6 days ago)

Statistical Release
Z.1 Financial Accounts
https://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/z1/default.htm

 

Released by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System



seal - centered header for gov delivery

The United States Department of Justice

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 16, 2021

 

 

 

Note: Click to view indictment.

Six Aerospace Executives and Managers Indicted for Leading Roles in Labor Market Conspiracy that Limited Workers’ Mobility and Career Prospects

WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in Bridgeport, Connecticut, returned an indictment yesterday charging a former manager of a major aerospace engineering company and five executives of outsource engineering suppliers (Suppliers) for participating in a long-running conspiracy to restrict the hiring and recruiting of employees among their respective companies. The conspiracy affected thousands of engineers and other skilled workers in the aerospace industry who perform services in the design, manufacturing and servicing of aircraft components for both commercial and military purposes.

According to the one-count felony indictment unsealed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, six individuals — Mahesh Patel, of Connecticut; Robert Harvey, of South Carolina; Harpreet Wasan, of Connecticut; Steven Houghtaling, of Connecticut; Tom Edwards, of Connecticut; and Gary Prus, of Florida — conspired with unnamed others to allocate employees by agreeing not to hire or solicit employees from each other’s companies. 

This indictment is the first in an ongoing investigation into labor market allocation in the aerospace engineering services industry. Patel, described as a leader of the conspiracy given his position and authority as the Suppliers’ common customer, was previously charged by complaint. He was arrested and appeared before a federal magistrate judge on the charge last week, and was released on a $100,000 appearance bond. The remaining defendants are expected to appear before federal district courts in different districts this week.

“Conduct that corrupts competition for workers has no place in our economy,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan S. Kanter of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “Our investigation revealed a prolonged and widespread scheme to deprive aerospace workers of the ability to plan their own careers and earn competitive pay. The Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners will continue to hold individuals and companies accountable for criminal conduct aimed at depriving workers of the myriad benefits that flow from competition.”

“No one should be illegally denied the opportunity to pursue better jobs, higher pay and greater benefits,” said Peter S. Jongbloed, Counsel to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut. “It is vital that the labor market in the defense and aerospace remain fair, open and competitive, and we look forward to continuing the partnership with the Antitrust Division and our law enforcement partners to prosecute this important case.”

“Anticompetitive practices undermine legitimate procurement and acquisition processes designed to ensure equity among parties that do business with the government. The DoD Office of Inspector General’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) is fully committed to prioritizing investigations involving corruption of the DoD labor market,” said Principal Deputy Director James R. Ives of the DCIS. “We will continue to partner with the Department of Justice to ensure the labor market that supplies goods and services to the U.S. military remains competitive.”   

According to the indictment, the defendants and co-conspirators recognized the mutual financial benefit of the conspiracy — namely, reducing the rise in labor costs that would occur when aerospace workers were free to find new employment in a competitive environment. Patel and certain other co-conspirators explicitly appealed to this financial benefit when communicating with each other about the agreement.

The maximum penalty under the Sherman Act for a conspiracy to restrain trade is 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of $1 million. 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 the statutory maximum fine.  

The charges are the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into labor market allocation in the aerospace engineering services industry, conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, and the New Haven and New York Resident Agencies of DCIS. Anyone with information in connection with this investigation should contact the Antitrust Division’s Complaint Center at 888-647-3258, or visit http://www.justice.gov/atr/report-violations.

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

###

ATR

21-1260

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 9, 2021

 

 

 

Former Aerospace Outsourcing Executive Charged for Key Role in a Long-Running Antitrust Conspiracy

Eight-Year Scheme Illegally Limited Workers’ Career Prospects and Earnings

WASHINGTON – The U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut unsealed a criminal complaint accusing a former aerospace outsourcing executive of participating in a long-running conspiracy with managers and executives of several outsource engineering suppliers (Suppliers) to restrict the hiring and recruiting of engineers and other skilled laborers among their respective companies.

According to the filed documents, Mahesh Patel, of Glastonbury, Connecticut, a former director of global engineering services at a major aerospace engineering company, enforced this agreement while serving as an intermediary between conspiring Suppliers. Patel appeared remotely before a federal court in Hartford, Connecticut, on Tuesday after his arrest on the complaint charging him with conspiracy in restraint of trade. He was released on conditions including travel restrictions and a $100,000 appearance bond. The charge against Patel is the first in this ongoing federal antitrust investigation.

“The Antitrust Division, together with our law enforcement partners, have prioritized rooting out conspiracies in labor markets,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Here, thousands of workers have been victimized over a long period of time. We will vigorously prosecute this and other cases in which corporate executives undermine the careers of their own workers in order to reap undeserved profits and deprive our fellow citizens of opportunities to earn a competitive wage.”

“Given the significance of major defense and aerospace companies to Connecticut’s economy, it is vital that the labor market in this industry remain fair, open and competitive to our workers,” said Peter S. Jongbloed, Counsel to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut. “No one should be illegally denied the opportunity to pursue better jobs, higher pay and greater benefits. We look forward to continuing the partnership with the Antitrust Division and our law enforcement partners in prosecuting this important case.”

“Protecting the integrity of the Department of Defense (DoD) procurement process is a top priority for the DoD Office of Inspector General’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS),” said Principal Deputy Director James R. Ives of the DCIS. “We are committed to working with the Antitrust Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut to hold companies and individuals accountable for practices that erode public trust and confidence in the DoD industry.”

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Patel upheld a conspiracy among aerospace companies not to hire or recruit one another’s employees. At times, Patel confronted and berated Suppliers who cheated on the agreement, often at the direct behest of another Supplier, and threatened to punish nonconforming Suppliers by taking away valuable access to projects. In addition, as the complaint alleges, Patel and co-conspirators recognized the mutual financial benefit of this agreement — namely, reducing the rise in labor costs that would occur when aerospace workers were free to find new employment in a competitive environment.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to restrain trade under the Sherman Antitrust Act is 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of $1 million for individuals. 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 the statutory maximum fine.  

The charges are the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into market allocation in the aerospace engineering services industry, conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, and the New Haven and New York Resident Agencies of the DCIS. Anyone with information in connection with this investigation should contact the Antitrust Division’s Complaint Center at 888-647-3258, or visit http://www.justice.gov/atr/report-violations.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

###

ATR

21-1224



Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner

 

The Federal Trade Commission is sending 71,899 checks totaling more than $1.8 million to consumers, including many older Americans, tricked into paying for supposedly free in-home medical alert devices. The money comes from a settlement with New York-based Lifewatch, Inc.

The FTC’s complaint, filed jointly with the Florida Attorney General’s Office, alleged that the defendants bombarded consumers with at least a billion unsolicited robocalls to pitch supposedly “free” medical alert systems. These pre-recorded messages claimed that Lifewatch’s medical alert system was endorsed or recommended by reputable organizations like the American Heart Association. The company’s telemarketers often told consumers that a medical alert system had been purchased for them, and they could receive it “at no cost whatsoever.” Consumers eventually learned that they were responsible for monthly monitoring fees and that it was difficult to cancel without paying a penalty.

In addition to imposing the monetary penalty to provide consumer refunds, the order settling the FTC’s charges bans the Lifewatch defendants from telemarketing and prohibits them from misrepresenting the terms associated with the sale of any product or service.

The FTC is returning $1,808,260 to defrauded consumers. All checks are for $25.15, and will expire in 90 days, as indicated on the check. Recipients who have questions about their refund can call the administrator, Analytics, LLC, at 1-866-484-1466. The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.

In 2020, FTC actions led to more than $483 million in refunds to consumers across the country, but the United States Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the FTC lacks authority under Section 13(b) to seek monetary relief in federal court going forward. The Commission has urged Congress to restore the FTC’s ability to get money back for consumers.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, stop deceptive and unfair business practices and scams, and educate consumers. Report fraud, scams, or bad business practices at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Get consumer advice at consumer.ftc.gov. Also, follow the FTC on social media, subscribe to press releases, and read the FTC’s blogs.

Contact Information

Contact For Consumers:
Analytics, LLC, Refund Administrator
1-866-484-1466



Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner

FTC Launches Inquiry into Supply Chain Disruptions

Orders Walmart, Amazon, Kroger and other large wholesalers and suppliers to turn over information to help study causes of empty shelves and sky-high prices

The Federal Trade Commission is ordering nine large retailers, wholesalers, and consumer good suppliers to provide detailed information that will help the FTC shed light on the causes behind ongoing supply chain disruptions and how these disruptions are causing serious and ongoing hardships for consumers and harming competition in the U.S. economy.

The FTC is issuing the orders under Section 6(b) of the FTC Act, which authorizes the Commission to conduct wide-ranging studies that do not have a specific law enforcement purpose. The orders are being sent to Walmart Inc., Amazon.com, Inc., Kroger Co., C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc., McLane Co, Inc. Procter & Gamble Co., Tyson Foods, Inc., and Kraft Heinz Co. The companies will have 45 days from the date they received the order to respond.

“Supply chain disruptions are upending the provision and delivery of a wide array of goods, ranging from computer chips and medicines to meat and lumber. I am hopeful the FTC’s new 6(b) study will shed light on market conditions and business practices that may have worsened these disruptions or led to asymmetric effects,” said Chair Lina M. Khan. “The FTC has a long history of pursuing market studies to deepen our understanding of economic conditions and business conduct, and we should continue to make nimble and timely use of these information-gathering tools and authorities.”

In addition to better understanding the reasons behind the disruptions, the study will examine whether supply chain disruptions are leading to specific bottlenecks, shortages, anticompetitive practices, or contributing to rising consumer prices.

The orders require the companies to detail the primary factors disrupting their ability to obtain, transport and distribute their products; the impact these disruptions are having in terms of delayed and canceled orders, increased costs and prices; the products, suppliers and inputs most affected; and the steps the companies are taking to alleviate disruptions; and how they allocate products among their stores when they are in short supply.

The FTC also is requiring the companies to provide internal documents regarding the supply chain disruptions, including strategies related to supply chains; pricing; marketing and promotions; costs, profit margins and sales volumes; selection of suppliers and brands; and market shares.

In addition, the agency is soliciting voluntary comments from retailers, consumer goods suppliers, wholesalers, and consumers regarding their views on how supply chain issues are affecting competition in consumer goods markets. These comments provide an opportunity for market participants to surface additional issues and examples of how supply chain disruptions are affecting competition.

The Commission vote to approve issuing the Special Orders was 4-0.

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.  For the latest news and resources, follow the FTC on social media, subscribe to press releases and read our blog.




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FTC Issues Annual Report to Congress on Protecting Older Adults

Report notes jump in online shopping fraud reports since start of COVID-19 pandemic

The Federal Trade Commission has issued its latest report to Congress on protecting older adults, which highlights updated findings from the Commission’s fraud reports showing trends in how older adults report being affected by fraud.

The report, Protecting Older Consumers, 2020-2021, A Report of the Federal Trade Commission, also includes information on the FTC’s efforts to protect older consumers through law enforcement actions and outreach and education programs. This year’s report calls particular attention to the Commission’s work to combat scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reports of online shopping fraud increased sharply among adults aged 60 and higher in the second quarter of 2020 as online marketers failed to deliver masks and other scarce items needed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most frequent type of fraud reported by older adults was online shopping scams. Overall, reports of losses to online shopping fraud by older adults more than doubled in 2020, and the numbers continued to be far higher than pre-pandemic levels in the first half of 2021.

As in prior years, the analysis of fraud reports received by the FTC in 2020 showed that adults aged 60 and higher are substantially less likely to report losing money to fraud than adults aged 20-59. When they do report losing money, though, they tend to report losing substantially more than younger adults. Consumers 80 and older reported losing a median of $1,300 to fraud, while those in their seventies reported a median loss of $650, and those in their sixties reported a median loss of $449.

The analysis included in the report to Congress also found that adults older than 60 were nearly five times as likely as adults aged 20 to 59 to report losing money to a tech support scam. Older adults were nearly three times more likely to report a loss to a prize, lottery or sweepstakes scam, and more than twice as likely to report losing money to a friend or family impersonator scam.

In addition, the report notes that older adults reported losing about $139 million to romance scams – the highest total reported loss of any scam category, and a sharp increase from $84 million in 2019.

The report also focuses on key enforcement actions the FTC has taken to protect older consumers, including against investment schemes, a credit card stacking operation, an indoor TV antenna scam, and numerous cases against scammers making false health claims, including many related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report highlights a number of ongoing law enforcement partnerships in which the FTC works with other federal agencies, along with state and local authorities, to take actions to protect older consumers.

Finally, the report details the FTC’s outreach and education efforts through such programs as the Pass it On campaign, which focuses on providing fraud prevention resources to older adults so they can help protect their communities by sharing the information and materials with family and friends.

The Commission vote authorizing the report to Congress was 4-0.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and to 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). For the latest news and resources, follow the FTC on social media, subscribe to press releases and read our blogs.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Contact For Consumers:



Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission

by Rosario Méndez
Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

The newly-released Serving Communities of Color Report [link to the press release] summarizes the past five years of the FTC’s efforts to address, understand, and educate people about consumer issues that have a disproportionately negative impact on communities of color. And, it confirms the FTC’s commitment to continue this important work. Here are some highlights of the report:

Read more >


U.S. Department of Justice

10/12/2021 12:00 AM EDT

A Brazilian man who previously served as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Braskem S.A. (Braskem), a publicly-traded Brazilian petrochemical company, was sentenced today in the Eastern District of New York to 20 months in prison for a scheme to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from Braskem into a secret slush fund and to pay bribes to government officials, political parties, and others in Brazil.







U.S. Department of Labor  |  September 29, 2021

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration has awarded $10,537,000 in grant funding to support safety and health training, and other programs. MSHA awarded grants to 46 states, the Navajo Nation and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Grantees will use the funds to provide miners with federally mandated training. The grants cover training and retraining of miners working at surface and underground coal and metal and nonmetal mines. This includes miners engaged in shell dredging or employed at surface stone, sand, and gravel mining operations.

“These state grants help provide critical safety and health training for thousands of miners,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Jeannette J. Galanis. “MSHA is dedicated to keeping miners safe on the job, and this annual funding helps make sure miners across the country have access to proper safety training and resources.”

MSHA awarded grants based on applications from states, and they are administered by state mine inspectors’ offices, state departments of labor, and state-supported colleges and universities. Each recipient tailors the program to the needs of its mines and miners – including mining conditions and hazards miners may encounter – and provides technical assistance. The state grants are formula grants authorized under Section 503 of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.

The grant recipients are as follows:
Recipient State Amount
Bevill State Community College Alabama $236,821
University of Alaska Alaska $142,249
Arizona State Mine Inspector Arizona $391,991
Navajo Nation Minerals Department Arizona $54,785
Arkansas Department of Labor and Licensing Arkansas $128,278
Department of Industrial Relations California $379,933
Department of National Resources Colorado $262,949
Central Connecticut State University Connecticut $80,093
Tallahassee Community College Florida $181,183
Technical College System of Georgia Georgia $205,443
North Idaho College Idaho $143,378
Department of Natural Resources Illinois $271,733
Vincennes University Indiana $263,582
Eastern Iowa Community College District Iowa $187,028
Hutchinson Community College Kansas $128,783
Division of Mine Safety Kentucky $417,148
Northshore Technical Community College Louisiana $114,804
Department of Labor Maine $117,104
Department of the Environment Maryland $73,216
Department of Labor Standards Massachusetts $101,383
Michigan Technological University Michigan $255,137
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Minnesota $379,465
Department of Environmental Quality Mississippi $46,118
Department of Labor & Industrial Relations Missouri $275,709
Department of Labor & Industry Montana $213,341
University of Nebraska at Kearney Nebraska $93,256
Mine Safety & Training Section Nevada $400,325
Department of Business & Economic Affairs New Hampshire $76,777
Department of Labor and Workforce Development New Jersey $63,199
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology New Mexico $185,564
Department of Labor, Division of Safety New York $335,452
Department of Labor North Carolina $181,558
Department of Career and Technical Education North Dakota $120,220
Office of the Governor Northern Mariana Islands $21,991
Department of Natural Resources Ohio $260,854
Department of Mines Oklahoma $176,610
Eastern Oregon University Oregon $163,835
Department of Environmental Protection Pennsylvania $606,207
Tri-County Technical College South Carolina $86,803
School of Mines and Technology South Dakota $93,737
Department of Labor and Workforce Tennessee $196,389
University of Texas at Austin Texas $690,561
Utah State University Utah $244,919
Department of Labor Vermont $113,050
Department of Mines, Minerals & Energy Virginia $261,822
Eastern Washington University Washington $171,960
Office of Miners’ Health, Safety & Training West Virginia $529,191
Northcentral Technical College Wisconsin $98,473
Northern Wyoming Community College Wyoming $312,593

###

Agency: Mine Safety & Health Administration
Date: September 29, 2021
Release Number: 21-1780-NAT






Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner

 

Files administrative complaint aimed at recouping hundreds of millions lost by customers lured by false promises of fuel savings

The Federal Trade Commission has filed an administrative complaint against FleetCor and its CEO, Ronald Clarke, for charging customers hundreds of millions of dollars in mystery fees associated with fuel cards. FleetCor, marketing under the “Fuelman” brand name and through co-branded cards with businesses around the country, falsely told its business customers that they would save money, be protected from unauthorized charges, and have no set-up, transaction, or membership fees. In reality, according to FleetCor’s own records, customers generally have not achieved the advertised per-gallon savings by using FleetCor’s cards.

The FTC filed suit in federal court against FleetCor and Clarke in December 2019, alleging that they charged hundreds of millions of dollars in hidden and undisclosed fees to their customers after making false promises they could save customers on their fuel costs. However, in a ruling earlier this year, the Supreme Court determined that the FTC was not able to seek redress for consumers under section 13(b) of the FTC Act. In an effort to ensure that the agency’s case against the fuel card marketer is still able to recover money lost by consumers, the FTC has filed a new administrative complaint which alleges that FleetCor and Clarke violated section 5 of the FTC Act.

“FleetCor fleeced its customers out of hundreds of millions of dollars through its dishonest practices,” said Samuel Levine, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC will do everything it can to get money back to FleetCor’s business customers and unsuspecting fuel card users by refiling this complaint administratively. We will also continue to work with Congress on a broader legislative solution following the Supreme Court’s decision in AMG, which has hindered our ability to recover redress for families and honest businesses.”

The Commission vote to issue the administrative complaint was 4-1. Commissioner Noah Phillips voted yes but dissented in part as to the inclusion of Ronald Clarke as an individual defendant. Commissioner Christine S. Wilson voted no, including as to the inclusion of Ronald Clarke as an individual defendant, but concurred in part as to Counts III, IV, and V against FleetCor. 

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 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:
Consumer Response Center
877-382-4357

Related Cases



Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner

 

The Federal Trade Commission is adjusting its process for reviewing mergers to deal with a surge in merger filings.

In a new blog post, FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova notes, “for deals that we cannot fully investigate within the requisite timelines [under the Hart Scott Rodino Act], we have begun to send standard form letters alerting companies that the FTC’s investigation remains open and reminding companies that the agency may subsequently determine that the deal was unlawful. Companies that choose to proceed with transactions that have not been fully investigated are doing so at their own risk.” 

When sent, the letters will remind companies that the FTC may subsequently determine that their deal is unlawful and seek to undo the transaction. 

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.




U.S. Department of the Treasury

Office of Public Affairs

Press Release:             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 30, 2021

 Treasury Announces Marketable Borrowing Estimates

WASHINGTON  The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced its current estimates of privately-held net marketable borrowing[1] for the July – September 2021 and October – December 2021 quarters.[2] 

  • During the July – September 2021 quarter, Treasury expects to borrow $673 billion in privately-held net marketable debt, assuming an end-of-September cash balance of $750 billion.[3] The borrowing estimate is $148 billion lower than announced in May 2021, primarily due to the higher beginning of quarter balance and lower outlays.
  • During the October – December 2021 quarter, Treasury expects to borrow $703 billion in privately-held net marketable debt, assuming an end-of-December cash balance of $800 billion.[3]

During the April – June 2021 quarter, Treasury borrowed $319 billion in privately-held net marketable debt and ended the quarter with a cash balance of $852 billion. In May 2021, Treasury estimated privately-held net marketable borrowing of $463 billion and assumed an end-of-June cash balance of $800 billion. The $143 billion decrease in borrowing resulted primarily from an increase in receipts and a decrease in expenditures, somewhat offset by the increase in the end-of-June cash balance.[4]

Additional financing details relating to Treasury’s Quarterly Refunding will be released at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 4, 2021.

###



U.S. Department of Justice

The United States Department of Justice

 

 

08/02/2021 12:00 AM EDT

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 29, 2021

 

 

 

Four Executives and Company Charged with Price Fixing in Ongoing Investigation into Broiler Chicken Industry

WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in Denver, Colorado, returned an indictment yesterday charging Koch Foods, headquartered in Park Ridge, Illinois, for participating in a nationwide conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chicken products. Separately, a federal grand jury in Denver returned an indictment charging four executives for their roles in the same conspiracy while employed by Pilgrim’s Pride.

According to court documents, the four charged Pilgrim’s Pride executives are Jason McGuire, a former Executive Vice President of Sales for Prepared Foods; Timothy Stiller, a former General Manager of Fresh Food Services and Small Bird Debone; Wesley “Scott” Tucker, a National Accounts sales executive; and Justin Gay, Director of Fresh Foodservice Sales.

The indictments allege that the defendants and co-conspirators conspired to suppress and eliminate competition for sales of broiler chicken products, which are chickens raised for human consumption and sold to grocers and restaurants. Koch’s senior vice president, William Kantola, is among ten individuals indicted in October 2020 for their roles in the conspiracy. On May 19, a grand jury returned an indictment against Claxton Poultry for its role in the same conspiracy, which today’s indictment supersedes. Pilgrim’s Pride, a major broiler chicken producer based in Greeley, Colorado, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in February 2021 to pay a criminal fine of $107 million for its role in the conspiracy. The long-running conspiracy began as early as 2012 and lasted until at least 2019.

“As today’s charges show, the division remains committed to holding both individuals and companies accountable when they choose profits over following the law,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Our investigation into criminal price fixing of broiler chickens continues, and we will not stop until we ensure that wrongdoers are held accountable and competition is restored to this critical industry.”

“Price fixing is not a victimless crime, and the illegal actions taken by these companies and individuals in the broiler chicken industry have had a direct and negative impact on the American consumer,” said Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI Washington Field Office. “The FBI is committed to pursuing those who violate antitrust laws, harming the nation’s free and competitive marketplace all for their own monetary gain.”

“Price fixing, bid rigging and related activities harm consumers and our system of free market competition,” said Scott Kieffer, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General. “We remain committed to working with the Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners to aggressively investigate and prosecute corrupt behavior in order to protect the integrity of our nation’s commerce.”

Koch Foods, McGuire, Stiller, Tucker and Gay are each charged with a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Defendants McGuire, Stiller, Tucker and Gay will make their initial court appearances on Aug. 11 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Crews of the U.S. District Court for Colorado. Koch Foods’ initial appearance has not yet been scheduled. The Sherman Act carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals, and a $100 million fine for corporations. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by victims, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the broiler chicken industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division with the assistance of the Department of Commerce Inspector General’s Office, the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Inspector General’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by the Antitrust Division.

Anyone with information on price fixing, bid rigging or other anticompetitive conduct related to the broiler chicken industry should contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

###

ATR

21-714




07/28/2021 12:00 AM EDT


Former Delray Beach Doctor Sentenced To Six Years In Federal Prison For $20 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme
07/26/2021 12:00 AM EDT
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge William Jung has sentenced Dr. Richard Davidson (Delray Beach, 42) to six years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud. As part of his sentence, the court ordered Davidson to forfeit approximately $650,000 in funds traceable to the offense or as substitute assets. The court also entered a money judgment of $2.47 million and ordered $10.72 million in restitution. Davidson lost his medical license due to his conviction.



Treasury Building Engraving

U.S. Department of the Treasury

 

U.S. Department of the Treasury Daily Treasury Bill Rates Update

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

____

 

Press Release:             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 16, 2021

 

Contact:                       Treasury Public Affairs; Press@Treasury.gov

Treasury International Capital Data for May 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Treasury today released Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for May 2021.  The next release, which will report on data for June 2021, is scheduled for August 16, 2021.

The sum total in May of all net foreign acquisitions of long-term securities, short-term U.S. securities, and banking flows was a net TIC inflow of $105.3 billion.  Of this, net foreign private inflows were $128.4 billion, and net foreign official outflows were $23.1 billion.

Foreign residents decreased their holdings of long-term U.S. securities in May; net sales were $40.3 billion.  Net sales by private foreign investors were $41.6 billion, while net purchases by foreign official institutions were $1.3 billion.

U.S. residents decreased their holdings of long-term foreign securities, with net sales of $10.1 billion.

Taking into account transactions in both foreign and U.S. securities, net foreign sales of long-term securities were $30.2 billion.  After including adjustments, such as estimates of unrecorded principal payments to foreigners on U.S. asset-backed securities, overall net foreign sales of long-term securities are estimated to have been $63.6 billion in May.

Foreign residents decreased their holdings of U.S. Treasury bills by $18.5 billion.  Foreign resident holdings of all dollar-denominated short-term U.S. securities and other custody liabilities increased by $9.7 billion.

Banks’ own net dollar-denominated liabilities to foreign residents increased by $159.2 billion.

Complete data are available on the Treasury website at: https://home.treasury.gov/data/treasury-international-capital-tic-system

About TIC Data

The monthly data on holdings of long-term securities, as well as the monthly table on Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities, reflect foreign holdings of U.S. securities collected primarily on the basis of custodial data.  These data help provide a window into foreign ownership of U.S. securities, but they cannot attribute holdings of U.S. securities with complete accuracy.  For example, if a U.S. Treasury security purchased by a foreign resident is held in a custodial account in a third country, the true ownership of the security will not be reflected in the data.  The custodial data will also not properly attribute U.S. Treasury securities managed by foreign private portfolio managers who invest on behalf of residents of other countries.  In addition, foreign countries may hold dollars and other U.S. assets that are not captured in the TIC data.  For these reasons, it is difficult to draw precise conclusions from TIC data about changes in the foreign holdings of U.S. financial assets by individual countries.

Treasury International Capital Data

###


U.S. Department of Justice


07/19/2021 12:00 AM EDT


06/30/2021 12:00 AM EDT

Armed Forces Services Corporation d/b/a Magellan Federal (“AFSC”), located in Alexandria, agreed to pay $4,342,651 to resolve allegations that three former AFSC executives accepted kickbacks in exchange for awarding subcontracts on federal government contracts, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia.

 

06/30/2021 12:00 AM EDT

A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Belgium-based Seris Security NV (Seris) and three executives for their roles in a conspiracy to fix prices, rig bids and allocate customers for defense-related security services, including a multimillion-dollar contract issued in 2020 to provide security services to the U.S. Department of Defense for military bases and installations in Belgium. This is the second charge and first indictment involving an international conspiracy obtained by the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF) and follows G4S Secure Solution NV’s (G4S) agreement to plead guilty in the investigation

06/17/2021 12:00 AM EDT

A compound pharmacy owner, three marketers, a referring physician and two clinic office staff have been taken into custody in connection with a multi-million dollar health care fraud and kickback scheme


CEO Of Private Equity Fund Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Lying To Bank To Secure $95 Million Loan
05/12/2021 12:00 AM EDT

05/10/2021 12:00 AM EDT
MACON, Ga. – A farm broker has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in a scheme to defraud an investor of up to $2.1 million. Collis Robert Todd, aka C. Robert Todd, aka Collis Todd, aka Robert Todd, aka Robert C. Todd, 64, of Jesup, Georgia, pleaded guilty to one count wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell. Todd faces a maximum twenty years of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing is August 18. There is no parole in the federal system.





U.S. Department of the Treasury




Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America's Consumers Banner

 

Recipients will be refunded the full amount lost to scheme that threatened arrest

Explore Data RefundsThe Federal Trade Commission and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General are sending payments totaling more than $4 million to more than 10,000 consumers who lost money to the Stark Law phantom debt collection scheme.

According a suit filed by the FTC and the Illinois Attorney General, Stark Law used a host of business names to target consumers who obtained or applied for payday or other short-term loans, pressuring them into paying debts they either did not owe or that the defendants had no authority to collect. The defendants allegedly called consumers and demanded immediate payment for supposedly delinquent loans, at times threatening consumers with lawsuits or arrest, falsely claiming they would be charged with “defrauding a financial institution” or “passing a bad check.”

Affected consumers are receiving full refunds, averaging $375 each. Those who receive checks should deposit or cash their checks within 90 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 redress payments, or who did not receive a payment but believe they are eligible should contact the refund administrator, Epiq, at 800-858-3430.

The FTC’s interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of FTC refunds. FTC actions led to more than $483 million in refunds to consumers across the country in 2020.

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:
Refund Administrator
Epiq
800-858-3430

More news from the FTC >>



U.S. Department of Justice



05/03/2021 12:00 AM EDT
Neurosurgeon Wilson Asfora, M.D. of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and two medical device distributorships that he owns, Medical Designs LLC and Sicage LLC, have agreed to pay $4.4 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations relating to illegal payments to Asfora to induce the use of certain medical devices, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute, as well as claims for medically unnecessary surgeries.

Six Individuals Sentenced for Nearly $8 Million Health Care Fraud Involving Northern Virginia Pharmacies
04/16/2021 12:00 AM EDT
The last of six defendants were sentenced today for participating in multiple health care fraud conspiracies involving kickbacks and fraudulent billings that resulted in nearly $8 million in losses to federal, state, and private health care benefit programs.

 

 

 




Offices of the United States Attorneys

03/15/2021 12:00 AM EDT

An Arizona man was sentenced today to 16 years in prison for his participation in a nationwide investment fraud conspiracy that cost victims over $23 million in total losses.


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.

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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
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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:

###

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).

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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:


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FDIC: PR-101-2020



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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.
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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
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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.
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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,