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Financial and Investment Fraud

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to financial and investment fraud. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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March 12, 2015

Miami-based lender Hencorp Becstone Capital L.C. agreed to pay $3.8 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that it made false statements and claims to the Export-Import Bank of the United States in order to obtain loan guarantees.  According to the government, Ricardo Maza, a Peruvian-based former Hencorp business agent, created false documentation to obtain Ex-Im Bank guarantees on fictitious transactions on which no products were sold or exported, and that Maza then diverted the proceeds of the loans to himself and to his friends and business associates in Peru.  The allegations arose in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Genaro Benites Caballero, the former owner of one of the purported purchasers, and Patricia Doris Lee Dominguez, a former attorney for the purported purchaser, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  They will receive a whistleblower award of $608,000.  DOJ

February 3, 2015

Ratings Agency giant Standard & Poor’s Financial Services (S&P), along with its parent corporation McGraw Hill Financial Inc., agreed to pay $1.375B to settle charges it schemed to defraud investors in structured financial products known as Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) and Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs). According to the government, S&P falsely represented that its ratings of RMBS and CDOs were objective, independent and uninfluenced by S&P’s business relationships with the investment banks that issued the securities. Instead, S&P issued inflated ratings that misrepresented the securities’ true credit risks causing RMBS and CDO investors to incur substantial losses. Whistleblower Insider

January 22, 2016

Virginia has recovered more than $63 million collectively from eleven banks to settle allegations that the banks misled the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Virginia Retirement System through the sale of allegedly misrepresented residential mortgage-backed securities. This is the largest non-healthcare-related recovery ever obtained in a suit alleging violations of the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. The eleven banks included in the settlement are Countrywide Securities Corporation, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., RBS Securities Inc., Barclays Capital Inc., Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Goldman, Sachs & Co., HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, and UBS Securities LLC. VA

August 14, 2014

Azzeddine El Amine of Costa Rica pleaded guilty to money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business in connection with his role in running Liberty Reserve, a company that operated one of the world’s most widely used digital currency services. Liberty Reserve was created to help users conduct illegal transactions anonymously and launder the proceeds of their crimes, and it emerged as one of the principal money transfer agents used by cybercriminals around the world to distribute, store, and launder the proceeds of their illegal activity. El Amine served as a principal deputy to Liberty Reserve founder Arthur Budovsky. Before being shut down by the government in May 2013, Liberty Reserve had more than one million users worldwide, including more than 200,000 users in the United States, who conducted approximately 55 million transactions through its system and laundered more than $6 billion in suspected proceeds of crimes, including credit card fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography and narcotics trafficking. DOJ

July 24, 2014

An $80M False Claims Act judgment was entered against BNP Paribas for submitting false claims for payment guarantees issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The judgment resolves government charges that from 1998 to 2005 the French bank participated in a scheme to defraud the USDA’s Supplier Credit Guarantee Program under which American agricultural companies are encouraged to sell their products abroad. DOJ

December 22, 2015

Participants in an alleged credit card “laundering” scheme have agreed to settle FTC charges that they illegally helped provide access to payment networks, thereby enabling scammers to place bogus charges on consumers’ credit cards. According to the FTC’s complaint, PayBasics, Todd Hatch and Jimmy Shin helped the defendants behind the Tax Club fraud to open and maintain merchant accounts used to process credit card payments for sales made by a number of different third-party scammers. The defendants in the Tax Club work at home scheme settled FTC charges last year. FTC

December 16, 2015

The CFPB ordered EZCORP, Inc., a small-dollar lender, to refund $7.5 million to 93,000 consumers, pay $3 million in penalties, and stop collection of remaining payday and installment loan debts owed by roughly 130,000 consumers for illegal debt collection practices. The CFPB found that EZCORP collected debts from consumers through unlawful in-person collection visits at their homes or workplaces, risked exposing consumers’ debts to third parties, falsely threatened consumers with litigation for non-payment of debts, and unfairly made multiple electronic withdrawal attempts from consumer accounts, causing mounting bank fees. CFPB

November 20, 2015

The New Jersey Bureau of Securities filed legal action against, and separately revoked the registrations of, two individuals who are alleged to have defrauded over 170 investors out of millions of dollars in a scheme involving investment in a Florida condominium complex called Esplanade at Millennia Condominiums. NJ

November 18, 2015

The CFPB filed an administrative lawsuit against an online lender, Integrity Advance, LLC, and its CEO, James R. Carnes, for deceiving consumers about the cost of short-term loans. The suit seeks redress for harmed customers, injunctive relief, and a civil monetary penalty. CFPB

October 26, 2015

The operators of an advance fee recovery scheme that falsely claimed it could recover money for consumers that they had lost to telemarketing scams will be banned from selling recovery services, and from telemarketing, under a court order. The court order resolves a 2014 FTC complaint that charged Consumer Collection Advocates and Michael Robert Ettus with illegally collecting money from consumers, many of them elderly people harmed by timeshare resale and precious metal investment frauds. FTC
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