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Financial Institution Fraud

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to fraud by or involving financial institutions. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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November 30, 2015

Standard Bank will pay $4.2 million to settle SEC charges that it failed to disclose certain payments made in connection with debt issued by the Government of Tanzania in 2013.  The bank acted as a lead manager for the offering but failed to disclose that its affiliate, Stanbic Bank Tanzania Limited, would pay $6 million of the proceeds of the $600 million offering to a private Tanzanian firm that performed no substantive role in the transaction.  A representative of the Government of Tanzania was a director of the private firm and the offering was not finalized until Standard and Stanbic agreed to pay the firm a percentage of the proceeds of the offering.  The payment is part of a global coordinated settlement with the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office under which Standard Bank will pay a total of $36.9 million.  SEC

September 30, 2015

In the SEC’s second round of filings against underwriters under its Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation (MCDC) Initiative, a voluntary self-reporting program targeting material misstatements and omissions in municipal bond offering documents, the SEC announced enforcement actions against 22 municipal underwriting firms.  The underwriters and the agreed penalty amounts to be paid are as follows: Ameritas Investment Corp. ($200,000), BB&T Securities, LLC ($200,000),Comerica Securities, Inc. ($60,000), Commerce Bank Capital Markets Group($40,000), Country Club Bank ($140,000), Crews & Associates, Inc. ($250,000),Duncan-Williams, Inc. ($250,000), Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P. ($100,000), Estrada Hinojosa & Company, Inc. ($40,000), Fifth Third Securities, Inc. ($20,000), The Frazer Lanier Company, Inc. ($100,000), J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyson, LLC($420,000), Joe Jolly & Co., Inc. ($100,000), Mesirow Financial, Inc. ($100,000),Northland Securities, Inc. ($220,000), NW Capital Markets Inc. ($100,000), PNC Capital Markets LLC ($500,000), Prager & Co., LLC ($100,000), Ross, Sinclaire & Associates, LLC ($220,000), UBS Financial Services, Inc. ($480,000), UMB Bank, N.A. Investment Banking Division ($420,000), and U.S. Bank Municipal Securities Group, a Division of U.S. Bank National Association ($60,000).  SEC

August 19, 2015

Citigroup Global Markets will pay a $15 million penalty to settle SEC charges that it failed to enforce policies to prevent transactions that involved misuse of material, nonpublic information.  Broker-dealer employees routinely have access to material nonpublic information.  Therefore, federal securities laws require firms to take reasonable steps to prevent misuse of such information.  An SEC investigation found that between 2002 and 2012, Citigroup’s monitoring for such abuse was inadequate because it failed to review thousands of trades executed by its trading desks.  Additionally, the SEC found that Citigroup inadvertently routed more than 467,000 transactions on behalf of advisory clients to an affiliated market maker which executed the transactions as principal at or near prevailing market prices.  SEC

August 18, 2015

BNY Mellon will pay $14.8 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by providing valuable student internships to family members of foreign government officials affiliated with a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund.  An SEC investigation found that students related to foreign officials were given preferential treatment in that they were not required to meet the normally rigorous criteria of BNY Mellon’s highly competitive internship programs.  This was done to win or retain contracts to manage and service the assets of the sovereign wealth fund the foreign officials were affiliated with.  BNY’s $14.8 million payment includes $8.3 million in disgorgement and a $5 million penalty.  SEC

July 23, 2015

Three former employees of broker-dealer Oppenheimer settled charges stemming from the unregistered sales of billions of shares of penny stocks on behalf of a customer.  This action relates to a previously settled enforcement action against Oppenheimer in which the broker-dealer admitted wrong-doing and paid $20 million to the SEC and the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.  According to the SEC’s order, the former employees failed to make reasonable inquiries or provide appropriate oversight in the face of red flags indicating that their customer’s stock sales were not exempt from registration.  SEC

June 18, 2015

The SEC announced enforcement actions against 36 municipal underwriting firms for violations in municipal bond offerings.  The cases are the first brought against underwriters under the Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation (MCDC) initiative, a voluntary self-reporting program targeting material misstatements and omissions in municipal bond offering documents.  The SEC’s actions allege that between 2010 and 2014, the 36 firms violated federal securities laws by selling municipal bonds using offering documents that contained materially false statements or omissions about the bond issuers’ compliance with continuing disclosure obligations.  Under the terms of the MCDC initiative, each firm will pay civil penalties based on the number and size of fraudulent offerings identified, up to $500,000.  The firms and penalty amounts are as follows: The Baker Group, LP ($250,000), B.C. Ziegler and Company ($250,000), Benchmark Securities, LLC ($100,000), Bernardi Securities, Inc. ($100,000), BMO Capital Markets GKST Inc. ($250,000), BNY Mellon Capital Markets, LLC ($120,000), BOSC, Inc. ($250,000), Central States Capital Markets, LLC ($60,000), Citigroup Global Markets Inc. ($500,000), City Securities Corporation ($250,000), Davenport & Company LLC ($80,000),Dougherty & Co. LLC ($250,000), First National Capital Markets, Inc. ($100,000),George K. Baum & Company ($250,000), Goldman, Sachs & Co. ($500,000),Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley & Co. ($220,000), J.P. Morgan Securities LLC ($500,000), L.J. Hart and Company ($100,000), Loop Capital Markets, LLC ($60,000), Martin Nelson & Co., Inc. ($100,000), Merchant Capital, L.L.C. ($100,000), Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated ($500,000),Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC ($500,000), The Northern Trust Company ($60,000),Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. ($400,000), Piper Jaffray & Co. ($500,000), Raymond James & Associates, Inc. ($500,000), RBC Capital Markets, LLC ($500,000),Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated ($500,000), Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC ($240,000), Smith Hayes Financial Services Corporation ($40,000), Stephens Inc. ($400,000), Sterne, Agee & Leach, Inc. ($80,000), Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc. ($500,000), Wells Nelson & Associates, LLC ($100,000), William Blair & Co., L.L.C. ($80,000).  SEC

July 24, 2014

Morgan Stanley agreed to pay $275M to settle charges of misleading investors in a pair of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) securitizations it underwrote, sponsored, and issued.  In an asset-backed securities offering, federal regulations under the securities laws require the disclosure of delinquency information for the mortgage loans serving as collateral.  Morgan Stanley allegedly misrepresented the current or historical delinquency status of mortgage loans underlying two subprime RMBS securitizations that came against a backdrop of rising borrower delinquencies and unprecedented distress in the subprime market.  SEC

October 20, 2015

Paris-based Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, owned by Crédit Agricole S.A. and which operates in over thirty countries, agreed to pay $787.3 million in criminal and civil penalties for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading With the Enemy Act.  Between August 2003 and September 2008, Crédit Agricole subsidiaries in Geneva knowingly moved approximately $312 million through the US financial system on behalf of sanctioned entities located in Sudan, Burma, Iran and Cuba.  To facilitate these illegal transactions, these subsidiaries used deceptive practices which prevented the government, Crédit Agricole’s New York branch and other US financial institutions from filtering for, and consequently blocking or rejecting, the sanctioned payments.  Whistleblower Insider

October 6, 2015

Fifth Third Bank agreed to pay $85 million to resolve civil fraud claims arising from the bank’s origination of residential mortgage loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.  FTB made a voluntary disclosure of approximately 1,400 mortgage loans it had certified as eligible for FHA insurance, later determined were materially defective and thus ineligible for FHA insurance, but never self-reported to HUD, resulting in millions of dollars in HUD losses.  This matter arose, in part, from the filing of a whistleblower complaint under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.  DOJ (NY)
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