Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Bank of America to Pay $335 Million for Countrywide's Discriminatory Lending
Bank of America has agreed to pay $335 million to settle allegations that Countrywide Financial Corp., which it purchased in 2008, charged minority borrowers higher fees on subprime or prime loans or offered only subprime loans to borrowers who qualified for the more attractive prime loans. The investigation, begun in 2008 by the Illinois Attorney General and continued with the help of federal authorities, involved the review of over 2.5 million loans. According to the government, discriminatory lending practices affected loans in 41 states and the District of Columbia.
Bank of America has faced litigation based upon multiple alleged issues with Countrywide’s lending practices, including its issuing of mortgage-backed securities.
Read the entire article, “BofA Settles Fair-Lending"
Posted by eithurburn on 12/21 at 12:40 PM
Aon Corp. to Pay $16.2M to Resolve Foreign Bribery Allegations with DOJ, SEC
Aon Corporation, an insurance brokerage firm, will pay over $16.2 million to settle allegations that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by making improper payments to government officials in countries such as Vietnam, Costa Rica, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. According to the government, the company’s subsidiaries paid over $3.6 million in bribes, including reimbursing government officials for what appeared to be recreational travel. Furthermore, these payments were not accurately recorded in Aon’s books.
The corporation will pay $1.76 million to resolve its criminal liability and admit to its accounting errors, but has entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the Justice Department with respect to the other criminal allegations. To resolve the civil case filed by the SEC, which was also based upon violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Aon will pay $14.5 million in disgorgement and interest.
Read the entire article, “Aon to pay $16.2 million to settle foreign bribery charges"
Posted by eithurburn on 12/21 at 12:38 PM
Monday, December 19, 2011
NY AG's Office to Share Investigation Notes with Federal Housing Finance Agency
Earlier this year, New York Attorney General Eric Schniederman pulled out of the 50-state settlement talks with mortgage lenders because of concerns that it overly limited the ability of the states to adequately investigate the case. Now, the A.G. has signed an agreement to share investigative documents and findings with the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Inspector General. A Schneiderman spokesman said the AG was willing to work with anyone who is “committed to getting to the bottom of the mortgage crisis and holding those responsible accountable.”
Read the entire article, “NY, federal office to cooperate in mortgage probes"
Posted by eithurburn on 12/19 at 03:43 PM
SEC Chairman Discourages Attempt by Some in House to Undermine Whistleblower Program
SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro criticized a Congressional effort to make changes to the recently-effective SEC whistleblower program in a letter to Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA). The bill, proposed by Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY), waters down the program in response to complaints from corporations. One key change would require whistleblowers to first report through their company’s internal compliance mechanisms before going to the SEC. Chairman Schapiro’s letter warned that such changes could discourage whistleblowers from coming forward because it puts them at risk for retaliation and undermines Dodd-Frank’s anonymity provisions. She also stressed that the act provides a monetary incentive for whistleblowers to report to internal compliance first--those that do so can receive an increased percentage of the SEC’s recovery. In addition to raising these concerns, Chairman Schapiro urged Congress to wait to see how the program works in action before making any changes.
Read the entire article, “Congress shouldn’t alter whistleblower plan: SEC"
Posted by eithurburn on 12/19 at 03:33 PM
Friday, December 16, 2011
SEC Sues Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Execs
On Friday, the SEC brought a civil fraud suit against the former CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as four other top executives. The suit alleges that the executives misled investors with respect to the company’s exposure to subprime mortgages in their loan portfolios. According to the suit, the executives made material misstatements in order to give investors false confidence. The SEC has requested that the court disgorge the executives of their unlawful profits and force them to pay penalties.
Read the entire article, “SEC sues former top executives at Fannie, Freddie"
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Posted by eithurburn on 12/16 at 02:11 PM