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The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that it has obtained a Court order to freeze accounts belonging to Mutual Wealth, which the SEC alleges (25 February 2014) has been "exploiting investors through a website and social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, falsely promising extraordinary returns of [2-3%] per week for investors who open accounts with the firm".

Published in Consumer Protection

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have jointly published the following documents (both undated) on how background checks may be performed for employment purposes:

Pharmacy Fines for Kickback Scheme Allegations

06 Mar 2014
Written by World Watch

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Ohio-based long-term care pharmacy Omnicare Inc (Omnicare) has agreed to pay US$4.19 million to settle allegations that it engaged in a kickback scheme in violation of the False Claims Act. Omnicare is alleged to have "solicited and received kickbacks from the drug manufacturer Amgen Inc in return for implementing 'therapeutic interchange' programs that were designed to switch Medicaid beneficiaries from a competitor drug to Amgen's product Aranesp".

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalised new emission standards for cars and gasoline as part of its Tier 3 Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards Program, following extensive consultation with the public and a broad range of stakeholders. According to the EPA, the new standards "will significantly reduce harmful pollution and prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses, while also enabling efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks".

Identity Theft Remains Top Complaint Category

06 Mar 2014
Written by World Watch

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for January - December 2013 (February 2014), which provides an overview of the complaints received by the FTC in 2013. The FTC received over 2 million complaints during the calendar year 2013, of which 55% related to fraud, 14% related to identity theft and 31% related to other types. Identity theft was the number one complaint category, 30% of which were tax- or wage-related.

Published in Consumer Protection

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS) has decided not to proceed with a plan to delay the payment of UK bonuses, which had intended to take advantage of a cut in the top rate of income tax and thereby potentially save bankers tens of millions of pounds in tax. Despite being legal, the plan was met with much public criticism, including from Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King, UK Treasury minister responsible for the City of London Sajid Javid and British Bankers' Association chief executive Anthony Browne.

The United States (US) Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) as conservator of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) has made available Settlement Agreement (24 February 2014 - available via the media release below) reached with France-based bank Société Générale (SG) and associated individuals and entities over alleged breaches of federal and state securities laws.

Published in Financial Integrity

Syncora Holdings Ltd (Syncora) has made available Annual Statement 2013 (February 2014) for its financial guarantee insurance subsidiary Syncora Guarantee Inc (SGI), which states that SGI has received US$400 million from JPMorgan to settle SGI's residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS)-related claims against JPMorgan and its affiliates.

Published in Financial Integrity

The United States (US) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it has issued Utilities Inc a notice of violation in relation to "at least 27 sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs)" that occurred at a South Carolina facility during 2013.

The United States (US) Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's (HSGAC) Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has released its majority and minority staff report Offshore Tax Evasion - The Effort to Collect Unpaid Taxes on Billions in Hidden Offshore Accounts (26 February 2014).

Published in Financial Integrity

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