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Wells Fargo has announced that it has selected four clean technology startup companies for its US$10 million, five year Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) program (further information), which is funded by Wells Fargo and co-administered by the US Department of Energy's national renewable energy laboratory (NREL). The program will provide the startup companies with a combination of up to US$250,000 each, access to NREL's research facility and mentorship from Wells Fargo's financial and technical experts. NREL innovation and entrepreneurship centre director Richard Adams said that "[t]he IN2 program serves as a model for private and public sector collaboration working together for one common goal".

According to Wells Fargo, the IN2 program "was developed to advance the commercialization of new sustainable technologies by validating them in the [NREL's research facility] and then piloting them in select Wells Fargo locations".
Wells Fargo's media release (9 April 2015)
(Source: Wells Fargo; NREL)

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that cardiovascular testing disease laboratories Health Diagnostics Laboratory Inc and Singulex Inc have agreed to pay US$48 million to settle allegations that they breached the False Claims Act (further information) by "paying remuneration to physicians in exchange for patient referrals and billing federal health care programs for medically unnecessary testing".

DoJ Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Mizer warned that "[h]ealth care providers that attempt to profit by providing illegal inducements will be held accountable", adding that "[the DoJ] will continue to advocate for the appropriate use of Medicare funds and the proper care of ... senior citizens".
DoJ's media release (9 April 2015)
(Source: DoJ; Cornell University Law School)

Published in Government Contracting

The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has made available Update on Cyber Security in the Banking Sector: Third-Party Service Providers (April 2015) (the Update Report), which is based on a survey NYDFS conducted of 40 banking firms about the "cyber security standards those firms have in place for their third-party vendors". The Update Report provides an update on NYDFS's Report on Cyber Security in the Banking Sector (May 2014), which "highlighted the [banking] industry's reliance on third-party service providers for critical banking functions as a continuing challenge".

According to NYDFS, key findings of the Update Report include that:

  • "[n]early 1 in 3 ... of the banks surveyed do not require their third-party vendors to notify them in the event of an information security breach or other cyber security breach";
  • "[f]ewer than half of the banks surveyed conduct any on-site assessments of their third-party vendors";
  • "[a]pproximately 1 in 5 banks surveyed do not require third-party vendors to represent that they have established minimum information security requirements"; and
  • "[n]early half of the banks do not require a warranty of the integrity of the third-party vendors' data or products".

NYDFS's media release (9 April 2015)

Related news item:
The New York Times: Wall St. Is Told to Tighten Digital Security of Partners (8 April 2015)
(Source: NYDFS; The New York Times)

Published in Information Security

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that a US district court has made a summary judgment (6 March 2015) ordering affiliate marketing network LeadClick Media (LeadClick) and its parent company CoreLogic Inc (CoreLogic) to pay US$16 million, after the court found that affiliate marketers recruited by LeadClick on behalf of LeanSpa LLC (LeanSpa) developed fake news sites which "deceived consumers by using real news organization names and logos along with purported testimonials from users of LeanSpa's [weight loss] products".

Published in Consumer Protection

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that massive open online course platform provider edX Inc (edX) has agreed to settle allegations that it breached the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. The DoJ alleged that the platform provided by edX was "not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, including individuals who are blind or have low vision, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who have physical disabilities affecting manual dexterity".

Published in Consumer Protection

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Austin Alcala, a fourth member of an international computer hacking ring has pleaded guilty to "conspiracy to commit computer intrusions and criminal copyright infringement based on his role in the cyber theft of software and data related to the Xbox One gaming console and Xbox Live online gaming system, and popular games such as the ['FIFA'] online soccer series; ['Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3']; and ['Gears of War 3']" between 2012 and 2014.

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Robinson Health System Inc has agreed to pay US$10 million to resolve allegations that it breached the False Claims Act (further information), the Anti-Kickback Statute (further information) and the Social Security Act (further information) by "engaging in improper financial relationships with referring physicians". The DoJ alleged that the physicians entered into management agreements with Robinson Health System and were given payments for management services, but "failed to provide sufficient bona fide management services to have justified the payments they received".

Published in Government Contracting

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made available a final order (13 March 2015) against the operators of Jerk.com Jerk LLC and John Fanning (the defendants), after it found that the defendants "deceived users about the source of content on the website. The FTC also found that the defendants falsely claimed that consumers could access premium features and revise their online profiles by paying $30.

Published in Consumer Protection

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Toru Otoda, the former general manager of Japan-based Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd's (K-Line) car carrier division has been sentenced to 18 months in US Prison and will pay a US$20,000 fine for "his involvement in a conspiracy to fix prices, allocate customers and rig bids of international ocean shipping services for roll-on, roll-off cargo ... to and from the United States and elsewhere".

Published in Competition

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Schlumberger Oilfield Holdings Ltd (Schlumberger), a subsidiary of Schlumberger Ltd, has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to breach the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (further information), to pay US$232,708,356 to the United States, and to submit to a three-year period of corporate probation. The DoJ alleged that Schlumberger facilitated illegal transactions and engaged in trade with Iran and Sudan, in breach of the US economic sanctions against those regimes.

Published in Anti-Money Laundering

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