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The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that the former chief executive officer (CEO) and former managing director of a US broker-dealer have each been sentenced to four years in prison and fined US$3,636,432 and US$2,670,612 respectively for bribing a senior official of Venezuela's state economic development bank Banco de Desarrollo Económico y Social de Venezuela over a period between 2008 and 2012, "in return for trading business that generated more than [US$60 million] in commissions".

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Gilbane Building Company has agreed to pay US$1.1 million to "resolve allegations that W.G. Mills Incorporated[,] a company with which Gilbane merged in November 2010[,] violated the False Claims Act [(further information)] by creating a front company, Veterans Constructors Incorporated (VCI), in order to be awarded a Coast Guard contract that was designated for [s]ervice [d]isabled [v]eteran [o]wned [s]mall [b]usinesses". The DoJ alleged that VCI's affiliation with W.G. Mills made it ineligible to be awarded the contract, and that in fact W.G. Mills completed the work that VCI was contracted to perform. According to the DoJ, VCI has also agreed to pay $50,000 in addition to five annual payments of 1% of VCI's total annual revenue sales.
DoJ's media release (18 March 2015)
(Source: DoJ; Cornell University Law School)

Published in Government Contracting

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that it has filed a Stipulation of Settlement and Order (19 March 2015) settling civil claims against Washakie Renewable Energy LLC (Washakie) for US$3 million, following an enforcement action by the US Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) (further information). According to the DoJ, Washakie breached the Clean Air Act (further information) by generating more than 7.2 million invalid renewable fuel credits, which were worth more than US$2 million. The DoJ also states that Washakie mitigated the problem by retiring the invalid renewable fuel credits and purchasing them from other parties.
DoJ's media release (19 March 2015)
(Source: DoJ; EPA)

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that Save Edge Inc has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. The EEOC alleged that the company offered a position of employment to a job applicant, but revoked it after learning that the applicant had a seizure disorder for which he took prescription drugs. According to the EEOC, "Save Edge withdrew the job offer because it regarded [the applicant] as a disabled individual incapable of doing the job", in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.
EEOC's media release (17 March 2015)
(Source: EEOC; US Department of Justice)

The United States Department of Labor (DoL) has announced that Union Pacific Railroad (UPR) has been ordered to pay an employee engineer US$350,000 in damages and legal costs, after an investigation by the DoL's Occupational and Health Administration (OSHA) found that UPR had disciplined the engineer for reporting injuries sustained at work. The DoL also stated that UPR has been ordered to remove the disciplinary information from the employee's record and to provide information about whistleblower rights to its employees. OSHA regional administrator Marcia Drumm stated that "whistleblower protections play an important role in keeping workplaces safe", adding that "it is not only illegal to discipline an employee for reporting an injury and seeking medical attention, it puts everyone at risk".
DoL's media release (17 March 2015)
(Source: DoL) 

The United States Department of Labor (DoL) has announced that the Bank of New York Mellon has agreed to pay $84 million to settle allegations including that the bank:

 

  • mislead clients into believing it was "pricing their transactions in a more favorable manner" while in fact "for most standing instruction foreign currency exchange transactions with customers, including retirement plans, the bank assigned nearly the worst prices at which currencies had traded in the market during all or part of a day";
  • "misrepresented and failed to disclose to clients how it was pricing the transactions and that the bank had engaged in a deliberate, prolonged effort to conceal its pricing methods"; and
  • breached its fiduciary duties and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (further information).

According to labor secretary Thomas Perez, "this case is a reminder that financial institutions charged with safeguarding retirement plan assets, sometimes put the institution's interests ahead of those of the investors they represent".

DoL's media release (19 March 2015)
(Source: DoL; Cornell University Law School)

Published in Consumer Protection

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that American Pallet Recycling, L.L.C has pleaded guilty to "falsifying stamps that certified wood pallets were heat treated to prevent pest infestation, and were suitable for use in international transportation" and been sentenced to pay a fine of $US100,000. The company's former president and owner Raymond Viola "will pay [US]$1,000 and service three years of probation and has relinquished the business to his son", states the US DoJ.
DoJ's media release (12 March 2015)
(Source: DoJ)

The United States Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has announced that specialty chemicals producer Lamberti USA Inc (Wharton Chemical) "will pay a [US]$230,000 civil penalty to settle allegations that it [breached the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (further information)]" at its Wharton Chemical complex in Hungerford, Texas. According to the US EPA, Wharton Chemical is classified as a small-quantity generator of hazardous waste, however it produced approximately 1,000 kilograms of hazardous waste per month over several occasions from 2009 to 2013.
US EPA's media release (10 March 2015)
(Source: EPA)

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that its lawsuit against hair salon Jamison Shaw Inc has settled for US$27,500. The EEOC commenced proceedings against the hair salon after receiving a complaint from a former employee hairdresser of the salon. The EEOC alleges that the employee's position was terminated after she complained to her employer that she was being discriminated against when her employer refused to accommodate her scoliosis condition. The basis of the EEOC's lawsuit was that the employer discriminated against the employee, and retaliated against her for complaining about the discrimination, in breach of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.
EEOC's media release (11 March 2015)
(Source: EEOC; Department of Justice)

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that its lawsuit against car dealership Lafontaine Cadillac Buick GMC Inc. has settled for US$75,000. The EEOC brought the lawsuit against the car dealership on the basis that it had subjected an employee to a racially hostile work environment. EEOC trial attorney Dale Price said that "[t]he right of an employee to be free from harassment based on race or color is central to ensuring equal employment opportunity".
EEOC's media release (11 March 2015)
(Source: EEOC) 

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