Bank of America settles with bond holders over mortgage securities claims

Bank of America will pay $8.5 billion as part of a settlement and repurchase home mortgage loans packaged into bonds by Countrywide Financial Corp.

According to a Bloomberg report, this is the third major settlement on similar charges this year announced by the nation’s largest bank and lender.

Bond holders like BlackRock Inc., Pacific Investment Management Co. and Federal Reserve Bank of New York are among the major investors in mortgage securities through BoA. BoA acquired Countrywide in 2008. Continue reading Bank of America settles with bond holders over mortgage securities claims

Feds Eyeing Home Depot Whistle-Blower Lawsuit

A whistle-blower lawsuit against the home-improvement giant Home Depot Inc. is under scrutiny by the Department of Justice to see if the suit’s allegations merit the DOJ joining the suit in a lead role.

Take a look at Home Depot’s website and you’ll see of a photograph of smiling soldiers unloading a truck packed with goods…including Chinese-made products, putting them in violation of the Buy American Act. The law was enacted in 1933 to protect American jobs and requires that all materials used in the construction of public projects originate in the U.S. or “designated countries.” Continue reading Feds Eyeing Home Depot Whistle-Blower Lawsuit

Judge rejects motion to dismiss unpaid overtime lawsuit because of illegal worker status

A group of Hispanic immigrants have sued a tree service company that hired them as contractors for unpaid overtime, but the company being sued wants the lawsuit dismissed because some are illegal immigrants.

In the lawsuit brought by the former employees at Baird Tree Co. Inc., a total of 21 Hispanic workers claim the company did not pay them for overtime work they completed.

Baird does not believe an illegal immigrant has the right to collect any wages through a lawsuit since they weren’t actually qualified to be hired. The company says the workers produced false documents to the company to gain employment.

Lawyers for the suing group of former employees believe Baird knew the workers they were hiring were illegal immigrants and the firm admitted that some of the 21 ex-employees are illegal immigrants.

Baird is trying to get the lawsuit against it withdrawn based on the idea that some of the workers it hired were here illegally. Lawyers told Knoxville News Sentinel that Baird’s attempt to have the lawsuit withdrawn is just a way of exploiting illegal workers and then claim they didn’t know of their status when they were hired.

A federal judge in Tennessee said Baird can not have the lawsuit removed in part or whole because of the status of some of the workers.

New Lawsuit Filed Against David Lerner Associates

David Lerner Associates, known for their “Take a Tip from Poppy” advertising slogan, has been sued by investors who claim the company acted negligently in the sale and underwriting of more than $6.8 billion in shares of the Apple Real Estate Investment Trusts. A complaint against the company was filed today in federal court in Newark, New Jersey.

The company is accused of misstating the business model for its REITS and misrepresenting the value of shares and returns for investors. The firm has collected over $600 million in fees and commissions while five Apple REITs have made more than $6 billion in proceeds. Joseph C. Pickard, the firm’s general counsel, said in an emailed statement that “the allegations are baseless and rife with falsehoods, distortions and misleading statements, and we look forward to the opportunity to be vindicated in a court of law.” Continue reading New Lawsuit Filed Against David Lerner Associates

Report indicates FHFA ignored at least 100 complaints of possible mortgage, foreclosure fraud

A new report from the inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Authority says the agency failed to investigate more than 100 complaints of “foreclosure abuse and mortgage fraud” in the last two years.

According to a New York Times report on the FHFA study, the lack of proper oversight and an inability to follow-up on these claims led in large part to the housing crisis of the last half-decade. FHFA oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The FHFA study conducted by its inspector general covers the time between late July 2008 and October 2010, as long as the agency has been in existence.

The near collapses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cost U.S. taxpayers about $154 billion in that time, according to the Times report. FHFA employed just two people to handle consumer complaints about mortgage and forecloure fraud.

The report did not indicate whether all the 100 or more complaints made to the agency were legitimate, but the inspector general at FHFA said the lack of any response to consumer complaints was “troublesome.”

This is just the latest report highlighting issues with Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae and the regulators charged with oversight of the home mortgage industry.

JPMorgan Chase Settles Mortgage Securities Lawsuit

JPMorgan Chase has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against them by the Securities and Exchange Commission by paying $153.6 million. The suit was filed over the sale of mortgage securities that would benefit a hedge fund if investors lost money.

The Securities and Exchange Commission says JPMorgan’s investment bank did not tell investors that a hedge fund had selected assets making up the synthetic collateralized debt obligation, or that it stood to make money if investors lost theirs. Continue reading JPMorgan Chase Settles Mortgage Securities Lawsuit

Arrest Made in Sony Playstation Network Hack

A 19-year-old has been arrested near London in connection with the hacking of Sony. He is also suspected of hacking into systems and mounting denial of service attacks against several international intelligence agencies.

The man’s computers will be examined for evidence related to hacks against Sony, the CIA, and the UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency. Officials are looking for a link between the man and a group called LulzSec, which recently claimed to have attacked the CIA website and took credit for hacking public broadcaster PBS. Continue reading Arrest Made in Sony Playstation Network Hack

Lawsuit accuses Manhattan law firm of unpaid overtime

A former Desktop Support Technician at a Manhattan law firm is accusing his former employer of unpaid overtime in a federal class-action lawsuit filed last week.

According to a report from Thomson Reuters, Keith McKenzie worked in that role with Schulte Roth & Zabal for nine years and said his employer offered extra time off instead of paying overtime for working more than 40 hours in a week.

The class-action lawsuit he filed in a New York federal court is intended to cover all employees of the law firm, up to seven, working as Desktop Support Technicians, people responsible for “installing and troubleshooting office technology,” the report indicates.

The lawsuit claims the law firm broke the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires any hour worked past 40 in a week to be compensated with 1.5-times an employee’s regular pay rate.

An executive director at Schulte Roth & Zabel defended the firm against the lawsuit’s accusations, according to the Reuters report.

McKenzie says in his lawsuit that the extra time off was company policy, and there was no offer of overtime pay.

Lawsuit Blames Sony Playstation Hack on Layoffs

A class-action filed against Sony accuses the company of spending lavishly on its own data, while laying off employees in a unit responsible for network security two week before a massive data breach, according to Reuters.

The suit seeks “appropriate” restitution, credit-monitoring services, and “exemplary damages” if Sony is found to have acted recklessly or negligently. Continue reading Lawsuit Blames Sony Playstation Hack on Layoffs

Junior accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers claim unpaid overtime in class-action lawsuit

About 2,000 former junior accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers are set to go to trial accusing their former employer of unpaid overtime.

According to, PricewaterhouseCoopers faces the class-action lawsuit in California, where it operates six locations at which at least 2,000 current and former junior accountants accuse the company of not paying overtime wages for work they completed. Continue reading Junior accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers claim unpaid overtime in class-action lawsuit