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Showing posts from September, 2009

New Jersey Hospital to Pay $8.3 Million for Alleged Kickbacks and Causing Submission of False Claims to Medicare

WASHINGTON - The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) has agreed to pay the government $8.3 million to settle allegations that it illegally paid kickbacks to cardiologists and caused the submission of false claims to Medicare, the Justice Department announced today.

UMDNJ’s University Hospital, which is located in Newark, N.J., is a state-licensed Level 1 Trauma Center. To maintain funding and accreditation from the state, University Hospital was dependent on the annual performance of a certain number of cardiac procedures, including cardiac catheterizations and cardiothoracic surgery.

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with First United Security Bank of Thomasville, Alabama, Regarding Alleged Discrimination in Lending

Settlement Ensures Equal Lending Services to African-Americans

WASHINGTON – First United Security Bank of Thomasville, Ala., will invest more than $600,000, open a new branch in an African-American neighborhood in west central Alabama and take other steps as part of a settlement to resolve allegations that it engaged in a pattern of discrimination on the basis of race, the Justice Department announced.

The settlement was filed today in conjunction with the department’s complaint in federal court in Mobile, Ala. The complaint alleges that the bank charged African-American borrowers higher rates than similarly-situated white borrowers on home mortgage-related loans. The complaint also alleges that the bank has unlawfully failed to provide its lending products and services on an equal basis to majority African-American areas in west central Alabama, a practice known as redlining. The lawsuit is brought under the federal Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

USPTO Joint Labor-Management Task Force Proposes Significant Changes to Examiner Count System

WASHINGTON —Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos has unveiled a series of proposals to bring significant change to the examiner “count system” – the methodology for determining the time a patent examiner has to complete a patent examination and how much credit is given for each stage of an examination. The proposal was developed by a task force comprised of senior managers in the Patents organization and leadership of the Patent Office Professional Association (POPA), the union that represents patent examiners.

“Secretary Locke directed us to adopt an ambitious agenda to address the significant challenges at USPTO and that’s what we’re doing,” Kappos said. “We’ve worked closely with labor representatives to propose a long-overdue transformation of the count system. We hope to move expeditiously toward adoption of these changes that will benefit examiners, the agency and the IP community …

Sexual Harassment Charges EEOC & FEPAs Combined: FY 1997 - FY 2008

The following chart represents the total number of charge receipts filed and resolved under Title VII alleging sexual harassment discrimination as an issue.

The data in the sexual harassment table reflect charges filed with EEOC and the state and local Fair Employment Practices agencies around the country that have a work sharing agreement with the Commission.

The data are compiled by the Office of Research, Information and Planning from data compiled from EEOC's Charge Data System and, from FY 2004 forward, EEOC's Integrated Mission System.

Click here for sexual harassment table.

Live Webcast: FTC Roundtable on Protecting Consumers in Debt Collection Arbitration and Litigation

Today the Federal Trade Commission is hosting a public event on consumer protection issues in debt collection proceedings. This is the second in a series of FTC roundtable discussions on these topics.

WHAT: “Protecting Consumers in Debt Collection Arbitration and Litigation: A Roundtable Discussion”

WHEN: September 30, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Registration at 8 a.m.; Seating limited

WHERE: San Francisco State University Downtown Campus
835 Market Street, Rooms 675 and 676
San Francisco, CA 94132

A live webcast, agenda, and information about the participants are available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/debtcollectround/index.shtm.

Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment and arrest of a detective with the police division of the Waterfront Commission

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment and arrest of a detective with the police division of the Waterfront Commission for lying to officials under oath with the New York State Office of the Inspector General during an investigation into corruption on the waterfront.

The defendant, JAMES SUTERA, 28, of Woodland Park, New Jersey, was indicted on multiple perjury charges. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred on February 17, 2009.

Senior Executive Director For Facilities Management At Bellevue Hospital Arrested

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment and arrest of a senior executive director for facilities management at Bellevue Hospital for official misconduct after she pressured vendors and employees to provide goods and services for her home.

The defendant, FARIDEH TABAEI, 55, of Long Island, was indicted on charges of official misconduct. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred between July 2004 and April 2005.

U.S. Labor Department recovers more than $1.5 million in back wages for 272 contract employees

BOSTON — The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered more than $1.5 million in back wages for 272 employees of SI International SEIT Inc., a contractor for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Vermont Service Center, at various locations in St. Albans and Essex Junction, Vt.

SI International SEIT Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of SI International Inc., employed workers at the Vermont Service Center under federal service contracts subject to the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act's prevailing wage provisions. Following an investigation, the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division cited the company for misclassifying employees and failing to pay them the proper prevailing wage rates for the type of work they were actually performing.

JP MORGAN CHASE BANK SUED BY EEOC FOR SEX DISCRIMINATION AND RETALIATION

Bank Subjected Women to Wage Discrimination and a Sexually Hostile Environment, Then Fired Employee for Complaining, Agency Charges

CLEVELAND - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today that JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. violated federal law by subjecting female employees to wage discrimination, a sexually hostile environment and retaliation at its Polaris Park facility in Columbus, Ohio.

According to the EEOC's suit (Case No. 1:09-cv-00711), filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the EEOC charges that since April 2007, shortly after Aimee Doneyhue was hired, she noticed that women were subjected to terms and conditions of employment which negatively impacted their compensation, including their ability to earn commissions and bonuses. Additionally, the EEOC says, women were subjected to verbal sexual harassment. Finally, the EEOC says that Chase Bank fired Doneyhue for complaining about the foregoing practices…

JP MORGAN CHASE BANK SUED BY EEOC FOR SEX DISCRIMINATION AND RETALIATION

Bank Subjected Women to Wage Discrimination and a Sexually Hostile Environment, Then Fired Employee for Complaining, Agency Charges

CLEVELAND - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today that JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. violated federal law by subjecting female employees to wage discrimination, a sexually hostile environment and retaliation at its Polaris Park facility in Columbus, Ohio.

According to the EEOC's suit (Case No. 1:09-cv-00711), filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the EEOC charges that since April 2007, shortly after Aimee Doneyhue was hired, she noticed that women were subjected to terms and conditions of employment which negatively impacted their compensation, including their ability to earn commissions and bonuses. Additionally, the EEOC says, women were subjected to verbal sexual harassment. Finally, the EEOC says that Chase Bank fired Doneyhue for complaining about the foregoing practices…

FTC Files Joint Amicus Brief in Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer, and Ulrich LPA, et al.

The Federal Trade Commission has joined the U.S. Department of Justice in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer, and Ulrich LPA, et al., No. 08-1200 (U.S. S. Ct.). This case concerns whether the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act’s (FDCPA) “bona fide error” defense applies not just to procedural or clerical errors, but also to errors of law.

The amicus brief, which is available on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release, urges the Supreme Court to reverse the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The Sixth Circuit held that the bona fide error defense could apply to errors of law, but the amicus brief argues that the court’s holding is not consistent with the wording or the legislative history of the FDCPA.

CUOMO ANNOUNCES CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST 12 BUFFALO DEBT COLLECTORS

Employees Posed as Law Enforcement Officials and Threatened to Have Consumers Arrested if They Didn’t Immediately Pay Debts

Charges are Part of Cuomo’s Ongoing Probe into Abuses in the Debt Collection Industry

BUFFALO, N.Y. (September 29, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the filing of criminal charges against 12 employees of several Buffalo-area debt collection companies for posing as law enforcement officials and threatening to have consumers thrown in jail unless they immediately paid off the debts that they supposedly owed.

All of the individuals charged today worked for one or more of the debt collection companies owned by Buffalo resident Tobias Boyland, which were shut down in June under an order obtained by Cuomo’s office. Since announcing that case during the summer, the Attorney General’s Office has compiled more than 1,000 complaints against Boyland and his companies. Today’s charges and arrests are a part of the Attorney General’s ongoing probe into unl…

SEARS, ROEBUCK TO PAY $6.2 MILLION FOR DISABILITY BIAS

Federal Court Approves Largest Monetary Amount Ever in Single EEOC ADA Suit; Employees Allegedly Terminated Based on Inflexible Workers’ Compensation Leave Exhaustion Policy

CHICAGO – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the entry of a record-setting consent decree resolving a class lawsuit against Sears, Roebuck and Co. (Sears) under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) for $6.2 million and significant remedial relief.

The consent decree, approved this morning by Federal District Judge Wayne Andersen, represents the largest ADA settlement in a single lawsuit in EEOC history. The EEOC’s suit alleged that Sears maintained an inflexible workers’ compensation leave exhaustion policy and terminated employees instead of providing them with reasonable accommodations for their disabilities, in violation of the ADA.

Coakley’s Office announced the guilty plea of a former Somerville real estate attorney

WOBURN – Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced the guilty plea of a former Somerville real estate attorney yesterday in connection with making false statements on mortgage applications and associated documents and using the funds secured from the loans for his own purposes, rather than paying off existing loans as directed by the new lenders. Kevin Carey, age 49, of Middleboro, pled guilty in Middlesex Superior Court to the charges of Larceny over $250 (8 counts) and Willfully Making a False Statement Regarding Financial Condition or Assets (7 counts). Carey is scheduled to be sentenced on November 6, 2009, in Bristol Superior Court.

While practicing as a real estate lawyer in Somerville and Medford, Carey engaged in a scheme called “mortgage stacking” on four residential properties he or his family members owned. The scheme involved serially refinancing the loans on these properties, without paying off the existing loans. Carey was also the agent for a New England tit…

CUOMO ANNOUNCES 24 INDIVIDUALS CHARGED IN SYRACUSE-AREA NARCOTICS SWEEP

“Operation Trump” Seizes Over Four Kilos of Cocaine, Handguns, a Car and Cash

SYRACUSE, NY (September 29, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that narcotics trafficking charges have been filed against 24 individuals who are alleged to have been involved in drug distribution networks in and around the Syracuse area. These indictments are the result of an investigation known as “Operation Trump” conducted by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) with assistance from the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, the Syracuse Police Department, the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, and numerous other law enforcement agencies.

During the course of the investigation, over 4-1/2 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of approximately $320,000, two handguns, a car used for smuggling drugs, and close to $9,800 in cash were seized. The individuals are being prosecuted on three separate indictments. The name “Operation Trump” i…

Detroit-Area Rehabilition Facility Executive Pleads Guilty To $18.2 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON – Suresh Chand pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Detroit to participating in multiple conspiracies to defraud the Medicare program and to launder the proceeds of the fraud, Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Terrence Berg and Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced.

Chand, 44, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Sean F. Cox to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to launder money. At his sentencing, which is scheduled for Jan. 13, 2010, Chand faces a statutory maximum of 30 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.

Justice Department Sues Massachusetts and Its Department of Corrections for Discriminating Against Female Job Applicants

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced that it has filed a lawsuit today against the commonwealth of Massachusetts and its Department of Corrections (MDOC), alleging that they engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against female applicants for entry-level correctional officer positions, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. Title VII is a federal statute that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin and religion.

The department’s complaint, filed in federal court in Boston, alleges that Massachusetts and the MDOC are using an unlawful physical abilities test (PAT) that disproportionately screens out female applicants for entry-level correctional officer jobs, resulting in a significant disparate impact against female applicants. According to the complaint, in 2007 and 2008, female applicants for the entry-level jobs of correctional officer and correctional program officer passed the PAT at…

EEOC FILES CLASS NATIONAL ORIGIN HARASSMENT SUIT AGAINST HILTON HOTEL IN CHICAGO SUBURB

Lisle/Naperville Hilton Subjected Hispanics to Ethnic Slurs, Federal Agency Charges

CHICAGO – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit Friday against Fireside West, LLC, doing business as the Hilton in Lisle/Naperville, Ill., charging that the hotel violated Title VII by subjecting its Hispanic employees to a hostile work environment. The EEOC’s complaint said that the hotel subjected Hispanic employees to frequent ethnic slurs from the hotel’s executive chef.

The EEOC’s lawsuit, in U.S. District Court in Chicago (Civil Action 09-CV-05979, assigned to District Judge James B. Zagel and Magistrate Judge Maria G. Valdez), arose out of charges of discrimination filed with the EEOC by two former employees of the hotel. The EEOC’s administrative investigation which preceded the lawsuit, supervised by EEOC Chicago District Director John Rowe, revealed that the executive chef would allegedly openly refer to Hispanic employees under his supervision with derogatory terms…

Former Enron Broadband Co-Chief Executive Officer Sentenced For Wire Fraud

WASHINGTON – Joseph Hirko, former co-chief executive officer of Enron Broadband Services (EBS), Enron’s failed telecommunications business, was sentenced today to 16 months in prison, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore ordered Hirko, 53, of Portland, Ore., to forfeit approximately $7 million in restitution to victims through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enron Fair Fund, in accordance with the terms of the plea agreement. Hirko pleaded guilty on Oct. 14, 2008, in U.S. District Court in Houston to one count of wire fraud charged in a superseding indictment.

United States Transfers Three Guantanamo Bay Detainees to Foreign Nations

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice today announced that three detainees have been transferred from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the control of the governments of Ireland and Yemen.

As directed by the President’s Jan. 22, 2009 Executive Order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of each of these cases. As a result of that review, these detainees were approved for transfer from Guantanamo Bay. In accordance with Congressionally-mandated reporting requirements, the Administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer each of these detainees at least 15 days before their transfer.

Dutch Firm and Two Officers Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Export Aircraft Components and Other Goods to Iran

A Dutch aviation services company, its director and sales manager pleaded guilty today in the District of Columbia to federal charges related to a conspiracy to illegally export aircraft components and other items from the United States to entities in Iran via the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus.

The announcement was made by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Channing D. Phillips, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; and Kevin Delli-Colli, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, and Sharon E. Woods, Director of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. The investigation was conducted by agents from the Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement, with assistance from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

FBI Arrests Jordanian Citizen for Attempting to Bomb Skyscraper in Downtown Dallas

Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, 19, has been arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Smadi, who was under continuous surveillance by the FBI, was arrested today near Fountain Place, a 60-story glass office tower located at 1445 Ross Avenue in downtown Dallas, after he placed an inert/inactive car bomb at the location. Smadi, a Jordanian citizen in the U.S. illegally, lived and worked in Italy, Texas. He has repeatedly espoused his desire to commit violent Jihad and has been the focus of an undercover FBI investigation.

"The highest priority of the FBI and the Department of Justice remains the prevention of another terrorist attack within the United States," said U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of Texas James T. Jacks. "In that effort, it is the job of the FBI to locate and identify individuals intent upon carrying out any type of attack upon this country and its citizens/residents. Whether a…

EIGHT MORE ARRESTS IN TAKEDOWN OF INSURANCE FRAUD RING

NEW YORK, NY (September 23, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the arrest of eight individuals, seven of whom are hospital employees charged with receiving bribes in exchange for confidential patient information. The information was then allegedly used by others to lure patients into receiving unnecessary treatment and then submit over a million dollars in phony personal injury claims to insurance carriers. Today’s arrests stem from Cuomo’s ongoing investigation into allegations of bribery tactics being used at hospitals across New York to take advantage of the state’s no-fault insurance laws. In July, the investigation led to the arrest of 12 individuals and 9 corporations (“the Levy Enterprise”) across New York City, including two other hospital employees.

According to the felony charges filed this morning in Bronx Criminal Court, seven of the individuals arrested today were public hospital employees who accepted bribes to provide confidential patient informatio…

KNOUSE FOODS SUED BY EEOC FOR SEXUAL AND NATIONAL ORIGIN HARASSMENT AND RETALIATION

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A major farm growers’ cooperative with processing plants in three states violated federal law by subjecting a class of female employees to pervasive harassment based on sex and national origin and firing one employee in retaliation for complaining about it, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

The EEOC charges in its suit against Knouse Foods Cooperative, Inc. that a class of female farmworkers was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment by male coworkers at its processing plant in Gardners, Pa. The perpetrators allegedly engaged in unrelenting sexual harassment, including: making sexual advances to female employees; asking them to expose their breasts; asking them on dates; and making vulgar sexual comments. The male coworkers also engaged in threatening behavior, such as using the forklift to chase women or blocking them with their bodies or a broom while they walked down the hall.

Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to Hold Workshops Concerning Horizontal Merger Guidelines

Antitrust Agencies Explore Possible Update to Guidelines to Account for Legal and Economic Developments

The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today that they will solicit public comment and hold joint public workshops to explore the possibility of updating the Horizontal Merger Guidelines that are used by both agencies to evaluate the potential competitive effects of mergers and acquisitions.

The goal of the workshops will be to determine whether the Horizontal Merger Guidelines accurately reflect the current practice of merger review at the FTC and DOJ, as well as to take into account legal and economic developments that have occurred since the last significant Guidelines revision in 1992.

USPTO Annual Independent Inventors Conference Set for November 5-6

>> Register Now!
The USPTO’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia will be the site of the 14th annual Independent Inventors Conference on November 5-6. The two-day event will include a pre-conference for first time attendees on the evening of November 4.
The USPTO’s new director, David Kappos will deliver the keynote address on November 5. As always the conference will provide a wealth of information about patents, trademarks and intellectual property protection. Experts from the USPTO will conduct breakout sessions and be available for one on one meetings. There will also be lots of opportunity for attendees to network during breaks and at the opening night reception. The reception will be co-sponsored by the American Intellectual Property Law Association and the Intellectual Property Owners.
The conference is valuable for both novice and experienced inventors. Space is limited so register today. Click here for more information about speakers and the conference.

Internet Payday Lenders Will Pay $1 Million

An international Internet payday lending operation will pay $1 million to settle Federal Trade Commission and State of Nevada charges that it failed to disclose key loan terms and used unlawful debt collection tactics.

The defendants operated from the United Kingdom and targeted consumers in the United States, who were misled into believing that the defendants operated from Nevada. According to a complaint filed by the FTC and Nevada in 2008, the defendants told consumers that the loans had to be repaid by their next payday with a fee ranging from $35 to $80, or the loans would be extended automatically for an extra fee debited from consumers’ bank accounts until the loans were repaid.

Three Arrested in Ongoing Terror Investigation

Two individuals in Colorado and one individual in New York have been arrested on charges of making false statements to federal agents in an ongoing terror investigation.

FBI agents in Colorado arrested Najibullah Zazi, 24, a resident of Aurora, Colo., and legal permanent resident from Afghanistan, and his father Mohammed Wali Zazi, 53, a resident of Aurora and a naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan. In addition, FBI agents in New York arrested Ahmad Wais Afzali, 37, a resident of Flushing, N.Y., and a legal permanent resident from Afghanistan.

Each of the defendants has been charged by criminal complaint with knowingly and willfully making false statements to the FBI in a matter involving international and domestic terrorism. Najibullah Zazi and Mohammed Zazi are scheduled to make their initial appearances on Monday in federal court in the District of Colorado. Ahmad Afzali is scheduled to make his initial appearance on Monday in federal court in the Eastern District of New York.…

Justice Department Submits Views on Proposed Google Book Search Settlement

The Department of Justice today advised the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that while it should not accept the class action settlement in The Authors Guild Inc. et al. v. Google Inc. as proposed due to concerns of the United States regarding class action, copyright and antitrust law, the parties should be encouraged to continue their productive discussions to address those concerns. In its statement of interest filed with the court, the Department stated:

"Given the parties’ express commitment to ongoing discussions to address concerns already raised and the possibility that such discussions could lead to a settlement agreement that could legally be approved by the Court, the public interest would best be served by direction from the Court encouraging the continuation of those discussions between the parties and, if the Court so chooses, by some direction as to those aspects of the Proposed Settlement that need to be improved. Because a properly structu…

Wife of Alleged Gang Leader Sentenced, Alleged Leader’s Brother Re-enters Guilty Plea in Drug Conspiracy Case

Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (ALKQN) member Marie Chavez, aka "Shorty," wife of an alleged ALKQN leader, Jose Nava, aka "Chino," was sentenced today, while his brother Luis Nava, aka "Flaco," re-entered a guilty plea to a superseding indictment that charged them and 14 others with various offenses related to alleged narcotics and weapons trafficking, as well as violent activities throughout Texas.

Marie Chavez, 28, of Lubbock, Texas, was sentenced today to 188 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings in U.S. District Court in Lubbock. Chavez pleaded guilty on June 15, 2009, to the superseding indictment, which charged her with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, as well as one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. Chavez has been in custody since her arrest in December 2008.

FTC Announces New Enforcement Actions In Continuing Crackdown On Mortgage Relief Services Scams

The Federal Trade Commission today announced two new law enforcement actions in a continuing crackdown on mortgage foreclosure rescue and loan modification scams, bringing to 22 the number of these cases the Commission has filed since the housing crisis began. The FTC also announced developments in similar pending mortgage-related actions.

"Today’s challenging economy presents an opportunity for con artists who prey upon financially distressed consumers. The Federal Trade Commission and our state and federal partners will continue to bring law enforcement actions to stop this insidious fraud,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said. “If you’re worried about keeping your home, avoid any company that asks for a large fee in advance, guarantees that they’ll stop a foreclosure or modify a loan, or tells you to stop paying your mortgage company and to pay them instead.”

DELL WILL PAY $4 MILLION FOR DEFRAUDING NEW YORK CONSUMERS

Consumers Defrauded by Dell Encouraged to Contact the AG’s Office or Visit Updated Website at www.nyagdell.com to get money back NEW YORK, N.Y.  (September 15, 2009) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Dell and its subsidiary, Dell Financial Services (DFS), have agreed to pay the Attorney General’s Office $4 million in restitution, penalties and costs to resolve charges of fraudulent and deceptive business practices that scammed consumers across New York State.

The settlement follows a decision of the New York Supreme Court, Albany County, which sustained Attorney General Cuomo’s claims that Dell had engaged in fraud, false advertising, deceptive business practices, and abusive debt collection practices. The court’s decision came as a result of the original lawsuit filed by Cuomo’s Office, which charged that Dell engaged in bait and switch advertising with respect to its “no interest” financing promotions, misled consumers to believe they had qualified for promotio…

U.S. Labor Department proposes civil penalty rules for multiemployer defined benefit pension plans that fail to take corrective funding action

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed a regulation to assess civil penalties against plan sponsors of multiemployer defined benefit pension plans that fail to adopt a funding improvement or rehabilitation plan in accordance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) as amended by the Pension Protection Act (PPA).

The PPA amended ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code to require those plans certified to be in endangered or critical status to adopt a funding improvement plan or a rehabilitation plan within 240 days from the required date of the certification. PPA also gave the Labor Department authority to assess civil monetary penalties of up to $1,100 per day against plan sponsors that fail to timely adopt funding improvement or rehabilitation plans. The proposed regulation sets forth the administrative procedures for assessing and contesting such penalties.

International Arms Dealer Arrested for Conspiracy to Supply U.S. Fighter Jet Engines to Iran

Jacques Monsieur, a Belgian national and resident of France suspected of international arms dealing for decades, has been arrested on charges alleging that he conspired to illegally export F-5 fighter jet engines and parts from the United States to Iran. Monsieur is scheduled to have his arraignment today in federal court in Mobile, Alabama.

A six-count indictment returned on Aug. 27, 2009, in the Southern District of Alabama charging Monsieur, 56, and co-defendant Dara Fotouhi, aka Dara Fatouhi, 54, an Iranian national currently living in France, with conspiracy, money laundering, smuggling, as well as violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

PFIZER AGREES TO LARGEST HEALTH CARE FRAUD SETTLEMENT EVER

New York state to receive nearly $66 million as part of multi-state/federal settlement with Pfizer

NEW YORK, N.Y. (September 2, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York, six other states and the federal government have negotiated the largest health care fraud settlement in history concerning allegations that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Inc. provided kickbacks and engaged in off-labeling marketing campaigns to illegally promote its drugs.

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), the largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in the world, illegally engaged in a pattern of marketing activities to promote multiple drugs for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Pfizer also paid kickbacks to health care professionals in the forms of entertainment, cash, travel and meals to induce them to promote and prescribe various drugs, including: Bextra, Geodon, Lyrica, Zyvox, Aricept, Celebrex, Lipitor, Norvasc, Relpax, Viagra, Zithromax, Zoloft and Zyrtec.