August 26, 2009
Ohio State AG Takes on Mortgage Fraud
A press release of Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray "announced details of an 18-month investigation that led to indictments against 41 people and four companies." The release states that "[t]he defendants are alleged to have engaged in real estate transactions to purchase 453 homes with fraudulent loans totaling $44 million." Although the FBI, US Attorney's Office and Postal Inspector were involved in this investigation, it is interesting to see that the mortgage fraud indictments are being brought at the state level. The press release notes that:
"With funding from the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, the Cuyahoga County Mortgage Fraud Task Force was formed in December 2007. To date, 289 defendants have been indicted for approximately $111 million in fraudulent loans for 812 houses. Of the 812 houses, 616 fell into foreclosure."
Indicting the Gatekeepers - Post UBS
"According to the indictment, [these individuals] helped wealthy American clients conceal their assets by establishing sham and nominee offshore entities to hide their U.S. clients' assets and income while allowing these clients to still control the assets and make investment decisions."
Other interesting posts on UBS-
Sharona Coutts, ProPublica, UBS and the Taxpayers’ Hidden Billions
WebCPA Staff, Former UBS Banker Sentenced to 40 Months
August 25, 2009
Epson Imaging Devices Pleads and Pays
A DOJ Press Release reports that "Epson Imaging Devices Corporation (Epson) agreed to plead guilty and pay a $26 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices in the sale of Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display panels (TFT-LCD) sold to Motorola Inc." It also states that "[a]ccording to a one-count felony charge filed today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Epson, a subsidiary of Seiko Epson Corporation, participated in a conspiracy to fix the prices of TFT-LCD panels sold to Motorola for use in Razr mobile phones from the fall of 2005 to the middle of 2006. According to the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Epson has agreed to cooperate with the Department’s ongoing antitrust investigation." It is a common practice for companies to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation of individuals. Many a plea or deferred prosecution agreement with a cooperation clause has led to later indictments of individuals within or associated with the company.
The Epson Imaging company website acknowledges this agreement (see here) and states that "[t]he United States Department of Justice has been investigating the pricing practices of the world’s major TFT-LCD manufacturers since December 2006, and Epson Imaging has fully cooperated in this investigation. After careful consideration of the law, the facts and other factors, Epson Imaging has decided that the best course of action was to conclude the agreement with the United States Department of Justice." The company also states that "In consideration of the inconvenience caused to its customers, Epson Imaging’s directors will voluntarily adjust their remuneration."
In the News & Around the Blogosphere
Laura Diamond & Bill Rankin, Lawsuit charges university with fraud