New Research: FINRA Foundation Examines Financial Capability of Women Behind Bars / Study Highlights Grim Financial Challenges and Gender Disparities (FINRA Release)Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Bank of America to Resolve Claims of Disability Discrimination and Compensate Victims / Complaint Alleges That Bank Refused to Issue Mortgages to Individuals Who are Under Guardianships (DOJ Release)Stay-at-home trend is a 'permanent shift,' and one stock can keep winning out, traders say (CNBC Lizzy Gurdus)Vice President Of Investment Firm Arrested For Running Multimillion-Dollar Ponzi Scheme Targeting Afghanistan-Based Bank (DOJ Release)
The study, Gender and Financial Capability from Behind Bars, used primary survey data collected from 515 women and men incarcerated in five correctional facilities in Arkansas, in concert with financial capability data from the FINRA Foundation's National Financial Capability Study.Of note, the study found that incarcerated women in Arkansas have the highest poverty rates and use of predatory lenders, as well as the lowest levels of financial literacy and financial assets-in comparison to incarcerated men and the state's general population.
[W]e are again projecting that our expenses will exceed our operating revenues in 2020, which could result in a potential draw-down of our reserves of $210.2 million (referred to as the Potential Reserve Reliance). As in prior years, this projection helps us understand at the beginning of the year, for budgeting purposes, how reliant we may have to be on our reserves during the course of the year. However, in practice, our actual net income or loss-to be reflected in our 2020 AFR-will ultimately include fines, investment returns and other accounting adjustments. For reference, our 2018 budget included a Potential Reserve Reliance of $138.1 million, but we ultimately reported a GAAP net loss in our 2018 AFR of $68.7 million. Our 2019 budget included a Potential Reserve Reliance of $185.8 million; our 2019 GAAP net loss, which will be lower than the Potential Reserve Reliance for 2019, will be reported as usual in the 2019 AFR this summer.Over the last several years, we have relied on our reserves to fund budget deficits instead of increasing member firm fees, with 2020 marking the seventh consecutive year we have not increased fees. As a result, FINRA has drawn down approximately $650 million from its reserves since 2010.
It is important to note at the outset that the 2020 budget summarized below was developed and approved by FINRA's Board of Governors before the nature and extent of the COVID-19 outbreak became apparent. That event has significantly impacted the business and operations of many of our member firms, as well as how FINRA performs many of its functions. We expect to continue to adjust our operations as appropriate to best achieve our mission as this situation evolves. These adjustments and the pandemic's impact on our member firms may have implications for our financial performance relative to the projections in the 2020 budget. The Board will continue to monitor these developments and management's response.
The Bank has ended its practice of denying mortgage and home equity loans to adults with disabilities under guardianships or conservatorships. The terms of the settlement require the Bank to pay $4,000 per loan to eligible loan applicants who were affected by the Bank's prior discriminatory policies, and we anticipate that the payments will total approximately $300,000. The settlement also requires the Bank to maintain the new, non-discriminatory loan underwriting policies and train its employees on the new policies. In addition, the Bank must monitor its loan processing and underwriting activities to ensure compliance with the Fair Housing Act.
Bill Singer's Comment: There is a line. Somewhere there is a line between the proper role of government and then what many call the intrusive "Nanny State." As a former regulator, an advocate for defrauded investors and whistleblowers, and an advocate for industry participants, I am wary about where that line should be drawn. At times, it needs to be thicker, darker, and more defined in favor of investors; but at other times, I would like to kick dirt on it, obscure it, and move it into more neutral territory. Too often those that draw the line are the paid lackeys of Wall Street's powerful interest. On the other hand, too many lines have been too hastily drawn over the years by those who are angered by the fraud-of-the-day -- and it is only later that we realize that the proposed cure has caused more harm. So . . . sure, I understand where Clayton is coming from with his investing/trading concern --readers of my online content know that I frequently admonish about that very distinction. Sadly, we live in an age when the overwhelming evidence demonstrates the wisdom of wearing masks, yet there are those who prefer to live free without a mask notwithstanding that it poses virtually no harm to the wearer and offers much protection to the rest of us. If we can't resolve something that stark and compelling, I doubt that we will tolerate any substantive regulatory effort to prevent folks from engaging in ill-advised daytrading based upon idiotic rumors and devoid of even the most rudimentary due diligence. Perhaps we need to be mindful of the moral hazard of protecting fools from losing their money? Perhaps it's best that those who view Wall Street as a casino are allowed to place their life's savings on the green felt and watch it pulled away from them when their bet proves wrong."Here at the SEC, when we think about that investor, we think about someone who's investing for the long term: investing over time, doing it on a monthly basis," Clayton said. "What we are seeing is significant inflows from retail investors, and they have the hallmarks of short-term inflows. And does that concern me? Sure.""Because that's more trading than investing," he continued. "Short-term trading is much more risky than long-term investing, and so I do worry."
In New York, about one in four employers intends to reduce office footprints, and about 16% expect to move jobs out of the city, according to the Partnership for New York City, an influential group of corporate chief executives, which hired more than a dozen consulting firms to conduct the study.That study found that less than half of companies expect their employees to return to the office by year-end.
From at least 2011 through 2016, Ingenbleek created numerous direct mail solicitations supposedly from world-renowned psychics, falsely and fraudulently claiming that the recipients were being contacted because they had been the subject of specific visions by the psychics, including visions that the recipients were going to receive large sums of money and good fortune. Many of the letters falsely promised that the psychic services or objects being offered were free of charge. In fact, the letters were mass-produced using software and information provided by Ingenbleek to a direct mail marketing services company, Company-1, located in Piscataway, New Jersey, that Ingenbleek retained to print and mail the solicitations.Ingenbleek directed a second company, Company-2, to send fraudulent billing notices to the same victims which stated that the victims owed money for psychic services, which in many cases had been offered free of charge. The fraudulent billing notices were labeled "collection notices" and "invoices," falsely representing that the victims owed late payment fees, and falsely stating that a psychic or astrology organization would refer the victim to a "collection agency" and take legal action if the recipient did not send a check, usually for $20 to $50. Through his fraudulent psychic mailing campaign, Ingenbleek obtained more than $10 million dollars from the victims.In September 2016, Ingenbleek directed representatives of Company-1 and Company-2 to destroy all materials related to his fraudulent psychic mailings in response to federal criminal investigations into his conduct and the conduct of other participants in the scheme. In one email, dated Sept. 23, 2016, Ingenbleek told a representative of Company-2, "You cannot wait! I advise you urgently to get rid of the material! Use your own car, rent a truck, start today, work all weekend."
From February 2007 through July 2016, ISMAIL fraudulently induced individual and corporate victims - including the New York-based subsidiary of an Afghanistan-based bank - to loan large sums of money to entities operated by ISMAIL and others. ISMAIL did so by claiming that these funds would be used in a particular investment strategy as well as several real estate development projects. ISMAIL promised investors a generous fixed annual rate of return and promised to return the investors' principal on a specified timeline. In fact, ISMAIL and his companies did not invest these funds as promised, nor did ISMAIL repay many of his victims. Instead, ISMAIL used investor funds to pay the so-called interest payments due to earlier investors in the scheme, as well as for his own personal expenses and investments.During the course of the fraudulent scheme, ISMAIL deprived the scheme's victims of over $15 million.
[A]s a part of his efforts to lull investors into a false sense of security about their investments, Robbins told them he had achieved high returns in his foreign day-trading business. In fact, Robbins lost millions of dollars and diverted investor money for his personal use and benefit. He solicited approximately 66 investors to invest around $10,354,700.69 in his scheme.Robbins admitted that he made fraudulent representations in his communication with investors in the scheme. The false representations include telling them he had spent 11 years developing an algorithm for foreign currency trading which allowed him to average returns of 5 percent to 30 percent per month; representing to them that he worked for a bank in Germany around 2005 where he was on contract to help the bank develop algorithms for their traders to use; that he used more than 13 different brokerage firms in different countries to facilitate his foreign currency trading program; assuring them that his trading program was compliant with the laws of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission; and promising that people who invested with him would never lose more than 5 percent of the net equity in their trading account due to "stop loss" measures.He made the false representations knowing he was not providing a legitimate investment; that he had lost nearly all of the investor money; and he was using a portion of the investor money on personal living expenses; and no significant investment returns were generated.
From 2013 through February 2018, SmartBank employed defendant as its vice president of loan operations. During that time, Clabo abused her position of private trust with SmartBank by misusing her general-ledger and loan-operations oversight authority to steal, embezzle, misapply, and conceal the theft, embezzlement, and misapplication of more than $600,000 of Smartbank's money, funds, and credits. Clabo's conduct was not isolated, but reflected a pattern of repeated deceptive conduct over many years. Clabo abused her managerial position at SmartBank and used her knowledge of SmartBank's internal controls for personal advantage intending to defraud SmartBank.In addition to embezzling and the misapplication of funds from SmartBank, Clabo filed false tax returns for 2014 through 2017 that failed to include as income the money she embezzled from her employer, resulting in additional income tax owed of over $89,000.