Mark Cuban Cleared of Insider Trading

Posted by Emmanuel Martinez.

Mark Cuban who is well known for his high profile lifestyle has recently been acquitted from the charges against him for insider trading. The SEC brought a “civil lawsuit against Cuban in November 2008. A judge dismissed the suit in 2009 but an appeals court revived the case the following year.” Cuban decided to go to trial.

The lead prosecutor in the case, Jan Folena, accused Mark Cuban of getting a private tip to avoid a loss of about $750,000 when he sold his interest in Momma.com.  Cuban was accused of getting a tip from Chief Executive Guy Faure, who supposedly gave him a heads up about the company planning a private placement, which would had affected the investment Cuban had in the company;  his investment amounted to about $7.9 million dollars.

Mamma.com dropped 9.3% after the private placement offering. Mark Cuban was accused of insider trading because he sold his shares two weeks prior to the stock dropping. Cuban stated that potential investors were being contacted to participate in the private placement and this is how he made his judgment to sell his shares. He denied any inside information being given to him that the public did not have.

Emmanuel is an accounting major at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University.

Former General Counsel of South Florida Law Firm Sentenced for Fraud

Posted by Connie Huang.

According to Merriam Webster dictionary, fraud is “the crime of using dishonest methods to take something valuable from another person; a person who pretends to be what he or she is not in order to trick people; [or] a copy of something that is meant to look like the real thing in order to trick people.” Therefore, a person who pretends to be something they’re not in order to trick people and using dishonest ways to take something valuable from someone is fraud.

A former general counsel of a law firm in South Florida was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. He was sentenced to federal prison because he helped a managing partner  “swindle investors by selling them ‘income’ from faked settlements.” He will probably be testifying against other defendants.

According to the article, defendant’s attorney argued that his client “had been punished enough by losing his New York law license and his home and declaring bankruptcy.” I agree that defendant has been punished enough, because losing one’s ability to work and make money (a law license) and maintain a house is hard on his life as it is. That is a lot to lose. The defendant apologized in court to his family members, which I believe is a rightful thing to do. He has declared he has been guilty to charges relating to wire fraud.

“Former General Counsel of Notorious Rothstein Law Firm Gets 18 Months for Fraud.” ABA Journal. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2015.

Connie is an international business major at Montclair State University, Class of 2017.

HSBC Offices Raided Over Money Laundering Allegations

Posted by Connie Huang.

HSBC is a bank with locations in Europe. Two branches raided on or about February 18, 2015 by Swiss authorities are located in Geneva. They raided the banks, because the banks are accused of money laundering.

Money laundering is “a financial transaction scheme that aims to conceal the identity, source, and destination of illicitly-obtained money.” The bank’s Swiss arm was aiding their clients in hiding $100 billion in Swiss accounts, as reported by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). This allowed let them evade taxes.

According to the article, the bank told their clients that it would not divulge to national authorities details of accounts. HSBC talked about “moves that [would] ‘ultimately allow clients to avoid paying taxes in their home countries.’” As said by the ICIJ, HSBC has served clients like Hosni Mubarak, former Egyptian President, the current ruler of Syria Bashar al-Assad, and Ben Ali, the former Tunisian President.

“HSBC Switzerland Offices Raided over Money Laundering Allegations – Feb. 18, 2015.” CNNMoney. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.

Connie is an international business major at Montclair State University, Class of 2017.

Thieves Advance in ATM Scams

The European ATM Security Team (EAST) discovered that ATM hackers are now drilling holes in ATM machines near the card reader and installing electronic devices which tap into the “read head” of the magnetic strip reader to steal information.  Normally, thieves would “skim” the information on the magnetic strip through an “overlay” device that would actually read the magnetic strip outside the machine when an unwary customer would insert his or her card.

Instead, these new devices work like a wiretap inside the machine and read the information as it passes through the head of the reader.  The hole is then covered up with a decal after the device is removed with the stolen data.  EAST still classifies the crime as “skimming” even though “‘the the magnetic stripe [on the customer/victim’s card] is not directly skimmed as the data is intercepted.’”

Cameras are still used by thieves to steal PIN numbers; therefore, EAST suggests customers cover the keypad with their hand before entering their PIN.

New FDA Rules Will Change How You Choose Whether to Buy That Bag of Movie Popcorn

Under new FDA rules, movie theaters, chain restaurants, and supermarkets with 20 or more locations will have to provide calorie counts on the foods they sell.  The stores have until November 2015 to comply and provide calorie information on their menus.  Amusement parks, vending machines, bakeries, coffee shops, and convenience stores must also comply with the new rules.

The move to include these food establishments came from a push by the restaurant industry.  Restaurant owners argued that grocery stores and the like that sell prepared foods should also be made to place calorie counts on their food.  “Representatives for the supermarket industry have said it could cost them up to a billion dollars to put the rules in place — costs that would be passed on to consumers.”

Smaller outlets are exempt from the rules for now, as are airplanes, trains, and food trucks.

Prior Controller of Nonprofit Charged with Embezzlement

Posted by Kimberly McNamara.

A former controller of the Hereditary Disease Foundation, a nonprofit group out of New York that encourages and contributes to studies and other research dealing with congenital diseases, has been indicted, this year, for embezzlement of over $1.8 million. The organizations former controller, Karen Alameddine, who was responsible for managing finances from 2005 through January 2014, began “‘to make what in reality were transfers to her personal bank account appear as if they were wire or bank transfers to grant recipients,” according to Manhattan Federal Prosecutors.

Alameddine, who also went by the name Karen Dean, made a fake business called “Abacus Accounting,” “Chez Cheval Ranch,” “Dean & Co,” and “Karen Dean Exports,” to try and cover her tracks. She was not so successful. On November 17 of this year, she was arrested in Boston, and the following day, made an appearance in federal court and is now awaiting a transfer to Manhattan, says The NY Times.

Suspicions were raised when a complaint was made after Alameddine left the nonprofit this past January, stating that an account holder never received their check from the group.

In a statement given by the organization, “this loss was confirmed through internal investigation and a forensic audit conducted by outside legal counsel retained immediately by the foundation. . . . Although the theft was substantial, only a small amount of grant monies committed before 2104 was compromised.”

Alameddine was charged with five counts of tax evasion and one count of wire fraud.

Kim is a business administration major at Montclair State University, Class of 2016.

Libor Lawsuit

Posted by Deena Khalil.

On Wednesday, November 6, 2014, there was a court hearing about big-time banks being sued for manipulating a financial benchmark, Libor, by “U.S. municipalities and financial funds who argue they suffered financial damages by receiving lower interest rates on transactions as a result of the suspected manipulation.” Libor is short for the London Interbank Offered Rate, and it’s used to set the rates on things worth trillions of dollars such as loans, credit cards, and some complex derivatives. The benchmark is calculated each business day by averaging out interest rates in which banks estimate they could borrow from each other. But these banks have to be within the London trading operations in order to be part of the benchmark. Some of the banks that are being accused are JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America.

Plaintiffs include U.S. municipalities and financial funds who argue they suffered financial damages by receiving lower interest rates on transactions as a result of the suspected manipulation. They allege that evidence gathered by investigators in the U.S., Europe and around the globe shows bank traders involved in the rate-setting process rigged the outcomes to boost their trading profits.

The banks accused are trying to get these cases to be dismissed There are U.S banks that have been struck with billions of dollars in penalties due to Libor manipulation. For example, JPMorgan was fined $78 million by European authorities! Some banks have settled cases, but defendant banks in the present case are seeking to dismiss due to “the lack of personal jurisdiction.” Attorneys “argued the recent Supreme Court rulings established that corporations are ‘at home’ only in their respective countries and in most cases are subject only to lawsuits filed there, not in U.S. courts.” They claim that the Libor manipulation activity occurred outside the U.S.

Deena is a business finance major at Montclair State University, Class of 2017.

Media Firms Win Suspension of Comcast Deal Disclosure

Posted by ZaAsia Thompson-Hunter.

The Federal Communications Commission(FCC) is trying to enforce the disclosure of media contracts from various media companies. These companies include widely recognized corporations such as Disney, CBS, Comcast, Time Warner, and many more. These highly established media corporations oppose the order because they affirm this action will put them at a competitive disadvantage.

Earlier this month these media companies put in a request to the U.S court of appeals to stop the disclosure of their programing contracts. In response, the FCC stated that disclosure “’will aid the commission in the expeditious resolution of these proceedings.’”

Announced on November 14,2014, the media companies won the order to block the request made by the FCC. In connection, “a federal appeals court in Washington today said regulators reviewing the merger can’t immediately let third parties see the contracts.”

ZaAsia is a business administration major at Montclair State University, Class of 2017.

Pension Holder Chaos

Posted by Kimberly McNamara.

The idea of pensions have been around for nearly 100 years. Detroit, a city that recently filed for bankruptcy, is now facing more monetary concerns, and many are looking for someone to blame. According to The New York Times, the city of “Detroit has been a client of Gabriel Roeder since 1938, when the city first started offering pensions. Now the city is bankrupt, the pension fund is short, benefits are being cut . . . .” Gabriel Roeder Smith & Company is a widely known, consultant and actuary firm dealing mostly with pension plans. This company was hired by the city of Detroit to calculate the amount of money coming in versus the amount of money needed for current and future pension pay-outs.

Many Detroit pension holders are now filing lawsuits against Gabriel Roeder. There are three current cases against Gabriel Roeder: one by members of Detroit’s police and firefighting force, another by Wayne County, and Ms. Estes, a citizen and pension holder in Detroit.

Now Ms. Estes has lost not only part of her pension but much of the savings tied up in her house, while she and her neighbors overpay for paltry city services. She says she might have been spared some of the misery had Gabriel Roeder warned the trustees years ago that the pension system was unsustainable and recommended changes.

Ms. Estes is just one of many who have been put in this situation created by poor business decisions. She was also told that, “she would have to forfeit $25,000 when she reaches retirement age . . . .” There are a multitude of people who had depended on their pension for retirement and simply will never see it.

Unfortunately, Gabriel Roeder would not exceptaccept the advice of other firms including government agencies like the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (G.A.S.B.). If they had, maybe Detroit’s bankruptcy situation would be different and quite possibly there would be no lawsuits being brought againstto Gabriel Roeder Smith & Company.   The firm said they “would vigorously defend itself against the lawsuits,” but lets wait and see how well that holds up in court.

Kimberly is a business major at Montclair State University, Class of 2016.

Stryker Corp. to Repay More than $1 Billion

Posted by Abier Mustafa.

Stryker Corp., a device maker company, recalled its Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implant devices in July 2012 after warning surgeons they could harm tissue around the hip and cause other health problems to its patients. Patients have complained of severe pain, unusual swelling and excessive metal debris in their blood, blaming all these symptoms on the Stryker devices. There are at least 1,800 cases Stryker consolidated before U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in St. Paul, Minnesota. After facing more than 4,000 suits consolidated in the New Jersey state court and federal court in Minnesota alone, Stryker will pay a base amount of $300,000 per patient’s case. This settlement to patients who had the devices surgically removed prior to November 3rd.

Stryker Corp. has reported more than $9 billion in revenue in 2013 on the advertisement of their hip implants lasting for years. After the devices failed patients within a short amount of time, the company has now agreed to pay more than $1 billion to resolve these lawsuits. However, “the company said that it set aside more than $1.4 billion to cover costs of handling cases over the recalled hips so the settlement fell into the “‘low end of the range of probable loss.’” “This settlement program provides patients compensation in a fair, timely and efficient manner,” Bill Huffnagle, a spokesman for Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Stryker, said in an e-mailed statement. A source also reveals that a majority of the payments will be made by the end of 2015.

Abier is a finance major at Montclair State University, Class of 2016.