by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 23rd 2013 1:35pm
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Aug 28th 2013 7:43am
from the taxpayer-money dept
Woods failed to disclose in his letter that a significant portion of TARP funds had been used to acquire the condominium. Failure to disclose the purchase of the condominium was a material misrepresentation of facts relating to the true use of TARP funds.Of course, it still took another four years before this guilty plea. Woods will also face some jail time, have to repay the money, plus pay a fine of up to $100,000, and is barred from working in banking or finance. Of course, this was just small fry. $1 million to a tiny local bank, with about 40% of it being abused. Just imagine what some of the big banks did with the many billions they got. It's just they're a bit more sophisticated in how they went about spending the money.
by Michael Ho
Mon, Jul 29th 2013 5:00pm
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
- Paypal created a temporary quadrillionaire by accidentally crediting $92,233,720,368,547,800 to a very surprised Chris Reynolds. The error was corrected quickly, but Reynolds said that if he had been able to keep the money, he would have paid down the national debt and maybe bought the Phillies. [url]
- Bank of America mistakenly gave Ronald Page unlimited cash withdrawals from its ATMs -- which he used to extract over $1.5 million ($1,543,104!) over a few weeks. This 55yo Detroit resident lost it all gambling, and he's been court-ordered to repay this sizable sum. (Good luck collecting that, BoA...) [url]
- Another accidental millionaire tried to run off with £3.4 million after his bank erroneously transferred that amount to his bank account. Hui "Leo" Gao wired the money to some foreign banks and took his girlfriend on a two year adventure. Eventually, he and his girlfriend were caught, and the bank recovered about £1.5 million. [url]
Fri, Jul 26th 2013 3:07pm
from the because-we-can dept
Imagine returning home from vacation and finding your home cleaned out. The thieves grabbed all the furniture, all the gadgets, all the kitchenware, and left you nothing. That’s what happened to an Ohio woman recently, and the police are refusing to help.
That’s because the perpetrator was First National Bank. Except Katie Barnett was not behind on her payments; the bank just repossessed the wrong house.
Fair enough. Mistakes happen. The bank is going to pay her back though, right?
The housing crisis has generated all manner of outrage and gnashing of teeth. Municipalities and pension funds were swindled, homes were lost, and taxpayers had to bail out the very entities that helped the crisis spiral out of control. But robbing (OK, burglaring, I’m being colloquial) completely unsuspecting bystanders is a new low:
Katie Barnett says that the First National Bank in Wellston foreclosed on her house, even though it was not her bank.
“They repossessed my house on accident, thinking it was the house across the street,” Barnett said.
Barnett, who had been away from the house for about two weeks, said she had to crawl through the window of her own house in order to get in after she used her own key that did not work.
Some of the items in her house had been hauled away, others were sold, given away and trashed.
How can something like this happen:
It turns out the bank sent someone to repossess the house located across the street from Barnett’s house, but by mistake broke into hers instead.
“They told me that the GPS led them to my house,” Barnett said. “My grass hadn’t been mowed and they just assumed.”
Damn you Apple Maps! Seriously though, this is why banks should only work with quality repossession agencies like Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation. Anyone get that? Pat yourself on the back.
I get why the police backed off the case — the bank made a mistake and presumably would set things right. Except the bank considered that, and opted for cartoonish supervillainy instead:
Barnett said that according to the bank president, this was the first time something like this has happened.
She presented him with an $18,000 estimate to replace the losses, but the president refused to pay.
“He got very firm with me and said, ‘We’re not paying you retail here, that’s just the way it is,’” Barnett said. “I did not tell them to come in my house and make me an offer. They took my stuff and I want it back.”
The shock of having her house broken into and belongings taken by mistake has now turned into anger.
“Now, I’m just angry,” Barnett said. “It wouldn’t be a big deal if they would step up and say ‘I’m sorry, we will replace your stuff.’ Instead, I’m getting attitude from them. They’re sarcastic when they talk to me. They make it sound like I’m trying to rip the bank off. All I want is my stuff back.”
Apparently, the bank thinks it lives in the world of The Purge. But no, you can’t steal people’s stuff and get away with it. This story is the most bipartisan thing ever, with DailyKos and The Blaze getting riled up over it.
Now an observer might be tempted to say, “Well, the bank has a right to protect itself from someone making an inflated estimate of the damages,” and that’s fair. Except that’s not what the guy is quoted as saying. When he says, “We’re not paying you retail here, that’s just the way it is,” he’s recognizing that the estimate accurately reflects replacement value and claiming that the bank is not willing to pay to replace the stuff they stole.
It’s all about not making the victim whole.
But the worst thing about this story is that it’s not as rare as one would hope:
Sadly, stories like this are all too common. In September 2012, subcontractors hired by Wells Fargo mistakenly foreclosed on the wrong home in California, destroying a man’s vacation home in the process.
A review of court records in 2012 by The Huffington Post revealed more than 50 lawsuits have been filed against banks and subcontractors who have entered and “foreclosed” on the wrong properties. Most of the suits are tied to two largest property management contractors in the U.S.: Safeguard Properties and Lender Processing Services.
Meanwhile, a petition has started to demand that the bank pay her back.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 25th 2013 9:48am
american bankers association
from the um,-feist-feist-fesit dept
Demand for Immediate Take-Down: Notice of Infringing ActivityAs you'll probably note, this is a typical DMCA takedown notice. But it seems ridiculous that they're claiming copyright on routing numbers. Thatcher responded to their email, pointing out that he was providing information that came from the Federal Reserve. While I can understand where he's coming from, his argument doesn't really mean very much. The federal government can distribute copyrighted works. Just because the Fed is distributing it, doesn't mean it's automatically public domain (if they had created the numbers it would be a different story). It would seem that a much stronger argument is that there is no copyright in routing numbers because there is no creativity in them, and they are merely factual bits of information, and you cannot copyright facts.
Case #: 10
Date: 30 May 2013
Dear Sir or Madam,
The American Bankers Association has received information that the domain listed above, which appears to be on servers under your control, is offering unlicensed copies of, or is engaged in other unauthorized activities relating to copyrighted works published by the American Bankers Association 1. Identification of copyrighted works:
ABA Routing Numbers
ABA Key to Routing Numbers
American Bankers Association
2. Copyright infringing material or activity found at the following location(s):
The above copyright works are being copied, displayed and made available for copying by others, including through downloading, at the above location without authorization of the copyright owner.
3. Statement of authority:
The information in this notice is accurate, and I hereby certify under penalty of perjury that I am authorized to act on behalf of American Bankers Association, the owner of the copyrights in the works identified above. I have a good faith belief that none of the materials or activities listed above have been authorized by American Bankers Association, its agents, or the law. We hereby give notice of these activities to you and request that you take expeditious action to remove or disable access to the material described above, and thereby prevent the illegal reproduction and distribution of these copyright works via your company's network. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter. Please advise us regarding what actions you take.
On behalf of American Bankers Association
1120 Connecticut Ave NW,
Either way, the ABA's lawyers from bigshot law firm Covington and Burling shot back that the ABA had, in fact, been "creative" in creating those numbers, and thus it had a valid copyright.
The ABA Routing Number was originally developed by the ABA to identify only check processing endpoints, but has evolved over the years to also designate participants in automated clearinghouses, electronic funds transfer, and on-line banking. These advances in the ABA Routing Number were the result of significant effort and creativity by the ABA. Today there are thousands ABA Routing Numbers and they play a critical role in the integrity of bank payment systems. Each nine digit ABA Routing Number is an original copyrighted work carefully selected and arranged as a result of the ABA's creativity. Copyright exists from the moment of creation of each ABA Routing Number and registration in the United States is voluntary.I have trouble seeing how that passes the laugh test. The lawyer who wrote those words, Nigel Howard, must have known they were ridiculous when he wrote them. He's an experienced lawyer. In the same letter (embedded below), Howard points out, reasonably, that the ABA is concerned about the continued dissemination of retired numbers. That's a legitimate concern, but it's not a copyright issue. It's also a concern that is easily taken care of by giving Thatcher up-to-date info on routing numbers, or (here's a crazy thought) having the ABA publish them itself. But, no, Howard explains:
The ABA is currently re-assessing with Accuity whether it will engage in any licensing programs, but does not have a licensing program available for websites like yours at the current time.Well, maybe rather than bullying small sites like Thatcher's with expensive lawyers and highly questionable copyright claims, the ABA should be figuring out a way to fix that problem.
by Glyn Moody
Thu, Jan 24th 2013 1:56am
Banking Equipment Vendor Tries To Censor Security Research With DMCA Notice -- Then Backs Down When Called Out For It
from the abusing-the-system dept
Abuse of the DMCA takedown process to remove material that is awkward or embarrassing for a company is a common enough topic on Techdirt. But here's one with a slight twist. It concerns hardware security modules (HSMs), which manage the cryptographic keys and PINs used to authenticate bank card transactions. These were generally regarded as pretty secure -- until researchers started analyzing them, as Ross Anderson, head of the Security Research Laboratory at Cambridge University, explains:
[HSM's] application programming interfaces (APIs) had become unmanageably complex, and in the early 2000s Mike Bond, Jolyon Clulow and I found that by sending sequences of commands to the machine that its designers hadn't anticipated, it was often possible to break the device spectacularly. This became a thriving field of security research.Of course, "thriving" here means "we found lots of security holes", which is why those manufacturing HSMs would rather people didn't do much research in this area. Recently, that desire led to the banking equipment manufacturer Thales sending a DMCA takedown notice to John Young, who runs the well-known Cryptome site, demanding that he remove a manual for one of their HSM products. What makes this demand particularly ridiculous is the fact that the manual had been on Cryptome since 2003 without any previous problems and, according to Young, is also widely available on the Internet, including from Thales itself.
But a blog post from Anderson detailing this clumsy attempt to remove something using the blunt instrument of a DMCA takedown notice suddenly brought the company to its senses. A few days after his post appeared, the same person who had sent Young the less-than-friendly takedown notice followed it up with this rather more chummy missive:
Thales is in no way trying to censor information that would benefit banking security research.So why on earth bother trying to take it down?
The information concerned, as has been noted, has been available since 2003 and is in fact obsolete. It also does not reflect the current Thales payment hardware security module.
It is not unusual for Thales to suggest that out-of-date information is removed from web sites so that it doesn't cause confusion or mislead our customers. This would normally be handled with a polite request to the web site owner; on this occasion, unfortunately, we were over-zealous in initiating a takedown notice.Well, there's rather a lot of "out-of-date" information on the Internet -- most of it, in fact -- and generally people don't resort to DMCA takedowns to try to remove it; "over-zealous" doesn't even begin to describe the disproportionate nature of the reaction here.
Thales fully appreciates the benefits of openly sharing information relating to our security products and fully supports legitimate academic research in this area. The most up-to-date and accurate information can be obtained directly from Thales.Let's hope the company remembers that next time somebody posts information about security flaws in its systems.
I therefore wish to withdraw my earlier request for you to remove or disable access to the material in question and apologise for any distress it may have caused.But as Young points out:
Credit for Thales' recantation goes to incorruptible security critic Ross Anderson who blogged and telephoned Thales to thrash the zealotsIndeed. And it really shouldn't be necessary for professors of computer security to waste their time exposing abusive DMCA takedowns in this way, when they could be more usefully winkling out yet more dangerous flaws in hardware security modules, for example....
Wed, Jan 2nd 2013 2:36pm
from the gee,-thanks dept
All that being said, you'd at least expect the FBI, no matter what level of corporate bowing they wish to engage in, to at least keep American citizens apprised of threats against their life. Unfortunately, it would appear the FBI disagrees when the citizens in question are Occupy leadership, as they allowed a plot to murder Occupy leadership in Texas with suppressed sniper rifles go untold until a rights group dug it up.
Last week, Digital Journal reported that the documents obtained by PCJF detailed how the FBI cooperated with the Department of Homeland Security, US military and private corporations to monitor and investigate Occupy Wall Street protesters as "domestic terrorists" and "criminals." The documents prove that federal agencies are "functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and corporate America," PCJF said.
Thorough analyses of the documents has now revealed a heavily redacted file that clearly mentions a plan to use snipers to assassinate Occupy protesters. The names of the groups or individuals involved in the murderous plot have been redacted, so it is impossible to identify them at this time. What is known is that the FBI never alerted any of the potential victims of the danger to their lives.We're talking heavily redacted text here, which strips out a bunch of details, but here's the text that is available.
An identified [redacted] of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protesters in Houston, Texas, if deemed necessary. An identified [redacted] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [Redacted] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles.What's plain as day is that some group somewhere was plotting to murder OWS leadership in Texas. It's also clear that the FBI never bothered to inform the targets of the threats against their lives. This stands in apparent contrast to how closely they worked and coordinated with private banks to handle the OWS protests as a whole. And, remember, this is the same FBI who has put tremendous effort over the past few years into breaking up its own terrorist plots. You'd think that when it had a chance to go after actual plots to assassinate leaders of a political movement, they might, you know, actually do something and then trumpet the success in stopping a real plot. Apparently not.
So the lesson here is simple. If you're a private bank, the FBI will help you demonize non-violent protesters as "terrorists," but if you're a protester, you don't get to know that you might have an infrared dot dancing on the back of your head -- or have the FBI take it as serious as one of its own made up terrorist plots.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Sep 5th 2012 9:19am
Big Banks Finally Punishing Employees For Fraud... Like The Call Center Guy Who Used A Fake Dime 50 Years Ago
from the rules-are-rules? dept
And now he's really paying the piper: Wells Fargo has just fired him for the decades-old incident that, again, involved a dime. Even accounting for inflation, we're talking about a dime. However, thanks to supposedly "tough" new regulations concerning financial institutions, barring them from employing execs convicted of fraud, Wells Fargo is claiming that it had to fire Eggers.
“We don’t have discretion to grant exceptions in situations like this. Once we find out someone has a criminal history of dishonesty or breach of trust we can no longer employ them.”Eggers has responded by filing a civil rights complaint against the company and federal regulators. He and his lawyers are hoping to turn it into a class action lawsuit, as apparently a number of other employees at banks have lost their jobs under these rules. Actual execs responsible for the financial crisis? Not so much.
This is yet another case where laws like this must "sound good at the time" to the policy makers putting them together without any sense of who it will really impact. And the end result is that we sure are making Mr. Eggers "pay" for that dime stunt in 1963, huh?
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Feb 29th 2012 12:42pm
Big Bank CEO Who Makes $23 Million Says Press Should Stop Focusing On Bank Compensation... Because Reporters Are Overpaid?
from the i'm-rubber-you're-glue dept
The key point, here, is really that if you're trying to convince the press to stop focusing on stories about reasonable employee pay, you probably should not then directly state that their pay is "just damned outrageous," while then defending bank employee payments by saying, "We are going to pay competitively.... We need top talent, you cannot run this business on second-rate talent." The implication that the press gets from that -- perhaps on purpose -- is that the media shouldn't pay competitively, doesn't need top talent, and can run its business on second-rate talent. Some might argue that's already the case... but it's unlikely to get those "second-rate" reporters to drop the issue...
Dimon himself took home roughly $23 million in 2011, about the same as the year before, according to Bloomberg. Compare that to newspaper reporters, who earn an average salary of $43,780 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or between $20,000 and $60,000 per year according to Payscale.
For fun, let's just compare a bit more. The average reporter at The New York Times earns about $93,000 per year, according to Glassdoor.com. The New York Times Company reported an operating profit of $56.7 million in 2011.
Dimon's salary not only dwarfs that of us media-folk; he's also making millions more than most of his employees. The average JPMorgan employee made $341,552 last year, according to Bloomberg News.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jun 8th 2011 10:03pm
from the required-security? dept