Community Development Digest

Courts

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SCOTUS Agrees to Hear Partisan Gerrymandering Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral argument this fall in Gill v. Whitford, offering the Justices their first opportunity in more than a decade to weigh in on the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering. The high court’s decision in the case could impact congressional maps in around half a dozen states and legislative maps in about ten states, as well as have major implications for the next round of redistricting after the 2020 Census.

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California Real Estate Investor Guilty in Bid Rigging Scheme

California real estate investor Ramin Rad “Ray” Yeganeh pleaded guilty this week to one count of bid rigging in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland. He was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California on June 25, 2015.

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Illinois Bank Settles Discrimination Complaint with HUD

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has reached an agreement with Alpine Bank & Trust resolving allegations the Northern Illinois-based lender discriminated against African American and Hispanic mortgage applicants. HOPE Fair Housing Center of Wheaton, IL filed a complaint with HUD claiming the lender’s business service areas excluded majority African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods.

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Housing Discrimination Lawsuit Praised by Former Pence Lieutenant

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington alleging that the owners and manager of three Edmonds, WA apartment buildings refused to rent their apartments to families with children, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Ironically, the lawsuit is being publicly praised by a senior Justice official who, in his previous job, developed a reputation for defending against discrimination complaints.

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Building Contracting Firm CEO Sentenced to Prison for Stealing

The owner and CEO of a Greenbelt, MD building contracting company has been sentenced to five years and eight months in prison for stealing more than $1.7 million from Local 657 of the Laborers Union of North America (LIUNA) and other related offenses. Gary Amoes Cooper, 57, of Kettering, MD, the owner and CEO of STS General Contracting, was sentenced this week by U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta of the District of Columbia, who also ordered Cooper to pay $1.632 million in restitution to Local 657 and to forfeit $1.734 million of criminally-derived proceeds.

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Firms Settle Environmental Waste Disposal Issues in Illinois

The Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announce that Pharmacia LLC (formerly known as Monsanto), Solutia Inc., ExxonMobil Oil Corp. and Cerro Flow Products have agreed, as responsible parties, to clean up six former waste disposal sites that comprise the Sauget Area 1 Superfund Site in Sauget, St. Clair County, IL.

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State Street Corp. Pays $32.3 Million to Avoid Prosecution

Massachusetts-based global financial services company State Street Corporation (State Street) has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and agreed to pay a $32.3 million criminal penalty to resolve charges that it engaged in a scheme to defraud a number of the bank’s clients by secretly applying commissions to billions of dollars of securities trades. State Street also agreed to offer an equal amount as a civil penalty to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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Deutsche Bank Pays $7.2 Billion to Settle Federal Complaint

The Justice Department, along with federal partners, has agreed to a $7.2 billion settlement with Deutsche Bank resolving federal civil claims that Deutsche Bank misled investors in the packaging, securitization, marketing, sale and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) between 2006 and 2007. This agreement represents the single largest RMBS resolution for the conduct of a single entity.

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Barclays' Alleged Fraud Resulted in Billions Lost

The Justice Department on Thursday (Dec. 22) filed a civil complaint in the Eastern District of New York against Barclays Bank PLC and several of its U.S. affiliates, alleging that Barclays engaged in a fraudulent scheme to sell residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) supported by defective and misrepresented mortgage loans.

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Four Calif. Real Estate Investors Convicted in Bid-Rigging Scheme

After a two-week trial, the jury convicted Alvin Florida Jr., Robert Alhashash Rasheed, John Lee Berry III, and Refugio Diaz of one count each of conspiring to rig bids at foreclosure auctions between May 2008 and December 2010. The four defendants were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California on Nov. 19, 2014.

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