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(Photo Ricky Harris/The White House/Flickr
Photo White House/D. Myles Cullen/Flickr.)

BUSINESS

The Senate’s Plan To Save Small Businesses Is Already Failing, And Mnuchin Just Made It Worse

The details are out of Treasury now, and it looks like it isn’t going to work for a large number of small business owners after all.
Christopher Bedford
https://thefederalist.com/2020/04/08/the-senates-plan-to-save-small-businesses-is-already-failing-and-mnuchin-just-made-it-worse/

By Christopher Bedford
APRIL 8, 2020

Remember the deal the president signed to save America’s small businesses from ruin during the government’s coronavirus shutdown? The one hammered out by the Senate and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin over weeks of tense negotiation while Americans worriedly watched, hoping good news might come before a depression does? The details are out of Treasury now, and it looks like it isn’t going to work for a large number of small business owners after all.

It isn’t going to work because the Senate’s formula allows far too little money to make up for a lost month and get through the following two or more while meeting the Senate’s demands. The Senate made these demands to protect workers, but did not provide the money a lot of businesses will need to protect workers and themselves. It’s just common sense, Washington will say, to protect workers and the taxpayer in these hard times.

Then, even if there was enough money, it isn’t going to work because Mnuchin crafted loan parameters that make it untenable for nearly all small businesses should the Senate’s demands not be met, which would mean the loan doesn’t qualify for forgiveness. Treasury did this last bit to protect the banks while pushing them to make loans they aren’t otherwise making. It’s just common sense, he’ll say, because local and regional banks couldn’t make a more generous deal work — a problem Mnuchin knew was coming the entire time the Senate negotiated, of course.

Here’s how it all plays out in real life. Imagine you own a restaurant with a gross revenue of $1.2 million a year, or $100,000 a month. This business employs eight people and has gross expenses of $1 million a year, or $85,000 a month. So in a normal year for your restaurant, you get to take home $200,000, minus taxes. A 20 percent profit, by the way, puts you above and beyond a lot of America’s small businesses, which will be dealing with tighter margins than the ones below.

Your monthly expenses don’t include buying goods anymore, because the government shut you down for the pandemic, but they still include rent or interest on your mortgage, the real estate tax, building insurance, maintenance and utilities, coming to $15,000 a month in your case. Then you have, say, $30,000 a month in payroll before taxes, and none of this includes your own pay. Now you need a loan.

The Senate’s loan amount is generated by multiplying a business’s monthly payroll by 2.5. The loan is meant to cover two months and can go toward your costs and utilities, but to qualify for grant forgiveness you need to retain your entire workforce and put at least 75 percent of the loan toward them.

At 2.5 times your monthly payroll, which is $30,000, you’re looking at a $75,000 loan. If this seems less than your needs, it’s because it is. You’re already in the hole because you saw a steep decline in business in March as the pandemic spread, but you didn’t know what was coming so you kept your full staff without earning near full revenue. Now you’ve got $75,000 for the next two months, but two months of payroll, rent and utilities swings in at $90,000 — $15,000 more than the loan that already doesn’t take last month into account. The city closed your restaurant the next two months too, by the way, so you won’t be earning a dime of revenue in that time.

By June, you’ve earned no income and you’re halfway through your year. If you could get roaring again right away you might make up some of that, but you’re a restaurant and unless a cure is suddenly widely available, occupancy will be severely limited by the state and revenue won’t be what it once was. It might not be profitable to open at all, given new distancing requirements and their impact on sales.

If you don’t make the Senate’s requirements, you have to pay that loan back, and thanks to Mnuchin, you’re not going to be able to do that either. In the bill, Congress set a window of a maximum interest of 4 percent and loan repayment within 10 years. This was just a window, so it was up to Treasury to set the final costs and they put them at 1 percent interest and two years to pay the bank.

In real life, that means you’re looking at beginning your third quarter in debt, limping on into the winter, losing an entire year’s profits getting your business running again, and owing nearly half of next year’s profits to the bank, all before any other loans you had to take out to keep from bankruptcy. You might have been able to spread that pain out, but two years is too little time.

And then there’s all the dictates Nancy Pelosi put into the bill in exchange for the Democrat vote. You might support the speaker and think that paid leave and health insurance requirements on small businesses are a noble policy, but you’ve got a lot on your mind and in addition to keeping everything afloat, taking this loan means you expose yourself to a lot of business costs very quickly at the onset of what might be an economic depression. Republicans gave you a tax credit to pay for it all, which is nice, but that’s at the end of the year — if you’re broke and out of business by then, it won’t mean anything.

Additionally, as your neighbors’ restaurants go under, the cost of the goods you need have increased. It’s a disaster. There’s no chance you’re making $200,000 in profits this year. Instead, with the private loans you finally pried out of the near-frozen banks, you’re in debt and left wondering what you’re doing here. The business you’ve worked for all these years just went down in a sea of shutdowns and disease, and there are jobs that pay well without all the risk and danger of being an entrepreneur and employing people in your community.

Like most other small business owners, you never wanted to own a giant company or a big house on the hill — just earn a good living working hard. It’s a sad thing, but the reality is most Americans prefer stability and assurances to risk and exposure, even with the chance of reward. That’s what makes our entrepreneurs different and what makes them special: They take the risk, and because they do, a whole lot of the rest of us have jobs, favorite places to go, sponsors for our children’s sports teams, and all the other things that make a town our town.

The above scenario is just one, and some folks might have lower or higher costs than your restaurant did, but you’re united with them in that risk you took to make America a better place for yourselves and your neighbors. Now that might be over, ended by a foreign disease, politicians who don’t get what it takes to run a business, and a Treasury secretary who only cares about Wall Street and the banks. It’s a terrible thing to see. Let’s pray Washington wises up — and hold them accountable if they don’t.

Christopher Bedford is a senior editor at The Federalist, the vice chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, a board member at the National Journalism Center, and the author of The Art of the Donald. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Ricky Harris/The White House/Flickr
Photo White House/D. Myles Cullen/Flickr.

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California Attorney Pleads Guilty in National Securities Fraud
A California attorney pleads guilty to a securities conspiracy charge in a pump-and-dump stock scam.
https://www.law.com/dailybusinessreview/sites/dailybusinessreview/2018/01/26/california-attorney-pleads-guilty-in-national-securities-fraud/
By Samantha Joseph | January 26, 2018 at 05:59 PM

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building.

Diego M. Radzinschi

California attorney Andrew H. Wilson pleaded guilty of conspiracy to unlawfully sell unregistered securities.

The Nevada City man was one of 10 people convicted in a conspiracy to sell shares of shell companies they secretly controlled, then inflating values in a pump-and-dump scam that involved participants from New York and Colorado.

Wilson pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Miami. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or double the proceeds of the offense, according to prosecutors. He is at least the second attorney charged in the scam.

Prosecutors say the scheme ran for about seven years and involved fraudulent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings listing nominee chief executive officers for shell companies.

Participants presented the CEO as the owner and listed shareholders while maintaining full control over blocks of shares. When the shares become unrestricted, or free trading, participants secretly sold them to shell buyers or got SEC approval to sell them publicly.

Wilson created fraudulent paperwork to support the scam, according to court documents.

In October, attorney James M. Schneider of Hillsboro Beach faced a parallel civil enforcement action by the SEC, accusing him and Wilson of participating in a fraud involving 22 blank-check companies “secretly bound for reverse mergers.” Blank-check companies “have no operations, making them attractive targets for those seeking reverse mergers for use in pump-and-dump schemes,” according to prosecutors.

New York stock promoter Yelena Furman and Colorado registered stock transfer agent John Ahearn are among those convicted, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.

Sentencing for Ahearn and Wilson is set for June 8 before U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams in Miami. Furman’s sentencing is set for April 25 before U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga.

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Officials: Radioactive material released into air from Fukushima plant, areas far away being contaminated — Gov’t tracking plumes using emergency prediction system — “Large amount” of radioactive substances will soon be released (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

 
http://enenews.com/officials-radioactive-substances-released-from-fukushima-plant-areas-far-away-being-contaminated-govt-tracking-plumes-using-emergency-prediction-system-large-amount-of-radioactive-substa
Published: July 14th, 2014 at 4:08 pm ET 
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Kyodo News, July 14, 2014: Debris cleanup at Fukushima reactor may have contaminated rice crops [in] areas located more than 20 km from the crippled nuclear plant. Farm ministry officials said they could not deny the possibility […] A Tepco spokesman said the company does not deny the possibility that its cleanup work is to blame but added it isn’t clear whether that was the direct cause of the contamination.

NHK, July 14, 2014: Rice paddies located about 20 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi plant were found contaminated with radioactive cesium blown by the wind. The Fukushima Prefectural government revealed that last year’s harvested ricefrom 14 locations in the city of Minami Soma contained more than 100 becquerels of cesium per kilogram. This is beyond the government’s safety limit. […] [TEPCO] said it will increase monitoring of the spreading dust. Neither the ministry nor the utility told Minami Soma City officials the work at the plant may have contaminated the crop. City officials say they were greatly startled. They said the ministry should have explained the matter to local authorities much earlier. […] TEPCO is scheduled to conduct a large-scale debris removal work at Number One reactor. For this, it plans to disassemble covers which had been put to prevent the radioactive materials from spreading.

The Asahi Shimbun, July 14, 2014: [There’s] strong indications that earlier removal work contaminated rice paddies far from the stricken facility […] Although the utility has since suspended its clearing operations at the plant, the company plans to soon dismantle a cover installed on the No. 1 reactor building, where highly contaminated debris remains to be removed. TEPCO has not told the
public about the ministry’s findings. […] the ministry concluded that the radioactive substances had been newly released […] The ministry is pointing to Aug. 19, when […] dose rates increased at five measuring points 2.8 to 8.3 km north-northwest […] the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI) estimated that the released particles would reach the city within three hours. […] the utility said it has yet to learn how far the released particles spread. The company said its plans to dismantle the cover on the No. 1 reactor building will be the fastest way to remove wreckage from the site. TEPCO […] acknowledged that the procedure will still lead to the release of a large amount of radioactive substances, and the spread of the substances will depend on the weather and the wind direction.

PHOTO CAPTION: “The black spots on rice harvested in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, show radioactive substances.”

Watch NHK’s broadcast here

Published: July 14th, 2014 at 4:08 pm ET
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Related Posts

  1. Japan Headline: ‘Radioactive substances may have escaped Fukushima plant earlier’ than was admitted by Tepco, possibly through valves — Contaminated water released into atmosphere from rainfall? September 17, 2013
  2. Press Conference Part II: Faces scrambled, large portions of audio censored — Local official says there are a lot of highly radioactive substances throughout this city… “Safety measures must be conducted immediately” (VIDEO) March 19, 2012
  3. NHK: Tepco fails to reveal what caused so much radioactive material to be released — Amount of radioactivity released still unknown — Still no investigation into what caused meltdowns (VIDEO) June 20, 2012
  4. Japan’s Leader on 3/11: Most don’t know, but Reactor 1 melted down in 5 hours; We almost lost 1/3 of nation due to Fukushima — Tepco: Reactor 3 melted earlier than reported, water went in wrong pipes — NHK: Investigation into how such massive amounts of radioactive substances were released (VIDEO) December 13, 2013
  5. TV: “Extremely high levels of radioactive substances” leaked Wednesday night at Fukushima plant — 25 trillion becquerels of Strontium-90 and other beta emitters estimated to have flowed out — “Investigation is still underway” (VIDEO) February 19, 2014

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Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Justice Department, Federal and State Partners Secure Record $13 Billion Global Settlement with JPMorgan for Misleading Investors About Securities Containing Toxic Mortgages
 

*CORRECTION: The release below previously stated that New York is receiving $613.8 million in this settlement, however, the number is $613.0 million. This correction notice was posted on Nov. 20, 2013.*

The Justice Department, along with federal and state partners, today announced a $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan – the largest settlement with a single entity in American history – to resolve federal and state civil claims arising out of the packaging, marketing, sale and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) by JPMorgan, Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual prior to Jan. 1, 2009.  As part of the settlement, JPMorgan acknowledged it made serious misrepresentations to the public – including the investing public – about numerous RMBS transactions.  The resolution also requires JPMorgan to provide much needed relief to underwater homeowners and potential homebuyers, including those in distressed areas of the country.  The settlement does not absolve JPMorgan or its employees from facing any possible criminal charges.

This settlement is part of the ongoing efforts of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s RMBS Working Group. 

“Without a doubt, the conduct uncovered in this investigation helped sow the seeds of the mortgage meltdown,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “JPMorgan was not the only financial institution during this period to knowingly bundle toxic loans and sell them to unsuspecting investors, but that is no excuse for the firm’s behavior.  The size and scope of this resolution should send a clear signal that the Justice Department’s financial fraud investigations are far from over.  No firm, no matter how profitable, is above the law, and the passage of time is no shield from accountability.  I want to personally thank the RMBS Working Group for its tireless work not only in this case, but also in the investigations that remain ongoing.”

The settlement includes a statement of facts, in which JPMorgan acknowledges that it regularly represented to RMBS investors that the mortgage loans in various securities complied with underwriting guidelines.  Contrary to those representations, as the statement of facts explains, on a number of different occasions, JPMorgan employees knew that the loans in question did not comply with those guidelines and were not otherwise appropriate for securitization, but they allowed the loans to be securitized – and those securities to be sold – without disclosing this information to investors.  This conduct, along with similar conduct by other banks that bundled toxic loans into securities and misled investors who purchased those securities, contributed to the financial crisis.
                                    
“Through this $13 billion resolution, we are demanding accountability and requiring remediation from those who helped create a financial storm that devastated millions of Americans,” said Associate Attorney General Tony West.  “The conduct JPMorgan has acknowledged – packaging risky home loans into securities, then selling them without disclosing their low quality to investors – contributed to the wreckage of the financial crisis.  By requiring JPMorgan both to pay the largest FIRREA penalty in history and provide needed consumer relief to areas hardest hit by the financial crisis, we rectify some of that harm today.”

Of the record-breaking $13 billion resolution, $9 billion will be paid to settle federal and state civil claims by various entities related to RMBS.  Of that $9 billion, JPMorgan will pay $2 billion as a civil penalty to settle the Justice Department claims under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), $1.4 billion to settle federal and state securities claims by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), $515.4 million to settle federal and state securities claims by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), $4 billion to settle federal and state claims by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), $298.9 million to settle claims by the State of California, $19.7 million to settle claims by the State of Delaware, $100 million to settle claims by the State of Illinois, $34.4 million to settle claims by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and $613 million to settle claims by the State of New York. 

JPMorgan will pay out the remaining $4 billion in the form of relief to aid consumers harmed by the unlawful conduct of JPMorgan, Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual.  That relief will take various forms, including principal forgiveness, loan modification, targeted originations and efforts to reduce blight.  An independent monitor will be appointed to determine whether JPMorgan is satisfying its obligations.  If JPMorgan fails to live up to its agreement by Dec. 31, 2017, it must pay liquidated damages in the amount of the shortfall to NeighborWorks America, a non-profit organization and leader in providing affordable housing and facilitating community development. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of California and Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Justice Department’s Civil Division, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, conducted investigations into JPMorgan’s, Washington Mutual’s and Bear Stearns’ practices related to the sale and issuance of RMBS between 2005 and 2008.

“Today’s global settlement underscores the power of FIRREA and other civil enforcement tools for combatting financial fraud,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Stuart F. Delery, co-chair of the RMBS Working Group.  “The Civil Division, working with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and our state and agency partners, will continue to use every available resource to aggressively pursue those responsible for the financial crisis.”

“Abuses in the mortgage-backed securities industry helped turn a crisis in the housing market into an international financial crisis,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California Benjamin Wagner.  “The impacts were staggering.  JPMorgan sold securities knowing that many of the loans backing those certificates were toxic.  Credit unions, banks and other investor victims across the country, including many in the Eastern District of California, continue to struggle with losses they suffered as a result.  In the Eastern District of California, we have worked hard to prosecute fraud in the mortgage industry.  We are equally committed to holding accountable those in the securities industry who profited through the sale of defective mortgages.”
                                
“Today’s settlement represents another significant step towards holding accountable those banks which exploited the residential mortgage-backed securities market and harmed numerous individuals and entities in the process,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Zane David Memeger.  “These banks packaged and sold toxic mortgage-backed securities, which violated the law and contributed to the financial crisis.  It is particularly important that JPMorgan, after assuming the significant assets of Washington Mutual Bank, is now also held responsible for the unscrupulous and deceptive conduct of Washington Mutual, one of the biggest players in the mortgage-backed securities market.”

This settlement resolves only civil claims arising out of the RMBS packaged, marketed, sold and issued by JPMorgan, Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual.  The agreement does not release individuals from civil charges, nor does it release JPMorgan or any individuals from potential criminal prosecution. In addition, as part of the settlement, JPMorgan has pledged to fully cooperate in investigations related to the conduct covered by the agreement.

To keep JPMorgan from seeking reimbursement from the federal government for any money it pays pursuant to this resolution, the Justice Department required language in the settlement agreement which prohibits JPMorgan from demanding indemnification from the FDIC, both in its capacity as a corporate entity and as the receiver for Washington Mutual.   

“The settlement announced today will provide a significant recovery for six FDIC receiverships.  It also fully protects the FDIC from indemnification claims out of this settlement,” said FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg.  “The FDIC will continue to pursue litigation where necessary in order to recover as much as possible for FDIC receiverships, money that is ultimately returned to the Deposit Insurance Fund, uninsured depositors and creditors of failed banks.”

“NCUA’s Board extends our thanks and appreciation to our attorneys and to the Department of Justice, who have worked closely together for more than three years to bring this matter to a successful resolution,” said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz.  “The faulty mortgage-backed securities created and packaged by JPMorgan and other institutions created a crisis in the credit union industry, and we’re pleased a measure of accountability has been reached.”

“JPMorgan and the banks it bought securitized billions of dollars of defective mortgages,” said Acting FHFA Inspector General Michael P. Stephens.  “Investors, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, suffered enormous losses by purchasing RMBS from JPMorgan, Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns not knowing about those defects.  Today’s settlement is a significant, but by no means final step by FHFA-OIG and its law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who committed  acts of fraud and deceit.  We are proud to have worked with the Department of Justice, the U.S. attorneys in Sacramento and Philadelphia and the New York and California state attorneys general; they have been great partners and we look forward to our continued work together.”

The attorneys general of New York, California, Delaware, Illinois and Massachusetts also conducted related investigations that were critical to bringing about this settlement.

“Since my first day in office, I have insisted that there must be accountability for the misconduct that led to the crash of the housing market and the collapse of the American economy,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Co-Chair of the RMBS Working Group.  “This historic deal, which will bring long overdue relief to homeowners around the country and across New York, is exactly what our working group was created to do.  We refused to allow systemic frauds that harmed so many New York homeowners and investors to simply be forgotten, and as a result we’ve won a major victory today in the fight to hold those who caused the financial crisis accountable.”

“JP Morgan Chase profited by giving California’s pension funds incomplete information about mortgage investments,” California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said. “This settlement returns the money to California’s pension funds that JP Morgan wrongfully took from them.”

“Our financial system only works when everyone plays by the rules,” said Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden.  “Today, as a result of our coordinated investigations, we are holding accountable one of the financial institutions that, by breaking those rules, helped cause the economic crisis that brought our nation to its knees.  Even as the American people recover from this crisis, we will continue to seek accountability on their behalf.”

“We are still cleaning up the mess that Wall Street made with its reckless investment schemes and fraudulent conduct,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.  “Today’s settlement with JPMorgan will assist Illinois in recovering its losses from the dangerous and deceptive securities that put our economy on the path to destruction.”

“This is a historic settlement that will help us to hold accountable those investment banks that played a role in creating and exacerbating the housing crisis,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.  “We appreciate the work of the Department of Justice and the other enforcement agencies in bringing about this resolution and look forward to continuing to work together in other securitization cases.”

The RMBS Working Group is a federal and state law enforcement effort focused on investigating fraud and abuse in the RMBS market that helped lead to the 2008 financial crisis.  The RMBS Working Group brings together more than 200 attorneys, investigators, analysts and staff from dozens of state and federal agencies including the Department of Justice, 10 U.S. attorney’s offices, the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD’s Office of Inspector General, the FHFA-OIG, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Federal Reserve Board’s Office of Inspector General, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and more than 10 state attorneys general offices around the country.

The RMBS Working Group is led by five co-chairs: Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Stuart Delery, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Mythili Raman, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement George Canellos, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado John Walsh and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Learn more about the RMBS Working Group and the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force at: http://www.stopfraud.gov. 

Related Material:

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Settlement can be found at:

Click to access 471201471413656848428.pdf

This Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”) is entered into between the United States
acting through the United States Department of Justice (“Department of Justice”), along with the
States of California, Delaware, Illinois, and New York and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
acting through their respective Attorneys General (collectively, “the States”), and Citigroup Inc.
(“Citigroup”). The United States, the States, and Citigroup are collectively referred to herein as
“the Parties.”
RECITALS
A. The Department of Justice conducted investigations of the packaging, marketing,
sale, structuring, arrangement, and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”)
and collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”) by Citigroup between 2006 and 2007. Based on
those investigations, the United States believes that there is an evidentiary basis to compromise
potential legal claims by the United States against Citigroup for violations of federal laws in
connection with the packaging, marketing, sale, structuring, arrangement, and issuance of RMBS
and CDOs.
B. The States, based on their independent investigations of the same conduct, believe
that there is an evidentiary basis to compromise potential legal claims by California, Delaware,
Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York against Citigroup for state law violations in connection
with the packaging, marketing, sale, structuring, arrangement, and issuance of RMBS and CDOs.
C. Citigroup has resolved claims filed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
as Receiver for Strategic Capital Bank, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as
Receiver for Colonial Bank (collectively, “FDIC”), alleging violations of federal and state
securities laws in connection with private-label RMBS issued, underwritten, and/or sold by
Citigroup. The terms of the resolution of those claims are memorialized in a separate agreement,
attached as Exhibit A.
D. Citigroup acknowledges the facts set out in the Statement of Facts set forth in
Annex 1, attached and hereby incorporated.
E. In consideration of the mutual promises and obligations of this Agreement, the
Parties agree and covenant as follows:
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
1. Payment. Citigroup shall pay a total amount of $4,500,000,000.00 to resolve pending
and potential legal claims in connection with the packaging, marketing, sale, structuring,
arrangement, and issuance of RMBS and CDOs by Citigroup (“Settlement Amount”). As set out
below, $4,000,000,000.00 of that amount will be deposited in the United States Treasury and the
remainder is paid to resolve the claims of the States and the FDIC, pursuant to the subsequent
provisions of this Paragraph 1.
A. Within fifteen business days of receiving written payment processing instructions
from the Department of Justice, Office of the Associate Attorney General, Citigroup shall pay
$4,208,250,000.00 of the Settlement Amount by electronic funds transfer to the Department of
Justice.
i. $4,000,000,000.00 of the Settlement Amount, and no other amount, is a civil
monetary penalty recovered pursuant to the Financial Institutions Reform,
Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (“FIRREA”), 12 U.S.C. § 1833a. It will
be deposited in the General Fund of the United States Treasury.
ii. $208,250,000.00 and no other amount, is paid by Citigroup in settlement of the
claims of the FDIC identified in Recital Paragraph C, pursuant to the settlement
2
agreement attached hereto as Exhibit A, the terms of which are not altered or
affected by this Agreement.
B. $102,700,000.00, and no other amount, will be paid by Citigroup to the State of
California pursuant to Paragraph 6, below, and the terms of written payment instructions from
the State of California, Office of the Attorney General. Payment shall be made by electronic
funds transfer within fifteen business days of receiving written payment processing instructions
from the State of California, Office of the Attorney General.
C. $7,350,000.00, and no other amount, will be paid by Citigroup to the State of
Delaware pursuant to Paragraph 7, below, and the terms of written payment instructions from the
State of Delaware, Office of the Attorney General. Payment shall be made by electronic funds
transfer within fifteen business days of receiving written payment processing instructions from
the State of Delaware, Office of the Attorney General.
D. $44,000,000.00, and no other amount, will be paid by Citigroup to the State of
Illinois pursuant to Paragraph 8, below, and the terms of written payment instructions from the
State of Illinois, Office of the Attorney General. Payment shall be made by electronic funds
transfer within fifteen business days of receiving written payment processing instructions from
the State of Illinois, Office of the Attorney General.
E. $45,700,000.00, and no other amount, will be paid by Citigroup to the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts pursuant to Paragraph 9, below, and the terms of written
payment instructions from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of the Attorney General.
Payment shall be made by electronic funds transfer within fifteen business days of receiving
written payment processing instructions from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of the
Attorney General.
3
F. $92,000,000.00, and no other amount, will be paid by Citigroup to the State of
New York pursuant to Paragraph 10, below, and the terms of written payment instructions from
the State of New York, Office of the Attorney General. Payment shall be made by electronic
funds transfer within fifteen business days of receiving written payment processing instructions
from the State of New York, Office of the Attorney General.
2. Consumer Relief. In addition, Citigroup shall provide $2.5 billion worth of consumer
relief as set forth in Annex 2, attached and hereby incorporated as a term of this Agreement. The
value of consumer relief provided shall be calculated and enforced pursuant to the terms of
Annex 2. An independent monitor will be appointed to determine whether Citigroup has
satisfied the obligations contained in this Paragraph (such monitor to be Thomas J. Perrelli), and
any costs associated with said Monitor shall be borne by Citigroup.
3. Covered Conduct. “Covered Conduct” as used herein is defined as the creation,
pooling, structuring, arranging, formation, packaging, marketing, underwriting, sale, or issuance
prior to January 1, 2009 by Citigroup of the RMBS and CDOs identified in Annex 3, attached
and hereby incorporated. Covered Conduct includes representations, disclosures, or nondisclosures
to RMBS investors made in connection with the activities set forth above about the
underlying residential mortgage loans, where the representation or non-disclosure involves
information about or obtained during the process of originating, acquiring, securitizing,
underwriting, or servicing residential mortgage loans included in the RMBS identified in
Annex 3. Covered Conduct also includes representations, disclosures, or non-disclosures made
in connection with the activities set forth above about the CDOs identified in Annex 3, attached
and hereby incorporated. Covered Conduct does not include: (i) conduct relating to the
origination of residential mortgages, except representations or non-disclosures to investors in the
4
RMBS listed in Annex 3 about origination of, or about information obtained in the course of
originating, such loans; (ii) origination conduct unrelated to securitization, such as soliciting,
aiding or abetting borrower fraud; (iii) the servicing of residential mortgage loans, except
representations or non-disclosures to investors in the RMBS listed in Annex 3 about servicing, or
information obtained in the course of servicing, such loans; or (iv) representations or nondisclosures
made in connection with the trading of RMBS, except to the extent that the
representations or non-disclosures are in the offering materials for the underlying RMBS listed in
Annex 3.
4. Cooperation. Until the date upon which all investigations and any prosecution arising
out of the Covered Conduct are concluded by the Department of Justice, whether or not they are
concluded within the term of this Agreement, Citigroup shall, subject to applicable laws or
regulations: (a) cooperate fully with the Department of Justice (including the Federal Bureau of
Investigation) and any other law enforcement agency designated by the Department of Justice
regarding matters arising out of the Covered Conduct; (b) assist the Department of Justice in any
investigation or prosecution arising out of the Covered Conduct by providing logistical and
technical support for any meeting, interview, grand jury proceeding, or any trial or other court
proceeding; (c) use its best efforts to secure the attendance and truthful statements or testimony
of any officer, director, agent, or employee of any of the entities released in Paragraph 5 at any
meeting or interview or before the grand jury or at any trial or other court proceeding regarding
matters arising out of the Covered Conduct; and (d) provide the Department of Justice, upon
request, all non-privileged information, documents, records, or other tangible evidence regarding
matters arising out of the Covered Conduct about which the Department or any designated law
enforcement agency inquires.
5
5. Releases by the United States. Subject to the exceptions in Paragraph 12 (“Excluded
Claims”), and conditioned upon Citigroup’s full payment of the Settlement Amount (of which
$4 billion will be paid as a civil monetary penalty pursuant to FIRREA, 12 U.S.C. § 1833a), and
Citigroup’s agreement, by executing this Agreement, to satisfy the terms in Paragraph 2
(“Consumer Relief”) and Paragraph 4 (“Cooperation”), the United States fully and finally
releases Citigroup and each of its current and former subsidiaries and affiliated entities
(collectively, the “Released Entities”), and each of their respective successors and assigns from
any civil claim the United States has against the Released Entities for the Covered Conduct
arising under FIRREA, 12 U.S.C. § l833a; the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729, et seq.; the
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3801, et seq.; the Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961, et seq.; the Injunctions Against Fraud Act, 18
U.S.C. § 1345; common law theories of negligence, payment by mistake, unjust enrichment,
money had and received, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, misrepresentation, deceit,
fraud, and aiding and abetting any of the foregoing; or that the Civil Division of the Department
of Justice has actual and present authority to assert and compromise pursuant to 28 C.F.R.
§ 0.45.
6. Releases by the California Attorney General. Subject to the exceptions in
Paragraph 12 (Excluded Claims), and conditioned solely upon Citigroup’s full payment of the
Settlement Amount (of which $102,700,000.00 will be paid to the Office of the California
Attorney General, in accordance with written payment instructions from the California Attorney
General, to remediate harms to the State, pursuant to California Government Code §§ 12650-
12656 and 12658, allegedly resulting from unlawful conduct of the Released Entities), the
California Attorney General fully and finally releases the Released Entities from any civil or
6
administrative claim for the Covered Conduct that the California Attorney General has authority
to bring, including but not limited to: California Corporate Securities Law of 1968, Cal.
Corporations Code § 25000 et seq., California Government Code §§ 12658 and 12660 and
California Government Code §§ 12650-12656, common law theories of negligence, payment by
mistake, unjust enrichment, money had and received, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of
contract, misrepresentation, deceit, fraud and aiding and abetting any of the foregoing. The
California Attorney General executes this release in her official capacity and releases only claims
that the California Attorney General has the authority to release for the Covered Conduct. The
California Attorney General agrees that no portion of the funds in this paragraph is received as a
civil penalty or fine, including, but not limited to any civil penalty or fine imposed under
California Government Code § 12651. The California Attorney General and Citigroup
acknowledge that they have been advised by their attorneys of the contents and effect of Section
1542 of the California Civil Code (“Section 1542”) and hereby expressly waive with respect to
this Agreement any and all provisions, rights, and benefits conferred by Section 1542.
7. Releases by the State of Delaware. Subject to the exceptions in Paragraph 12
(Excluded Claims), and conditioned solely upon Citigroup’s full payment of the Settlement
Amount (of which $7,350,000.00 will be paid to the State of Delaware, in accordance with
written payment instructions from the State of Delaware, Office of the Attorney General, to
remediate harms to the State allegedly resulting from unlawful conduct of the Released Entities),
the Delaware Department of Justice fully and finally releases the Released Entities from any civil
or administrative claim for the Covered Conduct that it has authority to bring, including but not
limited to: 6 Del. C. Chapter 12 (the Delaware False Claims and Reporting Act), 6 Del. C.
§§ 2511 et seq. (the Delaware Consumer Fraud Act), 6 Del. C. Chapter 73 (the Delaware
7
Securities Act), and common law theories of negligence, payment by mistake, unjust enrichment,
money had and received, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, misrepresentation, deceit,
fraud and aiding and abetting any of the foregoing. The State of Delaware agrees that no portion
of the funds in this paragraph is received as a civil penalty or fine, including, but not limited to
any civil penalty or fine imposed under 6 Del. C. § 1201 or § 2522.
8. Releases by the State of Illinois. Subject to the exceptions in Paragraph 12 (Excluded
Claims), and conditioned solely upon Citigroup’s full payment of the Settlement Amount (of
which $44,000,000.00 will be paid to the State of Illinois, Office of the Attorney General, in
accordance with the written payment instructions from the State of Illinois, Office of the
Attorney General, to remediate harms to the State allegedly resulting from unlawful conduct of
the Released Entities), the Illinois Attorney General of the State of Illinois fully and finally
releases the Released Entities from any civil or administrative claim for the Covered Conduct
that it has authority to bring, including but not limited to: Illinois Securities Law of 1953, 815
Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/1 et seq., and common law theories of negligence, payment by mistake, unjust
enrichment, money had and received, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract,
misrepresentation, deceit, fraud and aiding and abetting any of the foregoing. The State of
Illinois agrees that no portion of the funds in this paragraph is received as a civil penalty or fine.
9. Releases of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Subject to the exceptions in
Paragraph 12 (Excluded Claims), and conditioned solely upon Citigroup’s full payment of the
Settlement Amount (of which $45,700,000.00 will be paid to the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, in accordance with the written payment instructions from the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, to remediate harms to the Commonwealth allegedly resulting from unlawful
conduct of the Released Entities), the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
8
fully and finally releases the Released Entities from any civil claim for the Covered Conduct that
she has authority to bring, including but not limited to: M.G.L. c. 93A, M.G.L. c. 12, and
common law theories of negligence, payment by mistake, unjust enrichment, money had and
received, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, misrepresentation, deceit, fraud and aiding
and abetting any of the foregoing. The payment to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts shall be
made to a trustee chosen by the Commonwealth, which shall hold the monies and distribute them
as directed by the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General for consumer relief,
compensation to the Commonwealth and its entities, and pursuant to M.G.L. c. 12 § 4A,
implementation of this Agreement and related purposes. Funds or portions of the funds
remaining in the trust after 90 days, at the discretion of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney
General, may be transferred to the Massachusetts Treasury. The Commonwealth of
Massachusetts agrees that no portion of the funds in this paragraph is received as a civil penalty
or fine.
10. Releases by the State of New York. Subject to the exceptions in Paragraph 12
(Excluded Claims), and conditioned solely upon Citigroup’s full payment of the Settlement
Amount (of which $92,000,000.00 will be paid to the State of New York, in accordance with
written payment instructions from the State of New York, Office of the Attorney General, to
remediate harms to the State allegedly resulting from unlawful conduct of the Released Entities),
the State of New York, by Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General of the State of New York,
fully and finally releases the Released Entities from any civil or administrative claim for the
Covered Conduct that it has authority to bring, including but not limited to any such claim
under: New York General Business Law Article 23A, New York Executive Law § 63(12), and
common law theories of negligence, payment by mistake, unjust enrichment, money had and
9
received, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, misrepresentation, deceit, fraud and aiding
and abetting any of the foregoing. The payment to the State of New York shall be used, to the
maximum extent possible, for purposes of redeveloping and revitalizing housing and home
ownership and rebuilding communities in the State, and for programs intended to avoid
preventable foreclosures, to ameliorate the effects of the foreclosure crisis, to provide funding for
housing counselors and legal assistance, housing remediation and anti-blight projects, for code
enforcement, and to enhance law enforcement efforts involving financial fraud or unfair or
deceptive acts or practices. The State of New York agrees that no portion of the funds in this
paragraph is received as a civil penalty or fine.
11. Releases by the FDIC. The release of claims by the FDIC is contained in a separate
settlement agreement with Citi, attached as Exhibit A. Any release of claims by the FDIC is
governed solely by that separate settlement agreement.
12. Excluded Claims. Notwithstanding the releases in Paragraphs 5-11 of this Agreement,
or any other term(s) of this Agreement, the following claims are specifically reserved and not
released by this Agreement:
a. Any criminal liability;
b. Any liability of any individual;
c. Any liability arising under Title 26 of the United States Code (the Internal
Revenue Code);
d. Any liability to or claims of the FDIC (in its capacity as a corporation, receiver, or
conservator), except as expressly set forth in the separate agreement with the
FDIC;
10
e. Any claim related to compliance with the National Mortgage Settlement
(“NMS”), or to compliance with the related agreements reached between the
settling banks and individual states;
f. Any liability to or claims of the United States of America, the Department of
Housing and Urban Development/Federal Housing Administration, the
Department of Veterans Affairs, or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac relating to whole
loans insured, guaranteed, or purchased by the Department of Housing and Urban
Development/Federal Housing Administration, the Department of Veterans
Affairs, or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, except claims based on or arising from
the securitizations of any such loans in the RMBS or CDOs listed in Annex 1.
g. Any administrative liability, including the suspension and debarment rights of any
federal agency;
h. Any liability based upon obligations created by this Settlement Agreement;
i. Any liability for the claims or conduct alleged in the following qui tam actions,
and no setoff related to amounts paid under this Agreement shall be applied to any
recovery in connection with any of these actions:
(i) United States, et al. ex rel. Szymoniak v. American Home Mortgage
Servicing, Inc. et al., No. 0:10-cv-01465-JFA (D.S.C.), and United States
ex rel. Szymoniak v. ACE Securities Corp. et al., No. 13-cv-464-JFA
(D.S.C.); and
(ii) United States ex rel. [Sealed] v. [Sealed], as disclosed to Citigroup;
j. Claims raised in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Bank of America, N.A., et
al., Civ. No. 11-4363 (BLS1)(Massachusetts Suffolk Superior Court); and
11
k. Any claims related to the alleged manipulation of the London Interbank Offered
Rate or other currency benchmarks.
13. Releases by Citigroup. Citigroup and any current or former affiliated entity and any of
their respective successors and assigns fully and finally release the United States and the States,
and their officers, agents, employees, and servants, from any claims (including attorney’s fees,
costs, and expenses of every kind and however denominated) that Citigroup has asserted, could
have asserted, or may assert in the future against the United States and the States, and their
officers, agents, employees, and servants, related to the Covered Conduct and the investigation
and civil prosecution to date thereof.
14. Waiver of Potential FDIC Indemnification Claims by Citi. Citigroup hereby
irrevocably waives any right that it otherwise might have to seek (and in any event agrees that it
shall not seek) any form of indemnification, reimbursement or contribution from the FDIC in any
capacity, including the FDIC in its Corporate Capacity or the FDIC in its Receiver Capacity for
any payment that is a portion of the Settlement Amount set forth in Paragraph 1 of this
Agreement or of the Consumer Relief set forth in Paragraph 2 of this Agreement, including
payments to the United States and the States made pursuant to Paragraphs 1 and 2 of this
Agreement.
15. Waiver of Potential Defenses by Citigroup. Citigroup and any current or former
affiliated entity (to the extent that Citigroup retains liability for the Covered Conduct associated
with such affiliated entity) and any of their respective successors and assigns waive and shall not
assert any defenses Citigroup may have to any criminal prosecution or administrative action
relating to the Covered Conduct that may be based in whole or in part on a contention that, under
12
the Double Jeopardy Clause in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, or under the Excessive
Fines Clause in the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, this Agreement bars a remedy sought
in such criminal prosecution or administrative action.
16. Unallowable Costs Defined. All costs (as defined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation,
48 C.F.R. § 31.205-47) incurred by or on behalf of Citigroup, and its present or former officers,
directors, employees, shareholders, and agents in connection with:
a. the matters covered by this Agreement;
b. the United States’ audit(s) and civil investigation(s) of the matters covered by this
Agreement;
c. Citigroup’s investigation, defense, and corrective actions undertaken in response
to the United States’ audit(s) and civil and any criminal investigation(s) in
connection with the matters covered by this Agreement (including attorney’s
fees);
d. the negotiation and performance of this Agreement; and
e. the payment Citigroup makes to the United States pursuant to this Agreement, are
unallowable costs for government contracting purposes (hereinafter referred to as
“Unallowable Costs”).
17. Future Treatment of Unallowable Costs. Unallowable Costs will be separately
determined and accounted for by Citigroup, and Citigroup shall not charge such Unallowable
Costs directly or indirectly to any contract with the United States.
18. This Agreement is governed by the laws of the United States. The Parties agree that the
exclusive jurisdiction and venue for any dispute relating to this Agreement is the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
13
19. The Parties acknowledge that this Agreement is made without any trial or adjudication or
finding of any issue of fact or law, and is not a final order of any court or governmental
authority.
20. Each Party shall bear its own legal and other costs incurred in connection with this
matter, including the preparation and performance of this Agreement.
21. Each party and signatory to this Agreement represents that it freely and voluntarily enters
into this Agreement without any degree of duress or compulsion.
22. Nothing in this Agreement in any way alters the terms of the NMS, or Citigroup’s
obligations under the NMS.
23. Nothing in this Agreement constitutes an agreement by the United States concerning the
characterization of the Settlement Amount for the purposes of the Internal Revenue laws,
Title 26 of the United States Code.
24. For the purposes of construing the Agreement, this Agreement shall be deemed to have
been drafted by all Parties and shall not, therefore, be construed against any Party for that reason
in any dispute.
25. This Agreement constitutes the complete agreement between the Parties. This
Agreement may not be amended except by written consent of the Parties.
26. The undersigned counsel represent and warrant that they are fully authorized to execute
this Agreement on behalf of the persons and entities indicated below.
27. This Agreement may be executed in counterparts, each of which constitutes an original
and all of which constitute one and the same Agreement.
28. This Agreement is binding on Citigroup’s successors, transferees, heirs, and assigns.
14
29. All parties consent to the disclosure to the public of this Agreement, and information
about this Agreement, by Citigroup, the United States, the States, and the FDIC whose separate
settlement agreement is referenced herein and attached as an exhibit to this Agreement.
30. This Agreement is effective on the date of signature of the last signatory to the
Agreement (“Effective Date of this Agreement”). Facsimiles of signatures shall constitute
acceptable, binding signatures for purposes of this Agreement.
15
For the California Department of Justice:
California Attorney General
California Department of Justice
455 Golden Gate, Suite 1000
San Francisco, CA 941 02
Phone: (415) 703-5500
Dated: 7 I!J I/ [ I I

For the State of Illinois:
LISA MADIGAN
Attorney General State of Illinois
500 South Second Street .
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-1090
Dated: -vr, I’1 I L1)’ 2A> /,,( —–f—-‘——–.,
For the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Martha Coakley
GLENN KAPLAN
Assistant Attorney General
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617)727-2200
Dated:
By:

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Department of Justice

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/July/14-ag-733.html

Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, July 14, 2014

Justice Department, Federal and State Partners Secure Record $7 Billion Global Settlement with Citigroup for Misleading Investors About Securities Containing Toxic Mortgages

Citigroup to Pay the Largest Penalty of Its Kind – $4 Billion

The Justice Department, along with federal and state partners, today announced a $7 billion settlement with Citigroup Inc. to resolve federal and state civil claims related to Citigroup’s conduct in the packaging, securitization, marketing, sale and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) prior to Jan. 1, 2009.  The resolution includes a $4 billion civil penalty – the largest penalty to date under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA).  As part of the settlement, Citigroup acknowledged it made serious misrepresentations to the public – including the investing public – about the mortgage loans it securitized in RMBS.  The resolution also requires Citigroup to provide relief to underwater homeowners, distressed borrowers and affected communities through a variety of means including financing affordable rental housing developments for low-income families in high-cost areas.  The settlement does not absolve Citigroup or its employees from facing any possible criminal charges.

This settlement is part of the ongoing efforts of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s RMBS Working Group, which has recovered $20 billion to date for American consumers and investors.  

“This historic penalty is appropriate given the strength of the evidence of the wrongdoing committed by Citi,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “The bank’s activities contributed mightily to the financial crisis that devastated our economy in 2008.  Taken together, we believe the size and scope of this resolution goes beyond what could be considered the mere cost of doing business.  Citi is not the first financial institution to be held accountable by this Justice Department, and it will certainly not be the last.”

 The settlement includes an agreed upon statement of facts that describes how Citigroup made representations to RMBS investors about the quality of the mortgage loans it securitized and sold to investors.  Contrary to those representations, Citigroup securitized and sold RMBS with underlying mortgage loans that it knew had material defects.  As the statement of facts explains, on a number of occasions, Citigroup employees learned that significant percentages of the mortgage loans reviewed in due diligence had material defects.  In one instance, a Citigroup trader stated in an internal email that he “went through the Diligence Reports and think[s] [they] should start praying . . . [he] would not be surprised if half of these loans went down. . . It’s amazing that some of these loans were closed at all.”  Citigroup nevertheless securitized the loan pools containing defective loans and sold the resulting RMBS to investors for billions of dollars.  This conduct, along with similar conduct by other banks that bundled defective and toxic loans into securities and misled investors who purchased those securities, contributed to the financial crisis.                                  

“Today, we hold Citi accountable for its contributing role in creating the financial crisis, not only by demanding the largest civil penalty in history, but also by requiring innovative consumer relief that will help rectify the harm caused by Citi’s conduct,” said Associate Attorney General Tony West.  “In addition to the principal reductions and loan modifications we’ve built into previous resolutions, this consumer relief menu includes new measures such as $200 million in typically hard-to-obtain financing that will facilitate the construction of affordable rental housing, bringing relief to families pushed into the rental market in the wake of the financial crisis.”

Of the $7 billion resolution, $4.5 billion will be paid to settle federal and state civil claims by various entities related to RMBS: Citigroup will pay $4 billion as a civil penalty to settle the Justice Department claims under FIRREA, $208.25 million to settle federal and state securities claims by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), $102.7 million to settle claims by the state of California, $92 million to settle claims by the state of New York, $44 million to settle claims by the state of Illinois, $45.7  million to settle claims by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and $7.35 to settle claims by the state of Delaware.

Citigroup will pay out the remaining $2.5 billion in the form of relief to aid consumers harmed by the unlawful conduct of Citigroup.  That relief will take various forms, including loan modification for underwater homeowners, refinancing for distressed borrowers, down payment and closing cost assistance to homebuyers, donations to organizations assisting communities in redevelopment and affordable rental housing for low-income families in high-cost areas.  An independent monitor will be appointed to determine whether Citigroup is satisfying its obligations.  If Citigroup fails to live up to its agreement by the end of 2018,  it must pay liquidated damages in the amount of the shortfall to NeighborWorks America, a non-profit organization and leader in providing affordable housing and facilitating community development.  

The U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of New York and the District of Colorado conducted investigations into Citigroup’s practices related to the sale and issuance of RMBS between 2006 and 2007.

“The strength of our financial markets depends on the truth of the representations that banks provide to investors and the public every day,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh for the District of Colorado, Co-Chair of the RMBS Working Group.  “Today’s $7 billion settlement is a major step toward restoring public confidence in those markets.  Due to the tireless work by the Department of Justice, Citigroup is being forced to take responsibility for its home mortgage securitization misconduct in the years leading up to the financial crisis.  As important a step as this settlement is, however, the work of the RMBS working group is far from done, we will continue to pursue our investigations and cases vigorously because many other banks have not yet taken responsibility for their misconduct in packaging and selling RMBS securities.”

“After nearly 50 subpoenas to Citigroup, Trustees, Servicers, Due Diligence providers and their employees, and after collecting nearly 25 million documents relating to every residential mortgage backed security issued or underwritten by Citigroup in 2006 and 2007, our teams found that the misconduct in Citigroup’s deals devastated the nation and the world’s economies, touching everyone,” said U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch.  “The investors in Citigroup RMBS included federally-insured financial institutions, as well as a host of states, cities, public and union pension and benefit funds, universities, religious charities, and hospitals, among others.  These are our neighbors in Colorado, New York and around the country, hard-working people who saved and put away for retirement, only to see their savings decimated.”

This settlement resolves civil claims against Citigroup arising out of certain securities packaged, securitized, structured, marketed, and sold by Citigroup.  The agreement does not release individuals from civil charges, nor does it release Citigroup or any individuals from potential criminal prosecution. In addition, as part of the settlement, Citigroup has pledged to fully cooperate in investigations related to the conduct covered by the agreement.

 Michael Stephens, Acting Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency said, “Citigroup securitized billions of dollars of defective mortgages, after which investors suffered enormous losses by purchasing RMBS from Citi not knowing about those defects. Today’s settlement is another significant step by FHFA-OIG and its law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who committed acts of fraud and deceit in the lead up to the financial crisis, and is a necessary step toward reviving a sound RMBS market that is crucial to the housing industry and the American economy.  We are proud to have worked with the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the Eastern District of New York and the District of Colorado. They have been great partners and we look forward to our continued work together.”

The underlying investigation was led by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard K. Hayes, Kevin Traskos, Lila Bateman, John Vagelatos, J. Chris Larson and Edward K. Newman, with the support of agents from the Office of the Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, in conjunction with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s RMBS Working Group.

The RMBS Working Group is a federal and state law enforcement effort focused on investigating fraud and abuse in the RMBS market that helped lead to the 2008 financial crisis.  The RMBS Working Group brings together more than 200 attorneys, investigators, analysts and staff from dozens of state and federal agencies including the Department of Justice, 10 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD’s Office of Inspector General, the FHFA-OIG, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Federal Reserve Board’s Office of Inspector General, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and more than 10 state Attorneys General offices around the country.

The RMBS Working Group is led by its Director Geoffrey Graber and its five co-chairs: Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Stuart Delery, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Leslie Caldwell, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement Andrew Ceresney, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado John Walsh and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Learn more about the RMBS Working Group and the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force at: http://www.stopfraud.gov .

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After I read some posts on others’ blogs, I really do feel much better. Wanna know which ones I read? Here they are:

“NO ENDORSEMENT, NO NEGOTIATION–NO NEGOTIATION, NO SECURITIZATION” On Liberty Road Media: http://libertyroadmedia.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/no-endorsement-no-negotiation-no-negotiation-no-securitization/

and I read this and it helped too!:

Ineptocracy from here:
http://tomfernandez28.com/2014/06/20/ineptocracy-3/

Of course this Helped a lot!:

http://www.newser.com/story/188674/miss-usa-doesnt-know-her-state-capital.html
but I actually read that here:
https://wordpress.com/

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It never ceases to amaze me.  With all these numerous govt. programs that are supposed to be helping Homeowners/Borrowers stay in their homes, I have to wonder just who the hell it is that they are allegedly helping.  A case in Colorado, that I have become aware of, the 83 year old woman is most likely going to be on the streets next week.  And guess who is putting her out of her home.?.  Freddie Mac.

For some stupid reason, I was under the impression that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and others, along with all these billions of dollars from the robo-signing settlements, and the numerous entities alleging to be aiding those being foreclosed upon, and not one of them does a damned thing that I can see.  The propaganda they feed to everyone in the media, might sound good…You know that the housing market has picked up, foreclosures are down, new home buyers are up.?.  Yea right.  Somebody forgot to tell our neighborhood.  The vacant houses are still vacant.  Houses that should sale for $90,000, sell for $36,000.

But hey, the housing market has recovered.  RRRRiiiiiiiiiiiiggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhtttttttttttttttt!!!  In your dreams.

Unless and until the someone steps in, slaps these foreclosure mill attorneys around, you know, the ones that make up the fictional documents in the County’s Land Records, throw their asses in jail for the forgery, fraud, perjury, that they are so used to committing,  they ain’t ever gonna stop.  

Has anyone other than myself noticed that the foreclosure mill attorneys, and other attorneys who on a regular basis have been foreclosing on Borrowers/Homeowner and manufacturing documents to use to foreclose with; sign the Assignments, Deeds Under Power, and lie to the Courts; an have been doing it so long now, yes, they have been breaking the law for so long now in foreclosure cases, it has spilled over to other types of cases.  No matter what kind of case it is, there are certain attorneys, who continue breaking the law as if they were working a foreclosure case.  And the worst part, is the judges let them.  WTF?  It is bad.  They are violating the RICO, committing fraud, forgery, theft, perjury, and God only knows what else.

Now you have the full swat teams going to evictions.  If the cops don’t like the way things are going, they just kill the homeowner.  It has gotten way out of hand.   Looks like if you fight the banks and win, you either go to jail, or die.

Be safe yall!

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Pacific “Horror Show”, From Mexico To Alaska: Millions/Tons Creatures Dying

Thursday, May 29, 2014 13:45
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(Before It’s News)

Scientists are making progress trying to figure out what is causing the mass die-off of sea stars along the entire West Coast of North America. Research suggests an infection is partly responsible for the sickness.

Pacific “Horror Show”, From Mexico To Alaska:  Millions/Tons Creatures Dying

Dear world

The horror show of death continues from approx 2011 onwards… it’s not the death that is horrific… while it very unfortunate…it’s the lack of response from billions of people… who feel they can not do anything…

It is time for each of us, to do more.. to envision a clean planet… your visions of a clean planet, are more important than envisioning a dirty planet… we already achieved that… now we use our ability to envision, to clean up this joint!  Are you powerful enough to envision something that the majority are unable to envision?

Watch the mainstream media come up with syndrome and causes…. anything BUT FUKUSHIMA RADIATION.

Use the violet flame!

How Does the Violet Flame Work?


Saint Germain explains that the violet flame has the ability to change physical conditions because, of all the flames, the violet is closest in vibratory action to the components of matter. “The violet flame can combine with any molecule or molecular structure, any particle of matter known or unknown, and any wave of light, electron or electricity,” he says. Wherever people gather together to give violet-flame prayers, “there you notice immediately an improvement in physical conditions.”

more…. and worth knowing I might add… http://thegoldenlightchannel.com/the-violet-flame-power-of-transmutation

Remember… together we are victorious!

Indian in the machine

 

 

California

Marina Del Rey’s “Horror Show”: Pelican and Anchovy Dieoff

Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

 

Bizarre creature’ turned 50 miles of California coast into graveyard in summer 2011 — Gov’t Biologist: Die-off like this never seen here — “Abalone massacre… carcasses of urchins, starfish, other mollusks” — Experts find “alterations in 30 genes, some unknown to science” — “Suddenly proliferating… killing wildlife” (PHOTO)

http://enenews.com/bizarre-creature-turned-50-mile-stretch-of-california-coast-into-graveyard-in-summer-2011-govt-biologist-die-offs-like-this-very-rare-weve-never-seen-it-here-abalone

BC-Mexico: Sea stars,  BC: Oysters and scallops

VANCOUVER – Scientists are making some headway in figuring out what is killing millions of sea stars in the waters off the Pacific coast, from British Columbia to Mexico.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/05/04/sea-star-wasting-syndrome-pathogen_n_5261880.html​

 

Globe and Mail, Feb. 27, 2014: Mystery surrounds massive die-off of oysters and scallops off B.C. coast […] Something is killing oysters and scallops in dramatic numbers […] The cause is unknown, but ocean acidification is the main suspect. […] last year, nearby Pendrell Sound had a massive die-off of wild oysters. […] [Rob Saunders, CEO of Island Scallops] has lost 10 million scallops over the past two years, and smaller companies have had similar problems. Mr. Saunders is pushing for a research project to find out what’s happening. […] one of BC’s biggest suppliers of fresh seafood, said the scallop die-off has rung alarm bells.

CBC, Feb. 25, 2014: The deteriorating health of B.C.’s oceans […] Millions of shellfish are dying off before they can be harvested at Island Scallops […] researchers will try to determine if acidification is to blame or if other factors are at play.

http://enenews.com/alarm-bells-massive-die-off-of-oysters-and-scallops-in-pacific-northwest-millions-of-shellfish-are-dying-by-july-mortality-hit-95-to-100-per-cent-deformed-shells-smaller-in-si

 

Alaska – Seals and Walrus

‘Mystery disease’ on Pacific coast of Alaska — Livers ‘crumble’… Hearts enlarged, pale… Yellow lymph nodes… Blood-filled lungs (PHOTOS) — Professor: Worrying there’s no answers, big public health concern — Testing carcasses for Fukushima radioactivity (AUDIO)

 

KNOM, May 14, 2014: Mysterious illness that’s been plaguing seals [first hit] the Bering Strait and the North Slope starting in the summer of 2011. Up to 300 seals were found suffering from hair loss, skin sores, and unusually lethargic behavior. Dozens of walruses were also found with similar sores [causing] marine mammal regulators to declare an Unusual Mortality Event […] walrus have been taken off the UME […] Seals [are still] displaying hair loss […] University of Alaska Fairbanks have begun testing infected seal carcasses for [Fukushima] radiation […] Results should be released in July.

Gay Sheffield, University of Alaska Fairbanks: The lack of answers is worrying. “This has been a big food security, public health concern.”

NOAA (pdf), May 12, 2014: UME will remain open for ice seals (ringed seals, ribbon seals, bearded seals, spotted seals) — based on continued reports of […] disease symptoms

Alaska Dispatch, May 13, 2014: An investigation into a mysterious disease that caused skin lesions and hair loss among Alaska and Russian walruses has been closed without identifying the root cause […] The potential causes looked into […] infections and endocrine disruptions. Also investigated was the possibility of contamination from the Fukushima nuclear plant […] A preliminary investigation in 2012 concluded that radioactive contamination was not the likely cause. Investigators are now looking at the possibility of multiple causes [according to NOAA,] “the theory is that a number of factors contributed to the illness.”

http://enenews.com/govt-diseased-seals-along-pacific-coast-of-alaska-experts-livers-crumble-hearts-enlarged-and-pale-yellow-lymph-nodes-blood-filled-lungs-photos-professor-worrying-ther

 

Is the radiation high enough or should we continue to party?

Japan Times: Fukushima fallout in N. America at 400,000,000,000,000 Bq of Cesium-137 — Study: Hazardous on a ‘continental scale’ — Physicist: “Cancer a certainty” if one radioactive particle ingested — CBS: Inaccurate internet reports stoked fear radiation had somehow come our way (VIDEO)

http://enenews.com/japan-times-fukushima-fallout-america-estimated-400000000000000-bq-cesium-137-experts-hazardous-consequences-continental-scale-physicist-cancer-certainty-one-radioactive-particle-inhaled-ingeste

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Japan Scientist: We gave butterflies food from Fukushima… then, they died; Deformities get worse with each generation — TV: “Truly horrifying… it doesn’t really even look like a butterfly anymore” (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

 
http://enenews.com/japan-scientist-butterflies-fed-leaves-fukushima-died-deformities-worse-generation-tv-doesnt-look-like-butterfly-anymore-especially-scary-photos-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Published: May 29th, 2014 at 8:36 pm ET 
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Vice on HBO, Season 2 Episode 10, May 24, 2014 (at 5:30 in):

  • Dr. Joji Otaki, lead researcher, University of Ryukyus: We collected houseplant leaves from Fukushima, and those leaves are given to [butterfly] larvae collected from Okinawa… Those larvae aresupposed to be healthy. But they ate contaminated food from Fukushima. Then we see what happens.
  • Vikram Ghandi, Vice: What happened?
  • Otaki: They died.
  • Ghandi: Dr. Otaki’s experiments have shown the truly horrifying effects contaminated food can have on living organisms.
  • Otaki: You can see wrinkled wings.
  • Ghandi: It doesn’t really even look like a butterfly anymore.
  • Otaki: We found that mortality rate and abnormality rate of the 2nd generation is much higher — even worse in the 3rd generation.
  • Ghandi: The evidence contaminated food has increasingly worse effects over the course of generations is especially scary since one of Fukushima’s primary industries is agriculture.
  • Kazuya Tarukawa, farmer in Sukagawa 50 miles from Fukushima Daiichi: We had been growing produce that measured 3,000 [Bq/kg] without even knowing it. Selling such produce to the markets made me feel severely guilty.
  • Ghandi: His father was consumed with guilt.
  • Tarukawa: He hung himself from the tree.

Watch the HBO broadcast here

 
Published: May 29th, 2014 at 8:36 pm ET 
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Related Posts

  1. Former Japan Official: “Earth is in peril” from Fukushima reactors if current situation continues — Tepco Worker: “The buildings themselves have started to break down” at plant; Equipment has too, “even the cooling system ceasing to function is a possibility” (VIDEO) May 27, 2014
  2. Professor: Fukushima is absolutely horrifying — Radiation will be entering Pacific for decades, there’s no end in sight — Nobody has a solution, problems are unprecedented (VIDEO) November 27, 2013
  3. Cancer Expert in Fukushima: “There has undoubtedly been radiation poisoning, people shouldn’t be living here”; Officials only focus is covering up crisis — TV: On playground, we found radiation levels 2,000% higher than displayed by gov’t monitoring post (VIDEO) May 28, 2014
  4. Japan Times: Study finds ‘abnormalities’ in 52% of second generation offspring from butterflies collected May 2011 — Unusually small wings, premature death August 12, 2012
  5. More images of deformed butterflies after Fukushima — Wings folded over, rumpled, much different sizes (PHOTOS) September 21, 2012

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Judge rules secret FBI national security letters unconstitutional

fbiwarantless12z.jpg

Feb. 10, 2009: The main headquarters of the FBI, the J. Edgar Hoover Building, in Washington, DC.AP

A federal judge has struck down a set of laws allowing the FBI to issue so-called national security letters to banks, phone companies and other businesses demanding customer information.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said the laws violate the First Amendment and the separation of powers principles and ordered the government to stop issuing the secretive letters or enforcing their gag orders, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The FBI almost always bars recipients of the letters from disclosing to anyone — including customers — that they have even received the demands, Illston said in the ruling released Friday.

The government has failed to show that the letters and the blanket non-disclosure policy “serve the compelling need of national security,” and the gag order creates “too large a danger that speech is being unnecessarily restricted,” the San Francisco-based Illston wrote.

A Department of Justice spokesman told the Journal the department was “reviewing the order.”

FBI counter-terrorism agents began issuing the letters, which don’t require a judge’s approval, after Congress passed the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The case arises from a lawsuit that lawyers with the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed in 2011 on behalf of an unnamed telecommunications company that received an FBI demand for customer information.

“We are very pleased that the court recognized the fatal constitutional shortcomings of the NSL statute,” EFF lawyer Matt Zimmerman said. “The government’s gags have truncated the public debate on these controversial surveillance tools. Our client looks forward to the day when it can publicly discuss its experience.”

Illston wrote that she was also troubled by the limited powers judges have to lift the gag orders.

Judges can eliminate the gag order only if they have “no reason to believe that disclosure may endanger the national security of the United States, interfere with a criminal counter-terrorism, or counterintelligence investigation, interfere with diplomatic relations, or endanger the life or physical safety of any person.”

That provision also violated the Constitution because it blocks meaningful judicial review.

Illston ordered the FBI to cease issuing the letters, but put her order on hold for 90 days so the U.S. Department of Justice can appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Illston isn’t the first federal judge to find the letters troubling. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York also found the gag order unconstitutional, but allowed the FBI to continue issuing them if it made changes to its system such as notifying recipients they can ask federal judges to review the letters.

Illston ruled Friday that it’s up to Congress, and not the courts, to tinker with the letters.

In 2007, the Justice Department’s inspector general found widespread violations in the FBI’s use of the letters, including demands without proper authorization and information obtained in non-emergency circumstances. The FBI has tightened oversight of the system.

The FBI made 16,511 national security letter requests for information regarding 7,201 people in 2011, the latest data available. The FBI uses the letters to collect unlimited kinds of sensitive, private information like financial and phone records.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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New study reveals deaths and mutations ”increased sharply’ from exposure to Fukushima contamination, “especially at low doses” — ‘Small’ levels of cesium may be ‘significantly toxic’ — Smithsonian: “In other words, things don’t look good for the animals living around Fukushima”

 
Published: May 15th, 2014 at 3:14 pm ET 
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Smithsonian Magazine, May 14, 2014: Even Tiny Amounts of Radioactive Food Made Caterpillars Become Abnormal Butterflies […] Researchers in Japan […] discovered, even a small amount of radiation is too much. […] The scientists collected plant material from around Fukushima and fed it to pale grass blue butterfly caterpillars. When the caterpillars turned into butterflies, they suffered from mutations and were more likely to die early [… even if they] had only eaten a small amount of artificial caesium […] In other words, things don’t look good for the animals living around Fukushima.

Nature — Scientific Reports (pdf), Published May 15, 2014: [We] examined possible relationships between the dose of ingested cesium per larva and the mortality and abnormality rates. Both the mortality and abnormality rates increased sharply, especially at low doses […] the mortality and abnormality rates increased sharply, especially at low doses. Additionally, there seemed to be no threshold level below which no biological response could be detected. […] the dose-response data suggests that the relatively small level of artificial cesium from the Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP may be significantly toxic to some individuals in butterfly populations […] the half lethal [i.e. LD50, amount that will kill 50% of a test subjects] dose [is 1.9 Bq per larva] and the half abnormal dose [is 0.76 Bq per larva] […] relatively small [levels] of artificial cesium from the Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP may be significantly toxic to some individuals in butterfly populations […] we assert that the half lethal and abnormal doses we obtained were quite high. […] it should be noted that we sampled contaminated leaves from Fukushima City, which many people inhabit as though nothing had happened […] Implications of the half lethal and abnormal doses we obtained in the present study will impact future discussions on the effects of radioactive exposure on other organisms, including humans. […] In conclusion, it is important to recognize the risk of internal radiation exposure due to ingested radioactive cesium, at least for the pale grass blue butterfly, and likely for certain other organisms living in the polluted area, possibly including humans. […]

View the study published by Nature here (pdf)

Published: May 15th, 2014 at 3:14 pm ET
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Exclusive: NY Judge in Largest Bankruptcy Case in History Receives IRS & SEC Whistleblower Filing

24 APRIL 2014 63 COMMENTS

**WORLD EXCLUSIVE BREAKING STORY.** **MUST CREDIT INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST MARINKA PESCHMANN**

Creditor and Whistleblower evidence alleges securities fraud, income tax fraud and income tax evasion. Further investigation is necessary to protect millions of homeowners.

If you have not read this story, it is a must read!!!

Read it here:

http://www.marinkapeschmann.com/2014/04/24/exclusive-ny-judge-in-largest-bankruptcy-case-in-history-receives-irs-sec-whistleblower-filing/

 

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Former FHFA Head DeMarco Targeted by Disgruntled Ex-COO

Handcuffs_Blue_Pic_05_07_14

Last week, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Chief Operating Officer Richard Hornsby reportedly threatened to shoot the Agency’s former top official, Edward DeMarco. According to Bloomberg, the threat was made as part of a murder-suicide Hornsby had planned regarding Hornby’s job performance ratings as reported by DeMarco.

Hornsby was arrested April 29, charged with a single felony of threatening to kidnap or injure a person. DeMarco was taken to a secure location the following day. Hornsby has since been released as long as he does not assault, harass, threaten or stalk DeMarco. There is also a restraining order placed on Hornsby as a result of the threat.

The threat reportedly stems from a negative performance rating. This resulted in Hornsby making overtly threatening comments toward DeMarco at an accelerated rate. May 14 has been set as the date for when the next hearing is held for this case.

Hornsby began working at the FHFA in November 2011, after 25-plus years in various management roles at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. FHFA Head Mel Watt has named Eric Stein, a Treasury Department official who joined the FHFA in early 2014, as interim FHFA COO.

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Officials: “Grossly disturbed… disintegrated.. destroyed” bags found above nuclear material inside WIPP — “Anomaly in waste stack” — Chemical reaction suspected based on recent findings (PHOTO & VIDEO)

Published: May 2nd, 2014 at 8:23 pm ET
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http://enenews.com/officials-workers-find-grossly-disturbed-disintegrated-destroyed-bags-above-nuclear-waste-inside-wipp-chemical-reaction-may-have-occurred-based-on-whats-been-learned-recently-foc?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
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Nuclear Power International magazine, May 2, 2014: Workers find damage to underground radioactive storage bags at WIPP — Photos taken from re-entry into the underground storage area of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico showed damage to bags of magnesium oxide […] on top of waste containers to prevent the radioactive material from releasing into the environment over a 10,000-year period.

Albuquerque Journal, May 2, 2014: The magnesium oxide bags, [weigh] up to 4,200 pounds […] Deputy Recovery Manager Tammy Reynolds said the damaged bags were found in the storage room where the leak is believed to have occurred […] at least one bag had been “grossly disturbed,” with its outer material apparently “disintegrating,” she said.

Dept. of Energy (pdf), May 2, 2014: WIPP personnel place “super sacks” of magnesium oxide on the top of waste columns  […] Based on recent entries into the WIPP underground facility, the team is evaluating the contents of a set of waste drums that came from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) that are located in Panel 7, the location of the event. The team is looking at the possibility that a chemical reaction may have occurred […]

Tammy Reynolds, Deputy Recovery Manager at WIPP, May 1, 2014 (at 11:45 in): Some of these bags along the wall here… the form of those bags is not the same. They’re not upright… and also they look like they’ve been disturbed and don’t necessarily look like the material is contained in the bags… this bag has been grossly disturbed… the material on the outside of the bag looks almost like it’s been disintegrated or destroyed and you’re seeing the magnesium oxide sitting there without the bag around it… It looks like the material on the bag is no longer intact… It tells us that something has disturbed these bags, something has degraded the material on the outside… The roof of the mine looks good… we’re still not ruling out any possibilities at this point.

Watch Reynolds’ presentation at yesterday’s town meeting here

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NBC Right Now: Explosion at U.S. nuclear site — Kept secret from public — Happened in plant where plutonium was manufactured — “One of the most hazardous buildings” in America — Workers: “Flames shot out… big, loud bang like a shot gun” (VIDEO)

Published: May 4th, 2014 at 11:24 am ET
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NBC Right Now (Yakima, WA), May 1, 2014 (h/t Stock): Hanford union workers tell NBC Right Now there was an explosion at the plutonium finishing plant cleanup site weeks ago, but the event wasn’t shared with the public. The Hanford union representative says it happened when workers were cutting some pipe as part of the demolition of the Plutonium Finishing Plant [PFP]. The union representative wants to remain anonymous and says workers are concerned management isn’t putting worker safety first. […] Workers describe the explosion as a spark then flames that shot out of a pipe and a loud bang […] We’re told it happened two weeks ago […] Workers say they think the contractor is playing down the explosion and possible safety concerns to protect themselves from fines and work delays. […] The union representative says management wants to keep experienced workers quiet.

Hanford Union Representative: “Having a pipe explode at probably the most contaminated facility in the United States. This is one of the most hazardous buildings in the U.S. […] Management continues to call it a small pop even though the workers say no this thing was a big, loud bang like a shot gun blast […] People bring up concerns and they fall on deaf ears, especially at this facility. It’s like they’re dumbing it down because if this becomes a big concern, then they’re not going to be able to remove the pipe in a timely manor. Well, that’s not the concern. I could care less about your time frame and how much money you’re going to make when you get that pipe out. My concern is the people cutting the pipe in the first place and that doesn’t seem to be their concern. […] PFP is not wanting to use experienced individuals anymore because we’re bringing up too many concerns in this plant. They want to bring in the guy that’s not going to ask any questions and they’ve started to do so.”

Department of Energy: “The Department of Energy is overseeing the contractor’s response and will continue to evaluate their investigation into the cause of the event and corrective actions.”

KVEW (ABC), May 2, 2014: Investigation Underway Following Pipe Explosion at Hanford’s Plutonium Finishing Plant — An investigation is underway following a pipe explosion last month at the Hanford site’s Plutonium Finishing Plant. A spokesman for the CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Company says the employees were cutting a pipe on April 17th when they heard a loud bang and witnessed a small flame emit from the end of the pipe.

Watch the NBC broadcast here

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MagicJack ended up making it right!
I was astonished when I got the email, and someone at MagicJack had taken it upon themselves to read the communications back and forth, and emailed me.  They offered to send out a  new one, free of charge.  Of course, I agreed.
They sent me one, and it has worked perfectly ever since.
THANKS MAGICJACK!
—–Original Message—–
From: magicJack Customer Service
Sent: Friday, May 02, 2014 4:59 PM
To: GAPARALEGAL…
Subject: RE: (LTK111530116734526X)
REFERENCE NUMBER: LTK111530116734526X  Please use this ticket number in any correspondence with us.
SUBJECT:
Dear Customer,
Thank you for contacting us.  STOP RIGHT THERE.
So that everyone gets an idea of what has happened, and the fun experience I have had with Magicjack, I am posting my last response to the magicjack employee that emailed me to tell me the good news…:
” My response first:

“If you really want to know what I think?
I think that since there was an issue with something I had bought that carried a warranty, and I had put out the $100 to buy my 5 years, back when mj was still such a new product, that most people were ignoring the mj.
And all the selling of the product that I have done for mj, because it is a good product, when the company appeared to back the product, which mj has slipped, on if you ask me.
The one that was replaced was supposed to be under warranty, or so I was told.  Warranty cost me $11.80 for shipping and handling, even though I have twice bought 5 year upgrade plans, and three magicjacks.  Every time a newer one has come onto the market, I have purchased one.
When I upgraded in the past, I lost my extra hours.  That was the reason I had not totally decommissioned the older one, because it is good till 2017.  This time, since it was a defect and I was paying the $11.80 for something under warranty, and the item normally only costs $49.95 including shipping, I was going to get to transfer my extra time.  Tech support told me to be sure to call yall, and yall would help me connect the proper one so that I would not lose my remaining three years.
Then You got me to hook up the wrong one!  Then you tell me tough snuff, that I have to pay another $11.80?  Like hell I will.
I tell you what, I keep all my transcripts.  I have everyone I have ever been a party to.  I also have the following blogs:
I have a couple more too that are part of a website.  I tell you what, pick out at least four for me to post this story on.  Or better yet, I will send yall links to them, as I post it on each one.
I cannot believe that you treat your loyal customers this way!  It is not like there is no competition out there.  Yall are the ones that told me to get the chat up when I was ready to connect, so that I would not connect to the wrong number and lose my three years.  I do as you suggest, and yall lose my three years for me, then tell me tough shit?
Wow!  Is that some good customer relations!
What MagicJack employee emailed to tell me:
Unfortunately once a magicJack has been registered, we can not un register it. If you would like i can send you a replacement free of charge but you will have to cover the shipping and handling fee of $11.80.
Sincerely,
magicJack Support
In case this email does not fully answer your question, or you would like to contact us for any reason, simply reply to this email.
========== Original Message ==========
From:     <>
Subject:
${ticket.lastmessage.content}

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Bloomberg: Fukushima a global disaster with huge environmental consequences… like all nuclear catastrophes — UC Berkeley Nuclear Expert: There’s ‘clear and obvious’ consequences from radiation release… citizens should be prepared… ‘cold truth’ is accidents will always occur

Published: April 9th, 2014 at 12:10 pm ET
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Bloomberg, Apr. 4, 2014: World Needs to Get Ready for the Next Nuclear Plant Accident– Three major atomic accidents in 35 years are forcing the world’s nuclear industry to stop imagining it can prevent more catastrophes and to focus instead on how to contain them. […] scientists warn the next nuclear accident is waiting to happen […] the causes of the three events followed no pattern, and the inability to immediately contain them escalated the episodes into global disasters with huge economic, environmental and political consequences. […] according to the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev it was a factor in bringing about the collapse of the Soviet Union […]

Joonhong Ahn, professor at the Department of Nuclear Engineering of University of California, Berkeley: “The cold truth is that, no matter what you do on the technological improvements side, accidents will occur — somewhere, someplace.” […] The consequences of radiation release, contamination and evacuation of people is “clear and obvious” […] That means governments and citizens should be prepared, not just nuclear utilities […] The problem with an engineering solution [is]  those defense systems can also fail […] “This is an endless cycle. Whatever is your technology, however it is developed, we always have residual risk.” When the next nuclear accident occurs the world needs to have better knowledge of how to limit the spread of radiation and do the clean-up, including removing radiation […] We also need more understanding of the impact of low-dose radiation on organisms […] “This is about recovery from an accident, not preventing an accident […] It’s completely different. And I think this concept is very necessary for the future of nuclear utilization.”

Gregory Jaczko, ex-chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: “We have this accident and people will say, you know, it was caused by this and that […] But the next accident is going to be something different. Nobody can tell you where or when or what exactly it is going to be […] Once you have an accident, a low-probability and high consequence event, you can no longer call it a low probability event […] It is an event that’s happened and you cannot ignore the consequences simply because it was never supposed to happen. The consequences are real. Probabilities are always hypothetical.” […] The cost of cleaning up Fukushima may be more than the total cost of building all the world’s nuclear plants to date […] “If we look at this technology and we challenge ourselves to make technology that meets this standard then we’ll see that there are ways to do it […] But if there aren’t ways to do it — economically viable ways to do it […] this is perhaps then not a technology that we want to rely on well into the future.”

See also: Former Top U.S. Nuclear Official: U.S. nuclear plants should be phased out — “Can’t guarantee against accident causing widespread land contamination”

Published: April 9th, 2014 at 12:10 pm ET
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Related Posts

  1. Officials: Nuclear release from container(s) indicated at #WIPP site — “We never, ever thought this kind of an event would occur” — “Absolute seriousness of this can’t be overstated” — Resident: “I feel like they’re not telling us everything” (VIDEO) February 25, 2014
  2. TV: US Senators want federal agents near WIPP to check if safe; “A lot more people could have been hurt a lot worse” — Public “skeptical whole truth about environmental risks shared” — Report: “It will shut WIPP down for a year or more, and now everyone is talking about maybe WIPP is no good” (VIDEO) March 27, 2014
  3. ‘Developing Story’ at Los Alamos: “No timetable for any release of details concerning what the substance actually was” — Even newspaper got automated 911 call — Businesses on DP Road still waiting for all-clear — Advised to shelter in place March 15, 2012
  4. ‘Historical Weirdness’: Expert says US gov’t has failed public by not testing Pacific for radiation — A ‘very obvious’ need since Fukushima is leaking into ocean — They told me “it’s salty” and that’s not our thing (VIDEO) January 25, 2014
  5. ‘New tests show elevated radiation’ near U.S. nuclear site — ‘More airborne radiation detected’ around WIPP — Gov’t issues press release on ‘radiological event’ (MAP)February 24, 2014

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Professor: U.S. personnel destroyed thousands of documents to prepare for evacuation of Japan after 3/11 — Bloomberg: “Near-Chernobyl experience” for Tokyo even though 200+ kilometers from Fukushima

Published: February 8th, 2014 at 8:11 pm ET
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Bloomberg, Willianm Pesek in Japan, Feb. 6, 2014: […] Anyone who lived through Tokyo’s near-Chernobyl experience in 2011 may recall how poorly NHK performed even then. The network downplayed risks at every turn to avoid panic. Many of us learned about explosions at Fukushima from CNN, BBC and U.S. military news conferences, not Japan’s most trusted news source. Just imagine the next time disaster strikes. Abe’s secrecy law means journalists and whistle-blowers can go to jail for reporting what the government doesn’t want the public to know. It’s nice to know that during the next crisis, when we’re desperate for news, NHK will be ready to distract us with cheerful PR puff pieces. It’s now official policy.

Number 1 Shimbun, Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Feb. 4, 2014: Paul Blustein, former Washington Post [and Wall Street Journal reporter who is now affiliated with the Brookings Institution] […] accuses some present members [of the  FCCJ] of propagating misinformation — even of “journalistic malpractice.” […] “I’m referring to the oft-repeated claim that the accident came perilously close to irradiating the Tokyo metropolitan area. […] it is massively at odds with the facts. Propagating it is not just misinformation; it can now be fairly deemed an act of journalistic malpractice […] It pains me to level such accusations at fellow journalists […] Leading the pack was the New York Times, which carried a front-page story on Feb. 27, 2012 asserting that Kan and his fellow Japanese leaders “secretly considered the possibility of evacuating Tokyo” […]  Jeffrey Bader, who had served on President Obama’s National Security Council, explained that modeling of radiation plumes and weather patterns by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – one of the government’s premier scientific facilities – had shown there was no need to consider evacuating Americans from the Tokyo metropolitan area.” […]

Rebuttal from David McNeill, The Economist, Feb. 4, 2014: […] I’m puzzled by this criticism. It seems to suggest that we should outweigh or dismiss the views of Japan’s sitting prime minister at the time of the disaster in favor of those of some U.S. officials in Washington. It also seems to ignore the growing body of evidence to the contrary. To cite only the latest intervention into this debate that I know of, Kyle Cleveland of Temple University Japan has written a well-sourced essay this year revealing that U.S. officials in Japan were concerned enough in March 2011 about the possibility of evacuation to have destroyed thousands of documents at military and diplomatic facilities. Mr. Blustein may also be aware that Kevin Maher, former director of the Office of Japan Affairs also said in his 2011 (Japanese) book, The Japan That Can’t Decide, that U.S. officials in Japan planned to evacuate 90,000 citizens from Tokyo during the disaster. […]

See also: Study: Contamination in Tokyo suburb 3 times higher than area 1 mile from Fukushima Daiichi — Nuclear Scientist: Significant contamination in Tokyo, a serious problem (AUDIO)

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Inside Sources: Fukushima crisis “actually far worse than anyone acknowledged… information withheld to prevent panic” – Professor: “Level of radiation was far worse than Navy officers anticipated” – US gov’t shredded documents for 4 days while drawing up plans to evacuate Japan — “Somebody was obviously very worried”

 
Published: April 5th, 2014 at 5:51 pm ET 
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Japan Times, Jeff Kingston of Temple Univ., Apr. 4, 2014: Kyle Cleveland, my colleague […] recently published a report […] a critical, but nuanced picture of a crisis that was closer to careening out of control than is generally acknowledged. […] Naval officers […] discovered the level of radiation was far worse than they anticipated. Radiation gauges on the [USS Reagan] measured levels of radiation at 100 nautical miles off the coast that were 30 times greater than normal. [Sailors report] significant health problems due to exposure to radiation […] Cleveland finds that there was considerable disagreement between various U.S. agencies about the severity of the risk […] Given that the U.S. government expanded the exclusionary zone in Fukushima to 80 km and developed contingency plans for a massive evacuation while shredding of documents continued for four days at the U.S. Embassy and military bases in Japan, somebody was obviously very worried. […] Some of his insider sources tell him that the crisis was actually far worse than anyone acknowledged at the time and that information was withheld to prevent a panic. Cleveland concludes that Japan’s nuclear reactors should not be restarted.

Professor Kyle Cleveland, Temple University Japan: “[The navy was] more risk averse than either the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) or State, and from day one was ringing alarms that were not entirely understood, not completely validated and not well received by the NRC and State. The navy was pushing the other federal agencies to take more aggressive actions because their radiation measurements were indicating dose rates that were more significant than what was implied by the abstract modeling […]”

Unidentified US Nuclear Expert: “Without a qualitatively different regulatory system, and in light of how Japan/Tepco responded to this crisis, Japan has not earned the right to have nuclear energy. No critically minded and informed person can evaluate this disaster and look at how Japan has responded in the aftermath and have any confidence that Japan will use nuclear energy safely. In the most seismically active country […] even if Japan had a robust regulatory structure and thoroughly integrated crisis protocols, nature conspires against the best-laid-plans of human institutions. And what Japan has is certainly not the best plan by any measure.”

See also: Anonymous U.S. Gov’t Nuclear Expert: Fukushima radiation levels were “astronomical… nothing containing release of radioactivity, it’s an unmitigated, unshielded number”

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Oklahoma Police Officer Shoots Family’s Dog Then Brags It was ‘Awesome’

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An Oklahoma family is devastated after a police officer shot their family pet for simply jumping the fence and getting loose.

Cali, a 2-year-old pit bull had escaped from the yard and had been reported by neighbors to be running loose in the neighborhood. When police and animal officers arrived, Cali evaded the officers, who then decided that the only way to handle the situation was the kill the dog.

Officer Brice Woolly shot one round into the neck of Cali, who was still breathing after the first shot. The police officer then instructed the animal control officer to finish the job.

A neighbor present when the shooting occurred claims Woolly seemed to take delight in downing the dog and overheard him saying to the animal control officer, ”Did you see the way its collar flew up into the air when I blew it’s head off? It was awesome!”

The neighbor also heard Woolly coach the animal control officer on how to fill out the report to avoid trouble.  ”We are just going to write this up in the report as the dog tried to attack me and you and others in the neighborhood,” Woolly told the other shooter, according to the neighbor’s account.

Cali’s death is also not the first time, or even the first time this month, that Officer Woolly used deadly force on an animal because it was ‘aggressive’ and the owner could not be located. On March 14, Woolly shot a dog twice. The owner of that dog was never found.

Despite the questions in the case, the Ardmore Police Department claims the matter has been closed and that Officer Woolly acted within the line of duty in shooting the dog.

Local residents and animal lovers, however, disagree. A petition that has already garnered over 17,000 signatures on Change.org  is calling for Woolly’s firing for his cruel action. A peaceful rally is also planned for March 29 to protest Cali’s killing by Officer Woolly.

Photo Credit: Facebook/Justice for Cali

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Radiation Expert: 5 types of plutonium were released from WIPP; Officials not informing public — Caldicott: “I predict that facility will never be able to be used again”; Inhaling a millionth of a gram of plutonium will induce lung cancer (AUDIO)

 
Published: March 25th, 2014 at 12:03 pm ET 
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KUNM, Mar. 24, 2014: The director of an organization that evaluated the WIPP site for over 25 years said officials aren’t doing enough to inform New Mexicans. […] “I just can’t stress the importance of DOE being available to respond to detailed questions that people have,” [Dr. Bob Neill] said. “There’s no substitute for direct communication.” Immediately after the leak was discovered, the public should have been given a detailed explanation of what was released, said Dr. Neill, who received his degree in radiological medicine. Americium 241 and plutonium 239 were mentioned. “But there are four other radio-isotopes of plutonium, namely the 238, 240, the beta and 241,” he said. “They’re all bone-seekers. So you want to be able to report all the values—how each one may have contributed. It’s just essential.” […] “It’s so important to answer people’s questions—and not just people in Carlsbad, but throughout the state and elsewhere,” he said. As for the leak itself, he said all of the possible causes of the failure at WIPP must be considered, and a response system should be designed accordingly.

Interview with Dr. Helen Caldicott, March 2014 (at 37:30 in): One of the repositories for very, very dangerous radioactive waste plutonium, americium, etc. has just leaked radiation all around the area in Carlsbad, New Mexico. One microgram of plutonium, a millionth of a gram of plutonium, if inhaled will induce lung cancer. It’s extraordinarily radioactive. So they thought this would be safe storing radiation in salt mines, but something happened, one of the casks blew up or part of the ceiling fell on the casks, we do not know. But I predict that that facility will never be able to be used again, it will be so contaminated.

Full interview with Dr. Caldicott available here (subscription required)

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Foreign reporters find radiation levels over 100 times legal limit off Fukushima — Captain: Radioactive releases “may last until end of the Earth” — “Deep sense of dread set in… Stop, don’t go any closer!” — “World deserves honest assessment of the disaster” — “A worst-case scenario come to life” (VIDEO)

 
Published: April 2nd, 2014 at 2:10 pm ET 
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Arirang News, Mar. 7, 2014 (at 2:00 in): […] exclusive coverage by the Joongang Ilbo on Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. The headline reads, “Where Abe Said Contaminated Water Was Contained, Radiation Detector Goes Off “Beep, Beep, Beep.” […] the radiation detector showed a reading that was 110 times higher than the normal rate. Surprising,.. given that this area is within the zone that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had claimed was SAFE from the effects of radiation. Three years since the nuclear disaster,.. and still periodic reports of contaminated water leakage. It’s about time the Japanese government and the rest of world deserve an honest assessment of the disaster.

Korea JoongAng Daily, Mar. 17, 2014: The accident was a worst-case scenario come to life, one that stunned the international community and shed light on the vulnerabilities of the nuclear industry. […] When a team of JoongAng Ilbo and JTBC reporters visited the Fukushima site last month to witness for themselves the state of the plant 36 months later, their boat came just within 100 meters (328 feet) of its port before a deep sense of dread set in. The reporters believed they would be safer from radiation exposure in the open sea […] It is estimated that hundreds of tons of contaminated groundwater spill into the ocean each day. […] The tension was palpable, and the group members immediately put on their anti-radiation suits and masks. […] The upper part of the outer wall that covers the [No. 3] reactor was crumbling […] the team finally worked up enough courage to come closer to the port […] The interval of the beeps rapidly increased when the boat passed alongside one of the levees, signaling danger. “Stop, don’t go any closer!” one of those on board shouted. The detector sounded relentlessly, indicating a radiation level of 21 microsieverts, about 110 times the permissible level of exposure. […] as the team moved another 200 meters east, they could see that the port was not fully closed off, and a 50-meter-wide opening let water freely escape. […] “The ocean in front of the Daiichi power plant was once one of the richest fisheries in Fukushima Prefecture,” [Yoshio Yoshida, the boat’s 61-year-old captain] added, “but we can’t do anything about it because the spillover of groundwater [mixed with the contaminated water] isn’t going to end in a year or two – it may last until the end of the Earth.”

Other recent reports state radiation levels at the plant boundaries are 8 times the limit.

RT News, Mar. 28, 2014: In mid-January, TEPCO warned that nuclear radiation at the boundaries of the damaged power plant had jumped to eight times the government safety guideline.

Watch the Arirang broadcast here (at 2:00 in)

 
Published: April 2nd, 2014 at 2:10 pm ET 
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Related Posts

  1. Japan Professors: Worst case scenario at Fukushima, nuclear rods melted and went through reactor floors; Contamination is impacting rest of world; Likely that entire Pacific will be affected — Farmer: Gov’t doesn’t have any idea about status of fuel (VIDEO)October 13, 2013
  2. NYT: Fears of environmental calamity from Fukushima disaster — Japan Nuclear Expert: It’s getting worse… People all over world need to be informed… first case in history where so much contaminated water flowing in ocean August 21, 2013
  3. “Ultimate, worst-case scenario” underway at Fukushima? New York Times: Experts suspect intense contamination is seeping out from under melted-down reactors and into Pacific — Will surpass even the leaks from disaster’s early days August 24, 2013
  4. Documentary: After first explosion, only a matter of time before nuclear fuel would melt through into the open — Evacuating out to 300km from Fukushima was worst case scenario -PM Kan (VIDEO) February 24, 2012
  5. Japan Official: Fukushima contamination “increasingly seen as international problem… lawsuits may be filed overseas” — “Gov’t should take preventive actions based on a worst-case scenario” says S. Korea newspaper August 31, 2013

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NBC in Washington D.C. goes live with ‘Breaking News’ from Fukushima: “Troubling news out of Japan”; Fish showing high levels of radiation — and some of that radioactive contamination could actually be hitting the US in weeks (VIDEO)

 
Published: March 2nd, 2014 at 10:56 am ET 
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NBC 4 Washington D.C., Feb. 28, 2014:

News 4′s Molette Green is following breaking news from the live desk. Molette…

Just getting some troubling news out of Japan. Fish caught off the coast of Fukushima are showing high levels of radiation. We’ve just learned this morning the amount exceeds Japan’s allowed limit. This information is coming in from the head of agriculture in Tokyo this morning. A new report just released days ago says some of that radioactive contamination from Japan’s nuclear disaster several years ago could actually reach the U.S. West Coast within weeks.

That’s the latest from the live desk.

See NHK’s report on the ‘High radioactive materials detected in fish’ here

 
Published: March 2nd, 2014 at 10:56 am ET 
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  1. Fox News: Fukushima contamination is hitting California — “Humans are terrified” of eating it — “It’s an open question” about the risks — “You’re not scared? To me, if someone tells me there’s low levels of radioactivity in that fish…” (VIDEO) January 17, 2014
  2. NBC Nightly News: Worry at Fukushima plant — Scientist reveals “increased” amounts of radioactive groundwater have started flowing into ocean — Contamination levels in marine life to start rising — “Other countries are worried” (VIDEO) September 25, 2013
  3. ABC7: Breaking News — Oil tanker strikes tower of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge (VIDEO & PHOTO) January 7, 2013
  4. Scientist: Leading edge of Fukushima plume is now showing up on West Coast — Fish Market Owner: My customers have a lot of concerns about the nuclear contamination, they’re very smart and educated… I didn’t expect this much concern (AUDIO) November 29, 2013
  5. Seattle TV: “Fish and water have shown signs of Fukushima contamination” in U.S. Northwest — Officials to start radiation testing due to news from Japan — NOAA: Nuclear plant leaks “a surprise to everybody, we weren’t aware of it” (VIDEO) August 23, 2013

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TV: Massive M8.2 quake in Eastern Pacific triggers tsunami — NHK: Fukushima plant cancels work, cooling pumps and emergency generators moved to higher ground — Agency warns high waves could reach Japan early tomorrow (VIDEO)

 
Published: April 2nd, 2014 at 12:51 pm ET 
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Arirang News, Apr. 2, 2014: Massive 8.2 earthquake off Chilean coast triggers tsunami — A magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile Tuesday evening local time, causing landslides and prompting authorities to issue a tsunami warning that forced those in coastal areas to evacuate. […] Asia may also feel the effects, Japan’s Meteorological Agency warned that high waves triggered by the quake in Chile could reach Japan by early tomorrow morning. […] the Japanese agency doesn’t yet know how big the waves will be.

Jiji Press, Apr. 2, 2014: Up to 1-meter tsunami could reach Japan […] Tsunami of between 20 cm and 1 meter could reach Pacific coastal areas in Japan on Thursday morning, a day after a magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck off Chile’s northern coast, the Meteorological Agency said. If necessary, the agency will issue a tsunami advisory at around 3 a.m. Thursday, or a tsunami warning much earlier. Tsunami are forecast to reach the Pacific coast of Hokkaido around 5 a.m., coastal areas of the Kanto eastern region around 6 a.m. […]

NHK WORLD, Apr. 2, 2014:Fukushima Daiichi wary of Chile tsunami — The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has cancelled work at the seaside planned for Wednesday night through Thursday morning. The possibility of tsunami caused by the huge earthquake off Chile forced it to call off the work. [TEPCO] made the decision after Japan’s Meteorological Agency said that advisory-level tsunamis up to one meter high could reach the country. […] TEPCO has also moved pumps for cooling the reactors and emergency generators to higher ground.

Watch the Arirang broadcast here

 
Published: April 2nd, 2014 at 12:51 pm ET 
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Reuters: “Unsafe levels of radiation” were released during WIPP accident; More workers contaminated with plutonium — AP: Leak of radioactive material could’ve been “orders of magnitude larger”; Feds now testing air & soil 50 miles from site (AUDIO)

 
Published: March 31st, 2014 at 9:57 pm ET 
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http://enenews.com/reuters-unsafe-levels-of-radiation-were-released-during-wipp-accident-more-workers-contaminated-with-plutonium-ap-leak-of-radioactive-material-couldve-been-orders-of-magnitude-larger

Reuters, Mar. 27, 2014: An investigative team plans to re-enter an underground nuclear waste site in New Mexico next week for the first time since an accidental release of unsafe levels of radiation there last month, a U.S. Energy Department official said […] U.S. authorities now say that 21 workers at the Carlsbad-area “waste isolation pilot project” (WIPP) were exposed to radiation after the accidental leak from the site […] Testing of surface air in and around the Energy Department complex has shown elevated levels of radiation since the mishap […] That brings to 21 the number of workers who inhaled or ingested particles emitted from the decay of radioisotopes like plutonium […]

AP, Mar. 28, 2014: […] the DOE said it will expand its environmental monitoring to 10 more stations that will test air, soil and vegetation around Hobbs [50 miles from WIPP], Artesia [50 miles from WIPP], Loving [20 miles from WIPP], Eunice [40 miles from WIPP] and other nearby communities. To date, samples taken around Carlsbad have shown only radiation levels well below those deemed unsafe. […] Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Chairman Peter Winokur said that for six days after the fire, no underground air monitors were operational, meaning that if the system failed when the leak occurred Feb. 14, “or if the release event had occurred three days earlier, the release of radioactive material from the aboveground mine exhaust would have been orders of magnitude larger.”

Big 2 News, Mar. 28, 2014: New developments in the radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant […] A total number of 21 employees are thought to have been exposed to the radiation leak. Lawmakers are now raising questions about required safety inspections that were not performed at the plant prior to the leak. […]

Carlsbad Current-Argus, Mar. 27, 2014: […] New Mexico’s senators want answers about why legally required inspections for WIPP weren’t performed by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. NM senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich sent a letter to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez Thursday asking for a written report on why MSHA hadn’t performed the legally required inspections at WIPP. The information about missed safety inspections was revealed in the Department of Energy’s accident report on the Feb. 5 fire at WIPP. By law, MSHA is required to inspect WIPP four times a year. The accident report said the inspections had been performed twice in the last three years. “The health and safety of the workers at WIPP and the surrounding community are our top priorities and it is extremely concerning to learn that a fire in the mining portion of WIPP was a preventable circumstance,” Udall and Heinrich wrote in the letter.

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FHFA Settles With BofA for $5.83 Billion Over Countrywide Legacy Loans

http://nationalmortgageprofessional.com/news47937/FHFA-Settles-With-BofA-%245.83-Billion-Over-Countrywide-Legacy-Loans?utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=NMP+Daily%3A+FHFA+Settles+With+BofA+for+%245_83+Billion+Over+Countrywide+Legacy+Loans+and+More+___&utm_campaign=20140327_m119753830_NMP+Daily%3A+FHFA+Settles+With+BofA+for+%245_83+Billion+Over+Countrywide+Legacy+Loans+and+More+___&utm_term=FHFA+Settles+With+BofA+for+_245_83+Billion+Over+Countrywide+Legacy+Loans

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The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced it has reached a settlement in cases involving Bank of America, Countrywide Financial, Merrill Lynch, and certain named individuals totaling approximately $5.83 billion. Bank of America Corporation owns Countrywide and Merrill Lynch. The cases alleged violations of federal and state securities laws in connection with private-label, residential mortgage-backed securities (PLS) purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 2005 and 2007. Allegations of common law fraud were made in the Countrywide and Merrill Lynch cases.

The Agreement provides for an aggregate payment of approximately $9.33 billion by Bank of America that includes the litigation resolution as well as a purchase of securities by Bank of America from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“FHFA has acted under its statutory mandate to recover losses incurred by the companies and American taxpayers and has concluded that this resolution represents a reasonable and prudent settlement of these cases,” said FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt. “This settlement also represents an important step in helping restore stability to our broader mortgage market and moving to bring back the role of private firms in providing mortgage credit. Many potential homeowners will benefit from increasing certainty in the marketplace and that is very much the direction we should be taking.”

Of the 18 PLS suits filed in 2011, FHFA now has claims remaining in seven suits against various institutions and remains committed to satisfactory resolution of these pending actions.

The settlement agreement regarding private label securities claims between FHFA and Bank of America involves the following cases: Federal Housing Finance Agency v. Bank of America Corp., et al., No. 11 Civ. 6195 (DLC) (S.D.N.Y.); Federal Housing Finance Agency v. Countrywide Financial Corp., et al., No. 12 Civ. 1059 (MRP) (C.D. Cal.); Federal Housing Finance Agency v. Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., et al., No. 11 Civ. 6202 (DLC) (S.D.N.Y.); as well as one Merrill Lynch security in Federal Housing Finance Agency v. First Horizon National Corp., No. 11 Civ. 6193 (DLC) (S.D.N.Y.).

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Inside Source: Gov’t officials are withholding Fukushima radiation data — Levels much higher than expected — Releasing numbers would “have a huge impact” — Over 2,000 millisieverts per year where residents are being encouraged to return

 
Published: March 25th, 2014 at 2:49 pm ET 
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http://enenews.com/inside-source-govt-officials-are-withholding-fukushima-radiation-data-levels-much-higher-than-expected-releasing-numbers-would-have-a-huge-impact-over-2000-millisieverts-per-year-wher

Mainichi, Mar. 25, 2014: A Cabinet Office team has delayed the release of radiation measurements from three Fukushima Prefecture municipalities, and plans to release them later with lower, recalculated results, the Mainichi learned on March 24. […] According to one source, the original measurements were higher than expected, prompting the Cabinet Office team […] to hold the results back over worries they would discourage residents from returning. The Mainichi has acquired documents drawn up in November last year detailing the radiation measurements and intended for release. The documents, however, were never made public. According to this and other sources, the measurements were taken in September last year in the city of Tamura’s Miyakoji district, the village of Kawauchi and the village of Iitate […] According to an inside source, the Cabinet Office team had noticed that measurements taken with older dosimeters distributed by Fukushima Prefecture municipalities to residents showed radiation measurements much lower than those recorded by aerial surveys. The Cabinet Office team had planned to release the latest measurements […] putting special emphasis on how low the figures were. The new results, however, were significantly higher than expected, with the largest gap coming in Kawauchi. There, the Cabinet Office team had predicted radiation doses of 1-2 millisieverts per day, but the data showed doses at between 2.6 and 6.6 millisieverts. Cabinet Office team members apparently said that the numbers would “have a huge impact” […] and release of the results was put off. At the request of the Cabinet Office team, the JAEA and NIRS then recalculated the results by ditching the assumption that people would be outside eight hours a day […] Under these new assumptions, a farmer was now expected to spend around six hours a day outdoors.

Atsuo Tamura, official on the Cabinet Office team: “We did not hold the results back because they were too high. We did so because it was necessary to look into whether the assumptions for residents’ lifestyle patterns matched reality.”

Shinzo Kimura, associate professor of radiation and hygiene at Dokkyo Medical University: “The assumption of eight hours a day outside, 16 hours inside is commonly used, and it is strange to change it. I can’t see it as anything but them fiddling with the numbers to make them come out as they wanted.”

See also: Asahi: ‘Mind-boggling’ cesium levels far from Fukushima plant — Japan Times: “Health ministry in denial” — Interview: “They force us to forget everything”; Gov’t radiation levels “complete fiction”; “Mass media is biggest criminal… worse than Tepco”

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POLICY: LAW

http://washingtonexaminer.com/a-whistleblowers-worst-nightmare/article/2546069 

A whistleblower’s worst nightmare 

BY DIANE DIMOND | MARCH 21, 2014 AT 2:52 PM 

TOPICS: 2007 HOUSING CRISIS WHISTLEBLOWERS LAW 

Photo – Sadly, there is not enough space here to tell you the entire 7-year saga of whistleblower Michael Winston, but the bottom line is this: He got royally screwed by the California judicial system.

Sadly, there is not enough space here to tell you the entire 7-year saga of whistleblower Michael…

Justice is supposed to be blind. But what happens when it turns out to be blind, deaf and dumb?

Sadly, there is not enough space here to tell you the entire 7-year saga of whistleblower Michael Winston, but the bottom line is this: He got royally screwed by the California judicial system.

Winston, 62, is a mild-mannered Ph.D. and a veteran leadership executive who has held top jobs at elite corporations such as McDonnell Douglas, Motorola and Merrill Lynch. After taking time off to nurse his ailing parents, Winston was recruited by Countrywide Financial to help polish their corporate Image. He was quickly promoted — twice — and had a team of 200 employees.

It’s almost unheard of for a top-tier executive turning whistleblower, but that’s what Winston became after he noticed many of his staff were sickened by noxious air in their Simi Valley, California, office. When the company failed to fix the problem, Winston picked up the phone and called Cal-OSHA to investigate. Retaliation was immediate. Winston’s budget was cut and most of his staff was reassigned.

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Several months later, Winston says he refused Countrywide’s request to travel to New York and, basically, lie to the credit ratings agency Moody’s about corporate structure and practices. That was the death knell for Winston’s stellar 30-year-long career.

When Countrywide was bought out by Bank of America in 2008 — following Countrywide’s widely reported lead role in the sub-prime mortgage fiasco that caused the collapse of the U.S. housing market — Winston was out of a job.

In early 2011, after a month-long trial, a jury overwhelmingly found that Winston had been wrongfully terminated and awarded him nearly $4 million. Lawyers for Bank of America (which had assumed all Countrywide liabilities) immediately asked the judge to overturn the verdict. Judge Bert Gennon Jr. denied the request saying, “There was a great deal of evidence that was provided to the jury in making their decision, and they went about it very carefully.” Winston and his lawyer maintain they won despite repeated and egregious perjury by the opposition.

Winston never saw a dime of his award, and nearly two years later, B of A appealed. In February 2013, the Court of Appeal issued a stunning reversal of the verdict. The court declared Winston had failed to make his case.

“This never happens … this isn’t legal,” Cliff Palefsky, a top employment lawyer in San Francisco told me during a phone conversation. “The appeals court is not supposed to go back and cherry-pick through the evidence the way this court did. And if there is any doubt about a case, they are legally bound to uphold the jury’s verdict.”

None of the legal eagles I spoke to could explain why the Court of Appeal would do such an apparently radical thing.

The Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection group in D.C., has been watching the Winston case closely. Senior Counsel Richard Condit says he believes the appeal judge wrongly “nullified” the jury’s determination.

“This case is vitally important,” Condit told me on the phone. “Seeing what happened to Winston, who will ever want to come forward and reveal what they know about corporate wrongdoings?” GAP and various legal academicians are trying to figure out a way to get Winston’s case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

There have been whispers about the possible malpractice of Winston’s trial lawyer failing to file crucial documents that might have satisfied the appeal court’s questions. His appellate lawyer didn’t even tell him when the appeals court was hearing the case and Winston was out of town. The LA District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Department refused to follow up on evidence that Countrywide witnesses, including founder Angelo Mozilo, had blatantly committed perjury on the stand. Some court watchers speak of the, “unholy alliance” between big corporations and the justice system in California.

Winston, who says he spent $600,000 on legal fees, further depleted his savings by appealing to the California Supreme Court. That court refused to hear his case.

During one of our many hours-long phone conversations, Winston told me, “So, here I sit,” the whistleblower. The good guy loses. And the bad guys, officials at the corporation that cheated and lied and nearly caused the collapse of the U.S. economy — win.”

There’s a lot of talk out of Washington these days about “economic equality.” But seven years have passed since the housing crisis and the feds have not prosecuted one key executive from any of the financial giants that helped fuel the economic crash. Too big to fail — and too big to jail, I guess.

Bank of America has spent upward of $50 billion in legal fees, litigation costs and fines cleaning up the Countrywide mess. Their latest projections indicate they’ll spend billions more before it’s over. To my mind, a stiff prison sentence for the top dogs who orchestrated the original mortgage schemes would go much further than agreeing that they pay hefty fines. That’s no deterrent to others since they all have lots of money.

A recent email I got from Michael Winston, a proud man who has been unemployed for four years, said: “I have just received (a) court order mandating that I pay to Bank of America over $100,000.00 for their court costs. This will be in all ways — financial, emotional, physical and spiritual — painful.”

If a top-tier executive can’t prevail blowing the whistle on a corrupt company, if the feds fail to pursue prison terms, and if a jury’s verdict can be over-turned without the opportunity to appeal — what kind of signal does that send to the dishonest?

You know the answer. We’re telling them it is OK to put profit above everything else. We’re telling them to continue their illegal behaviors because there will be no prison time for them. At worst, they may only have to part with a slice of their ill-gotten gains.

This is not the way the justice system is supposed to work.

 

DIANE DIMOND, a Washington Examiner columnist, is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate.

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JPMorgan Chase Bets $10.4 Billion on the Early Death of Workers

Monday, March 24, 2014 11:07

(Before It’s News)

Families of young JPMorgan Chase workers who have experienced tragic deaths over the past four months, have been kept in the dark on many details, including the fact that the bank most likely held a life insurance policy on their loved one – payable to itself. Banks in the U.S., as well as other corporations, are allowed to make multi-billion dollar wagers that their profits from life insurance policies on employees will outstrip the cost of paying premiums and other fees. Early deaths help those wagers pay off.

According to the December 31, 2013 financial filing known as the Call Report that JPMorgan made with Federal regulators, it has tied up $10.4 billion in illiquid, long term bets on the death of a large segment of its employees.

The program is known among regulators as Bank Owned Life Insurance or BOLI. Federal regulators specifically exempted BOLI in passing the final version of the Volcker Rule in December of last year which disallowed most proprietary trading or betting for the house. Regulators stated in the rule that “Rather, these accounts permit the banking entity to effectively hedge and cover costs of providing benefits to employees through insurance policies related to key employees.” We have italicized the word “key” because regulators know very well from financial filings that the country’s mega banks are not just insuring key employees but a broad-base of their employees.

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Source: http://rinf.com/alt-news/breaking-news/jpmorgan-chase-bets-10-4-billion-early-death-workers/

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