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By Paulina Duran



a sign in front of a tall building in a city: FILE PHOTO: The logo of the National Australia Bank is displayed outside their headquarters building in central Sydney


© Reuters/DAVID GRAY
FILE PHOTO: The logo of the National Australia Bank is displayed outside their headquarters building in central Sydney


SYDNEY (Reuters) – National Australia Bank , the country’s third largest lender, has admitted to misleading customers more than a thousand times in a lawsuit accusing its financial planners of charging fees for no service, according to court documents.

According to an Oct. 2 document on agreed statements of facts and admissions filed with the Federal Court, the bank admitted to some but not all of the accusations levelled at it by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

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NAB clients received written statements that contained service representations that were “misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive” on 1,485 occasions, the document said.

On another 225 occasions, the bank failed to provide clients with fee disclosure statements in a timely manner as required by law, it also said.

In December 2019, the regulator accused NAB of 8,927 cases of fees for no service and 3,420 instances of unconscionable conduct. ASIC said the fees were even charged to customers during 2018 Royal Commission hearings into misconduct in the financial sector, at which the bank’s executives defended the practice.

The bank declined to comment on the case – the second ‘fees for no service’ case brought against it by ASIC. Last month, Australia’s federal court fined pension funds run by NAB A$57.5 million ($41 million) for charging fees with no service to thousands of retirees.

The bank began implementing a program in December 2018 to refund financial planning clients who had paid fees but not received the required

Amazon.com Inc. signage is displayed in front of a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, US, on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
Enlarge / Amazon.com Inc. signage is displayed in front of a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, US, on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

Amazon on Thursday released high-level data on COVID-19 infection rates among its warehouse and in-store workers, saying that almost 20,000 “front-line” employees contracted COVID-19 between March 1 and mid-September.

Of 1.37 million people who worked either in Amazon distribution facilities or in Whole Foods stores during that period, 19,816—or about 1.44 percent—have had COVID-19, Amazon said. The company released the number in the context of a corporate blog post boasting of success with its mitigation measures.

“If the rate among Amazon and Whole Foods Market employees were the same as it is for the general population rate, we estimate that we would have seen 33,952 cases among our workforce,” Amazon wrote. “In reality, 19,816 employees have tested positive or been presumed positive for COVID-19—42% lower than the expected number.” The calculations do not include Prime delivery drivers, most of whom technically are not Amazon employees.

Amazon shared a state-by-state breakdown (PDF) showing where infections per 1,000 employees stand as compared to its projections and as compared to state-level data. For most states, Amazon’s case count is indeed lower than the state-level count. That said, the company is clearly having some issues with hot spots: in both West Virginia and in Minnesota, Amazon’s infection rate is higher than both its projections and the community rate. The rate for Amazon workers is also higher than the state rate in New Hampshire.

Earlier reporting by Bloomberg found that one warehouse outside of Minneapolis had an infection rate more than four times higher than the rate in the surrounding community, which likely contributes to Amazon’s 3.17-percent case rate in Minnesota. That media brought that number to light, however, highlights the larger

Syracuse, NY — Former Upstate administrator Sergio Garcia pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Wednesday, admitting that he submitted a puffed up resume to get his $340,000-a-year job at the taxpayer funded university and hospital.

Garcia’s plea bargain left Upstate’s former Chief of Staff with a criminal record, but spared him a felony conviction. Prosecutor Melanie Carden had sought a felony, accusing Garcia of intentionally lying on his resume as part of a greater plan to defraud the university; Garcia’s lawyer, Joseph Bergh, had argued no crime was committed, saying his client simply exaggerated his resume.

The plea comes after a long-running investigation that began after Garcia quit in 2018 following a controversial speech that included exaggerated remarks about his foreign service. The subsequent investigation uncovered exaggerations on his resume about his work in the U.S. Department of State — he wasn’t “Chief of Staff,” as he claimed — and there were questions about the validity of his college degree.

In court, Garcia admitted to “falsehoods and exaggerations” on his resume.

He would have escaped criminal charges if he’d puffed his resume to work for a private hospital. But because he was hired by then-Upstate President Danielle Laraque-Arena to work at a public institution, his resume was considered an official government document.

That led a grand jury earlier this year to indict Garcia on felony charges of defrauding the government and filing a false instrument. Garcia pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor version of filing a false instrument, admitting that he filed false information with the state-owned hospital, but not that he was intentionally defrauding taxpayers.

The investigation isn’t over. Left undecided after Garcia’s plea is how much money he stole from taxpayers by taking his huge yearly salary in portions of 2017 and 2018.

A judge, Gordon Cuffy, will hear arguments

Topline

JPMorgan Chase will pay a record $920 million to resolve a criminal investigation by three federal agencies over its role in the alleged manipulation of precious metal and Treasury markets, federal regulators said on Tuesday.

Key Facts

JPMorgan agreed to a settlement that resolves investigations by the Justice Department, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

As part of the deal, the bank will admit to wrongdoing and pay a record fine of $920 million, according to a statement from the CFTC on Tuesday.

The fine is the largest ever imposed on a bank for spoofing, a type of market manipulation where traders flood markets with orders they don’t actually execute with the intention of creating an illusion of demand.

The practice was banned in 2008 after the financial crisis, and in recent years federal regulators have ramped up efforts to crack down on market manipulation.

The charges against JPMorgan were for “manipulative and deceptive conduct and spoofing that spanned at least eight years and involved hundreds of thousands of spoof orders in precious metals and U.S. Treasury futures contracts,” according to the CFTC.

The order finds that JPMorgan’s illegal trading “significantly benefited” the bank while it “harmed other market participants.”

In an accompanying statement, CFTC commissioner Dan Berkovitz said that he opposed his agency’s ruling that JPMorgan’s actions “should not result in any disqualifications under the ‘bad actor’ provisions of the securities laws.”

Crucial Quote

“For eight years, a group of traders at JPMorgan systematically ‘spoofed’ precious metals and Treasury futures markets by entering hundreds of thousands of orders with the intent to cancel them before execution,” Berkovitz said. “The commission’s order

(Bloomberg) — JPMorgan Chase & Co. admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay more than $920 million to resolve U.S. authorities’ claims of market manipulation involving two of the bank’s trading desks, the largest sanction ever tied to the illegal practice known as spoofing.



a person holding a sign: A man carrying a briefcase walks past the JPMorgan Chase & Co. headquarters in New York.


© Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg
A man carrying a briefcase walks past the JPMorgan Chase & Co. headquarters in New York.

Over eight years, 15 traders at the biggest U.S. bank caused losses of more than $300 million to other participants in precious metals and Treasury markets, according to court filings on Tuesday. JPMorgan admitted responsibility for the traders’ actions. The Justice Department filed two counts of wire fraud against the bank’s parent company but agreed to defer prosecution related to the charges, under a three-year deal that requires the bank to report its remediation and compliance efforts to the government.

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The settlement included fresh details about spoofing on the bank’s Treasuries desk, which was occurring at the same time as previously alleged market manipulation on the bank’s precious metals desk. Five traders on the Treasuries desk manipulated prices of U.S. Treasury contracts, as well as trading in notes and bonds in the secondary market, over eight years, according to the settlement, causing $106 million in losses. None of those traders have been charged publicly.

Members of that group openly discussed their illegal strategies via chats, with one trader writing on six occasions that he was “spoofing” the market, according to the government’s statement of facts. Another Treasuries trader, in a November 2012 chat, described his success in moving the market by tricking high-frequency traders: “a little razzle dazzle to juke the algos…”

The accord also ends the criminal investigation of the bank that led to a half dozen employees being charged for allegedly rigging the