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Accretive Health Settles With Minnesota Over Debt Collection Abuses

The largest medical debt collector in the United States, Accretive Health, has agreed to settle with Minnesota over debt collection abuses. Accretive has been accused of a host of reprehensible practices from breaching patient privacy to abusive debt collection tactics.

Accretive Health agreed to pay a fine of $2.5 million and to also leave the state of Minnesota, said Minnesota Public Radio News (MPR News). The actions are part of a settlement of a federal lawsuit brought about by Lori Swanson, Attorney General for Minnesota. The settlement was approved by a federal judge late yesterday. (more…)

PoolCorp Faces Antitrust Lawsuits Over Alleged Price Fixing

PoolCorp is facing antitrust lawsuits over alleged price fixing. Self described as the world’s largest swimming pool products distributor, PoolCorp is accused of illegally edging out its competition.

Last November, PoolCorp settled Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claims that it used so-called “monopoly power” to stop its competition by urging manufacturers to stop selling to other distributors, said The Associated Press (AP). The just-approved settlement with the FTC has sparked at least lawsuits in California, Louisiana, and Florida, that allege PoolCorp’s practices caused prices to rise, hindered competition, and reduced buyers’ options, explained the AP. (more…)

MetLife, Prudential Sued Over Handling Of Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits

MetLife and Prudential are facing whistleblower lawsuits over how they handled unclaimed life insurance benefits. The lawsuit seeks over $1 billion in damages on behalf of Illinois State and was filed January 2011.

The lawsuit alleges that the insurance giants did not hand unclaimed life insurance policies to Illinois’ abandoned property department, said The Wall Street Journal. The lawsuit was just unsealed by a Cook County, Illinois state-court judge. (more…)

Feds Investigating Pay Practices at Big Home Builders

Potential wage law violations are prompting the U.S. Labor Department to investigate the pay practices of some leading home building companies. Firms will be required to turn over a wide array of records in response to complaints about pay violations. According to the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the situation, PulteGroup Inc., Lennar Corp., D.R. Horton Inc., and KB Home have received letters requesting records. While a Labor Department spokeswoman confirmed the investigation to the Wall Street Journal, it would not discuss the matter further. (more…)

Texas Securities Board Sues Life Partners Over Subpoenas

The Texas state securities board filed a lawsuit against Life Partners Holdings Inc. for failure to comply with subpoenas issued as part of the state agency’s ongoing investigation. The investigation is over the company’s methodology of estimating life expectancies for life settlements sold to investors, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Life Partners is a major player in the life settlement business. The company sells existing life insurance policies to an investor, who then pay a required premium on the policy and collects proceeds upon the insured’s death. (more…)

New York AG Eyeing Life Insurance Companies

The New York Attorney General subpoenaed nine leading life insurance companies seeking information about their practices identifying and paying out policies for deceased policyholders, report Reuters.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that last month, Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General, sent subpoenas to units of AXA SA, Genworth Financial Inc, Guardian Life Insurance Co of America, Manulife Financial Corp, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co, MetLife Inc, New York Life Insurance Co, Prudential Financial Inc, and TIAA-CREF. (more…)

Seafood Fraud Rampant, Report Says

The nonprofit group Oceana recently released a report informing consumers that 25 to 70 percent of certain seafood may be mislabeled. The article “Bait and Switch: How Seafood Fraud Hurts Our Oceans, Our Wallets and Our Health,” details how widespread fish fraud has become in the U.S.

According to Oceana, 84 percent of the seafood eaten in the U.S. is imported; however, only two percent is currently inspected. For example, fish like red snapper, wild salmon and Atlantic cod are often mislabeled 25 to 70 percent. (more…)

Florida Lawsuit Alleges Wrongful Foreclosure, Seeks Return of Homes

Some Florida homeowners who’ve had their homes foreclosed say the seizures were illegal, and now their suing to get their homes back. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Miami, seeks class action status to represent homeowners in similar situations throughout the US.

The Florida wrongful foreclosure lawsuit stems from recent disclosures by banks, including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, GMAC Mortgage and others that court documents required in some states were improperly processed. The banks used personnel who came to be known as robo-signers who didn’t read or otherwise verify foreclosure documents before signing off on them. In some cases, the documents weren’t properly notarized. (more…)

Massive Wrongful Foreclosure Probe Set

A group of state attorneys general are launching a joint investigation into the mortgage foreclosure mess. The probe, which will be led by the Iowa attorney general, will involve as many as 40 states.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the first goal of the attorneys general wrongful foreclosure investigation will be to determine the scale of the document problems and correct them. However, some want the investigation to go beyond the robo-signing issue. For example, Arizona’s attorney general said he would like the probe to look into foreclosure proceedings that occur while homeowners are engaged in the modification process with their banks. (more…)

Bank of America Foreclosures in Question

Yet another bank is delaying foreclosures because of improperly prepared paperwork. Bank of America is instituting the delays in 23 states, following similar action by GMAC Mortgage and JP Morgan Chase. The states affected all require that foreclosures go through their courts. Laws in those states require that a bank official attest that they have read the documents and verified the information, and then sign it in the presence of a notary public. (more…)

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