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News Corp Shareholders Claim Board Knew of Hacking

Despite ongoing assertions to the contrary, the News Corp board did, in fact know its U.S. subsidiaries were hacking competitors’ computers as far back as 10 years ago, according to new court papers filed by News Corp shareholders yesterday.

A trustee for several investment funds, the New Orleans Employees’ Retirement System, and Central Laborers Pension Fund are leading the plaintiffs who seek unspecified damages from the company’s top managers and directors, including Washington, DC, lawyer Viet Dinh and former President of Spain Jose Maria Aznar, reports Reuters. (more…)

Finra Slams David Lerner Associates Over Sale of Apple REITs

On Tuesday, the financial industry’s regulating body issued a complaint against the brokerage firm David Lerner Associates Inc., accusing the firm of misleading and marketing unsuitable products to investors.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, known as Finra, claims Lerner misleadingly marketed a $2 billion real estate fund targeting unsophisticated and elderly customers. The fund known as Apple REIT Ten includes non-publically traded real estate investment trusts, or REITs, in extended-stay hotels, reported the New York Times. (more…)

Citigroup, Pennsylvania Reach Deal on Auction Rate Securitis

We have another auction rate securities settlement to report.  This time, Citigroup has reached an agreement with the state of Pennsylvania which requires that it offer to buy back auction rate securities from over a thousand investors in the state.

Under the settlement, Citigroup will pay the Pennsylvania Securities Commission $2.31 million, and offer to buy back buy back $978.1 million worth of the securities from 1200 retail investors in Pennsylvania who held the securities from Citigroup as of Jan. 21, 2008. (more…)

Judge Agrees to Consolidate Madoff Bankruptcies

A U.S. Bankruptcy judge in Manhattan  agreed yesterday to consolidate two Bernard Madoff bankruptcy cases – one the swindler’s personal bankruptcy, and another involving his investment business- into  one case.

Irving Picard, the trustee appointed by the Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC) to liquidate Madoff’s business, had backed the consolidation. According to the Associated Press, at yesterday’s hearing, the trustee’s attorney said that Madoff’s personal holdings and those of his firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, were “hopelessly intertwined.” (more…)

Bank of America, Wells Fargo Evergreen Unit Settle Securities Fraud Charges

Settlements have been reached in two securities fraud cases involving a unit of Wells  Fargo, and Bank of America.

Bank of America has reached an agreement with the California Department of Corporations to “facilitate” the return of more than $3 billion to clients in that state who purchased auction rate securities, the Journal said.  The state will also receive $9.7 billion in penalties from Bank of America as part of a multi-state probe of the auction rate securities market. (more…)

Banco Santander to Pay $235 Million in Settlement with Madoff Trustee

Spain’s Banco Santander has reached a deal with the Bernard Madoff trustee, and will pay $235 million to Irving Picard to avoid being named in a claw back lawsuit, Bloomberg.com is reporting.  The settlement involves two hedge funds were operated by Santander’s Optimal Investment Services unit that invested heavily with Madoff.   Santander said that its agreement with Picard did not imply any wrongdoing on its part.

On March 12, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 fraud counts. The former chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange ran an investment advisory business for decades that was, in reality, a Ponzi scheme. Madoff faces up to 150 years in prison, and is scheduled for sentencing next month. (more…)

Nadel’s Lawyers Named in Investor Lawsuit

Some of Arthur Nadel’s former  investors are looking to place blame for their losses on a law firm that prepared some offering documents for the accused Ponzi schemer’s hedge funds.  The investors have charged the firm Holland & Knight with failing to perform due diligence, malpractice and negligent representation.

The investors bringing the lawsuit against Holland & Knight lost about $4.5 million as a result of investing with Nadel, AMLaw Daily said.  Holland & Knight has promised to “vigorously” defend the lawsuit. (more…)

Some Madoff Investors Said to Be Part of Criminal Probe

At least eight Bernard Madoff investors have attracted the attention of U.S. prosecutors probing his Ponzi scheme.  According to The Wall Street Journal, they include philanthropists Jeffry Picower and Stanley Chais, as well as Madoff’s close friend, Carl Shapiro.

So far, no investor has actually been charged with criminal wrongdoing, the Journal said.  However, as we reported previously, both Picower and Chais have been sued by the trustee liquidating Madoff’s assets.  The trustee claims that both sought and  received  better returns than thousands of other Madoff investors. According to The Wall Street Journal, those suits allege that Chaise received returns as high as 300% from his Madoff investments, while Picower saw returns of more than 100% in 14 instances, reaching as high as 950%. (more…)

JPMorgan Ensnared in Madoff Lawsuit

MLSMK Investments Co., a Palm Beach, Florida- based partnership, has filed suit against JPMorgan Chase over losses it sustained as a result of   Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

As we reported in January, in 2006, JPMorgan  had started offering investors a way to leverage their bets on the future performance of two Fairfield Greenwich Group hedge funds that invested with  Madoff. MLSMK invested $12.8 million with JPMorgan  in this manner from October to December.  (more…)

Madoff’s Brother Has Assets Frozen

Peter Madoff is facing repercussions stemming from his brother’s Ponzi scheme.  According to Bloomberg.com, Bernard Madoff’s brother has had his assets frozen in relation to a lawsuit filed by an investor whole lost nearly a half million in the fraud.

Peter Madoff served as a trustee for a $470,000  trust held by Andrew Ross Samuels, a New York law student.  Samuel’s is suing Peter Madoff for $2 million for breaching his fiduciary duty by investing his inheritance with his brother, Bloomberg said. (more…)

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