It May Be the Biggest Tax Heist Ever. And Europe Wants Justice. – by David Segal – The New York Times

“. . .  Today, the men stand accused of participating in what Le Monde has called “the robbery of the century,” and what one academic declared “the biggest tax theft in the history of Europe.” From 2006 to 2011, these two and hundreds of bankers, lawyers and investors made off with a staggering $60 billion, all of it siphoned from the state coffers of European countries.

As one participant would later put it, taxpayer funds were an irresistible mark for a simple reason: They never ran out.

The scheme was built around “cum-ex trading” (from the Latin for “with-without”): a monetary maneuver to avoid double taxation of investment profits that plays out like high finance’s answer to a David Copperfield stage illusion. Through careful timing, and the coordination of a dozen different transactions, cum-ex trades produced two refunds for dividend tax paid on one basket of stocks.

One basket of stocks. Abracadabra. Two refunds.

The process was repeated over and over, as word of cum-ex spread like a quiet contagion. Germany was hardest hit, with an estimated $30 billion in losses, followed by France, taken for about $17 billion. Smaller sums were drained away from Spain, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Norway, Finland, Poland and others.

Outrage in these countries has focused on the City of London, Britain’s answer to Wall Street. Less scrutinized has been the role played by Americans, both individual investors and branches of United States investment banks in London, including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.”

Opinion | She Helped a Customer in Need. Then U.S. Bank Fired Her. – By Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

This from a company that says employees should “do the right thing.”

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Alisha Jucevic for The New York Times

“To understand how some companies have lost their souls, consider what happened after U.S. Bank stiffed a customer before Christmas.

Marc Eugenio had deposited a $1,080 paycheck into his account at U.S. Bank. The bank put a hold on most of the sum, and he spent many hours in a branch office over two days, trying to get access to the money so he could buy presents for his 9-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.

On Christmas Eve, Eugenio found himself parked at a gas station in Clackamas, Ore., a Portland suburb, both his fuel gauge and his bank balance on empty. A bank employee had told him that money would soon show up in his account — perhaps a ruse to get him out of the branch office. For hours Eugenio then tried his debit card at the gas pump, so he could buy a few gallons and get home to his wife and children.

“I was stranded,” he told me. “I could have walked home, but it would have been five miles in the cold.” “

Outsmart the scammers – from People’s United Bank

Outsmart the scammers – from People’s United Bank
Outsmart the scammers
Recognize signs of a phone scam and
stop a fraudulent caller in their tracks.
Have you ever answered a call that goes something like this:
“Hello, [Your Name]. I’m calling from [the Name of Your Real Bank].”

(You see the name of your bank displayed on Caller ID.)

“We are calling to alert you to unusual charges on your debit card ending in 1234 at several retailers in recent days. I need to verify your SSN ending in 4321, and confirm your User ID and account number in order to stop this unauthorized activity on your card.”

Is this call legit?

No, it’s a scam.

Why? Because People’s United Bank will never contact a customer either by phone or email to request sensitive personal information such as account numbers, PINs, usernames, passwords, security codes or other personal and account information.

People’s United Bank will also never call and ask a customer to respond to a text message, or share a texted security code.

Know the signs of a phone scam

Scammers are getting more difficult to spot by using the following tactics:

Manipulating or spoofing caller IDs to make calls appear to be from someone you trust, such as your bank.
Conveying a sense of urgency or that pressures you into acting too quickly.
Providing partial but factual information about you or your account and requesting you to confirm that information on-the-spot.
Requesting that you immediately disclose additional personal or account information so that they can help you.
Tips to avoid getting scammed

Don’t assume your caller ID is actually who’s calling.
Don’t confirm private personal or account information over the phone, or by email.
If texted a security code, do not share that security code with anyone over the phone—it should only ever be used by you to access your account.
We will never call and ask to share a texted security code.
We will never call you and ask you to respond to a text message.
If any of these things happens to you, hang up and dial the listed number of your bank.
Your security is our priority
If you have any questions or
concerns please call us.
1-800-894-0300
 
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Protecting your privacy is a priority. People’s United Bank will never request customers to update or verify personal information, passwords, account numbers, or PINs via email. If you suspect an email using the People’s United Bank name to be suspicious, please contact the Call Center or forward the message to abuse@peoples.com for assistance.
This email is subject to the People’s United Bank website Terms and Conditions, including those governing links to third-party websites.
850 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT, 06604
©2019 People’s United Bank, N.A.  I  Member FDIC  I   Equal Housing Lender

A Top Goldman Banker Raised Ethics Concerns. Then He Was Gone. – The New York Times

By the tight-lipped standards of Goldman Sachs, the phone call from one of the firm’s most senior investment bankers was explosive.James C. Katzman, a Goldman partner and the leader of its West Coast mergers-and-acquisitions practice, dialed the bank’s whistle-blower hotline in 2014 to complain about what he regarded as a range of unethical practices, according to accounts by people close to Mr. Katzman, which a Goldman spokesman confirmed. His grievances included an effort by Goldman to hire a customer’s child and colleagues’ repeated attempts to obtain and then share confidential client information.Mr. Katzman expected lawyers at the firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, which monitored the hotline, to investigate his allegations and share them with independent members of Goldman’s board of directors, the people close to Mr. Katzman said.The complaints were an extraordinary example of a senior employee’s taking on what he perceived to be corporate wrongdoing at an elite Wall Street bank. But they were never independently investigated or fully relayed to the Goldman board.

Congress Approves First Big Dodd-Frank Rollback – The New York Times

By Alan Rappeport and Emily Flitter May 22, 2018
“WASHINGTON — A decade after the global financial crisis tipped the United States into a recession, Congress agreed on Tuesday to free thousands of small and medium-sized banks from strict rules that had been enacted as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law to prevent another meltdown.In a rare demonstration of bipartisanship, the House voted 258-159 to approve a regulatory rollback that passed the Senate this year, handing a significant victory to President Trump, who has promised to “do a big number on Dodd-Frank.”

The bill stops far short of unwinding the toughened regulatory regime put in place to prevent the nation’s biggest banks from engaging in risky behavior, but it represents a substantial watering down of Obama-era rules governing a large swath of the banking system. The legislation will leave fewer than 10 big banks in the United States subject to stricter federal oversight, freeing thousands of banks with less than $250 billion in assets from a post-crisis crackdown that they have long complained is too onerous.”