Bum, Bum, Bumblebee Bum!

Christopher Lischewski, former Chief Executive Officer and President of Bumble Bee Foods LLC, was sentenced to serve 40 months in jail and pay a $100,000 criminal fine for his leadership role in a three-year antitrust conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna…

…After a four-week trial in late 2019, he was convicted on the single count of participating in a conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna. In imposing Lischewski’s 40-month prison sentence, the Court found that Lischewski was a leader or organizer of the conspiracy and that it affected over $600 million dollars of canned tuna sales.

Bumble Bee pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a $25 million criminal fine. In September, StarKist Co. was sentenced to pay a statutory maximum $100 million criminal fine. In addition to Bumble Bee and StarKist, four executives, including Lischewski, were charged in the investigation. The other three executives pleaded guilty and testified in Lischewski’s trial.

Of course, the only words we’ve heard from the Fake President about any kind of tuna were bullshit about cans of tuna in protests against his incompetence. Predictable. Sad.

One scumbag responsible for 96 million robocalls

❝ Have you ever gotten a phone call from a number that looked very similar to your own, only to pick up and realize it’s a robocall trying to sell you something?

If you have, you’re not alone. This week, the Federal Communications Commission slapped its largest fines ever on a Florida man it says is responsible for more than 96 million of those dreaded robocalls.

❝ Adrian Abramovich, the Miami man behind the scheme, was ordered to pay a $120 million fine this week as punishment for scamming millions of people with more than 96 million robocalls over a three-month period in 2016.

❝ While robocalls themselves aren’t illegal, it is illegal to “spoof” caller ID information in the name of defrauding people, which is exactly what the FCC says Abramovich did. He spoofed area codes as well as the first three digits of phone numbers in order to disguise the calls as legitimate calls from local numbers.

If you can’t do the time or pay the fine – than don’t commit the crime!

Wells Fargo faces possible $1 billion fine for fraud

❝ Wells Fargo & Co. confirmed industry and analyst speculation Friday that its two federal regulators want the bank to pay up to $1 billion in civil penalties to resolve multilayered customer-account issues…

The bank said those issues include “our compliance risk management program and our past practices involving certain automobile collateral protection insurance policies and certain mortgage interest rate lock extensions…”

❝ At $1 billion, it is likely to be among the largest fines in financial services history and already being considered at a historic level by analysts…

Never steal anything small. You’d probably get jail time.

Fed court orders Idaho to pay $250K attorney fees in ‘ag-gag’ case — First Amendment still rules


Click to enlarge

A federal court has ordered the state of Idaho to pay $249,875 in attorney fees and costs to the groups that sued over the state’s “ag-gag” law, the law passed by the state Legislature making it a crime to surreptitiously videotape agricultural operations. Idaho lawmakers approved the law in 2014 after the state’s $2.5 billion dairy industry complained that videos of cows being abused at a southern Idaho dairy filmed in 2012 unfairly hurt their business. The Los Angeles-based animal rights group Mercy For Animals released the videos, which showed workers at Bettencourt Dairy beating, stomping and otherwise abusing cows in 2012.

A federal judge overturned the law, ruling that it violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill found that the law’s “primary purpose is to protect agricultural facility owners by, in effect, suppressing speech critical of animal-agriculture practices.” He ruled that evidence indicated the law was “intended to silence animal welfare activists, or other whistleblowers who seek to publish speech critical of the agricultural production industry.”

The state appealed, but lost.

Over and over again, elected officials – federal, state and local – waste time and taxpayer dollar$ defending corporate interests. Not on the basis of legitimate needs; but, profits and protectionism.

Always nice to see a victory that defends the rights of the people over corporate/political corruption.

Honda’s $25 million settlement illustrates gutless government in action


Someone explain to Honda those aren’t American flags

American Honda Finance Corp. agreed to pay as much as $25 million to settle discriminatory lending allegations as the U.S. has stepped up its scrutiny of car loans, the third-largest source of household debt.

The Honda unit that finances auto loans in the U.S. will offer $24 million in relief to borrowers who were allegedly overcharged by dealers since 2011, according to a settlement Tuesday with the Justice Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. An additional $1 million will be spent on consumer education programs.

The federal government in recent years has secured large discriminatory lending payments from mortgage companies, including a $335 million settlement with Countrywide Financial Corp., and has now turned its attention to auto loans. As part of the settlement, Honda said it would limit the amount a dealer could markup the interest rate of the loan.

As our government has demonstrated time and again, you can lie, cheat and steal – and if you’re a big bank, you get a sizable fine. I guess that’s repayment to the state, somehow. No one does any time. None of the creeps who signed-off on screwing American citizens pay any penalty. Shareholders get the fine subtracted from any dividends they may have expected.

Toyota Motor Credit Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have each disclosed government investigations of discriminatory pricing related to loans.

Vanita Gupta said the Justice Department’s investigation of the auto-lending industry is continuing. Auto loans are the third-largest source of household debt after mortgages and student loans…

U.S. authorities allege that Honda violated fair-lending laws by allowing dealers to charge higher interest rates on loans sought by African-American, Hispanic and Asian borrowers.

The average African-American borrower paid about $250 more for the loan than a white borrower, the Justice Department ad the CFPB said in its complaint. Hispanics paid $200 more while Asian and Pacific Islander borrowers paid $150 more during the term of the loan, the U.S. said.

And that’s the flip side of bigoted business practices in 21st Century America. Corporate barons only have to look to the Republican Party and the gerrymandering done since the 2010 census to think to themselves – hey, these creeps are publicly redefining voting districts to discriminate against Black folks, poor white folks, students and seniors – why can’t I do the same thing?

Our creepiest politicians combine the theft of voting rights with lies about non-existent voter fraud to assemble a life’s worth of deceit and discrimination equal to anything since the days of Jim Crow – and our courts will fart around for decades without doing a thing. Plus, they have the example of the Supreme Court before them saying – it’s all right, racism doesn’t exist in our plastic TV-land anymore.

Why shouldn’t Honda try to get away with stealing? Our politicians, our government says it’s OK.

Sprint to reimburse $15.5 million to snooping coppers

The office of U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag announced Thursday that Sprint Communications has agreed to pay $15.5 million to settle allegations that it overcharged law enforcement agencies for carrying out court-ordered wiretaps and other surveillance activities.

Lawyers from Haag’s office sued Sprint in March, alleging that from 2007 to 2010 the telecommunications giant overcharged law enforcement agencies to the tune of $21 million. They were seeking triple-damage compensation and additional civil penalties under the U.S. False Claims Act.

Telecommunications companies are permitted under federal law to bill agencies for “reasonable” expenses incurred in accomplishing a court ordered wiretap.

Under the Communications Assistance in Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), however, telecom companies are required to cover the finance of upgrading their equipment and facilities to ensure that they’re “capable of enabling the government … to intercept and deliver communications and call-identifying information,” according to the U.S. Attorney.

WTF?

Sprint allegedly defrauded federal law enforcement agencies by billing them for those expenses while recovering the otherwise legitimate costs of carrying out court-ordered wiretaps — which was prohibited by a 2006 ruling from the Federal Communications Commission, according to the U.S. Attorney.

So, bad enough our government uses the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, every other war popular with politicians to snoop on us. They require the communications companies they order to snoop – to upgrade their equipment to do the best possible job of snooping.

Sprint tried to sneak the cost into charges for individual snooping jobs – whether court-ordered or “other surveillance activities”. The Feds bagged ’em for it.

Either way, we’re screwed.

Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil admits guilt — $25 Million fine for contaminated meds

McNeil-PPC Inc. pled guilty to one count of an information charging the company with delivering for introduction into interstate commerce adulterated infants’ and children’s over-the-counter (OTC) liquid medicines.

As part of the criminal resolution, McNeil, a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, agreed to pay a criminal fine of $20 million and forfeit $5 million…

In addition to McNeil’s guilty plea, McNeil remains subject to a permanent injunction entered by the U.S. District Court in 2011, requiring the company, among other things, to make remedial measures before reopening its manufacturing facility in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania…

According to the information, the OTC liquid drugs manufactured by McNeil at its Fort Washington facility, including Infants’ and Children’s Tylenol and Infants’ and Children’s Motrin, were bottled on four lines of machinery dedicated to liquid formulations. On or about May 1, 2009, McNeil received a complaint from a consumer regarding the presence of “black specks in the liquid on the bottom of the bottle” of Infants’ Tylenol. The foreign material was later identified as including nickel/chromium-rich inclusions, which were not intended ingredients in this OTC liquid drug.

The information alleges numerous other instances in which McNeil found metal particles in bottles of Infants’ Tylenol at its Fort Washington facility but failed to initiate or complete a Corrective Action Preventive Action (CAPA)…

During the 2010 inspection, the FDA asked McNeil for the CAPA plan covering the particles and foreign material found in the Infants’ and Children’s OTC drugs, and a McNeil employee confirmed that McNeil did not have such a CAPA plan.

RTFA if you want all the legalese.

In short, these creeps knew about the contamination problem for a year before they were caught. In my mind, that’s about as corrupt as you can be – short of deliberately trying to harm children.

Let’s don’t forget this case goes back to 2010. McNeil have had their corporate lawyers drag this case out hoping to cut their losses over time – pleading guilty after five years.

Snuggies — as seen on TV — came with hidden charges and fraud

A marketing company known for its Snuggie infomercials settled state and federal claims that it stuck consumers with hidden charges that almost doubled the cost of the product, a blanket with sleeves…

The company lured consumers with attractive “buy one, get one free” offers but didn’t adequately disclose that additional fees and handling charges almost erased the promise of the “free” item, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. Through confusing ordering processes, consumers sometimes were sold additional items which they didn’t intend to buy, Schneiderman said…

Hawthorne, New York-based Allstar Marketing Group LLC, which also sells the Perfect Brownie Pan and Magic Mesh screen, agreed to pay $8 million to settle Federal Trade Commission and New York state probes, Schneiderman said. The company also agreed to change the ordering process and make it clearer…

There was no finding that the company broke any laws, Allstar said in a statement. The company said it will provide “multiple opportunities for customers to confirm their orders before placing them” and will “clarify ordering and return procedures…”

Marketers must clearly disclose all costs, including processing and handling fees, said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

IMHO, what these scumbags are guilty of is behavior pretty the norm for a lot of the crap I see being sold to folks as “exclusive” and “seen only on TV”. When you’re not being hustled by hidden charges, you often run the risk of outright lies and myths worthy of a SuperPAC campaign commercial.

Ohio village makes over $5K in fines for public urinating

peeing dweebs

Authorities in Ohio were able to net their village at least $5,280 during the summer via 32 citations for public urination, records show.

The Sandusky (Ohio) Register said its analysis of police reports in the village of Put-in-Bay revealed 32 people were cited during the summer for public urination.

Karen Goaziou, Put-in-Bay clerk of courts, said the offense carries a fine of $80 to $150, plus an $85 court fee. She said those who choose not to contest the offense are automatically fined $80 plus the $85 court fee, meaning most pay a total $165.

Don Dress, Put-in-Bay police public relations officer, said the public urination offense was put on the books around 2000 due to offenders previously being charged with the more serious offense of indecent exposure. He said the frequency of citations led to the lesser offense being implemented.

Well, that’s up to kindly moral standards. Try it out in some of the alleys near popular pubs, say, in Boston or Glasgow.

Wal-Mart guilty in hazardous waste cases, to pay $82 million

Wal-Mart Stores on Tuesday said it would pay nearly $81.63 million to the federal government as it pleaded guilty to charges that it improperly discarded hazardous waste such as bleach and fertilizer years ago.

The U.S. Department of Justice said that in cases filed by federal prosecutors in California, Wal-Mart pleaded guilty to six counts of violating the Clean Water Act by illegally handling and disposing of hazardous materials at U.S. stores.

The world’s largest retailer also pleaded guilty in Kansas City, Missouri to violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by failing to properly handle pesticides that had been returned by customers…

Wal-Mart previously agreed in 2010 to pay $27.6 million to the state of California to settle a related lawsuit and agreed in 2012 to pay more than $1.25 million to the state of Missouri…

In one instance, according to an earlier court filing, investigators in April 2002 observed “piles of multicolored unknown fertilizer type substances and torn sacks of ammonium sulfate” at one of the company’s stores in California, after learning a child had been playing on a pile of “yellowish colored powder” near the store’s garden department.

As part of the California plea agreement, Wal-Mart is set to pay a $40 million criminal fine and to pay $20 million to fund community service projects including helping U.S. retailers learn how to properly handle hazardous waste.

As part of the Missouri plea agreement, Wal-Mart is set to pay an $11 million criminal fine and to pay $3 million to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Wal-Mart also plans to pay a $7.628 million civil penalty to the federal government.

The American way of handling corporate crime continues unchanged. You pay a fine, no one does any time, no one at the top of the corporate pecking order is inconvenienced in the slightest.