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Inside Washington (08/23/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (8/24/12)--A whistleblower who helped the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stop a multi-million dollar fraud attempt will receive nearly $50,000--the first payout from a new SEC program to reward people who provide evidence of securities fraud. The award represents 30% of the amount collected in an SEC enforcement action against the perpetrators of the scheme, the maximum percentage payout allowed by the whistleblower law. The award recipient, who does not wish to be identified, provided documents and other information that allowed the SEC to expedite the investigation and prevent the fraud from ensnaring additional victims. The whistleblower's assistance led to a court ordering more than $1 million in sanctions, of which about $150,000 has been collected so far. The court is considering whether to issue a final judgment against other defendants in the matter. Any increase in the sanctions ordered and collected will increase payments to the whistleblower …
  • WASHINGTON (8/24/12)--The Treasury Department is selling its holdings in preferred stock in banks rescued through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) at discounted prices--at the expense of American taxpayers, according to The New York Times (Aug. 23). For example, MetroCorp Bancshares of Houston bought back its own shares during a Fed auction this month at 98 cents on the dollar. Wilshire Bancorp of Los Angeles bought back its shares at 94 cents on the dollar. American taxpayers will bear the difference when the government doesn't get full price. But the government doesn't need to sell the shares now, or settle for less than full share price, the Times said. The TARP program has been profitable for taxpayers. The Treasury Department estimates that it will make nearly $22 billion from the program. The Obama administration appears willing to unwind the TARP program as quickly as possible, despite diminishing returns, according to Compass Point Research and Trading, a broker dealer firm …


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