Goldman to pay $550M to settle fraud charges
WASHINGTON (AP) Goldman Sachs & Co. has agreed to pay $550 million to settle civil fraud charges that the Wall Street giant misled buyers of mortgage-related investments.
The settlement was announced Thursday by the Securities and Exchange Commission hours after Congress gave final approval to the stiffest restrictions on banks and Wall Street since the Great Depression.
The deal calls for Goldman to pay a $535 million fine and $15 million in restitution of fees it collected. Of the total $550 million, $300 million will go to the government and $250 million goes to compensate two banks that lost money on their investments.
The penalty was the largest against a Wall Street firm in SEC history. But the settlement amounts to less than 5 percent of Goldmans 2009 net income of $12.2 billion after payment of dividends to preferred shareholders or a little more than two weeks of net income.
Senate close to restoring jobless benefits
WASHINGTON (AP) More than 2 million workers who have been laid off for long stretches could get their unemployment benefits restored as early as next week.
The Senate plans to take up a measure Tuesday to restore the extended benefits, right after a new Democratic senator from West Virginia is sworn in, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday.
With the death of Sen. Robert Byrd, Senate Democrats had been a vote short of the 60 needed to overcome a GOP filibuster. West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin has said he could name a temporary replacement to fill Byrds seat as early as today.
The House already has passed a bill to extend the benefits through November, at a cost of about $34 billion. The money would be borrowed, adding to the national debt.
Ariz. immigration hearing ends without ruling
PHOENIX (AP) Arizonas impending immigration law went before a federal judge for the first time Thursday, and attorneys for both sides sparred over who had the right to enforce immigration law: local officials or the federal government.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton didnt rule on whether to block the law from taking effect July 29, or whether to dismiss the lawsuit, one of seven. Hearings in two other lawsuits including one filed by the federal government are set for July 22, and the judge has been careful to give no hints on who she might favor.
At stake is more than just who can detain illegal immigrants within U.S. borders. If Bolton rules in Arizonas favor, it opens the door to states taking on issues that have long been the responsibility of the federal government.
Federal prosecution of immigrants soars
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) Federal prosecutions of immigrants soared to new levels this spring, as the Obama administration continued an aggressive enforcement strategy began under President George W. Bush, according to a study released Thursday.
The 4,145 cases referred to federal prosecutors in March and April was the largest number for any two-month stretch since the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was created five years ago, the Syracuse University-based Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse found.
The governments heavy focus on immigration investigations already is creating a heavy burden for the swamped courts along the U.S.-Mexico border, whose judges handle hundreds more cases than most of their counterparts in the rest of the country.
Federal authorities claim that workload would grow if Arizonas controversial new immigration law, which would allow every illegal immigrant to be caught and deported, were implemented.