By Haddon Libby
With wall-to-wall coverage of the Presidential election and shooting sprees by the various news networks stretching their reporting capabilities to their breaking level, let us here at CV Weekly keep you informed on other important news stories that are not getting enough coverage.
First up is Brazil where a genetically altered mosquito is being released into the environment to help combat the quickly spreading ZIKA virus. This male mosquito mates with the ZIKA-infected female mosquito rendering all future eggs non-viable. Despite this effort, 151 health experts have urged those running the Olympics to move the event out of Brazil. The concern is because once a human is infected, the disease can be spread for 93 days through unprotected sex. With no known treatments for this infection that causes inadequate brain development in newborn children, world health leaders believe that holding the Olympics in Brazil presents an undue risk to society.
Dateline Miami: Here in the Medicare fraud capital of the United States, three people were arrested last week for nearly $1 billion in Medicare fraud and money laundering. This is the largest case of its kind in U.S. history.
Closer to home in Glendale, CA, two former Wells Fargo employees were charged in a mass mailing scheme that defrauded the holders of U.S. trademarks. After getting checks from these trademark holders, they would open bogus accounts at their branch and withdraw the funds. This fraud is in addition to a larger statewide problem that occurred last year when Wells Fargo workers would open extra accounts for their clients without their knowledge in order to reach sales goals.
In another barely reported and almost local story, Saigon National Bank of Westminster, CA was involved in a money laundering scheme for the Mexican drug cartel, Sinaloa. The bank’s CEO, Tu Chau “Bill” Lu and fifteen others were involved in the drug trafficking and money laundering scheme that touched the United States, China, Cambodia, Mexico and Switzerland. Of note, Saigon National Bank would have failed in 2008 if not for a $1.2 million investment in the bank by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
You may have heard that Volkswagen had to pay over $15 billion in fines for intentionally cheating on emission standards as it relates to their diesel engine cars. What you probably did not hear was that leadership of the European Union knew about the cheating on emission standards in Europe as well as the United States for at least five years and chose to do nothing.
Another underreported Volkswagen corruption story involves their truck subsidiary MAN which is part of a group of truck makers who are paying $3.2 billion as part of a price fixing scheme.
Automotive price fixing is not limited to Volkswagen and Europe – 44 companies and 64 executives have paid $2.8 billion in criminal fines as it relates to price fixing on automobile parts sold in the United States. Japanese firms were some of the worst offenders.
You might know that Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News, resigned. The beginning of his end came when a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against him by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson. What you might not know is that up to twenty more women have come forward and shared their similar experiences including Fox News star anchor, Megyn Kelly.
Lastly, the Immigration Customs Enforcement rounded up 112 fugitives in here in Southern California this month as part of the process of deporting an assortment of illegal and undocumented people who had committed felonies or multiple misdemeanors since their arrival. These round-ups began in November 2014 as President Obama was under pressure for not tackling the immigration problem and deporting the most problematic of these undocumented people.
Haddon Libby is an Investment Advisor and Managing Director for Winslow Drake and can be reached at 760.449.6349 or HLIBBY@WinslowDrake.com.