Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: Facebook Data, Madoff Ponzi Scheme

by Hagens Berman

04/13/2018

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I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.

When I downloaded a copy of my Facebook data last week, I didn’t expect to see much. My profile is sparse, I rarely post anything on the site, and I seldom click on ads. (I’m what some call a Facebook “lurker.”)

But when I opened my file, it was like opening Pandora’s box.

With a few clicks, I learned that about 500 advertisers — many that I had never heard of, like Bad Dad, a motorcycle parts store, and Space Jesus, an electronica band — had my contact information, which could include my email address, phone number and full name. Facebook also had my entire phone book, including the number to ring my apartment buzzer. The social network had even kept a permanent record of the roughly 100 people I had deleted from my friends list over the last 14 years, including my exes.

There was so much that Facebook knew about me — more than I wanted to know. But after looking at the totality of what the Silicon Valley company had obtained about yours truly, I decided to try to better understand how and why my data was collected and stored. I also sought to find out how much of my data could be removed. read more »

SEC Orders Three Investment Advisers to Pay $12 Million to Harmed Clients

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that three investment advisers have settled charges for breaching fiduciary duties to clients and generating millions of dollars of improper fees in the process. 

According to the SEC’s orders, PNC Investments LLC, Securities America Advisors Inc., and Geneos Wealth Management Inc. failed to disclose conflicts of interest and violated their duty to seek best execution by investing advisory clients in higher-cost mutual fund shares when lower-cost shares of the same funds were available. The SEC also charged Geneos for failing to identify its revised mutual fund selection disclosures as a “material change” in its 2017 disclosure brochure.  Collectively, the firms will pay almost $15 million, with more than $12 million going to harmed clients. read more »

Uber expands settlement with FTC related to cyberattack

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday the ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc had agreed to expand its proposed settlement with the agency over charges it deceived consumers about its privacy and data security practices.

The FTC said the expansion of the proposed settlement comes after the commission learned Uber had failed to disclose a “significant” breach of consumer data that occurred in 2016 affecting nearly 50 million U.S. riders and compels Uber to disclosure future incidents. read more »

Live Nation Rules Music Ticketing, Some Say With Threats

In 2010, when the Justice Department allowed the two most dominant companies in the live music business — Live Nation and Ticketmaster — to merge, many greeted the news with dread.

Live Nation was already the world’s biggest concert promoter. Ticketmaster had for years been the leading ticket provider. Critics warned that the merger would create an industry monolith, one capable of crippling competitors in the ticketing business.

Federal officials tried to reassure the skeptics. They pointed to a consent decree, or legal settlement, they had negotiated as part of the merger approval. Its terms were strict, they said: It would boost competition and block monopolistic behavior by the new, larger Live Nation. read more »

Victims of Madoff Ponzi Scheme to Receive Millions More in Compensation

Victims of Bernard L. Madoff, the architect of one of Wall Street’s largest frauds, will receive another $504 million, proceeds from assets that the government seized after Mr. Madoff’s financial firm collapsed a decade ago.

With this distribution, the second in a series of payouts, about 21,000 victims will have received a total of more than $1.2 billion, the Justice Department said. The payments were made by the Madoff Victim Fund, a government entity created to help people who lost money when Mr. Madoff’s long-running Ponzi scheme unraveled.

The government said it could return more than $4 billion to victims who lost their savings to Mr. Madoff and his firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. But that number is still small compared with the imaginary profits the firm had promised investors and the real losses it incurred. read more »