Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: Uber & Lyft, $50M Stock Fraud

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team

03/05/2018

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Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37, report finds

Majority of drivers make less than minimum wage and many end up losing money, according to study published by MIT.

Uber and Lyft drivers in the US make a median profit of $3.37 per hour before taxes, according to a new report that suggests a majority of ride-share workers make below minimum wage and that many actually lose money.

Researchers did an analysis of vehicle cost data and a survey of more than 1,100 drivers for the ride-hailing companies for the paper published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research. The report – which factored in insurance, maintenance, repairs, fuel and other costs – found that 30% of drivers are losing money on the job and that 74% earn less than the minimum wage in their states.

The findings have raised fresh concerns about labor standards in the booming sharing economy as companies such as Uber and Lyft continue to face scrutiny over their treatment of drivers, who are classified as independent contractors and have few rights or protections. read more »

Bosses at world's most ambitious clean coal plant kept problems secret for years

Disclosure regarding the $7.5bn Kemper plant in Mississippi throws further cloud over promise of clean coal energy

Executives at the world’s most ambitious “clean coal” plant knew for years about serious design flaws and budget problems but sought to withhold key information from regulators before their plans collapsed, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.

The Kemper plant in Mississippi – held up as the global model for a new generation of “clean coal” power plants – was the most expensive fossil fuel power plant in US history, with a $7.5bn price tag. Its owners, Southern Company, boasted it was “going to be the cleanest coal plant in the world”, in the  of the CEO, Tom Fanning.

But thousands of internal documents reviewed by the Guardian and a series of interviews with Kemper staff uncovered evidence that the company had information showing that the project would blow through state-imposed budget limits five years before the company decided to reverse course and become an exclusively gas-fired energy plant...

Late last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) mothballed an investigation into allegations the company concealed schedule delays, uncovered by a New York Times investigation in 2016, without sanctioning the company or clearing it of wrongdoing, leaving the door open to further investigation.

The new materials offer evidence of a much broader range of potential misconduct than previously revealed. The SEC declined to comment.  read more »

Equifax breach could be most costly in corporate history

Equifax Inc said it expects costs related to its massive 2017 data breach to surge by $275 million this year, suggesting the incident at the credit reporting bureau could turn out to be the most costly hack in corporate history. read more »

A $50 Million Stock-Fraud Probe, 6 Defendants and a Picasso

U.S. prosecutors lifted the veil on a $50 million international stock-manipulation scam that got shut down after the alleged culprits suggested to an undercover FBI agent that they buy a Picasso to launder illicit profits.

It’s the “only market that is unregulated,” one of the alleged wrongdoers boasted in a conversation that was secretly recorded, U.S. prosecutors said as they handed down an indictment in Brooklyn, New York, against six people on Friday.

The ill-fated art deal was just one part of an alleged scam that sprawled from the gilded Mayfair neighborhood in London to the island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. The alleged perpetrators range from a U.K. stockbroker with hundreds of millions of dollars under management to a bank in Budapest and the prosecution shows penny stocks continue to attract scrutiny from regulators across the globe. read more »

SEC Charges U.K. Brokerage Firm, Investment Manager, CEO, and Others for Manipulative Trading in U.S. Microcap Stocks

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced securities fraud charges against a U.K.-based broker-dealer and its investment manager in connection with manipulative trading in the securities of HD View 360 Inc., a U.S.-based microcap issuer.  The SEC also announced charges against HD View’s CEO, another individual, and three entities they control for manipulating HD View’s securities as well as the securities of another microcap issuer, West Coast Ventures Group Corp.  The SEC further announced the institution of an order suspending trading in the securities of HD View.

These charges arise in part from an undercover operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which also resulted in related criminal prosecutions against these defendants by the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. read more »