Bank of America’s $16 Billion Mortgage Settlement Less Painful Than It Looks | New York Times – Dealbook

From the article:

The Justice Department said on Thursday that it had so far recovered nearly $37 billion from big banks for their role in selling shoddy mortgages before the financial crisis.

Such a large number — intended to deter misdeeds in the future — suggests that Wall Street is being made to pay for its role in stoking the subprime debacle. Yet the financial pain inflicted by the settlements may not be as great in the end.

Ohio AG sues credit agencies for public pensions

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The three major credit ratings agencies gave mortgage-backed securities unjustifiably high ratings in return for lucrative fees, losing at least $457 million for five Ohio public employee pension and retirement funds, the state’s attorney general alleged in a lawsuit filed Friday.

Ohio is the second state whose public pension funds have pursued credit rating agencies, after the California Public Employees’ Retirement System sued the agencies in July alleging they caused it more than $1 billion in losses.

Ohio Attorney General Rich Cordray said Friday evidence showed that Moody’s Investors Service, Fitch Ratings, and Standard & Poor’s knew that mortgage-backed securities — in which mortgages were sliced and packaged into securities for investors — were much riskier than the top ratings they gave them.

But because those seeking the specific rating could shop around until they received that rating, rating agencies had a significant financial incentive to give the highest rating so they wouldn’t lose market share, Cordray said.

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Mattel to Pay Penalty for Lead Toys

Wall Street Journal –
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The Consumer Product Safety Commission said toy maker Mattel Inc. and its Fisher-Price unit will pay a $2.3 million civil penalty to settle allegations that they knowingly imported and sold up to two million children’s toys that violated a federal lead-paint limit.

It is the agency’s highest toy-related penalty ever. The agency said that as part of the settlement agreement, the companies deny the allegations.

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See also the Consumer Product Safety Commission press release.

Pricewaterhouse to pay $225 mln in Tyco settlement

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PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP said on Friday it will pay $225 million to settle a class-action case brought by investors in Tyco International Ltd. following the accounting scandal at the diversified manufacturer.

The settlement with the auditing firm, combined with a recent settlement with Tyco that was previously announced, brings the total settlement to more than $3.2 billion, according to a statement from law firm Grant & Eisenhofer and two other law firms representing the plaintiffs.

Tyco last month agreed to pay $2.975 billion into a fund for plaintiffs in 32 class-action lawsuits that resulted from an accounting scandal that sent former Chief Executive Dennis Kozlowski to prison.
Kozlowski and former Tyco finance Chief Financial Officer Mark Swartz were found guilty in June 2005 of looting $600 million from the conglomerate. The case became one of the best-known cases of the excesses of corporate America when it became clear that Kozlowski had used company funds to pay for luxury items including a $6,000 shower curtain and a $15,000 umbrella stand.