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Cancer Survivors Get Free Makeovers at B2V Salon in WeHo

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WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — Cancer survivors received a day of beauty at a West Hollywood salon thanks to a cancer research foundation.

Heidi Cohen has Stage 4 cancer and is currently being treated with chemotherapy.

“It’s called endometrial cancer. I’ve been in chemo. I’ve had 5 sessions,” Cohen said. “I have no hair on my head, no eyebrows, no lashes. That’s what happens with chemo.”

Cohen’s mother flew up from Florida and the pair spent the day at B-2-V salon for a little pampering.

“I took myself here today because I felt like it was time to treat myself to something nice,” said Cohen.

Cohen’s mom, Arlene Dwoskin, is also a cancer […]

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DA Announces $18.8 Million Settlement with Time Warner

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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey has announced a historic $18.8 million settlement with Time Warner Cable LLC on behalf of more than 170,000 consumers throughout California who paid for internet speeds they did not receive.
 
It is the largest direct restitution order ever secured by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in a consumer protection lawsuit.

The vast majority of the money will be returned to consumers through automatic credits on their monthly cable/internet bills from Spectrum, the parent company of Time Warner Cable, following a May 2016 merger.

“This historic settlement serves as a warning to all companies in California that deceptive practices are bad for consumers and bad for business,” District Attorney Lacey said. “We as prosecutors demand that all service providers – large and small – live up to their claims and fairly market their products. When they don’t, my office will take legal action to protect consumers.”
 
The lawsuit, filed by the District Attorneys of Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside counties in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleged unlawful business practices. Specifically, prosecutors accused Time Warner Cable of using misleading advertising practices to lure consumers to pay for high-speed internet services the company could not deliver, beginning in 2013.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Gregory Keosian signed the stipulated final judgment between prosecutors and Time Warner Cable on Feb. 14, 2020.
 
Under the settlement, $16.9 million in restitution will be distributed directly to eligible customers, based on the type of service they purchased from Time Warner Cable.
 
Some customers were issued outdated modems, making it impossible for them to receive the higher bandwidth they purchased. Others paid for higher internet speeds that Time Warner’s infrastructure could not deliver.

They are eligible to receive approximately $90 in a one-time credit on their cable/internet bills. A few consumers who both were issued outdated modems and paid for higher internet speeds will be eligible to receive approximately $180 in credit. Spectrum must automatically issue credits to all eligible consumers within 60 days.

In addition, all Time Warner Cable internet customers in California will be offered one of two free services. Those who are cable TV subscribers will be offered three free months of Showtime, if they do not already subscribe to Showtime, valued at $45.

Customers with only internet services will be offered one free month of an entertainment streaming package, Spectrum Choice, valued at approximately $40. The total value of these free service offers will depend on how many people sign up.
 
Time Warner Cable also agreed to pay $1.9 million to the three prosecuting agencies in the case to cover costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of this and future consumer protection cases. The amount will be split evenly among the three agencies.
 
As a result of this lawsuit, Time Warner Cable also agreed to a prohibition on advertising internet speeds it knows or should know it cannot consistently deliver during peak hours. The company also is required to ensure that its customers are issued equipment that can actually deliver advertised speeds.
 
Time Warner Cable cooperated in the investigation and resolution of this case but did not admit liability.

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Wells Fargo Fined $3B for Millions of Unauthorized Accounts

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LOS ANGELES – Wells Fargo & Co. and its subsidiary, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., have agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve three separate matters stemming from a years-long practice of pressuring employees to meet unrealistic sales goals – which led thousands of employees to provide millions of accounts or products to customers under false pretenses or without consent, often by creating false records or misusing customers’ identities, according to the Department of Justice.

As part of the agreements with the United States Attorney’s Offices for the Central District of California and the Western District of North Carolina, the Justice Department’s Civil Division, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wells Fargo admitted that it collected millions of dollars in fees and interest to which the company was not entitled, harmed the credit ratings of certain customers, and unlawfully misused customers’ sensitive personal information.

“This case illustrates a complete failure of leadership at multiple levels within the bank. Simply put, Wells Fargo traded its hard-earned reputation for short-term profits, and harmed untold numbers of customers along the way,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “We are hopeful that this $3 billion penalty, along with the personnel and structural changes at the bank, will ensure that such conduct will not reoccur.”

The criminal investigation into false bank records and identity theft is being resolved with a deferred prosecution agreement in which Wells Fargo will not be prosecuted during the three-year term of the agreement if it abides by certain conditions, including continuing to cooperate with ongoing investigations.

Wells Fargo also entered a civil settlement agreement under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) based on Wells Fargo’s creation of false bank records. Wells Fargo also agreed to the SEC instituting a cease-and-desist proceeding finding violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The $3 billion payment resolves all three matters, and includes a $500 million civil penalty to be distributed by the SEC to investors.

 “When companies cheat to compete, they harm customers and other competitors,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Michael D. Granston of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “This settlement holds Wells Fargo accountable for tolerating fraudulent conduct that is remarkable both for its duration and scope, and for its blatant disregard of customers’ private information. The Civil Division will continue to use all available tools to protect the American public from fraud and abuse, including misconduct by or against their financial institutions.”

 “Our settlement with Wells Fargo, and the $3 billion monetary penalty imposed on the bank, go far beyond ‘the cost of doing business.’ They are appropriate given the staggering size, scope and duration of Wells Fargo’s illicit conduct, which spanned well over a decade,” said Andrew Murray, the United States Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. “When a reputable institution like Wells Fargo caves to the pernicious forces of greed, and puts its own interests ahead of those of the customers it claims to serve, my office will not sit idle. Today’s announcement should serve as a stark reminder that no institution is too big, too powerful, or too well known to be held accountable and face enforcement action for its wrongdoings.”

Beginning in 1998, Wells Fargo increased its focus on sales volume and reliance on annual sales growth. A core part of this sales model was the “cross-sell strategy” to sell existing customers additional financial products. It was “the foundation of our business model,” according to Wells Fargo. In its 2012 Vision and Values statement, Wells Fargo stated: “We start with what the customer needs – not with what we want to sell them.”

 But, in contrast to Wells Fargo’s public statements and disclosures about needs-based selling, the Community Bank implemented a volume-based sales model in which employees were directed and pressured to sell large volumes of products to existing customers, often with little regard to actual customer need or expected use. The Community Bank’s onerous sales goals and accompanying management pressure led thousands of its employees to engage in unlawful conduct – including fraud, identity theft and the falsification of bank records – and unethical practices to sell products of no or little value to the customer.

Many of these practices were referred to within Wells Fargo as “gaming.” Gaming strategies varied widely, but included using existing customers’ identities – without their consent – to open checking and savings, debit card, credit card, bill pay and global remittance accounts.

From 2002 to 2016, gaming practices included forging customer signatures to open accounts without authorization, creating PINs to activate unauthorized debit cards, moving money from millions of customer accounts to unauthorized accounts in a practice known internally as “simulated funding,” opening credit cards and bill pay products without authorization, altering customers’ true contact information to prevent customers from learning of unauthorized accounts and prevent Wells Fargo employees from reaching customers to conduct customer satisfaction surveys, and encouraging customers to open accounts they neither wanted or needed.

The top managers of the Community Bank were aware of the unlawful and unethical gaming practices as early as 2002, and they knew that the conduct was increasing due to onerous sales goals and pressure from management to meet these goals. One internal investigator in 2004 called the problem a “growing plague.”

The following year, another internal investigator said the problem was “spiraling out of control.” Even after senior managers in the Community Bank directly called into question the implementation of the cross-sell strategy, Community Bank senior leadership refused to alter the sales model, which contained unrealistic sales goals and a focus on low-quality secondary accounts.

Despite knowledge of the illegal sales practices, Community Bank senior leadership failed to take sufficient action to prevent and reduce the incidence of such practices. Senior leadership of the Community Bank minimized the problems to Wells Fargo management and its board of directors, by casting the problem as driven by individual misconduct instead of the sales model itself. Community Bank senior leadership viewed negative sales quality and integrity as a necessary byproduct of the increased sales and as merely the cost of doing business.

“Today’s multi-billion-dollar penalty holds Wells Fargo accountable for its unlawful sales practices and pressure tactics in which it deceived millions of clients, thus causing substantial hardship for the very individuals who placed their trust in the institution,” said Inspector General Jay N. Lerner of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. “The FDIC Office of Inspector General is committed to working with our law enforcement partners in order to investigate such financial crimes that harm customers and investors, and undermine the integrity of the banking sector.”

 “Since 2016, FBI San Francisco has prioritized our criminal investigation into the unlawful practices by Wells Fargo.  Trust in our banks and financial institutions is fundamental to the security and stability of the U.S. economy,” said FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  “The FBI has dedicated significant resources to uncovering the truth and ensuring the protection of American consumers.” 

 “The United States Postal Inspection Service has a long history of successfully investigating complex fraud cases,” stated San Francisco Division Inspector in Charge Rafael E. Nuñez. “Anyone or any organization engaging in deceptive practices should know they will not go undetected and will be held accountable. The collaborative investigative work on this case conducted by Postal Inspectors, our law enforcement partners, and the United States Attorney’s Offices illustrates our efforts to protect consumers.”

 The government’s decision to enter into the deferred prosecution agreement and civil settlement took into account a number of factors, including Wells Fargo’s extensive cooperation and substantial assistance with the government’s investigations; Wells Fargo’s admission of wrongdoing; its continued cooperation with investigators; its prior settlements in a series of regulatory and civil actions; and remedial actions, including significant changes in Wells Fargo’s management and its board of directors, an enhanced compliance program, and significant work to identify and compensate customers who may have been victims. The deferred prosecution agreement will be in effect for three years.

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Waldorf BH Used a Mole to Steal Secrets From Peninsula, Lawsuit Says

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Hilton’s Waldorf Beverly Hills Used a Mole to Steal Secrets From Rival, Lawsuit Says

BEVERLY HILLS (Wall Street Journal) — The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills is making a push to attract Middle Eastern royals and well-heeled celebrities. Now, a rival luxury hotel next door is alleging that the Waldorf stole corporate secrets and personal information about some of those VIP guests in an effort to win more of that business.

The Peninsula Beverly Hills alleges that the Waldorf’s former general manager coordinated with a Peninsula employee who acted as a mole for 14 months, and that the employee stole more than 45,000 documents that included “proprietary…

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