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Consumer Fraud 1436 articles

Woman crusades against epidemic of wage theft

Kim Bobo believes that employers in the United States are stealing from their workers. Not just nickels and dimes and not just in isolated incidents. She claims that the theft is rampant — that it has become a “national crisis at this moment in our nation” to the tune of $19 billion per year in unpaid overtime alone. Bobo is the founder and executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, an organization that appeals to the shared convictions of all religions in protecting the rights of the everyday worker, especially low-wage workers. Bobo alleges that in meat processing plants, retail businesses, ... Read More

Grocery chain cited for multiple child labor violations

The U.S. Department of Labor has fined Hy-Vee, Inc., a Des Moines, Iowa-based grocery chain, with multiple violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, including a number of child labor violations in four of the company’s Nebraska stores. Federal investigators found 37 violations of laws restricting working hours for school age children under 18 years old. The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits workers under age 18 from working more than three hours on school days, including Fridays, and eight hours on days with no school. Children ages 14 and 15 are not permitted to work past 7 p.m. on school ... Read More

Regions selling off RMK Select Funds

Today the Birmingham Business Journal reported that Regions Financial Corp., which is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., is selling off its 11 Regions Morgan Keegan (RMK) Select Funds. These funds are currently managed by Regions’ investment arm, Morgan Keegan & Co., based in Memphis. The funds will be sold to Pioneer Investment Managment, Inc., the Journal reports. The deal is pending approval by Regions shareholders, but if approved will remove the financial company from the mutual funds business entirely, according to the Journal. This news follows on the heels of other efforts by Regions to divest itself of investment funds following ... Read More

RMK fund set for liquidation

The Memphis Daily News recently reported that Hyperion Brookfield Asset Management, which in July took over administration of seven Regions Morgan Keegan funds under fire for misrepresentation, will liquidate one of the funds, pending shareholder approval. The fund in question is the Regions Morgan Keegan Select Short Term Bond Fund. Hyperion took over management of the Morgan Keegan investment arm of Regions after several funds suffered steep and sudden drops in value as a result of their connection to the subprime mortgage securities market. On Dec. 30, the Daily News announced that Hyperion had changed the names of seven former ... Read More

Insurance provider says smoke is pollution to avoid payout

Nearly everyone who has filed an insurance claim has played that exasperating game of tug of war with the adjuster on the other line who digs his feet in and won’t issue a check without a fight. The battle usually takes place over questions of liability, but interpretation of the policy can sometimes be a factor. Should your claim involve complex and easily misinterpreted terms such as “fire” and “smoke,” you had better watch out. Cincinnati-based Great American Insurance Group is trying to wrest itself from a potential $25 million responsibility by claiming that the smoke that killed three people ... Read More

RMK funds change names to reflect new Helios brand

According to a report in the Memphis Commercial Appeal today, seven former Regions Morgan Keegan investment funds have changed their names, and six have new trading symbols. The changes reflect the change in management from Regions Financial to Hyperion Brookfield Asset Management, which took over the troubled investment arm in July. Each fund name now starts with Helio, which is Hyperion’s brand name. The Commercial Appeal quotes Marion Hayes, a spokesperson for Hyperion, as saying, “It’s not right for these funds to be named Regions Morgan Keegan funds when they’re managed by us.” The change affects four closed-end funds and ... Read More

Federal Appeals Court renders important decision against Family Dollar in FLSA case

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a $35.6 million judgment against Family Dollar Stores Inc. originally handed down by a Tuscaloosa, Ala., federal jury in 2006. The jury said the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by wrongly classifying employees as store managers in order to deny them overtime pay. The 1,424 employees were regularly required to work more than 60 hours a week, and to perform duties not usually associated with store management such as mopping floors, unloading trucks, stocking shelves and running cash registers. The jury awarded $17.8 million in back overtime pay and an ... Read More

Tuscaloosa judges uphold $35M Family Dollar ruling

Three federal judges this week upheld a $35.6 million ruling against Family Dollar Stores Inc., saying the chain denied employees overtime pay by classifying them as store managers. A three-judge panel in Tuscaloosa agreed with a 2006 jury that found the Matthews, N.C.-based company in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and awarded back pay to 1,424 employees, who routinely worked 60 to 70 hours a week. Their duties often included mopping floors, unloading trucks, stocking shelves and running cash registers. The jury “reasonably determined that Family Dollar failed to meet its burden of proving that Plaintiff store managers’ ... Read More

Morgan Keegan buys investment bank

Today The Birmingham (Ala.) News reported that Morgan Keegan & Co., the investment arm of Regions Financial Corp., has purchased an investment bank, Burke Capital Group, based in Atlanta. The sale price was not released. Regions Financial Corp. is based in Birmingham. According to its company web site, Burke Capital Group is an independent investment banking firm that provides “superior corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions advisory services to financial institutions and middle market companies.” The company was founded in 1995. In 2006, the SNL Financial’s Bank M&A Scoreboard listed Burke at No. 1 among the Top Southeast regional financial ... Read More

Financial columnist fills RMK stocking with coal

Chuck Jaffe, a senior columnist for MarketWatch, put Regions Morgan Keegan on his 13th annual Lump of Coal Awards list, which points out those companies and individuals who he believes should be on Santa’s “naughty” list in the world of investment funds. The list was published today on SFGate, an online publication of the San Francisco Chronicle. Jaffe placed RMK in the category “Not knowing when to quit,” citing the investment company’s insistence on keeping funds tied to high-risk subprime mortgages active even after they suffered losses topping 80 percent. The columnist already had named RMK’s manager James Kelsoe as ... Read More