AFL-CIO, Senator Warren Call for SEC Investigation of Possible Navient Insider Trading
October has provided at least a glimmer of hope for aggrieved Navient student loan borrowers. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on October 10 to take a closer look at trades of Navient common stock that took place on August 31 just before the Trump administration’s Department of Education, in a letter, publicly backed away from working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
In that letter, the Department of Education scorned CFPB Director Richard Cordray for his agency’s ostensible heavy-handedness and overreach, and told Cordray that, as Bloomberg reports, it would no longer provide the consumer watchdog with information to police loan originators/servicers like Navient, one of four companies that contract with the government to handle federal student loans. Bloomberg wrote that the Department of Education’s shift in policy regarding its interaction with the CFPB was “good news for government loan contractors,” and, in particular, for Navient, which was hit with a class action lawsuit from Cordray’s CFPB in January that the media outlet said may now be in jeopardy.
Analysts reportedly reacted to the Department of Education’s letter by upgrading Navient to a “buy” on Tuesday, September 5, the first day of business following Labor Day weekend. Bloomberg writes that this move signaled to investors that loan outfits like Navient were being ushered into a “far less onerous” regulatory landscape.
The AFL-CIO claims investors made three big buys of Navient stock, amounting to 872,394 shares, or 24 percent of the entire day’s trading volume, late on August 31, with more large purchases reportedly occurring the following morning.
Enter Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), who on Monday, October 23 echoed the AFL-CIO’s request in asking the SEC to examine whether insider information sparked the Labor Day weekend Navient trades.
“The timing and scope of these trades raise serious questions,” Warren and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici wrote. “If investors or Department employees were trading based on the unauthorized disclosure or discussion of nonpublic information by Department officials or employees, then it would appear to be a clear violation of securities law.”
These stories from Bloomberg writer Shahien Nasiripour and Reuters reporter Pete Schroeder are must-reads.
Uber on the Hook for $20 Million Settlement in 2015 Unsolicited Text Message Class Action
Uber Technologies earlier this month agreed to pay $20 million to settle a class action that claimed the beleaguered ride-sharing company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending unsolicited texts without consent. The settlement awaits final approval by an Illinois District Court.
The lawsuit, filed in August 2015, claimed the plaintiff, who had never used Uber before and never downloaded the app, received no fewer than eight texts from Uber with different confirmation numbers asking her to sign up for the rideshare service. According to The Chicago Tribune, the lawsuit charged that Uber is in possession of inaccurate phone numbers, leading the company to routinely text consumers without permission.
The settlement is set to be considered for final approval on January 23, 2018, and covers consumers who received one or more unsolicited texts from Uber between December 31, 2010 and August 17, 2017.
Chicago Tribune reporter Nereida Moreno has more. To learn more about the settlement, head over to UberTCPASettlement.com.
Ford Says It Will Repair Exhaust Leaks in 1.4 Million Explorers
Ford will offer to make free repairs on upwards of 1.4 million Explorers in North America to prevent carbon monoxide and other exhaust fumes from entering vehicle cabins. The move comes after a July investigation that was sparked by law enforcement agencies’ concerns about exhaust leak issues in Explorer models upgraded for use by police and other agencies. That same month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) expanded its inquiry into 1.33 million Explorer SUVs due to exhaust leak concerns.
Beginning November 1, Reuters reports, Ford dealers will reprogram Explorer air conditioners, replace liftgate drain valves and check the sealing of the rear of the vehicles.
Get the latest from Reuters reporter David Shepardson.
Cybersecurity Expert Says Fishy Redirect Might Mean Equifax Was Hacked Again
Fortune wrote on October 12 that independent security analyst Randy Abrams believes Equifax may have once again been the subject of a cyberattack. Abrams raised concerns about Equifax’s website reportedly redirecting users to download a fake Adobe Flash update that would then infect the individual’s computer with malware. According to Fortune, users who tried to dispute information on their credit reports were taken to an unfamiliar web address, which then prompted the fake Flash update.
“We are aware of the situation identified on the Equifax.com website in the credit report assistance link,” an Equifax spokesperson said. “Our IT and Security teams are looking into this matter, and out of an abundance of caution have temporarily taken this page offline. When it becomes available or we have more information to share, we will.”
You didn’t think we’d make it through a roundup without at least one Equifax item, did you?
Case Update: Appeals Court Sides with Plaintiff in ACLU’s Class Action Evoking Debate over Abortion Rights, Illegal Immigration
Last week, we covered on our Newswire a proposed class action filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and two other government officials over the Trump administration’s block of a 17-year-old pregnant immigrant from receiving an abortion. On Tuesday, October 24, an appeals court ruled in the “Jane Doe” plaintiff’s favor.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington D.C. reversed a three-judge panel’s decision of the same court without first holding an oral argument, a step the Washington Post described as unusual. The court’s 6-3 ruling shot the case back to U.S. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, who then reissued the order calling for the government to stand down to let the teen’s procedure take place “promptly and without delay.”
Washington Post reporters Maria Sacchetti and Ann E. Marimow have complete coverage of this story over at the publication’s website.