Mortgage Fraud Cases Strain FBI
FBI Director Robert Mueller said the agency's mortgage fraud caseload has surged because of the subprime loan meltdown, and he expects it to grow further.
There are now 19 investigations of Wall Street banks, mortgage lenders and other financial institutions, Mueller told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. The inquiries have strained the FBI's resources and the agency has shifted agents from other duties to help out, he said.
Most of the bureau's mortgage fraud cases, about 1,300, focus on individuals such as brokers and loan buyers, he said. The 19 corporate investigations, up from 14 in January, involve possible securities fraud and insider trading by executives.
Bumping Penalties to Double
Payments to airline passengers bumped from their flights will double next month. The Transportation Department ordered that carriers pay passengers $400 each if they arrive within two hours of their original schedules and $800 if they don't. The penalties haven't been increased since 1978. The rate of involuntarily bumpings reached an 11-year high in 2007, 1.12 per 10,000 passengers, as airlines flew fuller planes to gain efficiency as fuel prices rise.
Separately, American Airlines and other carriers that serve LaGuardia International Airport in New York would have as many as 20 percent of their slots auctioned over five years, under a proposal the department plans to make final by year's end.
Credit Cut, Talbots Shares Fall
Shares of Talbots plunged after two banks decided to cut off their flow of credit to the women's apparel retailer. The stock dropped $3.69, to $9.16.
Talbots is trying to rebound from recent financial losses and store closures. The company issued a news release saying it has enough cash to fund its business initiatives this year, but the statement did little to ease the sell-off.
In January, Talbots said it would close its 78 children's and men's stores to focus on its core middle-aged female customer.