Overdrawn? Late on your mortgage? Owe late fees to your bank or credit card company?
If you are expecting a coronavirus relief check, which most Americans are, up to $1200, be prepared to see a portion of it seized by the bank to pay off those debts.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury, headed by multi-millionaire Secretary Steve Mnuchin, has authorized banks to seize however much of your emergency coronavirus relief payment to pay off debts owed to your bank, according to The American Prospect’s Executive Editor David Dayen.
Congress passed the CARES Act to help the tens of millions of Americans who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic put food on their tables, pay their rent or mortgage – literally continue to live. Last week Mnuchin’s Treasury effectively told the banks it’s OK to seize what they deem you own them from those payments.
“Banks would be first in line to grab the payments to offset a delinquent loan or past-due fees,” Dayen reports. “Even if the individual thinks their account with that bank is closed, if the payments post there, the bank could conceivably use them to cover old debts.”
Obviously make sure your direct deposit goes to an account you control with a bank that doesn’t have any bad debts on it, because the danger exists that the bank could use the check to offset those debts.
— David Dayen (@ddayen) April 14, 2020
While the Treassury didn’t tell banks to go grab the cash, Treasury regulators made clear they are welcome to do so, as Dayen explains:
“The Treasury Department effectively blessed this activity on a webinar with banking officials last week. In audio obtained by the Prospect, Ronda Kent, chief disbursing officer with Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, can be heard explaining that banks had posed questions to her about ‘whether these payments could be subject to collection from the bank to which the money is deposited, if the payee owes an outstanding loan or other payments to the bank.’ She responded—twice—that ‘there’s nothing in the law that precludes that action,’ while counseling that the banks’ compliance officers should consult with their legal offices about what policies their banks will implement. ‘You will want to know for your bank what your bank has decided to do,’ Kent said.”
That’s how it works.
Basically, “we’re not telling you you can’t, so do as you please.”
I checked with the five largest consumer banks. Only JPMorgan Chase said they would not use CARES Act payments to offset debts. The other four gave no response. https://t.co/by1oQ1cNkL
— David Dayen (@ddayen) April 14, 2020
One official told Dayen, “We don’t want to say anything explicitly and are telling you to make a business decision.”
Common Dreams notes Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says the “payments are supposed to help individuals and families put food on the table during this crisis, not enrich debt collectors.”
Dayen says the Treasury Dept. could easily rescind this grant if it chose to.
The other thing would be that Treasury could end this possibility with a one-page regulatory order flagging the checks and ensuring that private debt collectors or banks cannot use them for garnishment or offsets. Treasury should feel some pressure to do that.
— David Dayen (@ddayen) April 14, 2020
Read the entire report here.
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Busted: Marjorie Taylor Greene Caught Illegally Claiming a ‘Big Tax Break’ in Georgia
Local press in Georgia caught Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) illegally claiming a major tax break.
“A Channel 2 Action News investigation has found that Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her husband have two active homestead exemptions, which is against Georgia law. A homestead exemption is a big tax break any Georgia homeowner is entitled to for their primary residence. It is against the law to file for more than one,” WSB-TV reported Friday.
“But Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray pulled records showing that the Greenes are getting the tax break on two different homes in two different counties,” the network reported.
WSB-TV had a fascinating interaction when it called the controversial Republican’s office.
“In a statement, Greene’s office told Gray to mind his own business and called it a ‘pathetic smear’ when he asked them about the homestead exemptions,” the network reported. “Greene still owns a North Fulton county home, but also bought a $610,000 house in Floyd County last year in the 14th Congressional district, which she represents.”
Trump Is Making Noises About a 2024 Run to Get Rich Off the ‘Rubes’: Ex-White House Official
President Donald Trump will be running for president for a third time in 2024, but the effort will be largely geared towards personal enrichment, a former official explained on Saturday.
MSNBC’s Alex Witt interviewed Anthony Scaramucci, who briefly served as Trump’s communications director in 2017.
“Is he going to run in 2024 or is this just a great excuse to fundraise?” Witt asked.
“I think it’s both,” Scaramucci replied. “I think he’s going to run in 2024, this is the most money he’s ever made — just imagine making $300 million off of these rubes that he’s coning after the election with his big lie. So he’ll run again in 2024.”
“Will he go to the finish line? Maybe not,” he continued. “There are 10 or 12 Republicans that see themselves as a future president. They’re going to try to find ways to undermine him, obviously Governor Nikki Haley already started that process, so I don’t know if he gets to the finish line, but why would he not run and raise money off the rubes that he’s raising money from?”
“Right, but if he runs, do you really think he doesn’t get the nomination?” Witt asked. “Today he would, there’s no doubt today he would get it.”
“I think it could get interrupted by the potential criminal investigations that are going on and the potential indictments, so if he runs and there are no indictments and I think he has a clear path to that nomination, and that’s why Sen. McConnell said ‘Of course I’m going to support him’ — which is even more levels of hypocrisy, but yes, he runs, he wins the nomination,” Scaramucci replied. “There is risk here, though, because of his potential tax fraud case and other cases — even the D.C. case related to the insurrection is a potential speed bump to him getting that nomination.”
Trump and Family Lose Bid to Have ‘Ugly Pyramid Scheme’ Class Action Lawsuit Put on Hold: Report
President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and The Trump Organization were dealt a blow Monday when a federal court judge refused to put a class action lawsuit against the family and the family business on hold.
Calling it an “Ugly Pyramid Scheme,” Law & Crime reports the “class action plaintiffs allege that the Trump family business promoted a multi-level marketing, or pyramid, scheme known as ACN Opportunity, LLC. ACN, the plaintiffs said, was a ‘get-rich-quick scheme’ that relied on Trump and his family ‘conn[ing] each of these victims into giving up hundreds or thousands of dollars,’ in violation of various state laws.”
The anonymous plaintiffs say ACN was paying the Trumps for their endorsement, which included positive mentions on various episodes of “Celebrity Apprentice,” but that financial link was never disclosed.
The judge appeared to agree.
“Plaintiffs were duped about the nature of the relationship between ACN and Defendants,” Judge Lorna G. Schofield wrote.
The original case was filed “as an anti-‘racketeering enterprise’ action,” Law & Crime adds, but “was later streamlined” when two federal charges were removed after the Trumps tried to have the case dismissed.
A 2018 New York Times article on the original case reported that the “complaint alleges that Mr. Trump and his family received secret payments from three business entities in exchange for promoting them as legitimate opportunities, when in reality they were get-rich-quick schemes that harmed investors, many of whom were unsophisticated and struggling financially.”
It called ACN “a telecommunications marketing company that paid Mr. Trump millions of dollars to endorse its products.”
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