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Yahoo will pay approximately A $117 million to settle a lawsuit over multiple data breaches. The lawsuit alleged that the company negligently disclosed  users’ personal information, including email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, other account information, as well as security passwords. According to the complaint, Yahoo users were subject to numerous disclosures of personal information, despite assurances from the company of privacy protection.

The complaint claimed that the massive breaches were due to Yahoo’s disregard of users’ privacy interests and threats. The Yahoo data breach class action lawsuit contended that the plaintiffs and Yahoo users would not have signed up for the service had they known their private information would be compromised.

Under the terms of the Yahoo data breach class action settlement, Yahoo will improve security measures when it comes to user data.

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the institution of settled cease-and-desist proceedings against Juniper Networks, Inc., a California-based networking and cybersecurity solutions company, for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) through its subsidiaries in Russia and China. Juniper agreed to settle charges that it violated the internal accounting controls and recordkeeping provisions of the FCPA and to pay more than $11.7 million in monetary relief.

According to the SEC’s order, certain sales employees of Juniper’s Russia subsidiary secretly agreed with third-party distributors to fund leisure trips for customers, including government officials through the use of off-book accounts. Even after a member of Juniper’s senior management learned of the misconduct in Russia, the order states, Juniper’s remedial efforts were ineffective, and the misconduct continued for over three years. Additionally, the order finds that, certain sales employees of Juniper’s Chinese subsidiaries falsified trip and meeting agendas for customer events to understate the true amount of entertainment involved in the trips.

Juniper Networks Inc. is an American multinational corporation headquartered in California.  It develops and markets networking products, including network security, routers, switches and other products.

The Securities and Exchange Commission awarded more than $1.8 million to a whistleblower who provided critically important information assisting  an enforcement action involving overseas misconduct. TheSEC’s redacted award order (pdf) didn’t provide other details about the whistleblower or the company involved. By law, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and doesn’t disclose information that could reveal their identity.

The SEC said the whistleblower provided “extensive and ongoing cooperation” that included the “review of documents and the provision of sworn testimony.”“The misconduct occurred abroad, and without the whistleblower’s tip and assistance, the violations at issue would have been difficult to identify,” chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower Jane Norberg said.

The SEC said the agency has made awards to at least four “overseas” whistleblowers.

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an award of more than $1.8 million to a whistleblower whose information and assistance was critically important to the success of an enforcement action involving misconduct committed overseas.

After alerting the agency to the violations, the whistleblower provided extensive and ongoing cooperation during the course of the investigation, including the review of documents and the provision of sworn testimony, and continued to provide additional new information that advanced the investigation.

“The whistleblower in this matter provided stellar information and ongoing assistance that resulted in the Commission bringing a programmatically significant enforcement action,” said Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “Moreover, the misconduct occurred abroad, and without the whistleblower’s tip and assistance, the violations at issue would have been difficult to identify.”

SUMMER MATHESON and TERRENCE EWING, co-owners of Laynie Foundation Inc., and foundation employee RICHARD GRUNDY, have been indicted for fraudulently billed Illinois Medicaid for mental health services not provided.  Matheson, Ewing and Grundy also used the Matteson-based foundation to seek payment from Illinois Medicaid for non-reimbursable activities, such as internal case reviews, staff training, clinical supervision and recordkeeping, the indictment alleges.  The indictment also accuses Matheson of attempting to cover up the fraud by directing foundation personnel to backdate and falsify patient records to make it appear that a licensed practitioner had reviewed and approved certain mental health services, when, in fact, Matheson knew that a practitioner had not reviewed and approved those services.  As a result of the fraud, Matheson, Ewing and Grundy fraudulently obtained approximately $4 million from Illinois Medicaid and managed-care organizations used by Illinois Medicaid, the indictment states.

The indictment charges Matheson, 41, and Ewing, 57, both of Dyer, Ind., with six counts of health care fraud.  Matheson is also charged with one count of obstruction of justice.  Grundy, 34, of Chicago, is charged with five counts of health care fraud.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General; and Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI.  The Illinois Attorney General’s Office and Illinois State Police assisted in the investigation.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Prashant Kolluri and Charles W. Mulaney.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) targeted two Iranian regime-linked networks for engaging in covert procurement activities benefitting multiple Iranian military organizations.  One network, led by Hamed Dehghan, has used a confidential Hong Kong-based front company to evade U.S. and international sanctions and facilitate tens of millions of dollars’ worth of proliferation activities targeting U.S. technology and electronic components, for persons related to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Iranian regime’s missile program.  The second network, led by Seyed Hossein Shariat, has procured various aluminum alloy products on behalf of components entities owned or controlled by Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL).

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these individuals that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC.  OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons. In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be exposed to designation.  Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services for any of the individuals designated today could be subject to U.S. correspondent account or payable-through sanctions.

“As the Iranian regime attempts to use complex schemes to hide its efforts to bolster its WMD program, the U.S. government will continue to thwart them at every turn,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker. “We urge governments worldwide to recognize the extraordinary lengths to which the regime in Tehran will go to conceal its behavior, and to ensure that their companies and financial institutions are not facilitating Iran’s proliferation activities.”

The Attorney General of North Carolina has filed a lawsuit against Eonsmoke and seven other vaping companies following a lawsuit already filed against the industry leader Juul. See Juul complaint here: JUUL-Complaint . The new suits also name Beard Vape, Direct eLiquid, Electric Lotus, Tobacconist, Juice Man, Tinted Brew and VapeCo. The Eonsmoke Complaint can be seen here:Eonsmoke-Complaint. The Complaints allege that the companies are targeting their sales to children and that they are contributing to an epidemic of use among children of products that are damaging to health. Eonsmoke was also sued by the Massachusetts Att0rney General Maura Healey in May of this year.

Here is what the surgoen general has said about e-cigarettes: E-cigarette aerosol is not harmless.2 Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine – the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products.2 Nicotine exposure during adolescence can harm the developing brain –which continues to develop until about age 25.2 Nicotine exposure during adolescence can impact learning, memory, and attention.1,2 Using nicotine in adolescence can also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged public accounting firm RSM US LLP with violations of the agency’s auditor independence rules in connection with more than 100 audit reports involving at least 15 audit clients.

According to the SEC’s order, RSM US repeatedly represented that it was “independent” in audit reports issued on the clients’ financial statements, which were included or incorporated by reference in public filings with the Commission or provided to investors.  Instead, the SEC found that RSM US or its associated entities, including other member firms of the RSM International network, provided non-audit services to, and had an employment relationship with, affiliates of RSM US audit clients, which violated the SEC’s auditor independence rules.  The prohibited non-audit services included corporate secretarial services, payment facilitation, payroll outsourcing, loaned staff, financial information system design or implementation, bookkeeping, internal audit outsourcing, and investment adviser services.  The prohibited employment relationship concerned a partner at an RSMI member firm in Australia serving on a voluntary basis as a non-discretionary member of the board of an affiliate of a RSM US issuer audit client.  As detailed in the SEC’s order, certain of RSM US’s independence controls were also inadequate, resulting in the firm’s failure to identify and avoid these prohibited non-audit services and the prohibited employment relationship.  These violations occurred between 2014 and 2015, with certain violations remaining undetected until at least 2016.

“The SEC’s auditor independence rules specifically prohibit audit firms from providing certain non-audit services,” said Carolyn M. Welshhans, Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “Audit firms must put in place procedures, training, and systems that provide a reasonable assurance of independence, and they must monitor for independence on an ongoing basis.”

The Massachusetts General Hospital has suffered a major data breach involving private health information involving the records of some 9,900 research patients  used by Neurology researchers at the hospital. The data stolen included names, dates of birth, medical record numbers and medical histories. The breach occurred between June 10 and June 16 at the hospital’s Department of Neurology, and was traced to two computer applications used its research programs, MGH said.The breach was discovered on June 24.

“The research data did not include any study participant’s Social Security number, insurance information, or any financial information,” MGH said. “The research data did not include any study participant’s address, phone number, or other contact information. The incident did not involve MGH’s medical records systems.”

However, the breached data “may have included a participant’s first and last name, certain demographic information (such as marital status, sex, race, ethnicity), date of birth, dates of study visits and tests, medical record number, type of study and research study identification numbers, diagnosis and medical history, biomarkers and genetic information, types of assessments and results, and other research information,” MGH said.

A father, Robert Zangrillo, accused of resorting to fraud and bribery to get his daughter into USC has subpoenaed the university for records detailing its admissions process and to what degree, if any, it is influenced by donations. His  subpoena requests records related to how the university flags some applicants as “VIP” or “special interest,” records of the university president’s involvement in such designations, a database of donors and the percentage of applicants admitted within a year of their families donating $50,000 or more, among other records. USC has asked a judge to quash the subpoena, saying the demand from Robert Zangrillo, a Miami financier whose daughter was admitted to USC in 2018, amounted to “an impermissible fishing expedition.”

To ensure his daughter, Amber, was admitted to USC, prosecutors say Zangrillo paid $200,000 to  William Singer a college admissions consultant, and $50,000 to an account controlled by a USC administrator. Zangrillo has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

Singer pleaded guilty to four felonies in March and cooperated with federal prosecutors in Massachusetts who uncovered his scam. Donna Heinel, accused of steering Zangrillo’s daughter into the school, has been charged with racketeering conspiracy and fired from her post as the third-ranking official in USC’s athletics department. She has pleaded not guilty.