Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

DA George Gascon Accused of Giving Stars Preferential Treatment; CA Legislature Set to Legalize Magic Mushrooms; Woman Shot on 101 Freeway During Rush Hour

Convicted wife killer Scott Peterson will not get retrial; Megan Thee Stallion's bodyguard is missing; West Hollywood serious crime is up; CA Legislature tries another concealed carry law

 

January 2, 2023

Facebook

Nonprofits associated with finance mogul George Soros's Open Society Foundation gave $35 million to anti-police groups and initiatives in 2021

Courts & Rulings

Challenge to alleged corruption-tinged decisions untimely

The Court of Appeal for this district held yesterday that even if projects approved by the City of Los Angeles were tainted by the corruption of former Council members Mitchell Englander and Jose Huizar, it's too late to bring a suit to block the affected real estate developments from going forward. Both of the discredited former city lawmakers were members of the Planning and Land Use Management ("PLUM") committee which paved the way for the projects.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Judge denies Beverly Hills motion to trim claims from former employee's case

A judge has finalized his ruling allowing a 70-year-old former Beverly Hills senior recreation supervisor who once assisted with management of the city-owned Greystone Mansion & Gardens to proceed with all the claims in her lawsuit alleging she was denied promotions because of her age. Plaintiff Cynthia Brynan also maintains in her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that she was forced to resign in 2019 due to the incessant hostility from a supervisor.

MyNewsLA

Court rules Gery Serrano and Santa Ana Police Officers Association filed frivolous claims to stop City oversight and orders reimbursement of legal costs

A court has ruled that the Santa Ana Police Officers association (SAPOA) and its president, Gerry Serrano, filed frivolous claims to silence City of Santa Ana executive employees and stop them from doing their jobs to ensure compliance with City rules and State law. The court also ordered the plaintiffs to pay the City's legal fees. On Dec. 13, Orange County Superior Court Judge Lon Hurwitz granted anti-SLAPP motions filed by the City and Police Chief David Valentin against SAPOA and Mr. Serrano.

City of Santa Ana News Release

Order barring gun possession may be based on hearsay

Div. One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal yesterday upheld an order barring a man from owning or possessing a firearm or ammunition for a one-year period, rejecting his contention that the order was improperly predicated on hearsay. Affirmance came in a 2-1 decision with Justice Martin N. Buchanan writing for the majority and Justice William Dato dissenting.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Judge to halt provision making challenges to California gun laws costlier

A federal judge on Friday said he will block a provision in a new California law to take effect next year that gun advocates argued was designed to hinder anyone from challenging the state's famously restrictive gun laws. U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez said he would issue the injunction requested by gun clubs as soon as possible to halt the provision that would force people who file lawsuits over California's gun laws to pay the government's legal fees if they lose.

PBS SoCal

California judge: Ghost Ship defendant didn't violate parole

A judge ruled that the master tenant of a San Francisco Bay Area warehouse that caught fire, killing 36 people during a party in 2016, did not violate terms of his probation after prosecutors said a search of his home turned up weapons. Derick Almena is supervised by the Alameda County Probation Department stemming from his conviction for manslaughter after the inferno at the Oakland warehouse dubbed the Ghost Ship where an unpermitted artists collective held events.

AP

Judge: Convicted killer Scott Peterson will not get a retrial

Convicted killer, Scott Peterson, won't get new trial in the killings of his wife, Laci, and their unborn son. Peterson alleged that his trial was tainted by a rogue juror who lied about her own history of abuse to get on the panel that initially sent him to death row. But San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo ruled on Tuesday that there is no evidence that juror Richelle Nice had prejudged case, was biased against him or had "hidden agenda."

KTVU

Judge cuts bus driver's vaccine mandate lawsuit against Montebello

A judge has dismissed a Montebello bus driver's claim of religious discrimination after he was fired for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michel L. Stern will only allow bus driver Fernando Ramirez to go to trial with his claim that the city was in violation of a memo of understanding with its mid-management employees because they did not give Ramirez a full hearing.

CBS LA

Prosecutors

John Legend stolen car case allegedly gets star treatment

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is no stranger to controversy, with many objecting to what they characterize as a soft-on-crime approach. However, accusations are flying that the DA is giving singer, songwriter, and producer John Legend preferential treatment after someone tried stealing the celebrity's Porsche. Car thefts unfortunately happen all the time in Los Angeles. On November 28, Legend fell victim to the crime as he was working in a recording studio.

Motorious

Man charged with vandalism, hate crime after being seen on video defacing menorah in Beverly Hills

A Texas man has been charged with vandalism and a hate crime after being seen on video damaging a large menorah in Beverly Hills on the first night of Hanukkah. The incident occurred around 8 p.m. Sunday on private property in the area of Sunset Boulevard and Foothill Road. Surveillance video shows a man wearing a sweater, cap and backpack throwing items from a bag at the installment.

KTLA

Sexual battery case dismissed after jury summoning system malfunctions

A sexual battery case in California was dismissed and the victim's protective order terminated when a third-party vendor used by Riverside County Superior Court failed to summons any jurors. The case was among more than 1,000 that have been dismissed in the county in recent months, the Riverside County District Attorney's office said.

NBC News

LAPD investigating disappearance of Megan Thee Stallion's former bodyguard

Los Angeles police are investigating the disappearance of rapper Megan Thee Stallion's former bodyguard, who has reportedly gone missing ahead of his scheduled appearance in court in the trial of Canadian rapper Tory Lanez. Megan's attorney Alex Spiro issued a statement to ABC News saying he and his team have recently learned Justin Edison went missing.

ABC7

Marine vet faces US charges for training Chinese military pilots

A former Marine pilot arrested in Australia in October faces charges of violating U.S. arms control laws by training Chinese military pilots, according to an indictment unsealed Friday. The 2017 indictment alleges that Daniel Edmund Duggan gave Chinese nationals training in military aviation in exchange for payments from "a business firm based in the PRC (People's Republic of China) that acquired military training, equipment and technical data for the PRC government and military."

Marine Corps Times

Brooklyn pastor who was robbed while preaching charged with wire fraud and lying to FBI in unrelated case

The flashy, jewelry-flaunting Brooklyn pastor who reported being robbed while preaching at his church this past summer was arrested on federal charges Monday - unrelated to the July incident - for allegedly defrauding a parishioner, trying to extort a businessman and lying to the FBI, according to a federal indictment.

CNN

SEC charges Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang with defrauding investors in crypto asset trading platform FTX

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, and Zixiao (Gary) Wang, the former Chief Technology Officer of FTX Trading Ltd. (FTX), for their roles in a multiyear scheme to defraud equity investors in FTX, the crypto trading platform co-founded by Samuel Bankman-Fried and Wang.

SEC Press Release

Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda, pleads guilty to charges that carry up to 110 years in prison following FTX collapse

Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, pleaded guilty to charges that carry up to 110 years in prison after striking a plea deal with the Justice Department. It's not likely that she will serve anywhere near the statutory maximum for the charges she pleaded guilty to because of the plea agreement she struck with prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, dated December 18.

Business Insider

Policy/Legal/Political

7 LAPD officers arrested on suspicion of DUI (Video)

Seven LAPD officers have been arrested on suspicion of DUIs including three who were allegedly caught at more than twice the legal limit. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4's I-Team on Dec. 19, 2022.

NBC4

California has to stop releasing its most violent convicts early

Words matter, we often hear in this contentious political era when politicians frequently say things and then deny they meant what their words said. Words also matter in the California penal code, in which the label "violent" is not used as much as it obviously should be. That word currently is not applied to many crimes most people with common sense know are violent.

Mercury News

Table is set to amend Prop 47, but will voters be allowed to decide?

Addressing shoplifting and serial thefts is a bipartisan cause in the state Legislature. But, if history is a guide, neither of the two recently introduced bills to amend Proposition 47 will make it to the November 2024 ballot for voters to decide. Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, introduced AB 23 last week. The bill "hopes to hold criminals more accountable by reducing the threshold for what constitutes grand theft and shoplifting," Muratsuchi said in a tweet.

GV Wire

DC police officers found guilty in Karon Hylton-Brown's death

Two D.C. police officers have been found guilty on all charges in the death of Karon Hylton-Brown, who died in 2020 after his scooter crashed as police chased him. Officer Terence Sutton, 38, was was found guilty of second-degree murder, conspiracy to obstruct and obstruction of justice. Sutton was driving the police car during the chase, police said.

NBC4 Washington

California police say member of Elon Musk's security team is a suspect following stalker claim

Police in Southern California said Tuesday they were seeking additional information about an incident last week that Twitter CEO Elon Musk said prompted him to crack down on information about the whereabouts of his private jet. The Dec. 13 incident near a Los Angeles-area highway has become a flashpoint for a debate about online speech and the dissemination of personal information, although authorities had previously said little about what happened.

NBC News

California lawmakers want to decriminalize 'Magic Mushrooms'

State lawmakers introduced a new bill on Monday, focused on decriminalizing some naturally occurring psychedelic drugs, including a drug popularly known as "magic mushrooms." State Sen. Scott Wiener, (D) San Francisco, said SB58 would make it legal to possess naturally occurring hallucinogens for personal use if you're 21 and older. Wiener described current laws, which ban the possession of certain plant based psychedelics, as bad policy, and a continuation of the war on drugs.

KTVU

Trump referred for criminal prosecution by House Jan. 6 committee

Marking the first time in U.S. history that a former president has faced such a referral, House lawmakers who have been investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol voted on Monday to have the Department of Justice prosecute former President Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection. The House committee voted unanimously to refer four charges: obstruction of an official proceeding; conspiracy to defraud the U.S .; conspiracy to make a false statement, and inciting, assisting or engaging in rebellion or insurrection against the U.S.

Courthouse News Service

Criminal justice panel says California should pay restitution to victims, ban some traffic stops

California should set up a taxpayer-funded restitution system for crime victims, curtail the use of money bail and limit when cops can make traffic stops that disproportionately affect Black and Latino drivers, according to recommendations from a criminal justice panel that advises state lawmakers. Although those recommendations could be eclipsed by budget constraints as the state faces a possible $25-billion deficit next year, California still must do more to assist crime victims, said Michael Romano, the committee's chairman and director of the Stanford Law School Three Strikes Project.

Los Angeles Times

Crime

Bodycam video shows La Habra police in deadly shootout

Authorities have released dramatic new bodycam video of a deadly gunfight between officers and a suspect in front of the La Habra police station. The video shows the suspect with little warning or provocation pull a handgun from his waist and shoot an officer twice, hitting him in the body before another officer returned fire, striking the suspect with three of her five rounds. The suspect, later identified as Matthew-Tuan Anh Tran, 22, was soon pronounced dead.

ABC7

Deputies with holiday patrol recover stolen merchandise

Palmdale Sheriff's Station deputies working holiday patrol responded to a call of a grand theft suspect, on Wednesday, at Ulta Beauty and recovered approximately $3,000 worth of merchandise. According to a post on the Palmdale Sheriff's Station Facebook page, the suspect stole the merchandise and fled the scene. Deputies were able to locate the suspect's vehicle and performed a traffic stop.

Antelope Valley Press

Woman struck by multiple gunshots on 101 Freeway in Tarzana

Authorities are seeking the public's help in identifying the assailant who shot a 26-year-old woman while she was in her car on the 101 Freeway in Tarzana, leaving her in critical condition at a hospital. The California Highway Patrol received several calls around 5:15 p.m. Saturday of a crash involving a black Audi on the northbound freeway at White Oak Avenue. CHP officers located the car on the right shoulder of the freeway, and found that the woman had been struck by multiple gunshots.

City News Service

2 arrested after underground drug lab discovered at Granada Hills home, LAPD says

Police discovered what they called an "elaborate underground illicit drug lab" at a home in Granada Hills, resulting in the arrest of two people. Officers made the discovery Wednesday night at the home in the 16000 block of Hiawatha Street. Multiple law enforcement agencies responded, including the LAPD and the Department of Justice. Police released photos from inside the home, which show a hatch in the floor leading to a ladder that drops down into the room.

ABC7

Teen boys fell victim to sextortion, 1 killed self

A 17-year-old San Jose boy was one of multiple teenaged boys who fell victim to sextortion committed by Jonathan Kassi, the San Jose Police Department said. Kassi, 25, will make his first court appearance in a Santa Clara County courtroom on Monday afternoon to enter a plea."Kassi sexually exploited children online," Sgt. Christian Camarillo wrote. Police said a sextortionist posed as a teen girl online with the name "Emily Smith" to trick boys into recording and sending sexually explicit videos.

KRON

West Hollywood sees dramatic uptick in serious crimes

Serious crime has dramatically increased in West Hollywood, a spike Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials attribute to a rise in pickpockets at nightclubs by organized theft groups. The city's sheriff's station is reporting more than 2,400 Part 1 crimes like homicide, robbery and burglary for the first 11 months of 2022. Compared to the same period year, that's a 55% increase, but much closer to the pre-pandemic average.

KTLA

Man accused of shooting tourists in Venice arrested in West Virginia

Serious crime has dramatically increased in West Hollywood, a spike Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials attribute to a rise in pickpockets at nightclubs by organized theft groups. The city's sheriff's station is reporting more than 2,400 Part 1 crimes like homicide, robbery and burglary for the first 11 months of 2022. Compared to the same period year, that's a 55% increase, but much closer to the pre-pandemic average.

Fox11

LA City/County

Former L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell to join USC Price School

Jim McDonnell, the former sheriff of Los Angeles County, will join the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy as director of the Safe Communities Institute (SCI). McDonnell brings more than 40 years of public safety experience to the school's Safe Communities Institute, which advances public safety solutions. He is the first person to serve in senior executive leadership roles in the three largest policing agencies in Los Angeles County: the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD); the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD); and the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD).

USC Price

Council President Paul Krekorian says forceful action may be necessary to stop protestors from disrupting meetings

In an ongoing effort to control protestors who have disrupted Los Angeles City Council meetings in recent weeks, Council President Paul Krekorian on Sunday said that he might consider taking more forceful action. Spurred by a racially-charged scandal that involved then-President Nury Martinez and current councilmen Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, outraged protestors have filled City Hall chambers for weeks, constantly calling for the resignation of those involved, despite failure to do so from De León and Cedillo.

CBS LA

Fast food worker advocates settle litigation over LAPD, McDonald's emails

A group that advocates for better pay, benefits and working conditions for fast food workers has settled legal action it took against the city to obtain uncensored communications documenting alleged cooperation between the Los Angeles Police Department and the McDonald's restaurant chain in quelling worker protests.

MyNewsLA

ABC revokes the license of Kyoto Sushi after drunk driving crash

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has revoked the license of Kyoto Sushi in the West Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles after the restaurant furnished alcohol to a 20-year-old employee. The employee left the restaurant and was involved in a deadly crash that killed a 12-year-old and 16-year-old passenger in another vehicle.

Alcoholic Beverage Control News Release

Black LASD lieutenant alleges racism behind promotion denials

A Black Los Angeles County sheriff's lieutenant is suing the county, alleging she has been repeatedly denied promotion to captain because of her race. Lt. Sonja Bracken's Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges racial discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and failure to take all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination. She seeks unspecified damages. "If the plaintiff were not Black, she would be captain at LASD," the suit alleges.

City News Service

'Santa Monica is not safe': Sign sparks controversy on Third Street Promenade

The message is bold, and placed right where thousands of holiday shoppers can see it. One Santa Monica property owner says it's meant to draw attention, especially to city officials he blames for turning a blind eye to homelessness and crime. Right next to a big beautiful Christmas tree is that sign in big bold letters that says "Santa Monica is not safe." The new signage now outside an empty storefront on Third Street Promenade is doing what the sign creator hoped.

NBC4

LA County Board demands phase-out of pepper spray at juvey halls

Nearly four years after calling for the elimination of pepper spray at its juvenile halls, a frustrated Board of Supervisors Tuesday ordered its Probation Department to develop a plan to phase out its use in select housing units within 45 days while ensuring staffers are trained on other de-escalation techniques. The board initially voted in February 2019 to eliminate the use of pepper spray in juvenile halls, but its use has persisted.

MyNewsLA

4 police officers involved in racist text scandal no longer employed by Torrance

Four Torrance police officers involved in the racist text scandal that shocked the community - and compounded concerns about racism and accountability within the agency following 2018's fatal shooting of Christopher De'Andre Mitchell - are no longer employed by the city, according to government documents and multiple sources. The Police Department declined to comment on whether the officers were fired, citing an ongoing investigation into the scandal.

Torrance Daily Breeze

L.A. Politics, 101: The ultimate guide to how City Hall works

The infamous leak in October of a surreptitiously recorded conversation between three top L.A. politicians and a powerful labor leader depicted L.A.'s political sausage-making in vivid and profane detail. The racist comments heard as City Council members Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, Kevin de León, and L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera strategized about how to protect Latino power on the 15-member Council prompted an outcry for reforms; demands include mandating an independent redistricting process and expanding the City Council's size.

Los Angeles Magazine

California/National

Rancho Palos Verdes woman to challenge parole of a man who killed her mother in 1994

A state hearing panel this week recommended parole for a 46-year-old man who garnered international headlines in 1994 for the gruesome, execution-style slaying of a German tourist and the wounding of her husband while they were sightseeing near Idyllwild. During a three-hour hearing Wednesday, Dec. 14, Board of Parole Hearings Commissioner Michele Minor and Deputy Commissioner Neil Chambers determined that Thongxay Nilakout, who fatality shot and robbed 64-year-old Gisela Pfleger, is suitable for release, said the woman's daughter, Birte Pfleger of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Orange County Register

6,400 wreathes delivered to Riverside National Cemetery to honor veterans

This time of year is known for giving (and re-giving if the sweater doesn't fit,) spending time with family, enjoying the frantic moments knowing the peaceful moments are just around the corner, and wistfully remembering those close to you who are here no longer. In the spirit of honoring those who gave the greatest gift of all - defending our nation - BNSF railroad, J.B. Hunt trucking, and the Southern California branch of the Patriot Guard came together over the weekend to lay thousands of wreaths on the graves of veterans at the Riverside National Cemetery.

California Globe

California Democrats bring back concealed carry bill in renewed push for gun safety

A California lawmaker will make another attempt to shore up the state's concealed carry gun laws following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down key provisions. Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-Burbank, introduced his bill on Dec. 5, the first day of the new legislative session, after his last concealed carry measure narrowly failed in the Assembly during the final hours of the last lawmaking term.

Sacramento Bee

New laws taking effect next year and why they matter

This year, the California Legislature passed and Governor Gavin Newsom signed historic measures to fight climate change, protect women's right to choose, support small businesses, pay equity and more. "California leads, and we do so by following our moral compass and staying true to our values," said Governor Newsom.

Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

Jaywalking laws are changing on Jan. 1, here's what you need to know

Q: Gov. Gavin Newsom has legalized jaywalking in many cases. In light of the change in this law, Carl Taylor asked, what happens to a driver who hits someone that ran out across the street? "Are we liable for their injuries?" he asked. A: A new law taking effect Jan. 1 decriminalizes jaywalking in California, as long as there's no danger of colliding with a vehicle.

Orange County Register

California accounts for 30% of nation's homeless, feds say

The numbers are in, and they're grim. California accounted for 30% of the country's homeless population in 2022, despite making up less than 12% of the total population, according to federal data released Monday. It was also home to 50% of the country's unsheltered people, or those living in places such as streets, cars or parks.

CalMatters

Convictions/Sentences/Pleas

Harvey Weinstein is convicted of 3 of 7 charges, including rape, in his Los Angeles sexual assault trial

The disgraced movie mogul was found guilty Monday of three of seven charges against him in his second sexual assault trial. The jury acquitted Weinstein of one count of sexual battery by restraint against a massage therapist in a hotel room in 2010. Weinstein, who prosecutors said used his Hollywood influence to lure women into private meetings and assault them, was found guilty of three of seven charges against him.

CNN

California sex offender gets life for killing 4 women

A California sex offender who with his best friend kidnapped, raped and killed four women, some of them while wearing a GPS tracker, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole. Franc Cano, 36, entered murder pleas in Orange County and was immediately sentenced. Cano, who has been in custody since 2014, entered the pleas after county District Attorney Todd Spitzer took a potential death penalty off the table, the DA's office said in a statement.

WRAL

Couple's convictions for enslaving nannies affirmed

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday affirmed the convictions of a husband and wife who lured job applicants for the position of a nanny to their home through false advertisements, then virtually enslaved the women, forcing them to work 18 hours a day without pay, providing paltry sustenance, barring their use of bathroom facilities except during specified periods of the day, and hitting, burning, and verbally abusing them.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Mexican Mafia member sentenced to 11 years for role in cartel alliance

Michael Moreno, a reputed member of the Mexican Mafia, has been jailed for more than nine years on a charge that he helped orchestrate a novel but ultimately thwarted alliance with a Mexican drug cartel that wanted to trade money and drugs for protection in prison and muscle on the streets. After pleading guilty this year, Moreno, 65, stood before U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder on Wednesday dressed in a white jumpsuit, hands shackled to the waist, his salt and pepper hair cropped short.

Los Angeles Times

Beverly Hills developer sentenced for offering a million-dollar bribe to secure a $45 million L.A. County lease

A real estate developer was sentenced recently to four years in federal prison for offering to buy a million-dollar home for a Los Angeles County public official in exchange for the official's assistance securing a $45 million county lease for the developer. Arman Gabaee, 61 of Beverly Hills, was sentenced December 15 by United States District Judge George H. Wu, who also ordered him to pay a fine of $1,149,000.

Century City/Westwood News

Articles of Interest

Student tracking Elon Musk's jet defends his program, considers legal threat a bluff

Jack Sweeney said he thinks Elon Musk's threat to sue him for sharing the status of his private jet is most likely a bluff. "I don't think that'll happen," Sweeney said in an interview with ABC News. "That would just continue to look worse for him." The 20-year-old University of Central Florida student and self-proclaimed aviation fan developed a program to track the whereabouts of private planes, including Elon Musk's.

ABC News

George Soros nonprofits gave tens of millions to anti-police groups and initiatives in 2021, tax forms show

Nonprofits in liberal billionaire George Soros' Open Society Foundations network dropped at least $35 million into anti-police groups and initiatives in 2021, tax forms reviewed by Fox News Digital show. Soros views overhauling the criminal justice system as a high priority and has bankrolled numerous groups and initiatives working on such efforts in recent years. He has also financially backed dozens of far-left prosecutor candidates as part of the efforts.

Fox News

Twitter Files 'supplemental' shows even Trust and Safety chief not 'comfortable' with FBI 'demanding' answers

Substack writer Matt Taibbi added a "supplemental" thread on Sunday to his latest "Twitter Files" drop on FBI connections with the social media site. After revealing on Friday in the sixth iteration of the "Twitter Files" that Twitter employees had near constant communication with FBI agents from 2020 to 2022, Taibbi detailed an additional conflict between the federal agency and the social media company when the FBI appeared displeased with Twitter's responses.

Fox News

Tom Girardi skated, California State Bar went after Black attorneys

The case was not glamorous, and the clients - 16 homeless people evicted from an encampment - didn't have money for a retainer, but that was how things went at Chima Anyanwu's one-man law practice in Koreatown. He agreed to represent the group in 2016, and later that year secured a settlement of $64,000 from the city of South Gate. Anyanwu paid each client what they were owed, even accompanying one desperate woman to a bank branch on a Saturday to help her cash her settlement check, court records show.

US Times Post

Consumer

Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are always listening unless you change these settings

I use my voice to get a lot done. Siri sets meetings for me, silences my phone, and lots more. An Amazon Echo can help you find your phone, lock the front door, and drop in to chat with loved ones. What's the downside of always-on devices that listen for commands? Nearly all voice-activated technology uses microphones that listen for "wake words." That means they are, technically, always listening. If you want to take control of your privacy, here's how to stop your smart devices from listening.

Komando.com

Wells Fargo to pay $3.7B over consumer loan violations

John Alle

A federal study revealed that 30% of the nation's homeless reside in California, which comprises only 12% of the nation's population

Consumer banking giant Wells Fargo agreed to pay $3.7 billion to settle charges that it harmed customers by charging illegal fees and interest on auto loans and mortgages, as well as incorrectly applying overdraft fees against savings and checking accounts. Wells was ordered to repay $2 billion to consumers by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which also enacted a $1.7 billion penalty against the San Francisco bank Tuesday.

AP

Walmart on hook over claims of heavy metals in spices

A federal judge advanced claims that some products in Walmart's Great Value line of spices may contain toxic heavy metals, and that the retail giant failed to warn customers of those metals and potential health risks. Plaintiffs Susan Gagetta and Traice Gomez say in a class action filed this past June that Walmart failed to tell customers that certain herbs and spices in its Great Value line including basil, chili powder, ground cumin and organic paprika and ginger, may contain lead, arsenic and cadmium.

Courthouse News Service

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