The Justice Department announced that it has entered into an agreement with Lakeland Bank to settle the DOJ’s claims that Lakeland engaged in unlawful redlining in the Newark, New Jersey metropolitan area.  The DOJ’s lawsuit against Lakeland, filed in a New Jersey federal district court, is part of the DOJ’s nationwide “Combating Redlining Initiative” launched in October 2021. … Continue Reading

On Friday, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced two developments:  First, the release of a 66-page report, The Role of Law Enforcement in Detecting, Investigating, and Prosecuting Criminal Activity Related to Digital Assets (the “Report”), issued under President Biden’s March 9, 2022 Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets. … Continue Reading

On July 29, 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a notification letter (the “joint letter”) to “remind” auto lenders and leasing companies of the protections provided to servicemembers and their dependents under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).  The joint letter provides a very basic overview and reminder of the vehicle repossession protections, early vehicle lease termination rights, and interest rate cap available to eligible servicemembers under the SCRA.… Continue Reading

After reviewing the developments leading up to the settlement, we examine the aspects of Facebook’s advertising delivery system that were alleged to be discriminatory.  We then discuss the terms of the settlement, including the variance reduction system that Facebook must develop to address disparities for race, ethnicity and sex between advertisers’ targeted audiences and the group of Facebook users to whom Facebook’s personalization algorithms actually deliver the advertisements, how variances will be measured, the role of an independent third-party reviewer, and the timetable for implementation.… Continue Reading

The Department of Justice announced that it has entered into a settlement with Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook Inc., to resolve allegations that Meta engaged in discriminatory advertising in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  The proposed agreement was filed in a New York federal district court simultaneously with a complaint alleging that Facebook’s housing advertising system discriminated against Facebook users based on their race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin.… Continue Reading

On April 15, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Steve’s Towing, Inc., located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, pursuant to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”), 50 U.S.C. §§ 3901-4043, for alleged violations of the SCRA’s prohibition against enforcing a storage lien on a servicemember’s vehicle during, or within ninety days after, a period of military service without a court order. … Continue Reading

As we approach the two-year anniversary of the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), the scope and costs of fraud in connection with its relief programs continues to mount.  To date, the Department of Justice has brought criminal charges against over 1,000 defendants with alleged losses exceeding $1.1 billion; seized over $1 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loan proceeds; and initiated over 240 civil investigations into more than 1,800 individuals and entities for alleged misconduct in connection with pandemic relief loans totaling more than $6 billion.… Continue Reading

The Department of Justice recently entered into a settlement with BayPort Credit Union to resolve allegations that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by charging unlawful interest to servicemembers and repossessing vehicles owned by servicemembers without first obtaining the required court orders.  As detailed below, the consent order requires BayPort to pay compensation to servicemembers who were charged unlawful interest and whose vehicles were alleged to have been unlawfully repossessed. … Continue Reading

The CFPB, FTC, DOJ, and Federal Reserve Board have filed a joint amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit urging the court to reverse a district court ruling that an individual who had already received credit from the defendant and who was not currently applying to the defendant for credit was not an “applicant” for purposes of the ECOA’s adverse action notice requirement.… Continue Reading

On Monday, the CFPB and DOJ announced that they sent joint letters to landlords/property management companies and mortgage servicers regarding the protections given to servicemembers by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

Letter to landlords/property management companies.  The letter only addresses SCRA protections for early lease terminations and evictions. … Continue Reading