The work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal oversight agency established by Dodd-Frank three years ago, has resulted in its first criminal referral — a case against a debt-settlement company it says defrauded thousands of people.
The Wall Street Journalhas an interesting bit of analysis today: U.S. courts tend to hand out more lenient punishments to those who hide money offshore to cheat on their taxes than they do to more mundane tax evaders.
The Journal relies on Internal Revenue Service statistics and "data compiled by former U.S. Justice Department lawyer Jack Townsend."
Mutual funds, which have topped $13 trillion, are the way many Americans interact with the financial markets. You may have come across mutual funds when you set up an individual retirement account or a company-sponsored retirement account like a 401(k).
A "basket" of stocks, bonds or both, mutual funds are seen as safer to own than individual stocks. Having many in one basket spreads the risk, especially over time. But high fees, lack of diversification, or a focus on short-term gains can put your nest egg at risk.
NPR's business news starts with a scramble for Apple bonds.
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MONTAGNE: Apple, yesterday, sold $17 billion worth of bonds - which is a new industry record. Apple issued the bonds to take advantage of low interest rates as it prepares to make a payout of $100 billion to shareholders by 2015. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 4:27 pm
Credit Paul Goyette / Flickr
Hi, it's another installment of Ask A Banker. We've gotten lots of good questions, and also lots of bad questions, on Twitter and email, but answered only a fraction of them, in part because in some columns I just answered questions that I or Planet Money made up. Sorry. So let's make up for lost time by giving short answers to a bunch of real questions from real people, or at least real email accounts.