- - Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Morgan Keegan to settle fraud charges

Morgan Keegan & Co. is paying $200 million to settle civil fraud charges that it overstated the value of mortgage investments just as the housing market was collapsing and lured buyers of its funds with false sales materials.

Federal and state regulators said the Memphis, Tenn.-based investment firm failed to use “reasonable” procedures to calculate the value of the mortgage investments in the funds. Half of the money will go toward compensating investors in five states.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, regulators in the five states and securities industry regulators announced the settlement Wednesday. Two former employees of the firm also agreed to pay civil penalties.

It was the latest legal action by regulators in connection with the mortgage meltdown and financial crisis. On Tuesday, Wall Street bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to pay $153.6 million to settle the SEC’s civil fraud charges that it misled buyers of complex mortgage investments just as the housing market was collapsing. Regulators have been investigating a number of major banks’ actions ahead of the financial crisis that plunged the country into the most severe recession since the 1930s.

More charges are expected.


‘Loveswept’ novels make a comeback

NEW YORK — A romance imprint that helped started the careers of such writers as Janet Evanovich and Tami Hoag is being revived.

The Random House Publishing Group announced Wednesday that Loveswept will be back in business this summer as a digital-only imprint after a 12-year hiatus.

Loveswept was highly popular in the 1980s and 1990s and will relaunch in August with eight new works. They include one by best-seller Iris Johansen.

Popular Loveswept titles from the past will be reissued, and even the tagline will return: “Love stories you’ll never forget by authors you’ll always remember.”


Wyoming turns to Google for computing services

CHEYENNE — Wyoming has become the first state to begin using a suite of cloud computing tools from Google for its entire executive branch of government, allowing data and applications to be stored on remote servers and accessed over the Internet.

New technologies enabled by Google Apps for Government include desk-to-desk video conferencing and live online collaboration while creating documents.

The system, which went online in Wyoming on Monday, was formally unveiled Wednesday as Gov. Matthew Mead cut a red data cable with scissors.

Wyoming expects to save at least $1 million a year because it won’t need to maintain some servers and will rely instead on secure remote servers operated by Google.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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