A report by the Associated Press reveals that jobless workers have to pay fees on the benefits they collect. 30 states have made deals with large banks, many of which are taking bailout funds, like Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and US Bancorp that require the unemployed to pay bank fees just to get access to their money. In some cases, those collecting benefits have no choice but to use bank issued debit cards, which run the risk of incurring overdraft fees. “It’s a racket. It’s a scam,” said one unemployed woman. (Associated Press)
An Orthodox Jewish Army engineer accused of spying for Israel is now suing the Departments of Defense and Justice, claiming that investigations into his actions damaged his career. The lawsuit also claims that David Tenenbaum was falsely accused of spying solely because of his Jewish heritage. An inspector general’s report from the Pentagon supports these claims, finding that Tenenbaum faced unusual and unwelcome scrutiny because of his background. The lawsuit is the second filed by Tenenbaum, the first having been dismissed on a state secrets claim by a federal appeals court. (Associated Press)
Binyam Mohamed, a one-time resident of the United Kingdom, will be transferred home early next week, sources familiar with the matter said. The release may come as early as next Monday, the same day that Attorney General Eric Holder plans to arrive at the facility as part of a review. A second former British resident is also rumored to be on the edge of release, although U.S. officials have said that he is still regarded as “dangerous” and unlikely to be relocated. Mohamed would be the first detainee to be released under the Obama administration, sources tell the Washington Post.
Patti Blagojevich, the wife of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, was subpoenaed on Wednesday for any documents or emails relating to fundraisers for her husband and her real estate business. Patti Blagojevich can be overheard in two noticeable incidents on tapes of her husband recorded by federal investigators, the first time talking about an alleged scheme to fire a Chicago Tribune editorial writer and the second time talking about an alleged plot to get her a job in exchange for Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat. Patti Blagojevich has not been formally charged. (Chicago Tribune)
The SEC yesterday froze the assets of a $4.4 million Ponzi scheme that targeted deaf investors. The Hawaii-based Billion Coupons and its chief executive Marvin Cooper had raised money from personal contacts and visits to deaf community centers since September 2007. Investors were told that their money would be invested in foreign exchange markets and they would receive returns of up to 25 percent. (Reuters)
Xe, the rebranded incarnation of Blackwater Worldwide, has announced that it will be laying off an unknown number of workers. It is unclear how closely related the layoffs are to the Iraqi government refusing to renew the firm’s operating license. Xe derives a significant amount of revenue from operations in that country. (wired.com)