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Wells Fargo fined in NJ widow’s arbitration case

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A securities regulator has fined Wells Fargo for failing to turn over documents in a case where a former stockbroker allegedly bilked a 55-year-old widow and mother of three out of her life savings, The Post has learned.

In an unusual move, the Financial Industry Regulatory Association has ordered the scandal-plagued consumer bank to cough up a hefty daily fee until it produces documents detailing trades made by one of its former brokers.

The broker, Leonard Kinsman, has been accused of squandering a $2.25 million insurance settlement awarded Robin Fratto of Freehold, NJ, after her husband died unexpectedly in 2011. But rather than hand over Kinsman’s trades, Wells Fargo has racked up a bill of $200 a day starting on Nov. 12, and $400 a day starting on Nov. 23, Finra documents show.

Wells Fargo, which declined to comment for this story, tapped a new CEO in October to help it emerge from the wreckage of back-to-back consumer scandals, including opening millions of fake accounts and credit cards in customers’ names.

Fratto claimed in arbitration papers that she went to Kinsman in April 2012, when he was at Merrill Lynch, asking him to put her settlement money into conservative investments. But after joining Wells Fargo in 2014, Kinsman allegedly forged Fratto’s initials to set up aggressive options-trading accounts and to rack up massive fees by trading risky stocks like Facebook.

When The Post broke the story of the NJ window’s claim in April, Wells Fargo said it takes “seriously our responsibility to help [clients] preserve and invest their hard-earned savings.” Asked about the Finra fine, the bank said, “We have nothing to add.”

Sources noted the securities arbitrator, which has a hearing about Fratto’s case scheduled for the week of May 26, 2020, seldom orders sanctions while a case is still pending.

Such sanctions are generally only imposed about once every two years despite Finra’s reviewing dozens of securities arbitration cases a year, John Singer, a securities attorney at Singer Deutsch, told The Post.

“There can be a myriad of reasons a bank withholds documents in an arbitration case, but in most cases it comes down to negligence or malintent,”

Well’s total bill for the documents as of Dec. 2 is $6,200, according to The Post’s tally. In addition, Finra has also ordered Wells Fargo to pay all attorney fees related to filing the discovery motion, which Fratto’s lawyer, Stuart Meissner, said could be as much as $16,000, plus an estimated $2,400 in Finra arbitration fees.

“What we have here is a potpourri of wrongdoing,” Meissner said.

Kinsman’s lawyer, Samuel Mauch, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Kinsman, a Staten Island stock salesman whose spotty work history includes a stint at a Mafia-tied boiler room, had been a part of a Wells Fargo’s network of brokers that allows financial advisers to act independently while using the bank’s investment systems and compliance software. He left Wells Fargo in July, according to Finra records.

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13-Year-Old Boy Confesses In Stabbing Death Of Barnard Student Tessa Majors; 2 Others Sought – CBS New York

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 13-year-old boy has confessed in the stabbing death of 18-year-old Barnard College student Tessa Majors, sources told CBS2.

Police found the 13-year-old while canvassing the area near Morningside Park. The boy was caught in the lobby of a building at Manhattan Avenue and 119th Street at around 4:20 p.m. Thursday. He was wearing clothes that matched the description of the suspect, sources said. Police arrested him for criminal trespass and during a search found he was carrying a knife.

Tessa Majors (credit: Instagram/TessMajors)

He was brought to the precinct on trespassing and weapons charges and then confessed to the murder, sources told CBS2. He told investigators he and two friends tried to rob Majors and they stabbed her, sources said.

The 13-year-old faces murder, robbery and weapons charges.

The campus, located just blocks from where the 18-year-old freshman was killed, remains in shock.

Police said Majors was stabbed repeatedly shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday near a set of stairs in Morningside Park.

She collapsed at a college security booth after the attack, and the guard on duty immediately called 911.

“The public safety officer assigned to 116th Street and Morningside Drive was at his post last night when the victim emerged from the park, and he came to her aid immediately upon recognizing that she was injured,” Columbia University said in a statement Thursday. “Reports to the contrary are inaccurate. Officers stationed at this location do not make rounds that cause them to leave their post.”

“I was devastated. First, like, knowing it was someone on my floor. That was hard enough. Then knowing it was someone I had actually seen and knew,” a first-year student named Julia told CBS2’s Christina Fan.

Julia and Gabrielle lived in the same dorm as Majors.

“She was really kind and really good at guitar. She was always a nice face to see in the hallway,” Gabrielle said.

“It’s just really hard to hear for me. I think I’m still processing,” another student said.

“The whole campus is at a loss and it’s been silent all day,” Victoria Dam said.

In a interview, Majors talked about moving to New York from her native Virginia.

“I’m going to Barnard in New York City, across the street from Columbia. It’s an all-girls school. I’m really excited about that,” she said.

Those who knew Majors growing up in Virginia said she liked journalism and was close to her family, including her father, Inman Majors, a professor at James Madison University and well known author. Her family released a statement saying; “Tess shone bright in this world, and our hearts will never be the same.”

Her friend, Chris Graham, said she was a reporter for the local paper.

“She was someone I had great expectations for. She was a talented musician, and that was her first love,” Graham said.

This isn’t the first time the area has seen violent attacks. There have been nearly two dozen incidents in the park since October 2018, including many robberies and one felony assault.

Back in April, police said a group of teens between the ages of 12-15 attacked three women on three separate occasions near the park.

“I’m going to be sure to walk my younger kids home after school. I’m not going to meet them. It’s just not worth the risk,” Morningside Heights resident Kathleen Dames said.

“You hear all these stories and think this can’t happen to me and then this happens 15 minutes after I walk by and I can’t take any classes,” Jane Caron added.

There was a significant number of police officers in the park Thursday. Mayor Bill de Blasio took to Twitter to promise students and faculty an immediate increase in police presence.

“The close-knit community at Barnard College is in shock right now. We’ve lost a young woman full of potential in a senseless act of violence,” he tweeted, adding, “I want every student and every member of faculty to know your city will be with you in the days ahead.”

Barnard College President Sian Leah Beilock sent a message to students, writing, “Tessa was just beginning her journey at Barnard and in life. We mourn this devastating murder of an extraordinary young woman and member of our community.”

“With broken hearts, we share tragic news about the death of one of our students. Earlier this evening, Tessa Majors, a first year student at Barnard, was fatally injured during an armed robbery that occurred off campus in Morningside Park.

Dean Grinage and I have spoken to her parents and Tessa’s family is en route to NYC. We are also in close touch with the New York Police Department as they conduct this on-going investigation and seek to identify the assailant in this horrible attack.

Tessa was just beginning her journey at Barnard and in life. We mourn this devastating murder of an extraordinary young woman and member of our community.

This is an unthinkable tragedy that has shaken us to our core. Please know that we are all grieving together and I am thinking of you as we process this awful news as a community.

In these difficult circumstances, it is important for us to take care of each other. The Furman Counseling Center will be open all night tonight and throughout the day tomorrow. We encourage anyone in need of support to come… In the days ahead, please know that all of our campus resources are available for you as we mourn this heartbreaking loss together. I encourage you to reach out to the following additional on-campus resources as needed… We will provide you with updates as they become available to us. Barnard and Columbia Public Safety are coordinating closely with the NYPD. We remind all students that public safety provides 24/7 escort services and students are free to reach out with any questions or concerns (212-854-6666).

To our entire Barnard community, I am in mourning with you and am here for you. Tonight and in the days ahead, please hold Tessa and her family in your hearts and keep each other close.”

Community resource groups gathered near the site Thursday with candles in hand – calling for change.

“That’s our ask, greater lighting, more patrols in the park so that we feel safer,” Iesha Sekou of Street Corner Resources said.

As part of the investigation, officers in scuba gear searched a pond for evidence inside the park. In the surrounding neighborhood and near the Barnard and Columbia campus reward fliers were posted in plain sight.

The school said counseling services will be available.

  • Furman Counseling Center: 100 Hewitt Hall, (212) 854-2092
  • Dean of Studies Office: 105 Milbank Hall, (212) 854-2024
  • After-hours psychological emergency line: (855) 622-1903
  • International SOS for students who are abroad: +1-215-942-8478

NYPD Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the investigation. Anyone with information about the deadly stabbing is asked to call its hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish. You can also submit a tip via the Crime Stoppers website, by tweeting @NYPDTips or by texting 274637.



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Sunshine on Friday but snow is on the way

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After a mostly sunny day on Friday, snow is expected to fall over the metro area most of the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

There is a 20 percent chance of snow beginning on Friday night and continuing on Saturday. But accumulation will be minimal, said Greg Hanson, a meteorologist at the NWS in Boulder.

There is a 50 percent chance of snow on Sunday that could leave a few inches on the ground, Hanson said.

But snow is expected to impact travel in the mountains this weekend.

Mountain areas were already seeing serious snowfall at 6 a.m. on Friday and in a tweet the Colorado Department of Transportation warned travelers to check cotrip.org prior to leaving home if they are heading for the high country.

Between Friday and Sunday night, a foot of snow could fall on Copper Mountain and other ski areas.

The metro area’s skies will be mostly sunny on Friday with a high near 49 degrees and an overnight low around 23. Wind gusts as high as 31 miles-per-hour are expected.

Saturday will be partly sunny with a high near 41 degrees. There is 40 percent chance of snow with less than one-half inch possible. The overnight low is expected to be around 21 degrees.



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Baltimore police sergeant charged with ‘pattern of harassment,’ state’s attorney says

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Sgt. Ethan Newberg faces 32 counts stemming from nine separate incidents.

The state’s attorney for Baltimore announced a 32-count indictment against a veteran police sergeant who allegedly engaged in a “pattern and practice of harassment and intimidation,” according to prosecutors.

Authorities opened an investigation into Baltimore Police Department Sgt. Ethan Newberg in May when he allegedly assaulted a bystander during an arrest, prosecutors said Thursday.

The incidents in question occurred between July 1, 2018 and May 30, 2019, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City said in a statement Thursday.

“The indictment alleges that Sergeant Newberg acting beyond the scope of his authority, in a common pattern and practice, did knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully harass, detain and assault citizens who were engaged in lawful conduct for the improper purposes of dominating, intimidating and instilling fear in the citizens, in violation of the common law of Maryland; against the peace, government, and dignity of the state,” the statement said.

Newberg, who has been with the department for 24 years, could face up to 110 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

He now faces 32 counts stemming from nine separate incidents, including the May 30 encounter in which he allegedly arrested a man without legal cause, according to a 17-page indictment handed down by a grand jury.

Newberg, 49, was checking on warrant for a suspect when a bystander made a comment about the suspect being forced to sit on the wet concrete. Newberg then pursued the bystander as he was walking away from the scene and forced him into custody, according to the indictment.

When the bystander challenged Newberg’s authority to make the arrest, Newberg told him to “just go to jail and take your charge like a man,” the indictment states.

The man then asked again, “What am I going to jail for?” to which Newberg replied “Because you don’t know how to act.”

Prosecutors claimed Newberg had a history of unlawfully detaining citizens who appeared to question his conduct.

“Several of Newberg’s unlawful detentions and assaults occurred as a direct result of citizens sitting or standing idly nearby [as] Newberg was conducting other police business, causing no disturbance nor creating any threat to Newberg or his colleagues,” the indictment states. “Several occurred as citizens openly, from a distance, called into question what Newberg was doing to or with another citizen; others occurred when citizens attempted to video record what Newberg was doing to or with another citizen.”

In a another incident, Newberg allegedly arrested a man who was standing by while the officer interrogate a suspect. Newberg ordered the man to walk away and he complied.

But Newberg began to follow him, saying, “You don’t make the rules out here, we do. All I want to hear from you is, ‘You’re right.'” It wasn’t until the individual apologized that Newberg released him from custody.

As the man was being released, Newberg added: “Hey, don’t play me … You owe me … Don’t mess with me.”

In a separate case, Newberg illegally detained a man who was sitting on the steps of a house and accused him of interfering with a traffic stop, according to the indictment.

“I don’t know what your problem is. Why are you testing me? Do you know me? Have you seen me out here before? Ask around … I’m the sergeant they talk about,” Newberg said, according to body camera footage.

In all, Newberg faces 11 counts of second-degree assault, 11 counts of false imprisonment, 10 counts of misconduct in office and one count of misconduct in office by way of a common scheme to commit unlawful acts.

Newberg’s attorney, Joseph Murtha, did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

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