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In a memorable episode of Seinfeld, two characters hatch a plot: instead of returning bottles in New York for a 5-cent refund, they round up a load of containers and run them to Michigan, where the return is double, at 10 cents each. Now Brian Everidge is accused of attempting to “return” more than 10,000 bottles from other states.

Questions:

1. Did Brian Everidge’s conduct go far enough to say he “attempted the crime, rather than was he just thinking about it?”
2. How is the deposit cost paid for in Michigan?
3. What happens if the deposit is not claimed?
4. Why was Kramer right that the Cost/Benefit just doesn’t add up? Explain.
5. Explain the illegality of this scam.

Source:
Felton, R. (2016). Man faces prison after allegedly trying to deposit 10,000 bottles in Michigan. The Guardian, July 24 (Retrievable online at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/24/michigan-bottle-deposit-recycling-seinfeld)

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While strict rules require account holders to affirmatively opt into banking overdraft protection plans, a U.S. subsidiary of the Spanish banking giant, Santander Bank, which acquired Boston-based Sovereign Bank in 2009, crossed the line.

Questions:
1. Briefly summarize what the bank did?
2. Who is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and what was their role in this issue?
3. Briefly summarize how each vendor transcript violated deceptive practices.
4. If Santander realized that its telemarketers were being overly aggressive early in the relationship, what should they have done?
5. Do you think that the penalty for unlawful practices is reasonable?

Source:

Zeitlin, M. (2016). How One Bank Tricked Customers Into Paying Overdraft Fees. BuzzFeed.com, July 15 (Retrievable online at https://www.buzzfeed.com/matthewzeitlin/how-one-bank-tricked-customers-into-paying-overdraft-fees?utm_term=.ohqDKbG7K#.tyrpgmB2g)

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Netflix’s growth in the U.S. has slowed dramatically, and the company is adding new international users slower than expected. Statistically, the company added 1.7 million new subscribers in the last three months, which is less than the 2.5 million the company predicted. Just 160,000 of them were in the U.S.

Questions:
1. Netflix is available in every country in the world except which one?
2. After the last quarterly earnings were released, what happened to the stock price? Why?
3. What are Netflix’s plans for its subscription prices?

Source:
Zeitlin, M. (2016). The Great American Netflix Boom Is Slowing Down. BuzzFeed.com, July 18 (Retrievable online at https://www.buzzfeed.com/matthewzeitlin/the-great-american-netflix-boom-is-slowing-down?utm_term=.euqaBMdXB#.pk51WrLyW)

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Belkin Antonio Hernandez-Vargas was desperate to see his wife and get out of U.S. custody, so he turned to one of the biggest names in the business of helping immigrant detainees secure bail bonds. As a result, the company Libre by Nexus helped Belkin, an El Salvadorian secure an $8,000 bond after he was able to come up with 20%, or $1,600. In exchange, he agreed to pay $420 a month to wear a GPS tracker on his ankle.

Questions:

1. If Libre by Nexus isn’t licensed to issue bonds, how does this arrangement work?
2. When signing the contract, what are these immigrants agreeing to and how does this lead to so much debt?
3. What is the reason why critics are concerned that pro bono attorneys may drag out immigration cases?
4. In your opinion, what needs to be done about Libre by Nexus and why?
5. What types of bonds are these?
6. According to the article, “unlike criminal bonds, the immigration equivalents — typically in the $7,500 to $15,000 range — require 100% collateral, such as a house or credit card, in addition to a nonrefundable payment of 15% to 20% of the total amount.” Based on this information, what Libre accounts will be affected by these transactions?

Source:
Flores, A. (2016). Immigrants Desperate To Get Out Of US Detention Can Get Trapped By Debt. Buzzfeed News.com, July 23 (Retrievable online at https://www.buzzfeed.com/adolfoflores/immigrant-detainees-and-bail-bond-terms?utm_term=.fw6pVxzQV#.tiDo7PAG7)

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For years, Yahoo was the front door to the web and its services still attract a billion visitors a month. But…times are changing and as a result, Yahoo’s core internet operations and land holdings are being sold to Verizon Communications for $4.8 billion.

Questions:
1. Why was the Yahoo model changing and how?
2. What does Verizon plan to do with Yahoo?
3. What did Marrissa Mayer do to try to revitalize Yahoo?
4. After 4 years as CEO, what will happen to Mayer?
5. What was the most interesting thing that you learned after reading this article?

Source:
Goel, V. and Michael J. de la Merced (2016). Yahoo’s Sale to Verizon Ends an Era for a Web Pioneer. The New York Times, July 24 (Retrievable online at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/25/business/yahoo-sale.html)
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This week a partnership between Amazon and Wells Fargo was announced. Members of Amazon Prime Student will receive a 0.5 percent interest rate discount on student loans taken out through Wells Fargo’s Education Financial Services.

Questions:
1. Why are financial advisors wary of the deal?
2. How much did the Washington Post calculate a student would save on a $10,000 loan over 10 years, including the additional discount offered with automatic monthly loan repayment? Explain whether this is really a deal.
3. What is the goal of this partnership?
4. What role does each partner have in this venture?

Source:

Lindsay, R. (2016). Amazon offers Prime members discounted student loans. Is that fair? The Christian Science Monitor, July 22 (Retrievable online at http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2016/0722/Amazon-offers-Prime-members-discounted-student-loans.-Is-that-fair)

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According to the Washington Post, dairy farmer Randy Sowers has gotten back all the money seized by Federal agents from in his bank account.

Questions:
1. Briefly describe the underlying issue in this story.
2. What is smurfing? Is this what Sowers did?
3. Why was Sowers successful in getting his money back? Discuss.
4. Since lawmakers questioned what the IRS is doing to help people get similar assets back that were seized, what has been done?

Source:

Weiner, R. (2016). Maryland dairy farmer fought the Justice Department — and (finally) won. The Washington Post, July 1 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/maryland-dairy-farmer-fought-the-justice-department–and-finally-won/2016/07/01/12dad438-3e3a-11e6-a66f-aa6c1883b6b1_story.html)

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Humira and Enbrel are biologic drugs, composed of complex proteins made in living cells. Humira was the No. 1 selling biologic with $14 billion in global sales and Enbrel was the No. 3 biologic at $8.7 billion.

Questions:
1. Approximately how much is the yearly price tag for these drugs per patient?
2. During the 6 years since the Affordable Care Act cleared the way for adoption of biosimilar drugs, how many have actually been made available to patients and what is the drug?
3. What events are now heating up the biosimilar market?
4. What are submarine patents and what is their purpose?
5. According to the article, if biosimilars get to market, what will be their impact?

Source:
Pollack, A. (2016). Makers of Humira and Enbrel Using New Drug Patents to Delay Generic Versions. The New York Times, July 15 (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/16/business/makers-of-humira-and-enbrel-using-new-drug-patents-to-delay-generic-versions.html)

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The Keno brothers, stars of the PBS series Antique Roadshow, have recently exhibited strange behavior that is oddly out of sync with their stature as antique world luminaries. Leslie and Leigh Keno, twins and celebrity appraisers, say they accidentally bid against each other this spring.

Questions:
1. A New Orleans auction house is suing the Keno Brothers. Explain why.
2. A Philadelphia auction house is suing the Keno Brothers. Explain why.
3. Do you think this is a mistake that should just be forgiven? Who are the stakeholders in a decision like this?
4. How could either of the auction houses record these events in their financial accounting ledgers? Consider all possibilities.
5. Do you think this situation rises to the level of fraud? Discuss.

Source:
Bowley, G. (2016). Keno Brothers, ‘Antiques Roadshow’ Stars, Face Debt and Legal Challenge. The New York Times, July 17 (Retrievable online at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/18/arts/design/keno-brothers-sued-by-2-auction-houses-say-they-made-a-mistake.html)
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