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Nation in brief: U.S. expands Iran sanctions

Thu., June 17, 2010, midnight

Washington – U.S. sanctions on Iran expanded Wednesday to hit more than three dozen additional companies and individuals with penalties meant to curb Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.

In announcing the move, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the new U.S. penalties were aimed at those helping Iran develop its nuclear and missile programs and evade international sanctions.

The new penalties are the first step taken by Washington to build on an Iran sanctions resolution passed by the U.N. Security Council last week.

Ex-mortgage exec charged with fraud

Washington – In one of the most significant criminal cases to emerge from the housing market collapse, federal authorities charged a former private mortgage company executive in connection with a $1.9 billion fraud scheme that helped topple his firm and Alabama-based Colonial Bank in 2009.

Lee Bentley Farkas, 57, the former chairman of Ocala, Fla.-based Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp., also known as TBW, was arrested Tuesday night and charged in a 16-count indictment with bank, wire and securities fraud.

The arrest came after a 15-month investigation by a dozen federal agencies triggered by TBW’s involvement in trying to secure $553 million for Colonial Bank from the government’s $700 billion financial bailout fund, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

Colonial never got the TARP money and failed in August in one of the most spectacular collapses stemming from the mortgage meltdown.

Ford, Flockhart

get married

Albuquerque, N.M. – Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart have tied the knot – in a wedding presided over by New Mexico’s governor.

Gov. Bill Richardson confirmed to the Associated Press on Wednesday that the couple, who have been together for several years and got engaged last year, were married at the governor’s mansion in Santa Fe.

Ford’s publicist, Ina Treciokas, confirmed the nuptials Wednesday.

Richardson isn’t ordained so he had some help from New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels to make Ford and Flockhart’s union official.


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