Lagan Sebert

Woman Sees Her Home Confiscated Over a Water Bill

One raw day in early February, Vicki Valentine stood by helplessly as real estate investors snatched her West Baltimore home over what began with an unpaid city water bill of $362.

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Faces of the Colombian Drug War

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Online Payday Loan Industry Wants to Keep Charging Obscene Interest Rates

Payday loan offices were sprouting up in strip malls and on street corners across America for years before Wall Street collapsed last fall - quiet evidence that hard times began hitting working families long ago. Now, more people than ever are using payday loans to keep bill collectors at bay. Quick money (at interest rates of around 500% or more), for people with bad credit has been praised by some as a lifeline for the poor and condemned by others as a cynical trap exploiting families in crisis. Some states have passed laws limiting interest rates, but there is one marketplace that knows no borders -- the Internet.

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Mortgage Bankers Celebrate Their Big Victory

You would think this year's Mortgage Bankers Association annual meeting would be a rather solemn affair -- given the criticism the industry has endured in recent months. But our American News Project reporter attending the meeting found the bankers in a celebratory mood. The reason? A massive lobbying campaign against bankruptcy reform legislation known as "cram-down" appeared to be working.

Goldman Vet Sparks Conflict on Hill

Barack Obama's plan to name yet another Goldman Sachs alum to his economic team is proving too much for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Sanders put a hold on the nomination of Gary Gensler to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, effectively stopping the nomination process in its tracks. Sanders says Gensler, who spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs and then joined the Treasury Department under Bill Clinton, played too big a role in deregulating derivatives in the 90s' to be trusted to reregulate the market now.

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Grayson Digs His Claws into Citigroup CEO

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AIG Execs Receive a Flogging from Congress

In the wake of the $700 billion bailout, the public is finally getting a look at the faces behind the financial crisis. On October 7, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform grilled former AIG CEOs Robert Willumstad and Martin Sullivan. During the five-hour hearing the executives tried to dodge blame as congress members harshly criticized their management of AIG and questioned their compensation.

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