Two bank robberies under investigation in Pittsburgh area

Two bank robberies are under investigation in the Pittsburgh area on Thursday afternoon.

One happened at the PNC Bank on Washington Road in South Strabane Township, Washington County.

The second robbery happened at the Brentwood Bank in South Fayette.

South Fayette police said one person of interest was taken into custody during a traffic stop near the McKees Rocks area, about 20 miles from the Brentwood Bank.

Police said a second person of interest has been identified but has not yet been arrested.

Police are not releasing their identities at this time.

South Fayette police said no money was taken at the PNC Bank, however, money was taken from the Brentwood Brank.

An FBI spokesperson said no injuries were reported.

This is a developing story. Stay with Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 for updates. Download the WTAE mobile app to stay connected with breaking news.

Source: Two bank robberies under investigation in Pittsburgh area

Sept. 7 is ‘Bitcoin Day’ in El Salvador as BTC becomes legal tender

It is Sept. 7, and El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law has officially come into effect three months after its parliament passed the historic vote. The Central American nation is now the first country to recognize Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender.

Tweeting earlier in the day, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele remarked “3 minutos para hacer historia — In 3 minutes, we make history.”

However, day one of El Salvador’s Bitcoin experiment has been somewhat marred by server capacity errors suffered by the state-issued Chivo wallet.

Addressing the situation, President Bukele remarked:

“For a few moments it won’t work @chivowallet, we have disconnected it while increasing the capacity of the image capture servers. The installation problems that some people had were for that reason. We prefer to correct it before reconnecting it.”

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, El Salvador has purchased 200 BTC, taking its Bitcoin holdings to 400 “coins.” The country’s parliament recently passed a $150-million Bitcoin fund to facilitate conversions from BTC to United States dollars.

Source: Sept. 7 is ‘Bitcoin Day’ in El Salvador as BTC becomes legal tender

One of Pittsburgh’s largest banks closing three local branches

PITTSBURGH — Citizens Bank is closing 14 branches, half of which are in Pennsylvania, including three in the Pittsburgh area.

The local sites on the chopping block are at 4885 McKnight Road, Pittsburgh, near Ross Park Mall; 121 Main St., Ligonier; and 901 5th Ave., New Kensington.

Read more from our news partners at the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Source: One of Pittsburgh’s largest banks closing three local branches

Chinese Companies Listing on U.S. Stock Markets Must Follow Rules | National Review

More than 200 Chinese businesses have gone public in U.S. capital markets, but many investors don’t realize that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) refuses to let these companies open their books to American regulators. This refusal threatens the savings of American workers and families. The financial risk resembles an iceberg: Chinese companies such as Didi and Luckin Coffee are just the tip.

One of the safeguards Americans rely on is the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). Its regulators vouch for the accuracy of the books of every firm — American and foreign — operating on a U.S. exchange.

Firms under the thumb of the CCP, though, have a penchant for lying to the PCAOB or snubbing its oversight altogether. That leaves Americans looking to invest flying blind.

At a time when the PCAOB estimates that the Chinese firms registered with it have a global market capitalization of roughly $2.3 trillion, China has made it impossible “for the PCAOB to obtain timely access to relevant documents and testimony necessary to carry out [its] mission.”

As a result, Chinese businesses are freer to commit fraud than their American, Asian, and European competitors. Luckin Coffee, for instance, made up a nonexistent $310 million in sales in less than a year. When such fraud comes to light, these businesses’ stock values can drop quickly — dragging Americans’ savings down with them.

Congress has taken decisive bipartisan action to force companies that flout the PCAOB off U.S. markets, but the CCP probably won’t accept such accountability graciously. In fact, President Xi Jinping’s regime is becoming more belligerent by the day. It’s up to President Biden to protect American investors as the CCP vies for global leadership.

Source: Chinese Companies Listing on U.S. Stock Markets Must Follow Rules | National Review

SpaceX owns Bitcoin, Elon Musk and Nic Carter believe BTC is becoming greener

Coin Metrics’ Nic Carter is “glad” that Elon Musk has been reevaluating the facts regarding BTC mining but thinks that in any case “the environmental costs are offset by its enormous utility.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed for the first time that his firm SpaceX owns Bitcoin (BTC).

The company is yet to officially announce how much Bitcoin it has purchased, however Musk’s other company Tesla purchased $1.5B of the cryptocurrency earlier this year which sparked a major Bitcoin price rally.

That rally came to an abrupt end after Tesla stopped taking Bitcoin payments due to environmental concerns, but speaking at “The ₿ Word” — a virtual Bitcoin (BTC) event — the erratic tech billionaire suggested Tesla was on the verge of accepting the cryptocurrency again following promising signs the percentage of renewable energy used for mining was increasing.

The changing narrative of Bitcoin going “green” may help reignite a rally, with Coin Metrics co-founder Nic Carter telling CNBC a few hours ago that BTC’s fundamentals are getting better in terms of sustainability.

Musk appeared alongside Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and moderator Steve Lee from Square Crypto. Musk did not reveal any additional details about SpaceX’s purchase apart from saying:

“I do own Bitcoin, Tesla owns Bitcoin, SpaceX owns Bitcoin, and I do personally own a bit of Ethereum and Dogecoin of course.”

Source: SpaceX owns Bitcoin, Elon Musk and Nic Carter believe BTC is becoming greener

Biden’s assault on monopolies launches – POLITICO

The White House is scheduled to issue an executive order Friday to promote competition throughout the U.S. economy in the most ambitious effort in generations to reduce the stranglehold of monopolies and concentrated markets in major industries.

The order — whose details POLITICO first reported last week — marks a major push by President Joe Biden’s administration to focus on competition as part of the economic recovery from the pandemic. It also offers a response to progressives’ criticisms that the federal government has focused too much on supporting banks and other corporations without concern about the effect on consumers, who have watched their choices dwindle over the years.

Source: Biden’s assault on monopolies launches Friday – POLITICO

Wells Fargo closing all personal lines of credit | TheHill

Wells Fargo has begun informing customers that it will no longer be offering personal credit lines, with all existing lines being shut down in the coming weeks.

In a six-page letter to customers obtained by CNBC, Wells Fargo said it had “recently reviewed its product offerings and decided to discontinue offering new Personal and Portfolio line of credit accounts and close all existing accounts,” instead setting its focus on credit cards and personal loans.

The revolving credit lines had been a popular consumer lending product, allowing customers to consolidate higher-interest credit card debt, avoid overdraft fees on checking accounts, as well as other actions.

The credit lines usually allowed customers to borrow anywhere from $3,000 to $100,000, according to CNBC. In a FAQ portion of the letter, the bank explained that the account closures “may have an impact on your credit score,” adding that they could not be reviewed or reversed. “We apologize for the inconvenience this Line of Credit closure will cause,” the bank said, according to CNBC. “The account closure is final.”

In a statement sent to CNBC after its initial report was published, a Wells Fargo spokesman said, “We realize change can be inconvenient, especially when customer credit may be impacted,” adding that the bank was “committed to helping each customer find a credit solution that fits their needs.”

According to the news outlet, Wells Fargo said customers will be given a notice 60 days before their account is shut down, with remaining balances requiring minimum payments at a fixed rate. The Hill has reached out to Wells Fargo for additional information.

Source: Wells Fargo closing all personal lines of credit | TheHill

The false promise of modern monetary theory | TheHill

MMT advocates claim they have the secret recipe to avoid the pitfalls of currency debasement and mountains of debt.

For those unaccustomed with MMT, in essence it states that the U.S. government can print and spend money limitlessly. Deficits don’t matter. Neither does the national debt.

MMT has several high-profile adherents, from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Source: The false promise of modern monetary theory | TheHill

Half of all unemployment money was stolen by criminals during pandemic, experts say | Fox Business

Unemployment fraud surged during the coronavirus pandemic, with billions of dollars likely ending up in the hands of foreign crime syndicates based in China, Russia and other countries, experts say.

As much as $400 billion in unemployment benefits may have been fraudulent, according to one estimate by ID.me, FOX Business confirmed. That amounts to about 50% of unemployment money, according to the company, which uses facial recognition software to verify identities.

Source: Half of all unemployment money was stolen by criminals during pandemic, experts say | Fox Business

Ransomware: US recovers millions in cryptocurrency paid to Colonial Pipeline hackers – CNNPolitics

Washington (CNN)US investigators have recovered millions in cryptocurrency they say was paid in ransom to hackers whose attack prompted the shutdown of the key East Coast pipeline last month, the Justice Department announced Monday.

The announcement confirms CNN’s earlier reporting about the FBI-led operation, which was carried out with cooperation from Colonial Pipeline, the company that fell victim to the ransomware attack in question.
Specifically, the Justice Department said it seized approximately $2.3 million in Bitcoins paid to individuals in a criminal hacking group known as DarkSide. The FBI said it has been investigating DarkSide, which is said to share its malware tools with other criminal hackers, for over a year.
The ransom recovery, which is the first seizure undertaken by the recently created DOJ digital extortion taskforce, is a rare outcome for a company that has fallen victim to a debilitating cyberattack in the booming criminal business of ransomware.
Colonial Pipeline Co. CEO Joseph Blount told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published last month that the company complied with the $4.4 million ransom demand because officials didn’t know the extent of the intrusion by hackers and how long it would take to restore operations.

Source: Ransomware: US recovers millions in cryptocurrency paid to Colonial Pipeline hackers – CNNPolitics

Dogecoin rallies on Elon Musk tweet, anticipated Coinbase listing

Dogecoin’s price soared as high as 56 cents early Friday, according to Coin Metrics data.

  • Dogecoin’s price soared as high as 56 cents early Friday, according to Coin Metrics data.
  • Elon Musk tweeted that he was working with dogecoin developers to improve the efficiency of transactions.
  • Crypto exchange Coinbase said Thursday it would offer dogecoin support in the next six to eight weeks.

Source: Dogecoin rallies on Elon Musk tweet, anticipated Coinbase listing

Sen. Cruz: Illegals do get stimulus checks, Democrats are wrong | One America News Network

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Joe Biden has squandered U.S. national wealth by giving $1,400 dollar stimulus checks to illegal aliens. Democrat media attempted to fact check or censor Cruz by saying illegals couldn’t get stimulus checks because they do not have a social security number.

However, immigration officials refuted Democrat falsehoods that said many illegals who have overstayed their visas actually do possess social security numbers and are in fact eligible for IRS payments.

Source: Sen. Cruz: Illegals do get stimulus checks, Democrats are wrong | One America News Network

Stimulus check update: U.S. issued 90 million checks worth $242 billion

The U.S. has thus far issued 90 million stimulus checks worth a collective $242 billion as part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

  • The U.S. has thus far issued 90 million stimulus checks worth a collective $242 billion as part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
  • The first batch of payments were mostly sent by direct deposit, and some recipients started receiving their checks this past weekend, the government said.
  • The checks began processing on March 12 and some Americans have already seen the deposits as pending prior to today’s official payment day.

Source: Stimulus check update: U.S. issued 90 million checks worth $242 billion

JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo face customer anger over stimulus checks – CBS News

The IRS has started distributing a third round of federal stimulus checks, worth up to $1,400 per eligible adult and child. But the timing of getting a check may depend partly on a bank’s policies, with some customers of JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo expressing frustration after the banks said the coronavirus relief payments won’t be available until March 17.

The banks say the timing of the payments is outside their control. Although the IRS started issuing payments over the weekend, the official payment date isn’t until March 17,

Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase told CBS MoneyWatch. Wells Fargo added that it “is not holding the funds” and that it will deposit the money into accounts as soon as possible. Yet other banks are crediting the funds to customer accounts immediately. Current, a New York-based banking startup, is using its own balance sheet to credit the funds rather than waiting for settlement. Some of its customers received access to their stimulus funds on March 12, a day after President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion bill into law.

Source: JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo face customer anger over stimulus checks – CBS News

Pittsburgh area residents getting unsolicited debit cards, concerned about identity fraud

HOMESTEAD, Pa. —Some Pittsburgh area residents are getting debit cards they didn’t ask for from banks they don’t belong to.Customers of Chase Bank are being told it could be an identity theft issue.

“The consumer should also fill out the bank’s ID theft form so that the bank removes the account from its records and shares the information with reporting agencies,” Chase Bank told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 in a statement.

Here’s a link to Chase’s online security center.

Pittsburgh, West Mifflin and Upper St. Clair police have put out notices that they’ve gotten reports of unsolicited debit cards being opened in residents’ names.

Cindy McGovern lives in Clairton. Multiple people in her office also got cards.

“There have been at least 30 people in that bank today, OK? There are people from all, many of the municipalities, many of the Mon Valley people, many of them South Hills people,” McGovern said.

Upper St. Clair Police says, aside from Chase, they’ve gotten reports that people have received cards from MetaBank and Go2Bank.

Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 heard back from Go2Bank Wednesday evening. They said they send mailers with cards that are clearly labeled as advertisements and have not received direct reports of any issues. The company is investigating if they’ve been impacted.

MetaBank has not yet responded to a request for a statement.

Pittsburgh police says people are encouraged to contact the bank, the three main credit reporting agencies and your local police department.

Source: Pittsburgh area residents getting unsolicited debit cards, concerned about identity fraud

Community Bank closing six branches, four in the Pittsburgh metro area – WPXI

PITTSBURGH — Community Bank, retail arm of CB Financial Services Inc., on Tuesday said it plans to consolidate six branches.

Four are located within the 10-county Pittsburgh metro where Community Bank ranks No. 17 by deposit market share. It is targeting June 30 for the closures.

They are:

Monongahela to be consolidated into Rostraver

Perryopolis to be consolidated into Uniontown and Rostraver

Pioneer to be consolidated into Waynesburg

Southpointe to be consolidated into McMurray

Source: Local bank closing six branches, four in the Pittsburgh metro, and here’s where

New rule on 401(k) rollovers takes effect, as Biden sticks with Trump-era change | Fox Business

The measure will cause many rollovers, in which hundreds of billions of dollars move annually from 401(k)s to individual retirement accounts, to be more heavily regulated. It also gives investors who feel they have been given bad rollover advice the right to file a lawsuit or arbitration claim.

Source: New rule on 401(k) rollovers takes effect, as Biden sticks with Trump-era change | Fox Business

Turkey replaces central bank head as lira sees record lows

Former Finance Minister Naci Agbal was brought in to replace Murat Uysal, according to a presidential decree announced in the Official Gazette.

  • Former Finance Minister Naci Agbal was brought in to replace Murat Uysal, according to a presidential decree announced in the Official Gazette.
  • The decision came after the lira lost nearly a third of its value since the start of the year — hitting a record low of 8.58 against the U.S. dollar on Friday — and annual inflation stood at 11.89%.

Source: Turkey replaces central bank head as lira sees record lows

What negative interest rates would mean for your wallet

As the economy craters, here’s a look at what cutting interest rates below zero would mean for everyday Americans.

  • “Negative interest rates are inevitable in the U.S.,” said Bankrate’s Greg McBride. “It’s just a matter of when.”
  • For everyday Americans, that would likely mean lower mortgage and credit card rates and even lower returns on savings, if any at all.

Source: What negative interest rates would mean for your wallet