My ex-husband filed a joint tax return without my knowledge. He received my family’s stimulus payment — what can I do?

Dear Moneyist,

I have an estranged husband, and we have been living separately for years. He has been filing taxes jointly without my knowledge AND now he has received my stimulus money AND my kids’ stimulus money. I can’t hire an attorney because I’m poor, and I live in a rural area where there are no attorneys who will take my case without a fee.

I’ve asked a legal center how to bring this issue of financial abuse to the divorce judge and, so far, I have received no answers. I have no idea how the Internal Revenue Service will react, given that we are still legally married. I do know the money was deposited into his account. We never had joint bank accounts. My ex doesn’t communicate with me, and his phone has been off for weeks now.

He has used the pandemic to commit emotional and economic abuse. What can I do?


Dear Claudia,

You may have to wait longer for your money, but you will get it. What your husband did is fraud, it’s against the law and, in addition to facing possible criminal charges, he may also face a hefty fine for filing these taxes in your name. He forged your name on this tax return. That’s another crime. As for keeping the money your family is owed, that is the poisoned cherry on top. That’s theft. This will all come back to haunt him, and he could end up going to jail. With so many people losing out on their income during the pandemic, I’m only sorry that money you need now will take longer to reach you.

With so many people losing out on their income during the pandemic, I’m only sorry that money you need now will take longer to reach you.

— The Moneyist

You can verify your identity with the IRS here. The phone lines are open, but customer-service support is extremely limited at this time. “Each state has at least one Local Taxpayer Advocate who is independent of the local IRS office and reports directly to the National Taxpayer Advocate,” according to the agency. You can select your state here to find the phone number and address of the Taxpayer Advocate Service office nearest you. You can also write to the office in your state. Read more on how to report fraud here.

Hundreds of people have written to me wondering why they have not received their stimulus payment. One husband actually refused to give the payment to his wife. That was a textbook case of financial abuse. “Financial abuse happens when an abuser takes control of finances to prevent the other person from leaving and to maintain power in a relationship,” according to the Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “An abuser may take control of all the money, withhold it, and conceal financial information from the victim.”

I’m sorry this has continued long after your divorce. Legal aid is a good first step. Sooner or later, tax shenanigans will catch up with the person trying to work the system. It’s now your husband’s turn. You have one advantage: You know why your economic impact payment did not arrive. That may seem like a small consolation at this time, but now at least you can do something about it. Given how overwhelmed the agency is at the present time, it will take some time, but you should eventually be compensated, and your former husband will learn of the severity of his crimes.

Also see: I received my ex-husband’s $1,200 stimulus check because we filed joint taxes in 2018. Should I give him the money or return it to the IRS

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.

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N.Y. Times staffers revolt over decision to publish hawkish Tom Cotton op-ed

The New York Times was facing a sharp backlash from staffers Wednesday after publishing a hawkish op-ed column by Sen. Tom Cotton calling for the military to quell protests across the nation.

In a column titled “Send in the troops,” the Arkansas Republican called for “an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers” and stop an “orgy of violence.” The message was in line with President Donald Trump’s aggressive rhetoric earlier this week about using U.S. troops to restore order as protests, some violent, have wracked the nation in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

The Times

was excoriated by many on social media for publishing what they called an inflammatory column, and many Times staffers pointed out that their lives could be at risk if what Cotton was urging was actually carried out.

Dozens of Times reporters, columnists, editors and producers tweeted a singular message late Wednesday: “Running this puts black @nytimes staff in danger.”

The message was amplified by hundreds of supporters, both within the media and without, tweeting in solidarity.

Wednesday night, the newspaper’s union condemned the column, saying it “undermines the journalistic work of our members, puts our Black staff members in danger, promotes hate, and is likely to encourage further violence.”

“Cotton’s op-ed pours gasoline on the fire. Media organizations have a responsibility to hold power to account, not amplify voices of power without context and caution,” the union said in a statement.

Former Times op-ed editor Sewell Chan said the decision to publish Cotton’s column “falls short of sound journalistic practice” by being one-sided and not even timely. “It might have been 2 days ago, but Pentagon, @EsperDoD and Mattis have been clearly pushing back. The governors haven’t asked for military deployments—in fact, several told Trump it would make things much worse,” he tweeted.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he opposes using troops against protesters, and former Defense Secretary James Mattis issued a scathing statement, condemning Trump’s calls for military intervention as unconstitutional and setting up “a false conflict … between the military and civilian society.”

James Bennet, the editorial page editor of the Times, defended the decision to publish Cotton, in a thread of tweets.

“Times Opinion has published powerful arguments supporting protests, advocating fundamental change and criticizing police abuses,” he said. “Times Opinion owes it to our readers to show them counter-arguments, particularly those made by people in a position to set policy. We understand that many readers find Senator Cotton’s argument painful, even dangerous. We believe that is one reason it requires public scrutiny and debate.”

The Times is not the only major company facing open revolt by its employees over recent events — Facebook Inc.

workers have increasingly been putting pressure on CEO Mark Zuckerberg for his decision not to fact-check posts by Trump, with some staging walkouts and others quitting. On Wednesday, nearly three dozen of Facebook’s earliest employees, including some who helped author the original community standards, said Zuckerberg was wrong and urged him to reconsider his position.

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Tech advocacy group’s lawsuit says Trump’s order on social media is unconstitutional By Reuters

© Reuters. U.S. President Trump delivers statement on protests over racial inequality at the White House in Washington


By Alison Frankel and Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An advocacy group backed by the tech industry sued President Donald Trump on Tuesday over his executive order that would weaken a law protecting online platforms including social media companies that label or fact-check his posts.

The Washington-based Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) said in its lawsuit that Trump’s executive order violates the First Amendment rights of social media companies. It noted that the order was issued after Twitter Inc (NYSE:) amended one of Trump’s tweets and called it “plainly retaliatory.”

The lawsuit argues that Trump’s executive order will “chill future online speech by other speakers” and reduce the ability of Americans to speak freely online.

Trump, in an attempt to regulate social media platforms where he has been criticized, said last week he will introduce legislation that may scrap or weaken a law that has protected internet companies, including Twitter and Facebook.

The proposed legislation was part of an executive order Trump signed on Thursday. Trump had attacked Twitter for tagging his tweets about unsubstantiated claims of fraud about mail-in voting with a warning prompting readers to fact-check the posts.

Trump said he wants to “remove or change” a provision of a law known as Section 230 that shields social media companies from liability for content posted by their users. He also said Attorney General William Barr will begin drafting legislation “immediately” to regulate social media companies.

In a tweet, Twitter said attempts to unilaterally erode the law could threaten the future of online speech. The White House and Justice Department declined comment on the lawsuit.

“Twitter appended the President’s tweets… in immediate retaliation, the President issued the Executive Order,” said the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

CDT’s donors include Alphabet (NASDAQ:)’s Google, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:), Apple (NASDAQ:) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:), according to the Capital Research Center, a right-leaning non-profit think tank.

The companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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‘One of America’s closest and most dependable allies. Rendered speechless.’ Riot police near White House hit Australian reporter with truncheon, ram cameraman

Riot police near the White House did not discriminate between the media and protestors, as they charged the crowds near the White House Monday evening, ramming a freelance cameraman Timothy Myers live on air and, according to Amelia Brace, the reporter for “Sunrise Live” in Australia, reportedly hitting another cameraman with rubber bullets.

Australia’s “Sunrise Live” news reporter Brace was reporting a block from the White House when riot police charged the crowd in an effort to clear the area for President Donald Trump to leave the White House to pose for cameras outside a church with a bible on Monday evening. “We’ve been fired at with rubber bullets. My cameraman has been hit,” she told the audience.

At that moment the police charged the crowd, and her cameraman, live on camera during the Australian morning television show broadcast. “You heard us yelling there that we were media, but they don’t care, they’re being indiscriminate,” Brace said. Footage shows the reporter being hit by a police truncheon as she walks away. Channel 7 in Australia called the actions by the riot police “wanton thuggery.”

Brett McGurk, a U.S. diplomat, lawyer, and academic who has also served in senior national security positions under Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump — most recently, he was the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. He tweeted: “Here’s how this scene was viewed live in Australia. One of America’s closest and most dependable allies. Rendered speechless.”

Craig McPherson, Seven’s director of news and public affairs in Australia, said the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison had contacted the Australian embassy in Washington, D.C. demanding an investigation. (Earlier Monday before a photo op with a bible outside St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House, Trump said he was “an ally of all peaceful protesters.”)


reporter Ben Siegel shared another view of the altercation with Myers and Brace on Twitter

showing riot police ramming Myers’s camera and punching the camera live on TV. Siegel’s tweet went viral, and has been retweeted over 32,000 times and liked by over 43,000 people on the social network.

The Dow Jones Industrial Index

and the S&P 500

were slightly higher Monday, as investors weighed the impact of the political unrest over the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, as well as possible progress in COVID-19 vaccine research, and fears of further deterioration of trade and political relations with China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures

fell 21 points, or 0.1%, at 25,442, while S&P 500 futures

was own 2 points, or 0.1%, to 3,051, while Nasdaq-100 futures

gained 5 points, or 0.05%, to 9,590. The markets are digesting the escalating political and social unrest, and COVID-19, and the effects that may have on corporate earnings.

Meanwhile, President Trump late Monday threatened to mobilize the U.S. military to keep the peace across the nation, following days of violent protests. Speaking at the Rose Garden of the White House, Trump derided governors for not acting more harshly against demonstrators, and said he was deploying “heavily armed” soldiers and federal police in Washington to quell protests.

‘I am mobilizing all federal and local resources, civilian and military.’

— President Trump

“I am mobilizing all federal and local resources, civilian and military, to protect the rights of law abiding Americans,” Trump said, citing the Insurrection Act of 1807. “Today I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets. Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming presence until the violence is quelled.”

Washington’s mayor condemned the violent crackdown. “I imposed a curfew at 7 p.m. A full 25 minutes before the curfew & w/o provocation, federal police used munitions on peaceful protestors in front of the White House, an act that will make the job of @DCPoliceDept officers more difficult. Shameful!” Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted.

The Rev. Mariann Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, told the Washington Post that she did not know of Trump’s plans beforehand. “I am outraged,” she told the Post, saying Trump used the church “as a prop.” Budde said, “Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence. I don’t want President Trump speaking for St. John’s.”

Tensions are increasing on the streets across the U.S. New York City imposed a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. in an effort to prevent more looting of stores after dark. Brace, meanwhile, told the “Sunrise Live” anchors in Australia on her morning broadcast moments after riot police charged the crowd, “You heard us yelling there that we were media, but they don’t care, they’re being indiscriminate.”

(Mike Murphy contributed to this story.)

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Coronavirus update: Global case tally tops 6 million as weekend protests spark concerns they will lead to an increase in infections

The number of global confirmed contagions of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed above 6 million on Monday, after a weekend dominated by protests across the U.S. at the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis last week.

Scenes of protests in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Detroit, among other cities, featured prominently in TV news programs and on social media, after the death of George Floyd was captured on video by bystanders. Floyd died after a police officer knelt on his neck while he was handcuffed on the ground, pleading repeatedly that he could not breathe. The officer has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder.

There was broad international support for the protests, with demonstrators gathering in London, Berlin, Vancouver, Paris and other cities to call for an end to police brutality against black people.

Some images raised concerns that protesters could inadvertently spread the illness, as many were not wearing face coverings or few observed social distancing.

See: Day of peaceful New York City marches gives way to chaos after dark

“The large crowds of demonstrators … raise the risk of spreading coronavirus,” said Charles Campbell, managing director and trading-desk specialist at MKM, in a Monday note.

Coronavirus Update: Virus Concerns Amid Protests, Meat Prices Stay High

The protests are taking place as all 50 U.S. states push ahead with their reopenings and lift restrictions on movement, including states that are still showing increasing numbers of infections, against the advice of public health experts.

A Washington Post–ABC News poll published Monday found nearly 6 in 10 Americans have taken an economic hit from COVID-19, but most still say containing the spread is more important than trying to restart the economy. About three in four black Americans, who have suffered far more deaths from the virus than white Americans, say it’s more important to contain the disease than to reopen the economy.

President Donald Trump is planning to meet via videoconference with governors on Monday to discuss “keeping American communities safe.” The White House said Trump is planning the meeting with governors, law-enforcement and national-security officials, following a separate one-on-one meeting with Attorney General William Barr.

There had been speculation the president would address the nation on Sunday, but that did not materialize. Trump tweeted that he would designate anti-fascism activists as a terrorist organization.

See now:Trump took shelter in White House bunker as protests raged nearby Friday night

As the New York Times reported, his declaration against antifa, which he sought to blame for those protests that turned violent, lacked clear legal authority. The antifa movement does not have a leader or a central structure, as the Times and others noted.

At the time of this writing, Trump was addressing U.S. state governors on a conference call in a manner that was described by some as alarming.

Latest tallies

There are now 6.19 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and 372,479 people have died, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. More than 2.6 million people have recovered.

The U.S. has the highest case toll in the world at 1.79 million and the highest death toll at 104,383.

Brazil’s case tally climbed above 500,000 over the weekend with more than 16,000 new cases reported, according to the Guardian. President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been widely criticized for his failed approach to the crisis, rode a horse to a rally on Sunday, calling on the country’s supreme court to be shut down to end an investigation of him, the Guardian reported.

Brazil now has 514,849 cases after another spike overnight, and 29,314 fatalities.

Russia has 414,878 cases and 4,855 fatalities. The U.K. has 276,156 cases and 38,571 deaths, the highest death toll in Europe and second highest in the world after the U.S.

Why Brazil’s President Wants to Reopen the Economy, Despite Rising Death Toll

Spain has 239,479 cases and 27,127 deaths, while Italy has 232,997 cases and 33,415 deaths. India has passed France and Germany by case numbers at 191,041 and 5,143 deaths.

France has 189,010 cases and 28,805 deaths, while Germany has 183,508 cases and 8,546 deaths.

See: Biotech’s biggest winners are already changing how we’ll live after the coronavirus

Peru is next with 164,476 cases and 4,506 fatalities, followed by Turkey with 163,942 cases and 4,540 deaths.

Iran has 154,445 cases and 7,878 deaths, followed by Chile with 99,688 cases and 1,054 deaths.

Canada has 92,479 cases and 7,374 deaths, followed by Mexico with 90,664 cases and 9,930 fatalities.

Saudia Arabia moved above China, where the illness was first reported late last year, in case numbers. Saudi Arabia has 85,261 cases and 525 fatalities. China has 84,150 cases and 4,638 deaths.

What’s the latest medical news?

Gilead Sciences Inc.

released findings from a late-stage clinical trial testing its remdesivir in moderately ill COVID-19 patients. Gilead previously released data from a similarly run open-label Phase 3 trial evaluating remdesivir in severely ill COVID-19 patients, as well as another Phase 3 trial run by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases that found the drug could reduce the time to recovery in severely ill patients. That study’s findings led to an emergency-use authorization for remdesivir last month.

In case you missed it:FDA grants Gilead’s remdesivir emergency authorization for COVID-19 treatment

The latest trial showed that moderately ill patients taking a five-day regimen of the drug were 65% more likely to demonstrate clinical improvement, compared to those receiving the standard of care. Patients taking the 10-day regimen did not report a statistically significant improvement.

“We need more data,” said Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat, who noted that hospital discharge data were not disclosed, nor was time from symptoms to first dose.

Abiomed Inc.

received an emergency-use authorization for its Impella RP heart pump to be used in certain COVID-19 patients, including those with heart failure. The medical device received FDA approval in 2017 to be marketed in the treatment of right ventricular failure.

Don’t miss:Why virus stocks are driving market volatility

“Acute pulmonary embolism is clearly being recognized as a life-threatening manifestation of COVID-19,” Dr. Amir Kaki, director of mechanical circulatory support at Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit, said in the Abiomed release.

Eli Lilly & Co.

said it has started a Phase 1 trial for its experimental COVID-19 antibody treatment. The therapy, LY-CoV555, was developed by Lilly, AbCellera and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from a blood sample from one of the first people to recover from COVID-19 in the U.S.

The placebo-controlled trial will test the antibody treatment in patients hospitalized with COVID-19; Lilly said it expects to release data from the trial by the end of this month.

“Antibody therapies such as LY-CoV555 may have potential for both prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and may be particularly important for groups hardest hit by the disease such as the elderly and those with compromised immune systems,” Lilly’s chief scientific officer, Daniel Skovronsky, said in a news release.

Looking ahead, Lilly said it plans to test the therapy in COVID-19 patients who have not been hospitalized and as a preventative tool if the Phase 1 trial demonstrates the drug is safe.

What are companies saying?

Company news from the weekend also led with the protests about the death of George Floyd, with executives offering support, contributing to social-justice organizations and tweeting in solidarity with protesters.

Twitter Inc.

changed its profile bio to read simply “#BlackLivesMatter,” while Alphabet Inc.’s


Google said on its main search page: “We stand in support of racial equality, and all those who search for it.”

Google’s YouTube said it would donate $1 million “in support of efforts to address social injustice.”

Major streaming services — such as Netflix Inc.
, Inc.’s

Prime Video, Walt Disney Co.–controlled

Hulu and AT&T’s

HBO Max, as well as Quibi and Amazon’s Twitch — tweeted that they stand in solidarity with protesters, with Netflix saying: “To be silent is to be complicit.”

See now: From hashtags to donations, Google, Netflix and other tech companies voice support for protesters

Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive of Uber Technologies Inc.
said the company would donate $1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative and the Center for Policing Equity.

Apple Inc.

Chief Executive Tim Cook said it was not a time to stand on the sidelines.

“This is a moment when many people may want nothing more than a return to normalcy, or to a status quo that is only comfortable if we avert our gaze from injustice,” Cook said in an internal note to employees obtained by Bloomberg News. “As difficult as it may be to admit, that desire is itself a sign of privilege.”



early Saturday amplified an antiracism tweet by athletic-gear archrival Nike

Elsewhere, companies continued to raise capital through equity or bond offerings and to offer updates on the reopening of stores, factories and offices.

Here are the latest things companies have said about COVID-19:

• U.S. cannabis company Acreage Holdings Inc.

has entered two funding agreements to raise up to $60 million. The first is a standby equity distribution agreement with an unnamed institutional investor for up to $60 million of its Class A subordinate voting shares, and the second is a private placement in which it issued $11 million in principal amount under a secured convertible debenture for gross proceeds of $10 million. Proceeds of both deals will be used for general corporate purposes and working capital. New York City-based Acreage has an option agreement with Canadian cannabis market leader Canopy Growth Corp.


under which Canopy will take over the company as soon as the federal ban on cannabis has been lifted.

• Adaptimmune Therapeutics PLC

is planning a public offering of 12.5 million shares. That represents about 9.6% of the shares outstanding. The company also plans to grant the underwriters of the offering options to buy additional shares to cover overallotments. Cowen and SVB Leerink are the joint book-running managers.

• Agilent Technologies Inc.

is offering a series of senior notes in a shelf registration with plans to use any proceeds for general corporate purposes, including to pay down debt. The company did not offer any detail on size or maturities. BofA Securities, Mizuho Securities USA LLC and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC are acting as joint book-running managers.

• Apple Inc. has temporarily closed most of its U.S. retail stores, 9to5 Mac reported Sunday, after a number of stores became targets of looters during weekend protests. “With the health and safety of our teams in mind, we’ve made the decision to keep a number of our stores in the U.S. closed on Sunday,” Apple reportedly told 9to5 Mac. Apple Stores in Minneapolis; San Francisco; Portland, Ore.; and Scottsdale, Ariz., were among those vandalized or looted over the weekend. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a number of Apple Store locations say “temporarily closed” on their websites, while one in San Francisco’s Union Square, which was damaged Saturday night, said it would reopen Tuesday. Apple started reopening its U.S. retail stores, which had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, in late May. 9to5 Mac said about 140 of 271 U.S. locations had already been reopened.

• Cooper Tire & Rubber Co’s

tire-manufacturing plant in El Salto, Mexico, will restart production, on a limited basis. The company had reopened its Mexico plant on April 13, only to have to shut it back down on April 28 after the Mexico government determined it was a nonessential business. The tire maker said its plants in China, the U.S. and Serbia have all reopened.

• Coty Inc.

agreed to sell a majority interest in its retail hair business, which includes Wella and Clairol, to KKR & Co. Inc.

in a deal that values the businesses at $4.3 billion. KKR will own 60% of the separately managed businesses. Coty will receive a $1 billion direct investment and $2.5 billion in net cash proceeds. Separately, Coty Chairman Peter Harf will assume the additional role of chief executive officer. The company will create a three-person executive committee, which includes Harf, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Andre Terisse and Gordon von Bretten, who joined Coty last week from KKR Capstone as chief transformation officer.

• Southwest Airlines Co.

received $651.8 million as the second tranche of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Payroll Support Program. In turn, the air carrier has increased the note it provided to the Treasury by $195.6 million and provided a warrant to buy 536,197 common shares. In total, Southwest has received $2.28 billion, or 70% of the expected payroll support amount, and provided Treasury with a note totaling $654.4 million and warrants to buy 1,794,429 shares, which would represent about 0.3% of the shares outstanding.

• Walt Disney Co. will temporarily be pausing any new theme park ticket sales or hotel reservations in order to “focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations.” Disney had previously announced that guests will need to reserve a day to visit the theme parks if they wish to gain admission, in addition to purchasing a ticket. The company is limiting the capacity in its theme parks to reduce crowding. “Existing ticket holders and annual pass holders will be able to make a theme-park reservation before new tickets are sold; we will be reaching out to these guests soon to provide additional details,” Disney said. “We will resume new sales of tickets and Disney Resort hotel reservations after that period.” Additionally, Disney has canceled all existing reservations at restaurants. Typically, visitors can book meals at hotel and theme park restaurants up to 180 days in advance. Disney made the choice to cancel existing reservations since the capacity inside restaurants will be reduced to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

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