September 26, 2021

U.S. banks say suspected business-loan fraud rose sharply last month

The statistical data does not show what is causing the spike in reports. Neither FinCEN nor the Small Business Administration’s inspector general said they could comment on a potential link.

But the reports coincide with a wave of applications for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which has distributed more than $200 billion and which the agency’s inspector general, Hannibal Ware, warned in July is plagued by “pervasive fraudulent activity.” They also coincide with the last days of another SBA program, the $525 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which concluded on Aug. 8.

The Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-based nonprofit, published an article earlier this month noting the spike in business-loan fraud reports through July and their potential connection to SBA programs.

Target shifts hiring to contactless services

Target said on Thursday it would double its staff for contactless services and hire more seasonal employees for distribution centers this holiday season, as consumers shop more online to avoid crowds during the covid-19 pandemic.

The company, one of the retailers benefiting from the big shift to online shopping during the health crisis, said it expected seasonal hiring to be on par with last year, when it hired more than 130,000 store employees.

Consumers have been increasingly shopping online and either have items delivered to their homes or collect them at a nearby store as they stay indoors.

According to a forecast from Deloitte, e-commerce sales are expected to record a 25 percent to 35 percent rise in the 2020 holiday season, traditionally the busiest time of the year.

During the first half of the year, more than 10 million new customers shopped on Target’s website and demand for same-day fulfillment options quadrupled, the retailer said, leading it to train more staff in areas that are in demand such as “drive up and order pickup.”

Distribution centers will send more inventory to stores than usual to make sure in-demand items are well stocked, and to ensure smooth operation the company said it would hire more full-time and seasonal warehouse team members.

Target said it would pay its seasonal staff a starting wage of $15 per hour along with coronavirus health and wellness benefits. Staff at the front of its stores will focus on safety and cleaning, and greeting shoppers.

Becton Dickinson said on Thursday it has reached a $60 million settlement with the attorneys general of 48 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., resolving allegations it concealed the risks of now-discontinued pelvic mesh devices. The Franklin Lakes, N.J.-based company said the settlement resolved litigation involving the former CR Bard Inc., which it acquired in 2017. In related court papers, New York Attorney General Letitia James said CR Bard misrepresented or failed to disclose risks associated with the devices, including chronic pain, vaginal scarring, vaginal shortening, infection and inflammation.

The number of robots operating on Chinese factory floors rose 21 percent last year as the world’s manufacturing powerhouse extended its lead in automation. China added 140,500 new robots and now holds almost one-third of the global stock, according to a new report published Thursday by World Robotics. The United States posted an increase of 33,300 or 7 percent and ranks fourth behind Japan and South Korea.

B & G Foods will remove an image of a Black chef from all of its Cream of Wheat packaging, the latest move as consumer companies grapple with legacy logos with racist connotations. The move comes one day after Mars announced plans to change the name of its Uncle Ben’s rice to Ben’s Original and drop the image of a Black man from its packaging.

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