BOSTON – Navient, a major student loan collecting company, agreed to cancel $1.7 billion in debt owed by more than 66,000 borrowers across the U.S. and pay over $140 million in other penalties to settle allegations of abusive lending practices. The $1.85 billion deal with 39 state attorneys general was announced Thursday.
Navient “engaged in deceptive and abusive practices, targeted students who it knew would struggle to pay loans back, and placed an unfair burden on people trying to improve their lives through education,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who helped lead the negotiations, said in a statement. Among other things, he said, Navient misled borrowers who were having trouble making payments into entering what are known as long-term forbearances, which caused them to run up even more debt.
Navient denied acting illegally, and it did not admit to any wrongdoing under the settlement, which is subject to court approval.
Governor denies parole for Sirhan
Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, was denied parole Thursday by California's governor, who said the killer remains a threat to the public and hasn't taken responsibility for a crime that altered American history.
Kennedy, a U.S. senator from New York, was shot moments after he claimed victory in California's pivotal Democratic presidential primary. Five others were wounded.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has cited RFK as his political hero, rejected a recommendation from a two-person panel of parole commissioners who said Sirhan, 77, should be freed. The panel's recommendation in August had divided the Kennedy family, with two of RFK's sons – Douglas Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. – supporting his release, and their siblings and mother vehemently opposing it.
Dozens charged in shoplifting ring
State and federal authorities announced Thursday that they arrested and charged more than two dozen people for taking part in a multistate shoplifting ring that made off with more than $10 million in stolen goods over the past few years, most of which was over-the-counter medications.
U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson in Tulsa and Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor announced state and federal charges against 29 defendants. Johnson said 25 had been arrested and four others were still at large.
Prosecutors said the defendants took part in a conspiracy to steal mostly over-the-counter medications from retailers such as Walmart, Costco, Walgreens, CVS and GNC in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. The ringleaders would then arrange for the sale of the items on websites such as Amazon and eBay.
Teen shot, killed while walking dog
Like she did most days, 16-year-old Diamond Alvarez walked her family's dog Peanut in her southwest Houston neighborhood on Tuesday evening.
Since it was already dark, her mother, Anna Machado, told her to only stay out 20 minutes and then return home. But Diamond never came back as she was fatally shot around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday a couple of blocks away on the side of a street near a grassy field where all the neighborhood children play. Her family found her body by the greenspace after Peanut ran home without Diamond. Machado tried to revive her daughter by performing CPR, but it was too late.
Houston police on Thursday continued looking for who shot Diamond multiple times. Police say that witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots and then the sound of tires squealing as a possibly dark vehicle fled the scene. Investigators have not commented on a possible motive for the shooting.
Video release OK'd in police shooting
A judge Thursday granted a request from the police chief of a North Carolina city to release body camera video recorded in the aftermath of the shooting death of a Black man by an off-duty sheriff's deputy.
Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins filed the petition, saying she wanted to publicly release footage that she says will show exchanges between Fayetteville police officers and three witnesses at the scene of last Saturday's fatal shooting of Jason Walker by off-duty Cumberland County Sheriff's Office Lt. Jeffrey Hash, the Fayetteville Observer reported.
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons told the newspaper that he approved the release “in the interest of justice.”