Millions of Americans on low-income, including those receiving unemployment benefits amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, may qualify to receive a free smartphone, in addition to free cell service, under a new government partnership with TruConnect, a nationwide wireless service provider.

TruConnect has partnered with Lifeline, a government program offering affordable wireless service to low-income customers launched by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, which most Americans don’t know about, according to the co-founder and chief executive officer of TruConnect, Matthew Johnson.

TruConnect’s free service includes “talk, text, and 3GB of data each month plus free international calling to select countries. You may even qualify for a free 5″ LTE Android smartphone,” the company website states.

Johnson told California’s KTLA: “Currently, there are roughly 30 to 40 million people who don’t have access to high-speed internet and that’s only increased recently with the issues due to COVID-19.

“Across the U.S., the

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Oct. 7 (UPI) — Mortgage rates in the United States have fallen to new lows and spurred a flurry of applications to refinance, an industry report said Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said in its weekly report that interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.01% last week. Moreover, refinancing applications rose 8% and are 50% higher than they were last year at this time.

“Mortgage rates declined across the board last week — with most falling to record lows — and borrowers responded,” Joel Kan, MBA associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement. “The refinance index … hit its highest level since mid-August.”

The lower mortgage rates — which have sunk to record levels multiple times in recent months — have not corresponded, however, to a surge in applications from homebuyers.

While those applications are 21% higher year-to-year, they declined by 2%

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(Bloomberg) — The U.K. reached a 9.8 million pound ($12.7 million) settlement in its first successful use of a controversial power designed to crack down on dirty money.



a sign on the side of a building: LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: A general view of The National Crime Agency building in Westminster on October 7, 2013 in London, England. The NCA replaces SOCA, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, which was formed in 2006. Dubbed "the British FBI", the NCA will be tasked with tackling the most serious of crimes in the UK and replaces a number of existing bodies. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)


© Photographer: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Europe
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 07: A general view of The National Crime Agency building in Westminster on October 7, 2013 in London, England. The NCA replaces SOCA, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, which was formed in 2006. Dubbed “the British FBI”, the NCA will be tasked with tackling the most serious of crimes in the UK and replaces a number of existing bodies. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The National Crime Agency settled a so-called Unexplained Wealth Order with Mansoor “Manni” Mahmood Hussain, a Leeds businessman, the agency said Wednesday in a statement. The 40-year-old handed over more than 45 properties in London, Leeds and Cheshire, four parcels of land, and nearly 600,000 pounds in cash.

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  • A North Carolina man was charged after reportedly trying to steal over $6 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for submitting applications for companies with names from “Game of Thrones.”
  • In April, the US government launched the PPP as a way to help small businesses financially amid the pandemic. These loans must be used for payroll costs, rent and utilities. 
  • Tristan Bishop Pan was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions on September 29 for false companies named White Walker, Khaleesi, and The Night’s Watch, according to the Department of Justice.  
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A North Carolina man was charged after reportedly trying to steal over $6 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for companies with names from “Game of Thrones.” 

Tristan Bishop Pan, 38, was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions on

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This Tuesday marked 67 days of darkness for Kenneth Parson. He fell behind on his utility bills in the spring — and his lights went off, and stayed off, starting at the end of July.

No power meant no refrigerator, so Parson, a 62-year-old with diabetes in Griffin, Ga., had no choice but to store his temperature-sensitive insulin on ice in a small cooler. He didn’t have an easy way to cook at home, either, so his wife, Cheryl, took to preparing some meals for him in a neighbor’s kitchen.

In those first few days after they lost electricity, Cheryl had pleaded on Parson’s behalf with city officials who manage their local utilities, hoping she might change their minds in the middle of a pandemic that has left families nationwide struggling to cover their once-manageable costs of living.

“They said they couldn’t do nothing for him,” lamented Cheryl, 65, who

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Latin America’s e-commerce industry is booming as millions of shoppers across the region venture online during the pandemic, many for the first time, forcing traditional businesses to adapt to survive.

The sector has been one of the big winners of the coronavirus outbreak as fears of infection and lockdown measures keep people at home.

“Covid-19 has been an accelerator of trends, and in electronic commerce it has been very powerful,” said Oscar Silva, an expert in global strategies with the consultancy firm KPMG in Mexico.

“More than 10 million Latin Americans who had never bought online now do so regularly,” he told AFP.

The dominant regional force is not Amazon or eBay but Mercado Libre, which has a similar business model and is present in 18 countries.

Despite the economic turmoil unleashed by the pandemic, the Argentinian company doubled its sales in the second quarter of this year thanks to

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President Trump said Tuesday night that he paid “millions” of dollars in federal income tax, seeking to rebut a New York Times report this week that said he paid $750 in both 2016 and 2017.

“I paid millions of dollars in taxes — millions of dollars of income tax,” Mr. Trump said at the first presidential debate in Cleveland. “I paid $38 million one year. I paid $27 million one year.”

“Show us your tax returns,” Democratic rival Joseph R. Biden interjected.

“You’ll see it as soon as it’s finished. You’ll see it,” the president said.

Moderator Chris Wallace followed up to ask Mr. Trump if he would say how much he paid in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017.

“Millions of dollars,” Mr. Trump said.

“You paid millions of dollars?” Mr. Wallace said.

“Millions of dollars, yes,” he said. “And you’ll get to see it.”

Mr. Trump has

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE during Tuesday night’s debate said that he paid “millions” in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 — disputing a New York Times report saying he paid just $750 in each of those years — while Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE repeatedly pressed the president to release his tax returns.

“I paid millions of dollars in taxes, millions of dollars of income tax,” Trump said.

As the president continued to speak, Biden interrupted, saying “Show us your tax returns.”

“You’ll see it as soon as it’s finished,” Trump replied.

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President Donald Trump pushed back on the bombshell story from The New York Times that he paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, claiming that he’s paid “millions of dollars in taxes” without directly providing any specific numbers.

Cartoons on the 2020 Election

About halfway through Tuesday’s first general election debate in Cleveland, debate moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump to confirm whether he paid $750 during those two years and followed up to question whether the president would publicly say how much he paid in 2016 and 2017.

“I’ve paid millions of dollars in taxes. Millions of dollars in income tax,” Trump said, citing amounts he’s previously paid but not attributing them to specific years. “Chris, let me tell you something, I don’t want to pay tax. Like every other private business person, unless they’re stupid, they go through the laws.”

But the question appeared to put

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The Payroll Tax Deferral Executive Order, which was signed by President Trump last month, promised to deliver a financial boost for the millions of Americans struggling through tough times. Unfortunately, under current law, the tax deferment plan will likely amount to nothing more than aggravation, added stress, and a large tax bill in 2021.

The reality is, Trump’s unilateral attempt to bolster the economy without Congress’s backing is a plan riddled with complications most companies do not have the time or inclination to work through. As a result, this new payroll tax deferral plan appears to be hurting millions of Americans, and in more ways than one.

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