By LIA SPENCER JESSICA Raines’s daughter was only six months old when she found out she was pregnant with her…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.
- Why veterans end up paying more for mortgages than they should
(iStock)Veterans and servicemembers make up 20 percent of homebuyers, and in theory, they are supposed to get better deals on their mortgages thanks to VA Home Loans, which are provided by private lenders with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs guaranteeing a portion of the loan.But a new study found that too often, they end up paying more than they should.The study, which was conducted by technology company Own Up and first reported by NPR, found several reasons for this, including lenders setting higher profit margins on VA loans; a proliferation of “churning” schemes designed to increase refinancing; and the charging of high origination fees, which VA lenders are authorized to do.Own Up, which was founded by two former mortgage bankers, is geared toward helping people find better deals on mortgages. The company’s study relied on 2019 lending data showing rates from the top 20 providers of VA loans.ADVERTISEMENT“When we looked at the spread, candidly, we were quite surprised that it was as wide as it was,” said Patrick Boyaggi, Own Up’s CEO. “The best lenders and the worst lenders were so far apart from one another.”Navy Federal Credit Union, one of the country’s largest credit unions, offered the lowest rates, the study showed. New Day USA, a lender founded in 1999, had the highest.New Day told NPR in a statement that the study’s methodology was flawed because it had categorized two different types of loans in the same bucket. The company said it aimed “to assist servicemembers and veterans to receive the benefits that they so rightly deserve.”But Mike Calhoun of the Center for Responsible Lending told NPR that did not add up.“The information from this lender does not explain why their borrowers are being charged so much more than other lenders are charging their VA borrowers,” he said. [NPR] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now
- Hungarian court jails smugglers for deaths of 71 migrants inside truck
When Austrian police found the vehicle, they discovered the bodies piled on top of each other. Investigators determined that the victims had been dead for two days, and therefore died while they were still in Hungary.News of the deaths at the time sent shockwaves through Europe. The discovery came at the height of the refugee crisis in August 2015, the same month when German Chancellor Angela Merkel made the controversial decision to open her country’s doors to refugees.The alleged leader of the smuggling ring, a 31-year-old Afghan man named Samsoor Lahoo, told the court that he “had not wanted anyone’s death.” But phone calls intercepted by police showed that Lahoo told truck drivers to “let them die instead. That’s an order.”Lahoo argued that these were simply “thoughtless remarks.”State prosecutor Gabor Schmidt said Lahoo showed “endless greed” and “frightening indifference.”The Budapest-based smuggling ring was a professional network with more than 15 vehicles, according to Hungarian officials, and it charged up to €1,500 per person for passage into Austria. It was responsible for smuggling more than 1,100 people into the country. A Hungarian court sentenced four main suspects behind a people-smuggling ring to 25 years in prison on Thursday over the deaths of 71 migrants who suffocated inside a truck in 2015.The four men were charged with “aggravated murder with particular cruelty,” according to AFP, while 10 others received sentences of between three to 12 years for their role in the people-smuggling network.The migrants died of suffocation inside of a truck along the drive between Hungary and Austria after their calls for air were ignored, according to investigators. When the driver discovered they had died, he abandoned the truck on the side of the road in Austria. The victims — 59 men, eight women and four children, including a baby — came from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.