tampabay.com

schemes took millions from brokerages

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 5, 2007


Washington

Tens of millions of dollars have been looted from online brokerage accounts in a fast-growing fraud that targets unsuspecting hotel guests and Internet cafe patrons, FBI officials say. The U.S. Justice Department has stepped up enforcement against the schemes, which combine elements of 21st-century identity theft and old-fashioned stock fraud; the department unsealed its first criminal charges in March. Five civil complaints have been brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission since December. The scams cost New York-based E-Trade Financial Corp. $18-million in last year's third quarter to reimburse customers whose accounts were pilfered. TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. said it spent $4-million.

Openings dried up across U.S. in April

Jobseekers had a harder time finding work last month as the economy cooled and wary employers added the fewest positions in 21/2 years. The jobless rate edged up to 4.5 percent. The fresh employment picture provided by the Labor Department on Friday showed that payrolls grew by just 88, 000 as job losses spread beyond the struggling manufacturing and construction sectors and into retailing and financial services. Workers' paychecks also grew more slowly.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.

Bank of America sues ABN Amro

Focused intently on moving into Chicago and undeterred by the prospect of a trans-Atlantic legal fight, Bank of America Corp. sued ABN Amro on Friday to preserve its $21-billion deal to buy the Dutch company's LaSalle Bank Corp. subsidiary. The move places Bank of America in the middle of $100-billion takeover battle for ABN Amro between Britain's Barclays PLC and a consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland PLC. In a filing in a New York federal court, Bank of America said it had an exclusive sale agreement with ABN Amro for LaSalle. Bank of America also said ABN had told the company shareholders approval wasn't needed.

New York

Imus' attorney hits CBS Radio, MSNBC

A lawyer for Don Imus said Friday that the former radio host's bosses could have edited the on-air comments that got him fired - and the fact that they didn't meant they saw his remarks as routine for his often-provocative show. Attorney Martin Garbus told ABC-TV's Good Morning America that CBS Radio and MSNBC had delay buttons but didn't use them when Imus made racist and sexist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team last month. An MSNBC spokeswoman contradicted Garbus' claim, saying the broadcast aired without a delay and that there was no opportunity to delete his comments.

FRANKFURT, Germany

Chrysler sales rise outside N. America

Automaker DaimlerChrysler AG's car sales at its Chrysler Group rose last month outside the North American market, the company said Friday. Sales in April rose 17 percent with 18, 289 cars sold, the German-American automaker said, while sales from January to April rose 14 percent compared to the same time a year ago, with 70, 859 cars sold.