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In brief: American Airlines settles FAA safety case

DALLAS – American Airlines has agreed to pay $24.9 million to settle $162 million in potential fines that were proposed by U.S. safety regulators.

American called the payment “a reasonable resolution” to the Federal Aviation Administration’s claims that American had violated safety regulations involving electrical wiring on planes and other issues.

The airline’s parent company, AMR Corp., disclosed the settlement Thursday in a filing with the federal bankruptcy court in New York.

Airlines frequently negotiate with the FAA to reduce potential penalties. A spokeswoman for American said the airline was pleased with the settlement over a claim that FAA had lodged during AMR’s bankruptcy reorganization.

The settlement is subject to the bankruptcy court’s approval. AMR expects to emerge from bankruptcy protection and merge with US Airways Group Inc. by the end of September.

Falcone, SEC reach civil fraud settlement

WASHINGTON – Billionaire hedge fund manager Philip Falcone and his firm have agreed to pay $18 million to settle civil fraud charges that he used fund money to pay his taxes and favored some clients over others.

Falcone would be barred for two years from working as an investment adviser or broker under the agreement in principle between the Securities and Exchange Commission, Falcone and Harbinger Capital Partners, according to a filing Thursday by Harbinger Group Inc. That is a publicly traded company of which Falcone is chairman and CEO.

Under the settlement, Falcone and Harbinger Capital would neither admit nor deny the SEC’s allegations.

Falcone, a prominent figure on Wall Street, could continue to own New York-based Harbinger Capital. But it would be overseen by an independent monitor. Falcone would not be able to make investments for the fund or raise money for it.

Retail stores report 4.9 percent sales rise

NEW YORK – Americans spent briskly during the early spring in the latest sign that they’re encouraged by the economic recovery.

Falling gas prices, a rallying stock market and gains in the job market all fueled Americans’ shopping habits even as cold weather tempered their desire to buy spring fashions.

Revenue at stores open at least a year – an industry measure of a store’s health because it excludes results from stores recently opened and closed – rose 4.9 percent in April compared with the same month a year ago, according to a preliminary tally of 12 retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers trade group.

That continues a trend that Americans started in early spring. In March, revenue rose 2.2 percent. And for the combined months of March and April, the figure rose 3.6 percent.

California suing JPMorgan Chase

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California’s attorney general sued one of the nation’s largest banks Thursday, alleging that JPMorgan Chase & Co. used illegal tactics in its efforts to collect debts from more than 100,000 credit card holders.

It’s the first such lawsuit in the nation, said spokesmen for both the company and the attorney general.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court says the company filed thousands of debt collection lawsuits each month between 2008 and April 2011 using improper practices that shortcut procedures required by California law.

JPMorgan Chase spokesman Paul Hartwick said the company had no comment.


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