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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Business in brief: Free document-shredding will be offered Friday

Two groups are sponsoring a free document-shredding event Friday at the USPS carrier annex at 5511 E. Alki Ave.

People can bring any personal or financial documents they wish to get rid of, to avoid possible identify theft, said Marie Rice, a member of the Spokane Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. That group, along with the U.S. Postal Service, is sponsoring the shredding.

United Data Security is providing a shred truck to dispose of documents.

The hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Washington

Large assisted-living firm charged with fraud

Federal regulators on Monday accused Sunwest Management Inc., one of the nation’s largest operators of assisted-living facilities, and its former chief executive of securities fraud in connection with real estate investments that turned sour.

Salem, Ore.-based Sunwest operates more than 200 senior housing facilities around the country, including Parkway Village Assisted Living, at 3708 E. 57th Ave. in Spokane.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Sunwest raised more than $300 million from 1,300 investors around the country from 2006 to 2008 by promising annual returns of around 10 percent and touting a track record of never missing a payment.

The agency alleged that Sunwest lied to investors about its operations and concealed the risks of the property investments, exposing them to huge losses when the economic downturn and credit crisis brought the collapse of Sunwest.

Detroit

Major automakers suffer another bad month

Major automakers’ U.S. sales continued their deep slump in February, putting the industry on track for its worst sales month in more than 27 years as huge rebates and low-interest financing failed to spur fearful consumers to make a major purchase.

General Motors’ sales tumbled 53 percent from a year earlier, while Ford’s U.S. sales fell 48 percent and Chrysler’s fell 44 percent.

The slide casts further doubt on the financial viability of GM and Chrysler, which need to sell cars and generate critical cash to supplement the $17.4 billion in government loans that are keeping them in business.

New York

Citigroup moves to lower some mortgage payments

Struggling bank Citigroup Inc. said Tuesday that it will lower mortgage payments for some homeowners to an average of $500 a month for three months as part of a new program to help the unemployed.

The struggling bank makes the move as President Barack Obama looks to lenders to adjust the way loans are handled.

Citigroup’s new mortgage efforts come on the heels of the latest attempt to bail out the company, which includes the U.S. government’s exchange of up to $25 billion in emergency bailout money given to Citigroup for as much as a 36 percent equity stake in the company.

From staff and wire reports
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