NATIONAL BRIEFING

CVS said sales of CVS brand items improved, helping fuel a 17 percent rise in profit.
CVS said sales of CVS brand items improved, helping fuel a 17 percent rise in profit. (By Lisa Poole -- Associated Press)
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Friday, February 20, 2009

LEGAL

Allen Stanford Found in Virginia

FBI agents found R. Allen Stanford, the suspected mastermind of a $9.2 billion financial fraud, in Fredericksburg, Va., and served him with court papers, authorities said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Stanford, his three companies and two associates with fraud Tuesday after determining that he was allegedly misleading customers in the sale of certificates of deposit and other financial products.

Federal agents raided his office buildings in Houston, a judge froze his assets and a receiver was put in charge of his companies. But Stanford, a billionaire who spends much of the year in Antigua, where the bank at the center of the alleged fraud is based, could not be found.

The lawyer representing him in the SEC investigation had weeks earlier ended his association with Stanford and disavowed any earlier statements.

The investigation into Stanford has focused on what the SEC has called "impossible" returns on his investment portfolio, generating questions about whether he was running a Ponzi scheme.

The SEC has worked with criminal authorities on the case, but no criminal charges have yet been filed against Stanford. The SEC often files civil charges before criminal charges are filed.

TELECOM

Sprint Nextel Loses $1.6 Billion

Sprint Nextel said it lost $1.6 billion during the fourth quarter, down from a $29.3 billion loss during the comparable period a year earlier, which included a $29 billion write-down of the value of its 2005 purchase of Nextel Communications. Revenue fell 14 percent, to $8.4 billion, missing analysts' expectation of $8.55 billion.

The nation's third-largest wireless carrier said it lost 1.27 million customers during the quarter, including 1.1 million "postpaid" customers, who are on contracts and are considered the most valuable subscribers. The numbers were a slight improvement from the third quarter, when Sprint lost 1.32 million customers.

For all of 2008, the company said it lost $2.8 billion, compared with a loss of $29.4 billion in 2007. Revenue fell 11.2 percent, to $35.6 billion.

MEDIA


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