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Thursday, Jul 24th

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Bond trader could face nine years in prison in rare criminal prosecution

Blond trader to faced jail timeJesse Litvak was ecstatic.  It was March 31, 2010, and the mortgage bond trader at Jefferies & Co. had just persuaded Michael Canter, head of securitized assets at from giant asset manager Alliance Bernstein, to bite on the purchase of millions of dollars in mortgage bonds.

Litvak messaged the good news to his boss, William Jennings and wrote that he misrepresented the prices Jefferies had paid for the bonds and could get Canter to pay even more.

“Boom!” replied Jennings.   With another phone call and a couple of clicks on his computer, Litvak completed the $27 million sale, which earned him and Jefferies a $50,000 commission.

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Microsoft to cut 18,000 jobs this year as it trims Nokia

MicrosoftMicrosoft Corp said on Thursday it will slash up to 18,000 jobs, or 14 percent of its workforce, this year as it trims its newly acquired Nokia phone business and tries to transform into a cloud-computing and mobile-friendly software company.

The larger-than-expected cuts are the deepest in the company's 39-year history and come five months into the tenure of Chief Executive Satya Nadella, who outlined plans for a "leaner" business in a public memo to employees last week.

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This Nonexistent Social Network With No Revenues and No Assets Is Worth $4 Billion

Nonexistent tech companyIf you thought the potato-salad Kickstarter story was a crazy example of free markets run amok, here's one that's even more surreal: A social-media company called CYNK Technology is exploding in the stock market, with shares up more than 25,000 percent since the middle of June.

If you've never heard of CYNK Technology, you're forgiven — the company has no assets, no revenues, and a single employee. It's not even clear if the company's social network, IntroBiz, has any members.

And yet, Wall Street is going nuts over CYNK. As of today's close, the company's market value is over $4 billion, making it more valuable, on paper at least, than companies like JetBlue and the New York Times.

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Citigroup may pay $7 billion to resolve U.S. mortgage probes

CitigroupCitigroup Inc is close to paying about $7 billion to resolve a U.S. probe into whether it defrauded investors on billions of dollars worth of mortgage securities in the run-up to the financial crisis, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

A majority of the settlement is expected to be in cash, but the figure also includes several billion dollars in help to struggling borrowers, the source said.

An announcement of the settlement between the bank and the U.S. Department of Justice could come as early as next week, the source said.

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The Closing of Crumbs and the End of the Cupcake Era

Crumbs closesCrumbs Bake Shop shut down all its stores at the close of business on Monday, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The cupcake calamity comes amid vanishing same-store sales and over-saturation of shops in certain areas during the fad for the frosted dessert.

Signs of danger were unmistakable: Nasdaq suspended trading of Crumbs shares last Tuesday for the company’s failure to have the required minimum of $2.5 million in shareholder equity.

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How to Win Billions in Federal Contracts on a Permanent Tax Holiday

Ingersoll RandAmerican manufacturer Ingersoll-Rand Co. (IR) forged the tools that carved the Panama Canal and shaped Mount Rushmore. When it shifted its legal address to Bermuda in 2001 to reduce taxes, the maneuver sparked bipartisan outrage in Congress.

“These corporations have turned their back on their country,” Nevada Democrat Harry Reid fumed from the Senate floor, adding that his father, a hard-rock miner, had wielded an Ingersoll-Rand jackhammer. “There is no reason the U.S. government should reward tax runaways with lucrative government contracts.”

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Rhode Island governor signs minimum wage increase

Lincoln ChafeeRhode Island's Democratic governor, Lincoln Chafee, has signed a bill to increase the state's minimum wage by $1, to $9 an hour, his office said on Thursday, following similar moves by neighboring New England states.

The hike, which will take effect next year, comes as Democrats across the country have made raising the minimum wage a key priority ahead of November's elections, saying wages for millions of Americans have not kept pace with the rising cost of living.

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