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COMMUNICATIONS Indiana settles charges it filed false claims to FCC Indianapolis (AP)-The state of Indiana will pay more than $8 million to settle technology fraud claims. The state had allegedly violated federal rules by not seeking competitive bids on Internet services and charging inflated prices. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said that Indiana’s Intelenet Commission filed false claims to the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate program, which provided money for Internet technology in schools and libraries. DOJ claimed that the state charged inflated prices for services provided to Indiana schools and libraries, falsified invoices, disregarded the requirement that schools and libraries make co-payments for expenses and failed to seek competitive bids. MEDICARE Hospital operator pays $900M to end probe Dallas (AP)-Tenet Healthcare Corp., one of the nation’s largest hospital operators, has reached a $900 million settlement with federal officials to end investigations into alleged Medicare overbilling. Tenet will pay $725 million plus interest to settle allegations that it overbilled Medicare for the most costly cases, made illegal kickbacks to doctors to refer Medicare patients to its hospitals, and used improper billing codes to bilk the health care program. Tenet said it would pay $450 million plus $20 million interest immediately and pay off the balance by mid-2010. The company also agreed not to seek an additional $175 million that, it argued, it was owed by Medicare. PATENTS Fiber-optics maker wins against satellite TV firm New York (AP)-Finisar Corp., a maker of fiber-optic systems for telecommunications products, said that a Texas federal jury has awarded it $78.9 million in damages in a patent infringement case. The verdict was against satellite television company DirecTV Group Inc. Finisar had accused DirecTV of infringing on patents for transmission of digital information to a wide base of subscribers. Handwriting-recognition suit settles for $22.5M Stamford, Conn. (AP)-Handheld computer maker Palm Inc. said it would pay $22.5 million to Xerox Corp. to settle a patent infringement suit filed in 1997. The dispute stems from a suit Xerox filed against a predecessor company to Palm Inc. charging that the handwriting-recognition technology sold as “Graffiti” and formerly used in some Palm devices infringed on a Xerox patent, known as the Unistrokes patent. The $22.5 million payment covers a fully paid-up license for three Xerox patents, including Unistrokes, Palm said. The two sides also agreed to “patent peace,” or a seven-year mutual covenant not to sue within mutually agreed fields of use. PRICE-FIXING Enron pays city $3.3M to settle manipulation suit Washington (AP)-Enron Corp., the bankrupt energy trader, has agreed to pay the city of Tacoma, Wash., $3.28 million to resolve claims that it profited illegally by manipulating Western energy markets between 1997 and 2003. The terms of the refund settlement were outlined in an agreement the parties filed with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Western utilities like municipally owned Tacoma Power argue that consumers were overcharged for power because of Enron’s gaming practices. REGULATORY ACTION Morgan to pay SEC $10M to end insider-info action Washington (AP)-Securities firm Morgan Stanley has agreed to pay a $10 million civil fine to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it failed to maintain safeguards to prevent the misuse of inside information. In a civil lawsuit, the SEC said Morgan Stanley had for years failed to adequately maintain and enforce procedures to prevent the misuse of inside information regarding companies whose securities are held in hundreds of thousands of employee and employee-related accounts. The agency did not say whether any illegal insider trading or other improprieties had occurred using inside information as a result of the alleged lapses. From at least 2000 to 2004, Morgan Stanley failed to conduct needed surveillance of hundreds of thousands of employee and employee-related accounts to detect possible insider trading, the SEC alleged. SHAREHOLDER SUIT Software firm founder pays $100M to settle suit San Francisco (AP)-Larry Ellison, co-founder of business software firm Oracle Corp., has begun settling an insider-trading lawsuit by making a $100 million donation to the Ellison Medical Foundation, said lawyers representing shareholders who sued Ellison two years ago. The payment stems from the settlement of a civil complaint involving $900 million that he gained by selling some of his Oracle stock shortly before the company’s shares plummeted in 2001. Oracle’s shares plunged by 52%, erasing about $85 billion in shareholder wealth.

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