PRESS DIGEST- New York Times business news - Jan 8

Reuters

Jan 8 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the New York Times business pages. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* As part of a deferred-prosecution agreement, JPMorgan Chase & Co will pay $1.7 billion to the Justice Department for not maintaining proper anti-money laundering controls and failing to file a "suspicious activity report" on Bernard Madoff's account. ()

* The Federal Trade Commission charged Sensa Products, L'Occitane, HCG Diet Direct and LeanSpa with deceptively marketing weight-loss products, asserting they made "unfounded promises" that consumers could shed pounds by using their food additives, skin creams and other dietary supplements.

* An indictment by the Manhattan district attorney's office charged 106 people in the largest fraud ever perpetrated against the Social Security disability system. The scheme, stretching back to 1988 and involving as many as 1,000 people, many of whom are officers and firefighters already collecting pensions from the city, is suspected to have cheated the federal government out of about $400 million. ()

* The Senate voted to advance legislation extending expired unemployment benefits. The three-month extension of benefits passed on a vote of 60 to 37, and some of the six Republicans who voted yes said they wanted the $6.4 billion cost paid for through cuts elsewhere in the budget. ()

* While the federal government is spending more than $22 billion to encourage hospitals and doctors to adopt electronic health records, it has failed to put safeguards in place to prevent the technology from being used for inflating costs and overbilling, according to a new report by a federal oversight agency. ()

* A legal struggle over Utah's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage has catapulted the socially conservative state to the center of the national debate over who should be allowed to wed, and whether states have the right to limit marriages to one man and one woman. ()

* A U.S. military helicopter crashed on the coast of eastern England on Tuesday, and all four people aboard were believed to have been killed, authorities said. The cause of the crash was unclear. The helicopter was a United States Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk that was based at the Royal Air Force base in Lakenheath in Suffolk, also in eastern England. ()

* Drawing on lessons from Hurricane Sandy, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined how the state would spend more than $16 billion in federal disaster aid on items like high-tech weather stations and seals for entrances to subway stations. ()

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