Financial 411: The Weekly Round-Up


Consumer Prices on the Rise

Get ready to continue paying more some of the basic necessities. Consumer prices rose a half of a percent last month, mostly because of soaring gas and food prices. Luckily, people have a bit more money to spend thanks to a one-year cut to Social Security taxes. But that extra money will probably end up covering the extra it will cost to fill up the tank. AAA said the average price for a gallon of gas in New York is $3.98.

Online Poker Companies Charged with Fraud
Three of the largest Internet poker companies in the U.S. may have been stacking the deck in their favor. The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan are charging 11 people, including the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling. They charge that the companies used fraudulent methods to receive billions of gambling dollars from U.S. residents when banks refused to process payments for the illegal activities.

IRS Finds Tax Credit Misuse  
And speaking of alleged fraud, remember that tax credit for first time home-buyers? The inspector general for the IRS said the agency paid more than half a billion dollars in tax credits to people who probably didn't quality. Some taxpayers claimed to be first time home-buyers when there was evidence they previously owned a home. Some hadn't even bought a home and listed a future purchase. And then there were the people who claimed to be buying a home, when they actually were sitting in jail. The IRS said it provided nearly $29 billion in tax credits to more than 4 million people.

Stocks are ending Friday with slight gains as investors saw encouraging signs on the economy.
The Dow Jones gained 57 points to close at 12,342.
The S and P added 5 points to end at 1,320.
The NASDAQ added 4 points, to close at 2,765.

The Week in Review
This week, Washington finally approved a spending bill to fund the government -- and then quickly began sparring over competing proposals to cut the deficit. A key figure in the state's pay-to-play pension fund investigation was sentenced, and Madison Square Garden could get a boost thanks to the Knicks and the Rangers.

Greg David, Director of the Business & Economics Reporting Program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, discusses the week's business and economic news. David explains who won and who lost in the budget battle and what the implications may be for the president's re-election campaign.