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Economy Briefs: GE buys 2,000 Ford plug-in hybrids for fleet

- - Tuesday, November 20, 2012

DEARBORN, Mich. — GE is buying 2,000 plug-in hybrid cars from Ford for its corporate fleet.

Ford Motor Co. and General Electric Co. announced the purchase of the C-Max Energi hybrid Tuesday.

GE has set a goal of converting half of its fleet to alternative-energy vehicles. With the Ford purchase, GE has 5,000 alternative-fuel vehicles, or about 10 percent of its fleet.

CRIME

Ex-hedge fund manager charged in $276M ploy

NEW YORK | A former hedge fund portfolio manager was arrested Tuesday on charges that he helped deliver what a prosecutor said "what might be the most lucrative inside tip of all time," enabling investment advisers and their hedge funds to make more than $276 million in illegal profits.

Mathew Martoma was charged in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with using confidential information about an Alzheimer’s disease drug trial to help his firm avoid losses and instead reap a hefty profit in a scheme that stretched from 2006 through July 2008 while he worked for CR Intrinsic Investors LLC of Stamford, Conn.

He is charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and two counts of securities fraud.

RETAIL

J.C. Penney ratings knocked one step lower

NEW YORK — Moody's Investors Service is cutting its long-term ratings for J.C. Penney Co. one step lower into noninvestment of junk grade status.

Moody's lowered the department store chain's corporate family and probability of default ratings to "B3" from "Ba3." The outlook is "negative."

Moody’s says the downgrades reflect its expectation that Penney's fourth-quarter profitability will take a big hit as a result of the need to clear excess inventory.

LAWSUIT

Credit Suisse sued over mortgage securities

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York state is suing Credit Suisse Securities and affiliates, claiming they misled investors about the care taken in evaluating their residential mortgage-backed securities.

The suit filed Tuesday in Manhattan under New York’s Martin Act says Credit Suisse deceived investors before the 2008 market collapse.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the securities sponsored and underwritten by Credit Suisse in 2006 and 2007 have lost about $11.2 billion.

Zurich-based Credit Suisse declined to comment.

Mr. Schneiderman is co-chairman of a task force established by President Obama to investigate misconduct in the pooling and sales of those securities.

Last month, he filed a similar lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase & Co., alleging fraud by Bear Stearns before its 2008 collapse and subsequent sale to the New York bank. 

From wire dispatches and staff reports