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NY metro consumer prices up 1.9 percent; other business briefs


Consumer prices rise 1.9 percent

Consumer prices for Long Island and the surrounding metropolitan area edged up last month compared with a year ago because of higher costs for housing and mass transit. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics Tuesday reported its consumer price index for the 31-county region that includes Long Island climbed 1.9 percent in March compared with a year earlier. The cost of housing was up 2.3 percent from March 2012, driven largely by rents rising 3.5 percent, according to the bureau's chief regional economist, Martin Kohli. Gasoline was down 1.3 percent, year over year.

-- James T. Madore

Trader admits Apple stock role

A securities trader from Rockville Centre admitted Monday he participated in a scheme involving the unauthorized purchase of about $1 billion of Apple stock that wound up costing his employer $5 million, federal prosecutors said. David Miller pleaded guilty in Hartford federal court to conspiracy and fraud offenses, the U.S. attorney's office said. Authorities say Miller, 40, while employed at Rochdale Securities LLC of Stamford, Conn., conspired to execute a trade to buy 1.6 million shares of Apple stock on behalf of a Rochdale customer whose account he handled. After Apple announced its earnings later that day, the stock price began dropping. When confronted, Miller falsely claimed he had made a mistake in ordering many multiples of what was written in a client's order, authorities said. -- AP

Guilty plea in drug ring case

A pharmacist pleaded guilty Tuesday for his role in an alleged Long Island black market drug ring that defrauded Medicaid of more than $155 million, State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said. Harry Abolafia, 65, of San Antonio, Texas, admitted he prepared paperwork to make it appear that black market prescription drugs sold to Allion Healthcare Inc. in Melville came from legitimate sources, Schneiderman's office said. Abolafia pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead to felony conspiracy and his company pleaded guilty to felony money laundering. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail, five years probation and will repay $375,000 to the state. The drugs mainly went to HIV/AIDS patients via MOMS Pharmacy, which was acquired last year by the nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Abolafia was arrested last year with three other defendants whose cases are still pending.-- Ted Phillips

Pall gets $1.2-billion credit line

Pall Corp., a Port Washington-based supplier of filtration and purification technologies, got a five-year $1.2-billion revolving credit line to replace debt maturing in 2015. The pact with lenders also provides as much as $100 million in letters of credit, Pall said Tuesday in a regulatory filing. Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. arranged the loan. Under a revolving credit line, money can be borrowed again once it's repaid.-- Bloomberg News


Icahn agrees to Dell stake limit

Dell Inc. and Carl Icahn have agreed to cap his stake in the PC maker while a special board committee considers competing takeover bids from Icahn, a group led by CEO Michael Dell and buyout specialist Blackstone Group. Under the agreement, Icahn and entities tied to him pledge not to buy more than 10 percent of Dell Inc. shares. In exchange, Icahn is allowed to talk to other shareholders about putting together a superior proposal to company founder Michael Dell's $24.4-billion buyout offer. The company said the agreement maximizes its chances of getting a better proposal from Icahn while protecting shareholders from the accumulation of an "unduly influential voting interest."-- AP

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