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Thursday business briefs

Movie Gallery closing 760

stores, seeking Chapter 11

Movie Gallery Inc., the second-largest movie-rental business behind Blockbuster Inc., survived less than two years outside bankruptcy. The Wilsonville, Ore.-based company, with four locations on Long Island, filed a Chapter 11 petition again this week and is immediately closing 760 locations, leaving 1,906 in operation. The company warned it "anticipates" closing more; the Port Washington store is slated for immediate closure, according to the filing. Other outlets are in Lake Ronkonkoma, Lawrence and Lindenhurst. Movie Gallery blamed the filing, in part, on competition from companies like Blockbuster and Netflix Inc.

AG charges fraud in Merrill,

Bank of America deal

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo Thursday charged Bank of America Corp. and former chief executive Kenneth Lewis and former chief financial officer Joe Price with fraud for allegedly misleading shareholders about the acquisition last year of Merrill Lynch & Co. While Cuomo's office was filing civil charges, the Securities and Exchange Commission reached a settlement to resolve separate federal charges it brought against Bank of America over similar issues.

FTC cracking down on

mortgage-aid scams

The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday it is cracking down on companies that advertise help for troubled homeowners but often turn out to be scam artists. It will propose to ban those foreclosure rescue services from collecting payment up front and instead permit them to collect only if they succeed in providing help. The government says it has filed charges against 28 companies.

Aeropostale, Saks pull back

necklaces with cadmium

The teen fashion chain Aeropostale and outlet stores of the upscale Saks Fifth Avenue are pulling from shelves necklaces that tests showed have high levels of the toxic metal cadmium. Aeropostale also says that from now on, no level of cadmium will be acceptable in its jewelry and suppliers will have to prove products are clean.

From wire reports

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