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State issues warning on possible loan scam

The state's Department of Banking is warning consumers about an Internet loan scam by Cedarwood Equity Group. The company solicits personal and home loans. They ask for personal financial information, including Social Security numbers that could be used to commit identity theft. The company also asks for money upfront to process the loan. Cedarwood Equity Group represents itself as a Philadelphia-based lender. However, there is no such company at the listed address or licensed by the Department of Banking. Anyone victimized by an advance fee loan scam should notify the Department of Banking at 1-800-PA BANKS, within Pennsylvania, or 717-787-1854.

West Penn appeals dismissal of lawsuit

West Penn Allegheny Health System yesterday filed an appeal in U.S. District Court seeking reinstatement of its antitrust lawsuit against University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Highmark Inc. The lawsuit, which was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab on Oct. 29, alleged a conspiracy between Highmark and UPMC to reduce competition. "We stand by our complaint and believe it is in the best interest of the community to pursue this civil action to the fullest extent of the law," West Penn said in a statement.

Holiday travelers take longer to book

Holiday travelers waited a little longer to book their flights this year, likely holding out for better deals and waiting to see if they would still have a job. And some aren't going at all. Travelocity reports that the average advance purchase fell to 55 days for Thanksgiving travel this year. That's 2.6 days later than last year's average. People flying in late December waited to buy until 88 days in advance, down from 96 days last year, for domestic trips. For international trips, the average purchase was made 7.5 days later, or 110 days in advance.

Nook reader won't be seen until 2010

Consumers who haven't yet ordered Barnes & Noble's electronic book reader, the Nook, won't see one before Christmas. The earliest that anyone who ordered the $259 device yesterday -- or later -- will receive it is Jan. 4, the bookseller said yesterday.

Also in business ...

Emerald Coal Resources, LP, said a roof fell Wednesday at its Emerald longwall mine near Waynesburg, Greene County, an accident that disabled its main conveyor line and shut down coal production. No employees were in the area, and there were no injuries, the company said. ... J.M. Smucker said second-quarter profits more than doubled on growth from its Folgers acquisition and as consumers eat at home more. Smucker earned $140 million, or $1.18 per share, compared with $51.5 million, or 94 cents per share, a year earlier. The results topped analysts' expectations.



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