Local & State
Blythewood businesswoman indicted
Blythewood businesswoman Terris Shirelle Riley has been indicted on one count of embezzlement over $10,000 and four counts of breach of trust over $10,000, S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office said Friday.
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If convicted, Riley faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine for each of the charges, Wilson’s office said.
Riley, who is president of New Venue Technologies, is charged with embezzling more than $2 million from government agencies meant to pay for software from four resellers, according to the indictments.
Riley was a member of Gov. Nikki Haley’s Regulatory Review Task Force. She was removed when she was first charged a year ago.
Nation & World
Retail sales climb in October
U.S. retail sales rose modestly in October, evidence that recent job gains and lower gas prices are lifting consumer spending as the holiday shopping season begins.
The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales rose 0.3 percent last month after falling by the same amount in September. Excluding gas stations, sales rose a solid 0.5 percent.
Employers have stepped up hiring, giving more Americans paychecks to spend and boosting consumer confidence. Stock prices have reached new highs, possibly encouraging more spending by wealthy households. Greater spending could spur more growth because consumer spending makes up about 70 percent of economic activity.
Auto sales rose a solid 0.5 percent, after falling sharply in September. Americans also spent more at restaurants and at sporting goods and health care stores.
No more tracking codes in AT&T smartphone data
AT&T Mobility, the nation’s second-largest cellular provider, said Friday it’s no longer attaching hidden Internet tracking codes to data transmitted from its users’ smartphones. The practice made it nearly impossible to shield its subscribers’ identities online.
The change by AT&T essentially removes a hidden string of letters and numbers that are passed along to websites that a consumer visits. It can be used to track subscribers across the Internet, a lucrative data-mining opportunity for advertisers that could still reveal users’ identities based on their browsing habits.
Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest mobile firm, said Friday it still uses this type of tracking, known as “super cookies.” Verizon spokeswoman Debra Lewis said business and government customers don’t have the code inserted. There has been no evidence that Sprint and T-Mobile have used such codes.
Yellen, Fed board members meet with critics
A coalition of community groups and labor unions are “fed up” with the Federal Reserve.
More than two dozen activists demonstrated outside the Fed and then met with chairwoman Janet Yellen on Friday as part of a new campaign seeking policy reforms and a commitment to keep interest rates low until good jobs are plentiful for all workers. Although the labor market has steadily strengthened this year, wages have remained stagnant.
During the hour-long discussion with Yellen and three other Fed board members, coalition representatives discussed problems their communities were facing with high unemployment and weak wage growth.
Staff writer Anne-Kathryn Flanagan and The Associated Press contributed.