Madoff’s Money Chief Testifies: The Fraud Was Obvious; & 4 More Things to Know

AP/Elizabeth WilliamsIn this courtroom drawing, Frank DiPascali, a longtime employee of Bernard Madoff, takes the stand in Manhattan Federal Court on Dec. 2 in New York. Here’s a quick rundown from the world of business and economics this morning: the things you need to know, and some you’ll just want to know.

• Right now, five former associates of Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff are on trial, trying to convince a jury that they had no idea their boss was running a massive, decades-long multibillion dollar con. But Madoff’s ex finance chief, Frank DiPascali, who has already pleaded guilty, testified that it was obvious to him that serious fraud was taking place from the time he started working at the firm — and that was back in 1975, when Madoff hired him right out of high school.

• Cyber Monday more than lived up to its name: Clocking in with a 20.6 percent increase in online sales over last year, it was the biggest online shopping day ever, IBM reports. And in a few more years, we may start calling it Mobile Monday: Sales made on smartphones and tablets jumped by 55.4 percent year-over-year, to more than 17 percent of online sales overall, and 31.7 percent of all online traffic.

• A federal appeals court has cut petro-giant BP (BP) a break regarding its $9.2 billion settlement of damages related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill back in 2010. The original agreement used a formula to calculate damages payments to businesses that didn’t require proof that their losses were actually caused by the oil spill. Not so fast, said the appeals court in New Orleans: The settlement money should only be used to compensate people who sustained losses traceable to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

• A judge will rule Tuesday about whether Detroit can legally declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy, which would eventually let it dump $18 billion in debt, Turns out, a local government can’t just say it’s out of cash: The city also has to show evidence that it tried to negotiate in good faith with its creditors or that such negotiations were impossible. (UPDATE: The judge gave Detroit the OK. Its bankruptcy can proceed.)

• And finally, Apple (AAPL) wants to know more what you’re tweeting. The tech giant has purchased the social analytics firm Topsy, which allows its users to search and analyze what’s trending on Twitter. What Apple paid wasn’t disclosed, but The Wall Street Journal quotes “people familiar with the matter” to put a $200 million price tag on the deal.

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