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Comptroller halts refunds due to improper tax returns

ALBANY (AP) -- The State Comptroller's Office has halted $16.4 million in personal state income tax refunds, saying it has found 5,903 improper returns among those filed so far this year.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Monday that his office has audited and approved 4.7 million refund requests totaling $4.1 billion in 2012, with another 406,000 refund requests totaling $382 million expected to be paid in the coming days.

He said most taxpayers play by the rules, but some have claimed tax deductions for children they don't have, listed fictitious day care expenses or tried other schemes to cheat on taxes.

The Comptroller's Office said it audits all state bills prior to payment, including personal income tax refunds.

The agency said 23 percent of questionable returns were linked to dishonest tax preparers.

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Recycling event planned

Evans Bank is teaming up with recycling firm Sunnking to hold an electronics recycling event at the bank's offices in Angola and Clarence on Friday and at its corporate headquarters in Hamburg on Saturday.

The subsidiary of Evans Bancorp will take old electronics items at 14-16 N. Main St. in Angola and 8411 Main St. in Clarence from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at One Grimsby Drive in Hamburg on Saturday.

Sunnking will donate a percentage of the profits to Camp Good Days on behalf of the bank, in observance of Earth Day.

Only electronic devices are accepted, not household waste or regular batteries. For a list of acceptable items, visit the website at www.sunnking.com/acceptable-materials.

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$60 bulb to hit shelves

NEW YORK (AP) -- How much would you pay for an amazing, state-of-the-art light bulb? Shoppers will be asking themselves that very question at Home Depot and other outlets starting Sunday -- Earth Day -- when the bulb that won a $10 million government contest goes on sale.

The bulb is the most energy-efficient yet, lasts about 20 years and is supposed to give off a pleasing, natural-looking light. But what separates it from the pack most is the price: $60.

That's the price that reflects the cost of the components, especially the top-notch chips, or diodes, that give off the light, and that's the price commercial customers will pay.

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Walmart CEO's bonus dips

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mike Duke, the CEO of Walmart Stores Inc., received a pay package in 2011 worth $18.1 million, a 3 percent dip from the year before, according to an Associated Press calculation, mainly because his performance-based cash bonus shrank.

The dip in compensation came even as Walmart reversed a more than two-year sales slump in its namesake business as it emphasized low prices across the store and restored thousands of items that it had culled during its campaign three years ago to declutter its stores.

Duke, 62, who has been Walmart's CEO since February 2009, received a base salary of $1.3 million, up almost 3 percent, and stock awards worth $13.1 million, up 3 percent from fiscal 2010. His cash-based performance bonus fell 25 percent to $2.88 million.

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Citi's global focus pays off

NEW YORK (AP) -- Citigroup, which has 4,600 branches in 40 countries, boasts that it is the most global American bank. That reach paid off big time in the first three months of the year.

Citigroup pulled in record revenue from processing transactions for its international corporate clients, and its loans to customers in Asia and Latin America grew.

The bank said Monday that it made $2.9 billion in the first three months of the year, on revenue of $19.4 billion. Both revenue and income fell 2 percent from the year-ago quarter, mostly because of an accounting charge related to Citi's debt.