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Business highlights, June 14

Business highlights, June 14
Published: June 14, 2012

Business briefs


Ford converts plant for Escape

Ford has transformed a nearly 60-year-old assembly plant into the new home of the redesigned Escape, its entry in the ultra-competitive small SUV category. And it's bolstered the workforce to make the vehicle. Ford Motor Co. invested $600 million to revamp its Louisville Assembly Plant, which features a new body, paint and trim assembly lines. The plant produced Ford Explorers from the early 1990s until late 2010. The plant's hourly workforce will swell to about 4,200 once a third shift is added this fall, the company said. As a spinoff, suppliers are adding more than 900 jobs in support of Escape production.

Sentencing set in ponzi scheme

As former Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford's criminal fraud case winds down with his upcoming sentencing, the legal battle for control of his remaining assets around the globe is far from over. Stanford is to be sentenced Thursday in Houston federal court. He was convicted in March on 13 fraud related counts for taking more than $7 billion from investors in one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history. He could get life in prison. Even after he is sentenced, the effort to return funds to investors will continue with no immediate end in sight.

Man indicted in website attacks

A 20-year-old Briton suspected of links to the hacking group Lulz Security is accused of cracking into websites for a Fox reality TV show, a venerable news show and other sites, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. A federal grand jury indicted Ryan Cleary on conspiracy and hacking charges for allegedly conspiring with other Lulz Security, or LulzSec, members to attack the website for the Fox show “The X-Factor,” along with sites belonging to PBS, Sony Pictures and others. Authorities said the hackers were seeking to steal personal information and deface sites. In a separate case, Cleary faces charges in the United Kingdom on allegations that he and others hacked a law enforcement agency, the Serious Organized Crime Agency, and various British music sites.

Lawsuit filed in lost contract

Sierra Nevada Corp. is suing for the reinstatement of a $354 million contract to build light air-support aircraft for use in Afghanistan, after the U.S. Air Force canceled the deal following objections by a rival manufacturer and under pressure from lawmakers. The Air Force canceled the high-stakes contract in March and launched an investigation after Hawker Beechcraft Corp. said it had been wrongly excluded from the bidding process. Sierra Nevada sued for the contract's reinstatement in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on Tuesday, contending that the revised bid proposal was tilted in favor of Hawker Beechcraft. The contract could ultimately be worth nearly $1 billion. Sparks-Nev.-based Sierra Nevada also raised concerns that the new selection process eliminates any flight demonstration or evaluation, meaning the first opportunity the Air Force will have to test the aircraft will come after it has been purchased and produced.

Amish man sentenced in fraud

An Amish man who managed investments for members of his religious community in 29 states was sentenced to more than six years in prison Wednesday for defrauding them out of nearly $17 million. Federal investigators said Monroe L. Beachy, 78, promised investors safe securities but moved their money to riskier investments. U.S. District Judge Benita Pearson rejected his request to allow him to serve his 6.5-year sentence at home and instead ordered that Beachy be sent to prison. Beachy, who is a member of an Amish church near Sugarcreek, about 60 miles south of Cleveland, pleaded guilty in March to mail fraud. About 2,700 people and entities, including an Amish community loan fund, lost about $16.8 million over the past six years.

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