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Business briefs

 

LONG ISLAND

 

 

Charges in mortgage scam

 

An Old Westbury man has been charged with running a $7.5-million mortgage scam, prosecutors said Tuesday. Mitchell Cohen, 54, was arrested Tuesday along with Erin Davis, 43, of Yonkers, according to Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney in Manhattan. They each were charged with conspiracy to commit wire, bank and mail fraud, and two counts of conspiracy to make false statements. The charges carry penalties of up to 40 years in prison. Cohen also faces up to five years in prison on perjury charges. Prosecutors described the alleged scam in a news release: From 2007 until October 2010, Cohen ran a real estate brokerage in Queens known as Buy-a-Home Llc or First Home Brokerage, where he hired Davis as a sales manager. The pair persuaded "unsophisticated buyers" to buy homes at inflated prices and then made it appear that they could qualify for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, earning "substantial profits," prosecutors said. -- Maura McDermott

 

295 bids for $750M projects

 

The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council has received 295 applications from developers, businesses and not-for-profit groups for a share of $750 million worth of state tax credits and grants, a spokesman said Tuesday. The council, appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, received about 250 project applications last year, the first time New York State had a competition for development aid. In the 2011 contest, Long Island received $101.6 million for 66 projects. Council members will send their recommendations to Albany on Aug. 27. -- James T. Madore

 

Schein buys three companies

 

Henry Schein, the Melville-based distributor of health care supplies, Tuesday said it had acquired three companies that have combined sales of roughly $61 million. The company did not disclose how much it paid for the three companies, Ortho Technology Inc., of Tampa, Fla.; Modern Laboratory Services of Bakersfield, Calif.; and Accord of Bangkok. Schein, which posted $8.5 billion in sales last year, does not expect the acquisitions to impact its 2012 earnings per share. Ortho Technology distributes orthodontics products, Modern Laboratory Services provides laboratory equipment and supplies, and Accord serves dental practitioners, hospitals, dental schools and public health authorities. -- Joe Ryan

 

NATION

 

 

Ford Escape probed after crash

 

Ford Motor Co.'s Escape sport utility vehicles are under investigation by U.S. auto-safety regulators for possible unintended acceleration after a January crash that killed a 17-year-old girl in Arizona. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is probing Escapes including 2002 models like the one that teenager Saige Bloom was driving. The investigation follows a July 10 letter from Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Automotive Safety, to Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, asking him to recall all Escapes from model years 2002 to 2004 for what he called a "lethal cruise control cable defect." -- Bloomberg News

 

WORLD

 

 

Microsoft facing antitrust probe

 

The EU's executive body, the European Commission, announced Tuesday it was opening an investigation into whether Microsoft has kept the antitrust commitments it made in 2009, and warned that penalties for non-compliance would be "severe." Microsoft conceded it had "fallen short" of its obligation to provide the "browser choice screen," or BCS. The screen would allow users of Microsoft's Windows operating systems to select a browser other than Microsoft's Internet Explorer. "Due to a technical error, we missed delivering the BCS software to PCs that came with the service pack 1 update to Windows 7," Microsoft said in a statement. -- AP

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