In addition to the competitions, job fairs and tradeshows, participants in the SkillsUSA national championships still found time to give back.
Competitors and convention attendees worked together to build a custom playhouse during the championships this week. The completed playhouse was donated to El Centro’s Academy for Children, a bilingual Pre-K program in Wyandotte County.
About 50 people came out to the dedication Friday morning. The 6’x9’ playhouse was painted royal blue, with bright yellow borders and small front porch.
Volunteers built the playhouse in only three days using supplies and materials donated by IRWIN tools. It was finished Thursday.
Feds seek life term for fraud mastermind
Federal prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for the man convicted of orchestrating a $3 billion fraud while running what had been one of the nation’s largest private mortgage companies. Fifty-eight-year-old Lee Farkas of Ocala, Fla., was majority owner of Florida-based Taylor Bean & Whitaker, which collapsed in 2009 when the scheme unraveled. The fraud also contributed to the failure of Alabama-based Colonial bank, which had been one of the country’s 25 largest banks.
Sentencing guidelines call for a term of 385 years. In court papers filed Thursday, prosecutors say Farkas should receive the maximum sentence when he is sentenced next week. They say he lived a life of opulence while running one of the largest fraud schemes in U.S. history.
Conrad Black resentenced to prison
Conrad Black, a once-powerful media mogul whose newspaper empire spanned several continents, is headed back to prison after a federal judge ruled Friday that he had not served enough time for defrauding investors. U.S. Judge Amy St. Eve sentenced Black to 31/2 years in prison, but prosecutors say he will be given credit for the about two years he already had served. The resentencing came after an appeals court decision last year.
Google confirms launch of FTC antitrust inquiry
Google is confirming that federal regulators have begun a formal antitrust review of its business practices. In a blog post Friday, the Internet search giant said it received notification from the Federal Trade Commission of the review on Thursday.
Google said “it’s still unclear exactly what the FTC’s concerns are.”
But the inquiry is expected to focus in large part on whether Google abuses its dominance of Internet search to extend its influence into other lucrative online markets, such as mapping, comparison shopping and travel. Rivals complain that Google manipulates its results to steer users to its own sites and services and bury links to competitors.
Google maintains that most accusations of anticompetitive behavior come not from users, who like its services, but from competitors unhappy with their search rankings.
| From staff and wire reports