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Thursday, 06 March 2014 11:12

Man gets prison for Michigan casino scam

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - A man has been sentenced to three years in prison for repeatedly hitting a jackpot by using a light wand to manipulate poker machines at a Michigan casino. Joe Koster and two co-defendants have been ordered to pay $308,000 after appearing this week in Marquette federal court. The two-year scam began in 2009 at the Kewadin Casino Hotel & Resort in Sault Ste. Marie. Koster was considered the leader of the conspiracy and got the longest sentence. Judge Robert Holmes Bell ordered various punishments for five others, from one month behind bars to 18 months. They were accused of helping Koster by obstructing security guards or surveillance cameras.

DETROIT (AP) - The owner of Detroit's blighted Packard car plant complex says his redevelopment efforts have been delayed by a dispute with an ex-owner. The Detroit Free Press reports that Dominic Cristini wants Fernando Palazuelo to pay for a piece of the land that Cristini says he still technically owns. Cristini says he could make a claim of ownership over most of the property. Palazuelo, a developer from Peru, bid $405,000 for the property last year during a tax foreclosure auction. He says Cristini wants $3.5 million and calls it "typical blackmail." Cristini's adviser, David Wax, said there are others who also can lay claim to some parcels. The plant was built in 1903. The last Packard automobile was built there in the mid-1950s. Smaller industrial businesses used it afterward.

NEW YORK (AP) - United Airlines is getting tough on passengers with oversized carry-on bags. The Chicago-based airline has installed new bag-sizers at most airports. As of Saturday, workers have been sending passengers whose bag exceeds the dimensions for carry-ons back to the ticket counter, where they check the bag and pay a $25 fee. United says it wants to quicken the boarding process. The fewer bags passengers carry on, the less time is spent loading the overhead bins and the quicker everyone takes their seats. Bags in the overhead bin have a size limit of 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches. Some travelers say United is simply trying to collect more fees. United has a stated goal of collecting an additional $700 million in fee revenue within the next four years. 

DETROIT (AP) - Chrysler says it will take steps to build new cars and minivans in Ontario without incentives from the Canadian government. The company says it is withdrawing all requests for financial aid for plants in Windsor and Brampton, Ontario, because the projects have become a political football. Chrysler now builds minivans at the Windsor plant and big cars in Brampton. Chrysler has been talking to the federal and provincial governments about an incentive package that will help offset higher wages in Canada. The company says Tuesday that it will start the process of upgrading the Canadian factories with its own capital. But spending the money will depend on Canada's competitiveness with other global factories. 

DETROIT (AP) - GM, Ford and Toyota are reporting U.S. sales declines last month, as much of the nation was hit with snowstorms and frigid temperatures. The country's three top automakers say the month began slowly, but that sales began to recover in the second half. It's a sign that there may not be a broader auto sales slowdown, as had been feared. Chrysler and Nissan are reporting double-digit gains for the month, but they had to discount some of their key models. Volkswagen, which has been struggling in the United States, reported a 14-percent drop. Dealer inventories have hit their highest level in five years, putting pressure on companies to clear their lots. To unload the inventory, automakers are offering more discounts. Incentives are the highest they've been in three years. For February, GM says it sold just over 222,000 cars and trucks, led by the Chevrolet Cruze compact, with sales up almost 22 percent. But sales of the Chevy Silverado pickup fell 112 percent. Ford sold nearly 184,000 vehicles, but sales of cars fell almost 14 percent. Toyota sales fell 4 percent. 

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