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Published Sep. 10, 2005

MANUFACTURING STILL STRUGGLING: Production at the nation's factories, mines and utilities posted the worst showing since January, falling by 0.7 percent last month on top of a 0.5 percent drop in May, the Federal Reserve reported. June's results marked the ninth consecutive month manufacturing activity has fallen, as the beleaguered industrial sector continued to suffer heavy damage from the yearlong economic slowdown. June's drop was worse than the 0.5 percent drop many analysts expected.

SIX CONVICTED IN VIATICAL SCAM: Six more participants in a $115-million viatical investment scam have been convicted of conspiracy and money laundering by a federal jury in West Palm Beach. The scam, operated under the umbrella of Financial Federated Title & Trust and American Benefits Services, promoted life insurance policies purchased from the dying as a way to earn high yields with safety. But investors' money was used to buy cars, houses and luxury goods instead of insurance policies. Those convicted last week were Gary Pierce, Gar Hogan, Zane Balsam, Al Lewis, Wanda Tirado and Juan Arroyo, along with CSI Ag. Ltd., a company that once pledged to repay investors with Free Government of Vietnam gold bearer bonds. Two others, Raphael "Ray" Levy and Jeffrey Paine, pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing on related charges.

TAMPA OFFICE BUILDING SOLD: Westshore Corporate Center, a 167,000-square-foot office building at Interstate 275 and West Shore Boulevard in Tampa, has been sold for $19.6-million to America's Capital Partners of Miami. Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller, J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc.