Truist Bank puts its mark on the Atlanta skyline and more business news

Truist puts mark on Atlanta skyline

Truist will soon have its name in bright lights atop Atlanta’s second-tallest building.

The company will install the signage on Saturday morning, using a helicopter to lower the lettering onto the 60-story office tower, below the bank’s logo.

Streets surrounding Truist Plaza will be closed to cars and pedestrians during the installation, said Mike McCoy, a Truist spokesman.

At 871 feet, Truist Plaza is visible for miles in any direction, and the signage should be easily seen from the Downtown Connector, McCoy said. Atlanta’s tallest building, the 1,023-foot Bank of America Plaza, doesn’t have a sign on top, so Truist will have the highest sign in the city.

Truist will begin replacing SunTrust signage at retail branches and ATMs early this year. It’s already begun phasing out SunTrust branding on mobile apps and online platforms.

In Chattanooga, Truist put its sign atop the 20-story former SunTrust Bank building last year.

Truist Bank was formed in December 2019 when Atlanta-based SunTrust merged with BB&T. The new company moved its headquarters to Charlotte, North Carolina. Truist has reduced the size of its workforce based in metro Atlanta, though it still employs 8,500 in Georgia.

Truist is the largest bank in metro Atlanta with about 25% of the area’s market share, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Truist is the second biggest bank in metropolitan Chattanooga with $2 billion in local deposits.


GM revamps plant to make EV motors

General Motors says it will spend about $154 million to revamp an aging factory near Buffalo, New York, so it can make a key part for electric vehicle motors.

The automaker says it will add about 230 jobs at the factory in Lockport, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Buffalo, to build stator modules, the part that creates a magnetic field to turn the motor. The part will go into motors for new electric trucks and SUVs.

In addition to renovation, the money will go toward buying and installing equipment needed to make the new part.

Currently the Lockport plant has about 1,500 workers who make radiators, condensers, heater cores, oil coolers and other parts for internal combustion engines in trucks and SUVs. The new positions would be filled between 2023 and 2026, the company said in a statement.

GM says renovations to the plant will begin immediately. The plant built in 1910 will keep building combustion engine parts.

GM has set a goal of selling only electric passenger vehicles by 2035. It plans to spend $35 billion to roll out more than 30 new battery vehicles globally by 2025 as it aims to unseat Tesla as the electric vehicle sales leader.


Nursing home operator charged with tax evasion

The operator of a failed multi-state nursing home chain failed to pay $29.5 million in payroll and unemployment taxes for his employees at 95 facilities he operated in 11 states, federal prosecutors said.

Authorities on Thursday arrested Joseph Schwartz, 62, of Suffern, New York, and charged him in federal court in New Jersey with willful failure to pay over employment taxes, evasion of unemployment taxes and failure to file annual financial reports.m According to authorities, his New Jersey-based Skyline Management Group had approximately 15,000 employees and Schwartz failed to pay their taxes from mid-2017 through June 2018.

Prosecutors also alleged Schwartz failed to file annual financial reports related to Skyline’s 401K retirement plan contributions that are automatically withdrawn from an employee’s gross pay.

“Each count of willful failure to collect, account for, and pay over employment taxes and tax evasion is punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine,” prosecutors said. Evasion of unemployment taxes is punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and each count of 401K benefit plan fraud is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Schwartz was also sued in federal court in 2020 by former employees in multiple states who claimed they were left without health insurance even though money had been deducted from their paychecks.Employees allegedly only found out they did not have health insurance when they were billed for medical procedures. One woman allegedly was left with a $50,000 bill.


2 Alabama workers tried to steal from Chick-Fil-A

Two former Alabama Chick-fil-A employees have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a scheme to steal nearly $500,000 from the Georgia-based fast-food firm.

A federal judge in Alabama handed down the sentences on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

Both former employees were directors at a Chick-fil-A location in Birmingham.

A plea agreement states that the two devised a scheme to divert $492,000 in customer payments away from the Chick-fil-A in the city’s Five Points South neighborhood and direct them instead to bank accounts under their control. Many of the payments were for catering orders from large customers, prosecutors said.

The men used fraudulent email and digital payment accounts that looked like official Chick-fil-A accounts, prosecutors said.

Larry James Black, Jr., 37, of Center Point, Alabama, was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

Joshua Daniel Powell, 40, of Moody, Alabama, was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Powell had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

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