S.C. man arrested in $100M scheme

GREENVILLE -- A South Carolina man has been arrested and accused of soliciting $100 million from investors in what prosecutors say was a fraudulent scheme.

The Greenville News reported that Alan Peter D'Arcy was arrested in Salem and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. FBI special agent Paul Jacobs said in an affidavit that D'Arcy was arrested as part of an investigation that began in 2007 of Ponzi schemes in the Upstate.

Jacobs said an undercover agent posing as an investor interested in investing charitable funds for big returns received unsolicited e-mails connected to D'Arcy and a group known as World Trade Investments between December and February.

The affidavit states D'Arcy said he preferred clients who could invest $100 million. It was unclear if D'Arcy had an attorney.

Payout plan OK'd for BofA investors

WASHINGTON -- Investors who lost money when Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch without disclosing Merrill's problems can start applying to tap a $150 million compensation fund.

A federal judge Wednesday approved a detailed plan for distributing the money.

The fund was set up as part of a settlement between the bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC charged that Bank of America withheld details that might have led shareholders to reject the Merrill deal. The bank didn't mention Merrill's plan to award $5.8 billion in bonuses after losing $27.6 billion that year.

Bank of America argued that the information was not important enough to warrant disclosure.

Bank shareholders as of Jan. 16, 2009 can apply for the money before Nov. 12.

Comair will unload half of its jet fleet

CINCINNATI -- Comair, a regional airline owned by Delta Air Lines Inc., said Wednesday it will shrink its fleet by more than half and reduce staff over the next two years to cut costs.

John Bendoraitis, Comair's president, told employees in a memo Wednesday that the regional airline will get rid of most of its aging, less-efficient 50-seat jets and keep its bigger 65-seat and 76-seat jets.

The airline plans to shrink its fleet of 97 planes to 44 by the end of 2012.

Trimming the fleet should save Comair about $110 million over the next four years, Bendoraitis said.

Comair's current cost structure remains about 20 percent higher than its peers on a cost-per-hour basis, he said.

AAA: Gas prices to help holiday travel

Lower gasoline prices across South Carolina should increase holiday weekend travel through Labor Day by 7.7 percent, according to AAA Carolinas motor club.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in the state is about $2.43, down 13 cents from the summer peak on Aug. 10 and 18 cents lower than Memorial Day prices.

The price is 8 cents higher than last year.

About 452,000 South Carolinians are expected to travel more than 50 miles from home this weekend. That's 32,000 more than last year, according to AAA.