Bloomberg News

Ex-Le-Nature’s Chief Executive Officer Sentenced to 20 Years

October 20, 2011

(Updates with investors’ estimated loss in second paragraph.)

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Former Le-Nature’s Inc. Chief Executive Officer Gregory J. Podlucky was sentenced to 20 years in prison for fraud, tax evasion and money-laundering related to the 2006 collapse of the bottled-water company.

Podlucky was the mastermind behind a scheme that cost lenders, shareholders and others, $684.5 million, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Y. Garrett said in court papers filed today. Podlucky was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh to the maximum allowed under a plea agreement, Garrett said in an interview.

“Whether or not defendant’s conduct should be deplored as evil, the ingenuity, industry and magnitude of his extraordinary crimes are plain to see,” Garrett said in court papers.

Podlucky attacked the “Achilles’ heel” of the financial system “with an elegant fabric of deceit woven of forged documents and the connivance of a handful of accomplices.”

Podlucky’s brother Jonathan and at least three other Le- Nature’s employees also pleaded guilty to charges related to the fraud, according to court papers.

Alexander H. Lindsay Jr., Podlucky’s attorney, didn’t immediately return a call for comment on the sentence.

Some of the money was used to buy gems, watches and toy trains, which investigators found in a secret room at the company’s Latrobe, Pennsylvania, bottling plant, according to court records.

Le-Nature’s filed for bankruptcy in 2006 and was liquidated.

The case is U.S. v. Podlucky, 2:09-cr-00279, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh).

--Editors: Andrew Dunn, Glenn Holdcraft

To contact the reporter on this story: Steven Church in Wilmington, Delaware, at schurch3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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