Judge sets Le-Nature's restitution at $661M

AP News
Posted: Oct 24, 2011 2:23 PM
Judge sets Le-Nature's restitution at $661M

A federal judge in Pittsburgh says the former CEO of soft drink maker Le-Nature is responsible for $661 million in restitution to investors, vendors and lenders who lost money in a massive fraud.

Senior U.S. District Judge Alan Bloch sentenced Gregory Podlucky on Thursday to 20 years in prison for masterminding a scheme to inflate the company's revenues to attract additional financing. But Bloch left open the matter of restitution.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/rjOQqH) first reported on Bloch's restitution ruling, which was issued Monday.

Podlucky claimed a consortium of lenders led by Wachovia Bank weren't victims of the $684 million scheme, saying they withdrew $258 million in bankruptcy claims for a loan not repaid after Le-Nature's 2006 bankruptcy. But the judge agreed with prosecutors who argued Wachovia, alone, withdrew a $23 million claim.

Podlucky and five other executives are expected to repay a fraction of the amount owed.