LeNature's defendants sentenced
Two defendants in the LeNature's Inc. fraud case made deals that shaved more than a decade off their prison sentences, so they don't deserve further leniency, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
Former chief operating officer Jonathan Podlucky, 37, of Hempfield, and Donald Pollinger, 68, a business associate from Charlotte, pleaded guilty to one count each of bank fraud in May in connection with the scam masterminded by Podlucky's brother that bilked banks and other investors out of nearly $900 million. Gregory Podlucky, 51, is serving a 20-year sentence on charges of bank, wire and mail fraud, and tax evasion.
"I did something very bad and against the law," Pollinger told U.S. District Judge Alan Bloch. "I'm just ashamed of that."
Other than answering questions, Podlucky didn't speak during the proceeding at U.S. District Court, Downtown.
The plea deals capped their sentences at five years and allowed Bloch to consider help they gave to federal investigators when he determined their sentences.
Both men played key roles in the fraud that destroyed the Latrobe bottling company, put its employees out of work and robbed investors, Bloch said.
"The court would not have accepted a sentence of five years in the first place had the defendant not been cooperating with the government," Bloch said in each case.
Charles Porter Jr., Jonathan Podlucky's attorney, told the judge that more than two dozen relatives and friends who showed up yesterday to support his client demonstrated that those who know him best believe in his character, and that he was simply caught in his brother's scheme.
"You didn't see these people (here) for Greg," he said. "You didn't get letters from these people for Greg."
Bloch said sentencing either man to less than five years would send the wrong message to others tempted to commit large frauds. He also sentenced both defendants to three years of probation and ordered them to pay $661 million in restitution. He revoked both men's bond and ordered federal marshals to take them into custody.
Porter said the plea agreement recognized that standard sentencing guidelines -- which would have given Jonathan Podlucky at least 15 years in prison -- were too harsh considering the limited role he had in the fraud.
"Given Jonathan's involvement, or lack thereof, in this case, we thought a sentence of less than five years was appropriate," Porter said.
Martin Dietz, Pollinger's attorney, declined to comment after the hearing.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Route 19 accident in Mt. Lebanon injures five people
- Pa. Treasurer McCord resigns without explanation, to leave Feb. 12
- Ambridge fire brought quickly under control
- Dungy, Greene represent more Steelers ties in hall of fame voting
- Rooney says Pittsburgh is ‘good place’ for next northern Super Bowl
- UPMC researcher who died of cyanide poisoning committed suicide
- Newkirk replaces Jones in Pitt’s starting lineup vs. Notre Dame
- HOF finalist Bettis ‘behind everything’ in 2005 Super Bowl run
- Penguins notebook: Bennett a healthy scratch
- Sting highlights demand for Pappy Van Winkle bourbon
- Goodell defends league, dodges difficult questions