Judge upholds search warrant in Podlucky prosecution
By Brian Bowling
Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2011
After using "345 Cobblestone Lane" as his home address for years, Gregory Podlucky can't claim a search warrant was invalid because it used that address instead of the actual address of his home, 297 Sunrise Lane, a federal judge ruled today.
U.S. District Judge Alan Bloch ruled that the former LeNature's Inc. CEO has "clearly associated" the Cobblestone Lane address with his Ligonier Township residence, and the search warrant physically described the residence, so it was clear as to what structure was to be searched.
"The warrant goes far beyond merely listing an address," the judge said.
Podlucky's attorney, Alexander Lindsay Jr., had asked the court to throw out all the evidence seized during the 2007 search of Podlucky's home. The evidence, including files from several computers and flash drives, was used to indict Podlucky on 30 counts of mail, wire and bank fraud.
Podlucky testified that he had lived in a house at the Cobblestone Lane address until August of 2001 and continued using the address. He still owns the property, but the house was destroyed in a fire in 2002, he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Cessar said that Podlucky and all his family members used the Cobblestone Lane address on their driver's licenses in 2010 and used that address for the mortgage on his current home.
The judge also denied Podlucky's motion to move the trial out of Western Pennsylvania. Lindsay argued that "sensational and pervasive" news coverage surrounding the Latrobe bottling company's 2006 bankruptcy and the subsequent indictments had tainted the potential juror pool.
Bloch said the defense hadn't shown it would be impossible to draw an impartial jury. The trial on the fraud charges is scheduled to start July 5.
Podlucky; former LeNature's vice president Robert Lynn and consultant Andrew Murin were indicted in an alleged scheme that defrauded banks and lending institutions out of $801 million, according to an indictment.
Podlucky's brother, former chief operating officer Jonathan Podlucky, 37, and Charlotte, N.C., business associate Donald Pollinger, 68, also were charged in the indictment and pleaded guilty last week. Under a plea bargain, they'll be sentenced to five years in prison and three years of probation.
Their attorneys declined to say whether the two men will testify against the other defendants.
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