TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Clarion woman sentenced in 'business opportunity' scam

Daily Photo Galleries

Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, 3:30 p.m.
 

A Clarion woman arrested in a national “business opportunity” fraud sweep will spend one year and one day in prison, a Pittsburgh federal judge ruled on Friday.

Pearl Pastilock, 50, pleaded guilty in June to conspiring with L.J. Gubitosa Inc., a Colorado firm that bilked would-be business owners out of tens of thousands of dollars.

Pastilock posed as a successful owner of an energy candy vending machine franchise to persuade others to invest in the unprofitable franchises, prosecutors say.

“I'm sorry,” Pastilock told U.S. District Judge David Cercone. “And I'll never let this happen again, ever.”

Cercone also sentenced Pastilock to three years of probation and ordered her to pay a share of the $215,000 restitution tied to her conduct.

The company did business as American Vending Systems and promised investors they could make a living off of the profits of vending machines selling energy candy, prosecutors say.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Marketa Sims said Pastilock, who owned and operated an ice cream truck, responded to an ad in a magazine and got roped in as the person calling prospects to encourage them to invest their money.

She argued that Pastilock deserved probation because she immediately cooperated with U.S. Postal Service inspectors who knocked on her door in 2009 and helped them develop the evidence to convict the principal players in Colorado and Texas.

“She made numerous recorded phone calls,” she said.

Pastilock made about $25,000 from the scam during three years, Sims said.

Patrick Runkle, a trial lawyer for the Justice Department's Consumer Protection Branch, agreed that Pastilock cooperated, but said she used aliases and lied to persuade 200 to 250 people to invest thousands of dollars in the scam, in some cases their life savings.

“That $25,000 represents a lot of harm to the public,” he said.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Bomb plot trial ends in Saudi’s conviction
  2. Trade for Winnik gives Penguins’ competition among bottom six
  3. Sophomore stars carry Beaver Falls to 3rd finals appearance in 4 seasons
  4. Few in Westmoreland County opposed to expansion plan for Mariner pipeline
  5. Trib Cup: South Park girls look ahead to PIAA tournament
  6. High school notebook: Armstrong, Freeport know playoff opponents
  7. Lincoln tries to rejuvenate career in second stint with Pirates
  8. High school roundup: Mt. Lebanon boys oust Hempfield
  9. Move to Canon-McMillan means less travel for wrestlers headed to Southwest Regional
  10. WPIAL finalists feature skilled scorers, playmakers on perimeter
  11. Jihadi John, slashing terrorist, is unmasked as Briton