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. ‘Let It Snow’ filming in Millvale
  2. Former Steelers LB Haggans to do time in Westmoreland jail
  3. Crosby understands rule prohibiting him from playing, stresses he is hurt
  4. Pitt adds Texas wide receiver as 16th commitment to Class of 2015
  5. Ex-Steelers QB Batch creates sports medicine startup at Pitt
  6. WVU frat pledge had fatal blood alcohol level more than 6 times legal limit
  7. LeBeau won’t join Cardinals coaching staff
  8. Owner of Italian Village Pizza stores gets house arrest for tax evasion
  9. Pittsburgh cracks down on overcrowded houses
  10. Allegheny County assistant public defender charged for allegedly lying to court staff
  11. 2 accused of taking baby to New Kensington drug deal get probation