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Podlucky sentenced to 20 years in prison

Having already shaved 35 years off his prison sentence through a plea agreement, a Ligonier businessman who masterminded a $685 million fraud didn't deserve any further leniency, a federal judge ruled today.

U.S. District Judge Alan Bloch sentenced Gregory Podlucky, 51, to 20 years in prison and five years of probation. Podlucky pleaded guilty in June to bank, wire and mail fraud for bilking investors and lending institutions out of about $856 million they thought he was investing in bottling company LeNature's Inc.

Bloch ruled that the loss was $685 million, but said he would set the amount of restitution that Podlucky owes at a later date after considering defense and government arguments for how much actual loss Podlucky's victims suffered.

A sobbing Podlucky asked the judge to reduce his sentence further.

"I am nothing but a filthy rag," he told the judge. "The things that I did are abominable."

Podlucky said he has asked God for forgiveness and regrets his actions.

"I feel so bad about what I did to the victims — the pain and suffering," he said.

Bloch said the federal sentencing guidelines recommended a sentence of 55 years and Podlucky's arguments for further leniency "have no merit whatsoever."

He specifically noted that Podlucky continued committing crimes, in the form of money laundering, while he was on pre-trial release for the fraud charges, and it was "frivolous" for Podlucky to argue that a "meticulously planned and executed fraud" that lasted for years represented aberrant behavior on his part.

"Breaking the law was a way of life for Podlucky for years," the judge said.

In addition to the restitution amount, the court also has to rule on which items of personal property Podlucky has to forfeit because they were purchased from the proceeds of his crimes.

The judge revoked Podlucky's bond and ordered federal marshals to take him into custody.

In a related case, Bloch has rescheduled the money laundering trial of Podlucky's wife and son for Oct. 31. Karla and Jesse Podlucky are charged with helping Gregory Podlucky auction off $2.9 million in jewels that he had purchased with money from the LeNature's fraud.

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