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Pennsylvania man acquitted of some white collar criminal charges

A Pennsylvania man, who was facing multiple charges for white collar crimes, was recently before a federal court in Pennsylvania. The 67-year-old was the former vice president of LeNature Inc., a beverage company based in Western Pennsylvania.

A jury recently found him guilty of 10 counts of conspiracy, wire, and mail and bank fraud. However, he was also found not guilty on 10 other counts, and the jury was unable to reach a verdict on five additional charges, for which the judge declared a mistrial. The District Attorney may choose to retry the former executive for the last five charges.

The prosecution alleged that the man was the leader of a Ponzi scheme that intended to commit fraud against banks and other financial institutions amounting to nearly $1 million. Allegedly, the former executive knowingly made false statements about the financial health of the beverage company to investors and banks. He was further accused of inflating sales reports to as much as 20 times the actual numbers. Investigators also say that he lied about LeNature's ability to pay its debt.

The federal investigation into the purported fraud began in 2006 and included many other institutions and people who were accused of being involved in the alleged Ponzi scheme.

For now, the former executive remains free on $100,000 bail while he awaits sentencing that is expected to occur in December of this year. The 10 charges for which the jury found him guilty could carry between 20 and 30 years in prison.

In all, six people face charges connected with this investigation, but this Pennsylvania man was the only one who went to trial to defend himself. All of the others pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Ex-LeNature's exec found guilty of fraud," Richard Gazarik, 29 July 2011

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