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Former state official will enter guilty plea on fraud charges

A former executive on the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is expected to enter a guilty plea in relation to federal charges associated with that role. The 50-year-old Harrisburg resident was charged with fraud in his dealings with various vendors that help stock the approximately 500 liquor stores under the control of the Board. The dates of those actions range from 2002 to 2012.

The charges are the result of an investigation into allegations of corruption within the Liquor Control Board. That investigation remains active, and additional charges are possible. Two other individuals have been cited for ethics violations in relation to the case. Investigators assert that the man in this case accepted lavish gifts from certain vendors and failed to disclose those gifts on yearly financial statements.

The gifts included golf outings, expensive dinners and bottles of fine wine. In return for those gifts, it is alleged that the vendors received preferential treatment by way of shelf space on the state's liquor store shelves. Ongoing efforts have been made by the state to implement a clear code of ethics for interactions between vendors and state employees, which suggests that the lines may have been less certain in years past.

Should the former Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board executive plead guilty to the fraud charges, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison. That said, individuals who cooperate with an investigation and assume a level of responsibility for their actions are often given lesser sentences than they may have faced if the matter resulted in a conviction after trial. As of the time of this report, a sentencing date has not yet been scheduled and likely awaits his formal plea.

Source: mcall.com, "Former Pa. Liquor Control Board marketing director to plead guilty in kickbacks case", Debra Erdley, Sept. 1, 2015

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