News and Press Releases

Jury Finds Le-Nature's Sales Exec Guilty On 10 Counts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - After deliberating 16 hours, a federal jury of nine women and three men found Robert B. Lynn guilty of 10 counts of bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy relating to the operations of Le-Nature's, Inc., the Latrobe, Pennsylvania water bottler that collapsed in bankruptcy in 2006, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Lynn, 67, of Westmoreland County, Pa., was tried before Senior United States District Judge Alan N. Bloch in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"The Le-Nature's fraud was the largest financial fraud in the history of the Western District of Pennsylvania," said U.S. Attorney Hickton. "The public interest demands effective prosecution of all crimes, and this was one of special magnitude. At the end of this lengthy investigation and trial, we are gratified by the diligent work of the jury in reaching its verdict."

According to Assistant United States Attorneys James Y. Garrett and Robert S. Cessar, who prosecuted the case, the evidence presented at trial established that the defendant ran Le-Nature's sales operations.  While the company was losing millions on its products during the years 2001 to 2006, Lynn and other company executives provided false information about its business activity and financial condition to investors and lenders, making it seem the company was profitable and expanding.  As a result of the false information, lenders and investors advanced funding to Le-Nature's of more than $800 million during the scheme.  When the company collapsed, the losses were approximately $600 million.

Five other defendants charged in the scheme pleaded guilty earlier.  They were Gregory J. Podlucky, 50, of Westmoreland County, Jonathan Podlucky, 37, of Westmoreland County, Andrew J. Murin, Jr., 54, of Washington County, Donald Pollinger, 67, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tammy Andreycak, 43, of Westmoreland County.

Judge Bloch scheduled sentencing for Dec. 1, 2011. Based on Lynn's convictions, the law provides for a total sentence of 220 years in prison, a fine of $2.5 million, or both.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based on the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court allowed Lynn to remain free on bond.

The Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Robert B. Lynn.

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