News and Press Releases

Fraudulent Vending Machine Business Reference Sentenced to Prison Term

January 10, 2014

PITTSBURGH – A resident of Clarion, Pa., was sentenced today in federal court to one year and a day, and ordered to pay $215,033.00 in restitution, on her conviction of criminal conspiracy, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Court Judge David Stewart Cercone imposed sentence upon Pearl Pastilock, 50.

According to information presented to the court, Pastilock worked as a fraudulent reference for the business, American Vending Systems, Inc. (AVS). AVS sold energy candy vending machine business opportunities. Potential purchasers were told that, for a minimum purchase price of approximately $10,000, they would receive candy vending machines, an initial supply of candy, and assistance in running their business opportunity. In reality, the business opportunity was not lucrative for purchasers. Pastilock made and received interstate phone calls wherein she told potential purchasers that she successfully operated an AVS business and made substantial income, when in fact she did not operate the business at all and was being paid to defraud potential purchasers.

Assistant United States Attorney Mary McKeen Houghton and Trial Attorney Patrick R. Runkle, Consumer Protection Branch, Department of Justice, prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Inspectors of the United States Postal Inspection Service, who conducted the investigation that led to the successful prosecution of Pastilock.

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