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.

Return to Top

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Justice 101
Opioid Overdose Reduction Action Plan
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Western District of Pennsylvania

honors October 2014 as

National Domestic Violence
Awareness Month

If you or someone you know
has been a victim of domestic violence please contact the
National Domestic Violence
Hotline at:



Text PGHOD to Tip411 (847411)
Victim Witness Assistance

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.

Stop Fraud

Protect yourself from fraud, and report suspected cases of financial fraud to local law enforcement.

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.