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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Atlanta Business Owner Pleads Guilty In $5.7 Million Rite Aid Vendor Kick-Back Scheme

HARRISBURG –The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Larry D. Nuckols, age 69, of Valdosta, Georgia, co-owner of Nuvision, Inc., an Atlanta, Georgia based company, pleaded guilty today before United States District Court Judge John E. Jones, III, to vendor kick-back charges that defrauded Rite Aid, Inc. out of $5.7 million.

According to U.S. Attorney David J. Freed, Nuckols was charged in a criminal information filed on September 20, 2018, with one count of wire fraud.  The Information alleged that Nuckols engaged in a kick-back scheme with James W. Pilsner, age 60, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a former Vice President for Advertising for Rite Aid, and Vance Taylor, age 71, of Acworth, Georgia, co-owner of Nuvision, Inc., between 1995 and August 2017. 

Nuckols and Taylor entered into an agreement with Pilsner whereby Pilsner would approve Nuvision’s invoices, some of which were false and inflated, for payment.  In exchange, Nuckols and Taylor would “kick-back” a significant portion of Rite Aid’s payments to Pilsner. 

Between 2001 and August of 2017, Rite Aid paid Nuvision approximately $45.3 million dollars.  Pilsner received no less than $5,124,862 in kick-backs over that time period, with another $634,300 paid to other Rite Aid employees designated by Pilsner, bringing the total loss to Rite Aid to $5,759,162.

Nuckols tendered restitution to Rite Aid in the amount of $1,919,720 at the time he entered his guilty plea. Nuckols also agreed to forfeit a $1.3 million yacht seized by the government and his interests in nine parcels of real estate located in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Costa Rico to the government.

James Pilsner pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion charges on October 1, 2018, before Judge Jones.  Pilsner was charged with Income Tax Evasion for tax year 2013.  The Information alleged that in March 2014, Pilsner filed an income tax return that did not report his receipt of $411,500 in kick-back money during 2013, thereby avoiding approximately $157,648, in federal income taxes.  The Information sought the forfeiture of Pilsner’s interests in $5,743,162 and his Harrisburg residence.  Pilsner paid $300,000 towards his tax restitution obligation of approximately $592,000 for the period 2013-2017 at the time he entered his guilty plea.  Pilsner also agreed to pay the balance owed to the IRS by the time of his sentencing.          

Vance Taylor was indicted on 40 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering on September 19, 2018.  His indictment seeks the forfeiture of $1,239,058 in U.S. Currency, eight cash/investment accounts, 73 tracts of real estate in Georgia, Florida and Alabama, and Taylor’s half interest in the $1.3 million yacht.  Taylor is currently awaiting trial scheduled for February 5, 2019.

The case is being investigated by the Harrisburg Offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Kim Douglas Daniel is prosecuting the case.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The maximum penalty under federal law for mail fraud and wire fraud is 20 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The maximum penalty for unlawful monetary transactions is 10 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

 

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated November 20, 2018