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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 27, 2017

Four Vendors To Pa-Liquor Control Board Agree To Pay Over $9 Million In Monetary Penalties

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that four vendors to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board have entered non-prosecution agreements with the government requiring the payment of over $9 million in monetary penalties for their involvement in previously providing things of value to officials at the PA-LCB.

 

According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the four companies that have entered into the agreements are:

  • Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Pennsylvania, LLC, which is successor company to Southern Wine and Spirits of Pennsylvania, LLC, and wholly owned by Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Miami, Florida;

     

  • Breakthru Beverage Pennsylvania, LLC, which is the successor company to Capital Wine and Spirits, LLC, and wholly owned by Breakthru Beverage Group, Inc. of New York, New York;

     

  • White Rock Distilleries, Inc., which formerly was headquartered in Lewiston, Maine; and

     

  • Pio Imports, LLC, which is headquartered in North Wales, Pennsylvania.

Each of these companies agreed to pay substantial monetary penalties, implement compliance measures and refrain from engaging in similar activities in the future. The government agreed not to prosecute the companies nor any of their employees who gave things of value to officials of the PA-LCB. U.S. Attorney Brandler noted several factors that informed these resolutions, including the cooperation of the businesses in the government’s investigation, the merits of the individual cases, as well as the historic nature of the conduct which was discontinued in 2012 when the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission initiated its investigation into this matter.

 

Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Pennsylvania agreed to pay $5 million in monetary penalties for their employees role in providing cash, all-expenses paid trips, tickets to shows and sporting events, entertainment and other things of value to officials at the PA-LCB from 2000 to 2012. Attached to their agreement is a statement of facts outlining the conduct of Southern’s employees.

 

White Rock Distilleries agreed to pay $2 million in monetary penalties for their employees role in providing cash, all-expenses paid trips, and other things of value to officials at the PA-LCB from 2000-2011. Attached to their agreement is a statement of facts outlining the conduct of White Rock’s employees.

 

Breakthru Beverage Pennsylvania, which until recently operated as Capital Wine & Spirits, LLC, agreed to pay $2 million in monetary penalties for their employees’ role in providing gift cards, tickets, meals, and entertainment to officials at the PA-LCB between 2007-2012. Attached to their agreement is a statement of facts outlining the conduct of Capital’s employees.

 

Pio Imports, LLC, agreed to pay $200,000 in monetary penalties for their employee’s role in providing gift cards to officials at the PA-LCB between 2007-2012. Attached to their agreement is a statement of facts outlining the conduct of Pio’s employees.

 

“Although the history between these organizations and the PA-LCB is clearly disturbing, it is in the interests of justice to expose this history and hold the organizations responsible. The monetary penalties imposed on these successor organizations more than disgorges the financial benefits received and discourages future misconduct by those in the industry,” stated U.S. Attorney Brandler.

 

In September 2015, James Short – the former Director of the Marketing for the PA-LCB - entered a guilty plea to honest services fraud. The charges are based upon Short’s receiving numerous benefits from White Rock and Capital Wine and Spirits over a ten-year period of time. No date has been scheduled yet for Short’s sentencing.

 

These matters were investigated by the Harrisburg Office of the FBI and handled by Senior Litigation Counsel Michael A. Consiglio. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI were also assisted by the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission.

 

 

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Updated July 27, 2017