Posted Thursday, November 8, 2012 --- 9:42 a.m.
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A Wisconsin bottling equipment firm has agreed to pay a $15 million penalty to avoid prosecution for its alleged role in the massive accounting fraud involving defunct western Pennsylvania soft-drink maker, Le-Nature's.
Officials with Krones Inc., in Franklin, Wisc., say they plan to release a statement later Thursday.
Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh say the penalty will resolve allegations that Krones helped Le-Nature's officials to deceive lenders about the cost of bottling equipment the soft-drink company financed. Authorities say Krones must also repay lenders who lost money, meaning the non-prosecution agreement will cost Krones about $125 million total.
Le-Nature's founder Gregory Podlucky is serving a 20-year sentence for masterminding an accounting scheme in which the company fraudulently obtained $875 million in credit and equipment leases before creditors forced Le-Nature's into bankruptcy in 2006.
Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.