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posted: 11/8/2012 10:21 AM

Wis.-based Krones to pay $15M in Le-Nature's case

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Associated Press

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, Wis., 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.

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