Court Roundup

Pennsylvania

Defense fights efforts to open boy's trial

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (AP) -- The defense attorney for a boy who was just 11 when he was charged with murdering his father's pregnant fiancée wants a state appeals court to reject efforts by three western Pennsylvania newspapers to open the boy's juvenile court trial.

Jordan Brown of Wampum, who is now 14, was scheduled for trial in September but that's been delayed indefinitely until the Superior Court rules on an appeal by the New Castle News, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The News reports Wednesday that Brown's attorney filed a brief arguing that the trial should remain closed despite extensive publicity before a Lawrence County judge moved the case from "adult" -- or Common Pleas Court -- to juvenile court.

The newspapers say the privacy rights normally afforded juvenile defendants have been rendered moot by that past coverage.

Pennsylvania

Wife, son of ex-soft drink CEO found guilty

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The wife and son of the former head of bankrupt soft drink maker Le-Nature's were found guilty Tuesday of laundering millions of dollars to buy expensive diamonds, sapphires and even patio furniture.

Karla S. Podlucky was convicted of three money laundering counts but was found not guilty of conspiracy and another money laundering count. Her 30-year-old son, G. Jesse Podlucky, was convicted of one count of conspiracy and four counts of money laundering.

Defense attorneys had argued that Karla Podlucky was a stay-at-home mom and her son a lower-level employee who didn't know about the widespread fraud at Le-Nature's, which went bankrupt in 2006, idling 240 workers. The jury heard over three weeks of testimony in the case.

Former CEO Gregory Podlucky was sentenced last month to 20 years in prison for a massive fraud scheme that vastly overstated the company's revenues so the Latrobe-based Le-Nature's could get $800 million in loans. Meanwhile, prosecutors said, Podlucky looted the company and underreported his income. Authorities said $33 million was siphoned off to buy jewelry for Karla Podlucky.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Garrett said the family tax returns showed income that could not support the massive jewelry collection.

Garrett said the suspicious ways the defendants handled various transactions -- moving money through multiple accounts, buying a car out of state, using different post offices and addresses -- seemed to give the jury enough circumstantial evidence to conclude that the family members knew the money came from fraud.

The Podluckys will be sentenced April 26 and are free on bond, with electronic monitoring.

Published: Thu, Dec 1, 2011

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