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Krones Incorporated to pay $15M fine to avoid prosecution for accounting fraud


FRANKLIN, WI (WTAQ) - A soft drink bottler in suburban Milwaukee will pay a $15 million fine to avoid being prosecuted in an accounting fraud scheme in Pennsylvania.

Krones Incorporated of Franklin was accused of helping the defunct soda maker Le-Nature’s deceive lenders about the cost of bottling equipment that the manufacturer had financed.

Federal authorities in Pittsburgh say Krones must also pay back lenders who lost money on the deal – and that brings the cost of the non-prosecution agreement to $125 million.

Krones was planning to say more about the matter Thursday. Gregory Podlucky, the founder of Le-Nature’s, is serving 20 years in prison for being the ring leader of the accounting scheme.

Officials said the company fraudulently received $875 million in equipment and credit leases, before creditors forced Le-Nature’s to go bankrupt 6 years ago.