USA: Four liquor vendors fined $9.2 million for illegal kickbacks

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg/Pennsylvania has fined 4 liquor vendors to pay $9.2 million for providing illegal kickbacks to agency officials of Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB). The benefits, which were partly given over a period of 12 years from 2000-2012, included golf trips, lavish dinners, tickets to shows and sporting events, entertainment and other gifts. The accused companies reached a deal and agreed to pay stiff fines to avoid official prosecution.

The four companies are: Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits of Pennsylvania ($5 million fine), Breakthru Beverage Pennsylvania ($2 million fine), White Rock Distilleries ($2 million fine) and Pio Imports ($200,000 fine).

U.S. Attorney Bruce D. Brandler of Pennsylvania's Middle District, said the government agreed not to prosecute the companies or any of their employees who gave things of value to LCB officials. In return the companies agreed to pay substantial penalties, implement compliance measures and refrain from engaging in similar activities in the future.  “The monetary penalties imposed on these successor organizations more than disgorges the financial benefits received and discourages future misconduct by those in the industry,” Brandler said.

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