Corruption Charges Stem from Payments to Pennsylvania Liquor Regulators

Oftentimes having the government in the drinks business invites corruption, which appears to be what happened in Pennsylvania. reports that four vendors in the state have reached a settlement to pay $9 million in penalties because of gifts they had illegally provided to Keystone State liquor regulators:

"Federal prosecutors said Thursday that four vendors have agreed to pay a total of $9 million in penalties over gifts provided to Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board officials, nearly two years after the agency’s ex-marketing director copped to charges stemming from a related kickback scheme. 

The penalties come as part of non-prosecution agreements with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in which the vendors admitted to showering PLCB officials, who helped operate a system of more than 600 state-owned liquor stores, with gifts including all-expenses-paid trips, tickets to concerts and sporting events, and cash.

'Although the history between these organizations and the [PLCB] is clearly disturbing, it is in the interests of justice to expose this history and hold the organizations responsible,' U.S. Attorney Bruce Brandler said in a statement. 'The monetary penalties imposed on these successor organizations more than disgorges the financial benefits received and discourages future misconduct by those in the industry.'

The non-prosecution agreements come after James Short, the board’s former marketing director, pled guilty in November 2015 on charges that he accepted bribes and kickbacks from two vendors in exchange for favoring them in making policy decisions..."

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