Appeal in Fraud Invokes Bible; Karla Podlucky and Her Son, Jesse, Both Sentenced to Federal Prison for Their Roles in the Largest Business Fraud in Western Pennsylvania History, Have Filed Last- Ditch Appeals Based on Religious Beliefs That They Should Be Subservient to the Family Patriarch, Former LeNature's Inc. CEO Gregory J. Podlucky. [Derived Headline]

By Peirce, Paul | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 22, 2016 | Go to article overview

Appeal in Fraud Invokes Bible; Karla Podlucky and Her Son, Jesse, Both Sentenced to Federal Prison for Their Roles in the Largest Business Fraud in Western Pennsylvania History, Have Filed Last- Ditch Appeals Based on Religious Beliefs That They Should Be Subservient to the Family Patriarch, Former LeNature's Inc. CEO Gregory J. Podlucky. [Derived Headline]


Peirce, Paul, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Karla Podlucky and her son, Jesse, both sentenced to federal prison for their roles in the largest business fraud in Western Pennsylvania history, have filed last-ditch appeals based on religious beliefs that they should be subservient to the family patriarch, former LeNature's Inc. CEO Gregory J. Podlucky.

From a federal prison in Yankton, S.D., G. Jesse Podlucky, 35, crafted the "last chance" federal appeal for himself and his mother, Karla S. Podlucky, 54.

Jesse Podlucky said Biblical teachings command them to obey his father, who led the now-defunct Latrobe beverage company into bankruptcy. Gregory Podlucky, 55, is serving a 20-year prison sentence for orchestrating a pyramid scheme that bilked investors out of $629 million.

Late last year, Karla Podlucky gave power of attorney to her son to handle the third and final appeal of her conviction and sentence, according to records filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh. No attorney is listed in court documents.

Karla Podlucky was released from custody Jan. 7 after serving four years in prison for money laundering and will be under federal court supervision for three years, records show. Her current address could not be determined.

J. Alan Johnson, U.S. district attorney for Western Pennsylvania from 1981-89, couldn't recall two convicted members in a family collaborating on an appeal. But he said it's neither improper nor surprising.

"You've heard of jailhouse lawyers before ... it happens all the time. There are a whole lot of them," Johnson said. "Post- conviction motions -- after the other appeals are unsuccessful -- such as this are not a very high percentage, but occasionally they are successful"in overturning convictions or resentencing.

Jesse Podlucky's petition of more than 100 pages, filed in October, contends the prosecutions violated his and his mother's belief in the literal interpretation of the Bible regarding the father's role in the family.

The family's religious beliefs shielded them from "either learning or believing Gregory Joseph Podlucky's alleged criminal activity," he wrote.

Podlucky cites Bible scriptures including Timothy: "He must manage his own household well with all dignity keeping his children submissive..."

He quotes from Ephesians: "Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the Husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the church..."

The petition says the Podluckys are devout Christians but mentions no church or denomination. After their daughter, Melissa, died in a traffic accident in 2001, Gregory Podlucky established Missy's Place Foundation with plans to build a $20 million, nondenominational megachurch along Route 30 in Ligonier Township. …

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Appeal in Fraud Invokes Bible; Karla Podlucky and Her Son, Jesse, Both Sentenced to Federal Prison for Their Roles in the Largest Business Fraud in Western Pennsylvania History, Have Filed Last- Ditch Appeals Based on Religious Beliefs That They Should Be Subservient to the Family Patriarch, Former LeNature's Inc. CEO Gregory J. Podlucky. [Derived Headline]
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