Vendors penalized $9M for gifts to state liquor officials

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Federal prosecutors say four suppliers of alcohol to Pennsylvania’s state-owned system of liquor stores have agreed to pay about $9 million in penalties for providing gifts to liquor agency officials.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Harrisburg says the vendors, in turn, will not be prosecuted.

A state ethics investigation ended the gift-giving practice 2012.

The board’s former marketing director was convicted of fraud in 2015 after being accused of accepting golf trips, gift cards, meals, sports tickets and other benefits from vendors over 10 years. James Short Jr. awaits sentencing.

The government says Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Pennsylvania will pay $5 million. Breakthru Beverage Pennsylvania, formerly Capital Wine and Spirits, and White Rock Distilleries will pay $2 million each. North Wales, Pennsylvania-based Pio Imports will pay $200,000.

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