Feds Want To Delay Lawsuits During Le-Nature's Case

Federal prosecutors want judge to stay lawsuits against defunct soft-drink maker Le-Nature's Inc. until after criminal indictment alleging $806 million bank fraud has been resolved.

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh want a judge to stay lawsuits against defunct soft-drink maker Le-Nature's Inc. until after a criminal indictment alleging an $806 million bank fraud has been resolved.

Prosecutors unsealed the indictment Monday targeting former chief executive Gregory Podlucky and four others. They're accused of cooking the Latrobe company's books to get $806 million in financing that Podlucky allegedly misspent.

Among the lawsuits is a racketeering claim by Le-Nature's bankruptcy trustee. It targets Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia Corp. which contends it is a victim of the fraud.

But the trustee says Wachovia aided the scheme by continuing to lend Le-Nature's money even after Wachovia analysts questioned Le-Nature's business dealings.

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