PITTSBURGH (AP) — A mother and son convicted for their roles in an $800 million soft-drink company accounting fraud were commanded by their religious beliefs to follow the family patriarch, the two claimed in an appeal.

G. Jesse Podlucky, 35, filed the appeal from federal prison in Yankton, South Dakota, on his and his mother's behalf, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported (http://bit.ly/1QUKgWm ).

Podlucky and his mother, Karla, 54, were convicted of helping Gregory Podlucky, 55, hide and auction off $2.9 million in diamonds bought with money stolen from investors of Le-Nature's. Jesse Podlucky said biblical teachings commanded them to obey his father, who led the now-defunct company into bankruptcy. Gregory Podlucky is serving a 20-year prison sentence for orchestrating a scheme that bilked investors out of $629 million.

The family's religious beliefs shielded them from learning or believing Gregory Podlucky cooked the defunct company's books to obtain financing and equipment leases, the appeal said. He said the convictions violated their belief in their religious interpretation of the father's role in the family.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Cessar called their motion frivolous and noted many of the arguments have been rejected by a federal judge and the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Many (of the claims) are ... frivolous," Cessar wrote in court documents. "That is true of Karla's patently frivolous argument that the Bible somehow absolved her of her conduct ... and Jesse's equally frivolous contention."

A federal judge has given Jesse Podlucky and Karla Podlucky until March 11 to reply to Cessar's argument.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com