ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The New York State Liquor Authority says a Miami-based liquor wholesaler has been fined $3.5 million after its sales staff used "pay to play" tactics to boost sales.

The agency announced Wednesday that Southern Glazer Wine & Spirits admitted that its New York sales staff provided illegal gifts and services to businesses to influence their purchasing decisions.

SLA officials say its investigation this summer revealed the company's sales people used their corporate credit cards to run up large expenses at favored businesses without receiving anything in return. The agency says the illegal practice known as "credit card swipes" was intended to influence an establishment's purchasing decisions with the company.

Southern was fined a total of $3.5 million, but $1 million is being suspended because the company is cooperating with the investigation.

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