Monday, June 20, 2005

Sentencing of John and Timothy Rigas

Adelphia Communications founder and former CEO John Rigas received a 15-year term of imprisonment, while his son Timothy received a 20-year sentence, both of which are substantially below the 215-year term sought by the government under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.  Nevertheless, John, who is 80 years old, received what is effectively a life-term because he will have to serve at least 12 years in an FCI.  U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand is reported to have said he would have imposed a longer sentence on the elder Rigas, but took into consideration his age and health, factors that judges now have greater flexibility to consider since the decision in Booker. The judge also will allow John to seek an early release after he has served two years of his term if he is suffering from a terminal illness and is believed to be within three months of his death.  Timothy's sentence is also quite substantial, among the highest received by a first-time white collar offender (leaving aside Jamie Olis, who received a 24 year term), although at 49 years of age, Judge Sand did not give him what amounts to a life term that his father received. Timothy is reported to have said at the sentencing, "Our intentions were good.  The results were not."  More than a few Adelphia Communications investors might disagree with him.  The Rigases are set to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons on Sept. 19, although they are likely to seek bail pending appeal. An AP story (here) discusses the sentencings. (ph)

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