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John Rigas Gets 15-Year Sentence

Jun 20, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Adelphia Communications founder John Rigas was sentenced Monday to 15 years in federal prison following his conviction last summer for bilking million of dollars from the cable company and for lying to investors about the company’s financial health.

Though the sentence fell far short of the 215 years that federal prosecutors had requested, Mr. Rigas, who is 80 and suffering from poor health, could die while imprisoned.

Defense lawyers had asked for probation or home detention. They are appealing the conviction.

Mr. Rigas’ son Timothy was sentenced to 20 years.

Both John and Timothy Rigas were found guilty last summer of stealing more than $100 million and hiding $2 billion worth of debt and were found guilty of duping investors about the company’s finances. The trial of a second son, Michael, ended in a mistrial. He is scheduled to face a new trial in October.

The Rigas family reportedly lived a lavish lifestyle and, according to prosecutors, used the company’s coffers to finance that lifestyle. It all came to a halt in 2002, when the company revealed that it was $2 billion in debt. Later that year the company filed for bankruptcy protection. Earlier this year Adelphia agreed to be purchased by Comcast and Time Warner for $17.6 billion.