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October 7, 2009

Long obstruction sentence for executive who lied about terminal illness

This local Boston Herald story, which is headlined "Big lie lands executive in prison: Former Biopure officer gets 3 years," suggests that a federal judge impose an above-guideline sentence on a white-collar scoundral who told what some might consider one of the worst kinds or tall tales.  Here are the details:

An ex-biotech executive’s sick ploy to avoid a federal lawsuit by lying about having terminal cancer was slapped with a longer-than-expected stretch in the slammer.

Howard P. Richman, 57, the former head of regulatory affairs at Biopure Corp. in Cambridge, was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for obstruction of justice, federal prosecutors announced yesterday.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark Wolf’s sentence was harsher than federal guidelines and went beyond prosecutors’ recommendation for a 21-month prison term.  Ian Gold, Richman’s defense attorney, had requested a 15-month prison term....

Richman pleaded guilty in March to lying to Judge Patti Saris, who presided over a Securities and Exchange Commission suit accusing Biopure of misleading investors about its synthetic blood product Hemopure.

The Texas resident deceived his own lawyers by posing on the phone as a doctor, and produced a phony affidavit that claimed his chance of surviving colon cancer was, at best, 15 percent.  “To any human who has experienced serious illness in their own life or family, Richman’s conduct is appalling,” Assistant U.S. Attorney James Dowden wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “Quite simply, his lies are deserving of society’s condemnation and of serious criminal punishment.”

Based on the cancer claims, Saris halted the SEC’s case against Richman in July 2007.  The ruse apparently unraveled two months later when his attorneys abruptly withdrew from the civil case.

October 7, 2009 at 09:25 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Wait! His attorneys withdrew from the case instead of helping Richman commit his fraud?!? That sounds downright ethical. What tortured conspiracy theory will Supremacy Claus invent to attack the lawyers this time? Stay tuned!!

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