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Feds drop fraud case against Adelphia founder, son

Fri, 01/27/2012 - 2:50pm
The Associated Press

A six-year legal battle involving the jailed father-son duo who headed now-defunct Adelphia Communications has ended after prosecutors withdrew tax fraud charges related to their earlier conviction in a $1.9 billion fraud case.

Prosecutors said they withdrew the tax-related charges Wednesday against the Pennsylvania cable company's founder John Rigas and his son Timothy because they weren't likely to end in substantial additional jail time or restitution.

Proceeding with the case wouldn't be "a prudent expenditure" of prosecutorial resources, authorities said.

Authorities alleged in 2005 the Rigases had committed tax fraud when they failed to pay income tax on the proceeds of the fraud they were convicted of in New York a year earlier. The former executives fought the case on the grounds it amounted to double jeopardy.

Both men are already in jail stemming from the collapse of the company in 2002 after prosecutors said John Rigas, 87, and Timothy Rigas, 55, failed to report nearly $2 billion in liabilities. John Rigas has seven years left on his 12-year sentence, while Timothy Rigas isn't expected to be released until 2022.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said the family spent lavishly on itself, ordering 100 pairs of slippers for Timothy Rigas and spending more than $3 million to produce a film by John Rigas' daughter.

Defense attorney Larry McMichael welcomed the end of the long court battle.

"This case never should have been brought," he told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg.

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