Alberto Vilar and Gary Tanaka, the technology investors convicted in 2008 of stealing from clients, were released from prison two weeks after an appeals court ordered them freed on bail while it considers their case.
Vilar, 71, an opera lover and former philanthropist, was freed today from a federal prison in Fort Dix, New Jersey, where he has about four years remaining on a nine-year sentence. Tanaka, 69, was released yesterday from prison in San Pedro, California. He has about two years left on his five-year term.
The federal appeals court in Manhattan heard arguments in August in Vilar and Tanaka’s case. The men, who were partners in Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc., claim that U.S. law doesn’t reach off-shore transactions the government claimed were illegal. They also said the money they were accused of stealing is in Amerindo’s accounts, which have been out of their control since they were arrested in 2005.
“It feels pretty good and we’re very encouraged by what the appeals court has done,” Vilar said in a telephone interview after his release. Vilar said he has spent his time in prison reading, teaching other inmates and working on his appeal. He said he is writing a book.
A jury in 2008 convicted Vilar of all 12 criminal counts against him, including fraud and conspiracy, and Tanaka of three counts. Vilar is free on $10 million bond. Tanaka is free on $5 million bond.
“They are relieved to be out, and look forward to the decision of the court of appeals,” said Vivian Shevitz, Vilar’s lawyer, in an e-mail today. Shevitz represented both men in arguing for their release on bail.
The case is U.S. v. Vilar, 10-04639, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Manhattan).
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