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Adelphia’s Rigases Rejected by U.S. Supreme Court on Sentences

The U.S. Supreme Court left intact Adelphia Communications Corp. founder John Rigas’s 12-year prison term and his son Timothy’s 17-year sentence, rejecting their appeal for the second time in the corporate fraud case.

The high court, which ruled in favor of two corporate fraud defendants in its most recent term, today refused to question a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the sentences on the Rigases.

John Rigas, 85, and Timothy Rigas, 54, are serving their terms at the low-security Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, North Carolina. They are also facing separate criminal charges for allegedly failing to pay taxes on money they looted from Adelphia.

The two men were convicted in 2004 in federal court in New York of bank and securities fraud. Jurors found that the Rigases lied about the source of $1.6 billion used to buy Adelphia stock and debt and stole $51 million in cash advances.

The two men spent $26.5 million in company money to buy timberland near their home in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, and $13 million to build a company golf course on land owned by Adelphia and their family, prosecutors said. Adelphia paid for antiques, family residences and a personal trainer for the men, witnesses testified.

In their unsuccessful Supreme Court appeal, the Rigases argued that prosecutors should have disclosed notes from a witness they interviewed. The two men also contended that the government didn’t prove that they caused losses of more than $100 million, a threshold that meant longer sentences.

The Rigases drew support in their appeal from five other cable-television executives, including Cablevision Systems Corp. Chairman Charles F. Dolan.

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Rigases in 2008. The justices in June gave partial victories to former Enron Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling and former Hollinger International Inc. Chairman Conrad Black.

The case is Rigas v. United States, 09-1456.

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