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Grand Jury Indicts Former Adelphia Executives On Fraud Charges

Sep 23, 2002 | The Wall Street Journal

A federal grand jury indicted five former Adelphia Communications Corp. executives on charges they looted the company of hundreds of millions of dollars, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office said.

The indictment against company founder John Rigas, two of his sons and two nonfamily executives follows criminal charges filed in July in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The 24-count indictment contains essentially the same charges as the criminal complaint in July.

The case is considered one of the largest ever of alleged insider dealing by company officials.

All of the defendants are free on bail or their own recognizance pending trial. Each faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge of bank fraud.

Peter Fleming, John Rigas's attorney, said his client plans to fight the charges at trial. John Rigas issued a statement following the indictment, defending himself and his family.

"I'm confident that a far different story will emerge than the one that has been reported to date," he said.

Arrests of the executives July 24 had been hailed by President Bush as an example of the recent crackdown on corporate crime, which has targeted wrongdoing at a number of companies.

Members of Adelphia's founding Rigas family had been routed from their company-owned apartment on New York's Upper East Side in an early morning arrest that drew national headlines but was criticized by defense attorneys.

The elder Mr. Rigas, 78 years old, and sons Timothy J. Rigas and Michael J. Rigas, the former chief financial officer and former operations vice president, respectively, were charged in the complaint with securities fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud.

Lawyers for the Rigas family members and the other former Adelphia executives charged James R. Brown and Michael C. Mulcahey have denied the charges.

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