Court upholds Rigas convictions


Adelphia Communications Corp. founder John Rigas and his son Timothy on Thursday lost their appeal of convictions for looting the cable operator for their personal benefit, moving them closer to lengthy jail terms.

An appeals court upheld most counts in the criminal convictions of John Rigas, who had served as chairman and CEO of Adelphia, and his son Timothy, the company's former CFO, but said they should be resentenced by a district court after dismissing one count of bank fraud.

The two are facing prison terms for convictions of counts of fraud, including bank and securities fraud, as well as conspiracy. A three-judge panel Thursday dismissed one count of bank fraud, but affirmed the father-son's July 2004 convictions on 22 other counts, citing "the overall strength of the government's case."

In 2005, John Rigas was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with his son sentenced to 20 years. Both have remained free on bail during their appeals.

Another Rigas son, Michael, who had been Adelphia's COO, was sentenced last year to 10 months of home confinement for signing off on false company documents. His case was not part of the appeals.

The Adelphia bankruptcy and fraud case ranks among the big accounting scandals of recent years, drawing comparisons to energy giant Enron.

Adelphia filed for bankruptcy in June 2002. This year, it received final approval for its bankruptcy plan, which included the sale of cable systems to Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc.