New Indictment of Fen-phen Lawyers Adds Charges, Seeks $50M More
Posted Sep 5, 2008 9:53 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A new indictment against two lawyers accused of defrauding their fen-phen clients adds new charges and seeks $50 million more in forfeiture.
The lawyers, William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr., were tried in Kentucky this summer on a single charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. A mistrial was declared when a jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal.
The new indictment adds eight wire-fraud counts and seeks a total forfeiture of $94.6 million, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. The indictment claims the two lawyers paid about one-third of the $200 million fen-phen settlement to 440 of their diet-drug clients and kept the rest for themselves, other lawyers and clients, the story says. They are also accused of putting $20 million in leftover money into a charitable fund and paying themselves to manage it.
The new charges may be a response to criticism that the single charge did not give jurors enough choices.
U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves has refused to delay the lawyers’ retrial, the Courier-Journal reports in a separate story. He said it should be scheduled within 70 days of Sept. 11, the day the lawyers are scheduled to appear in court on the new indictment.