White-Collar Crime

Ex-Lawyers Get 20-25 Years for Bilking Fen-Phen Clients of $94M

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A federal judge in Kentucky today sentenced to ex-lawyers to 20- and 25-year prison terms for bilking their former clients out of $94 million in fen-phen settlement money.

U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves also ordered Shirley Cunningham Jr. and William Gallion to pay $127.7 million in restitution to 421 ex-clients victimized by what the jurist described as the lawyers’ “unmitigated greed,” reports Bloomberg.

Prosecutors had sought 30- and 35-year sentences, respectively, for Cunningham, 54, and Gallion, 58, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader. The two, who were convicted in April of wire fraud and conspiracy, have been disbarred.

Also arguing for a top prison term for the two prior to the Covington, Ky., sentencing today was former client Jo Ann Albey, who said her share of the settlement was about $24,000. She no longer has health insurance following a heart operation, she says, and is living month to month after exhausting her available credit on medical expenses.

“We are living month to month,” she told the court. “My credit cards are maxed.”

A Louisville Courier-Journal article gives additional details about the case.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. to include information from Bloomberg and Courier-Journal.

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