Legal Ethics

Lawyer Gets 6.5 Years, Fined $5.8M for False Diet Drug Claims

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A Mississippi attorney has been sentenced by a federal judge to 6.5 years in prison and ordered to pay $5.8 million in restitution for pursuing baseless diet drug litigation on behalf of clients.

Robert Arledge, 50, of Vicksburg was convicted in October of seven counts of conspiracy and wire fraud concerning a scheme to bilk the Wyeth pharmaceutical company of well over $6 million by pursuing false Fen-Phen claims, reports the Associated Press. U.S. District Judge David Bramlette declined yesterday to allow Arledge to remain free on bond while he is appealing the case, saying that he is unlikely to win, and set a Jan. 29 deadline for him to report to prison.

Although the prosecution says the fraudulent claims cost Wyeth more than $6 million, Arledge himself earned only $198,000 from the litigation, according to his lawyers.

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