Ailing Adelphia founder Rigas terminal, seeks early release from prison

Lawyers for Adelphia Communications founder John Rigas, 91 and suffering from terminal cancer, have submitted papers to a federal court judge asking for the imprisoned cable pioneer's early release.

According to papers submitted to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan and obtained by the Associated Press, Rigas' family has been told by doctors to deal with "end-of-life decisions," including the possibility of hospice care. 

On Monday, Judge Wood ordered government officials to respond to the request for early release by Dec. 22. Per his sentence, Rigas is slated for release in January 2018 after serving a 12-year sentence in connection to a $1.9 billion looting and debt-hiding scandal that also involved his 59-year-old son, Timothy Rigas, and ultimately led to the collapse of Adelphia. 

Adelphia was once the third largest cable MSO, with more than 5 million subscribers,

The Rigases were convicted on charges of wire and securities fraud in 2004, a scandal that rocked the cable industry and cratered the stocks of public MSOs. They began serving their prison terms at a jail in North Carolina in 2007. In November 2011, they were transferred to Allenwood, Penn. Both are now housed at USP Canaan in Waymart, Penn.

Tim Rigas is scheduled to be released in June 2022.

Prosecutors accused Rigas and others used Adelphia's financial ledger as a personal piggy bank, while executing complicated cash-management systems to spread money around to various family-owned entities and as a cover for stealing about $100 million.

For more:
- read this Associated Press story

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