Yesterday, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said it may rule in favor of Adelphia Communications founder John Rigas and his son Timothy in regard to criminal conspiracy charges against them in a second tax fraud case.
According to a Reuters story, the court will decide if the government may allege in the case that the Rigases violated a federal conspiracy statute after a New York federal jury had convicted them in part on the same statute.
In October, a three-judge panel agreed with the Rigases’ argument that the government was attempting to prosecute them twice for the same crime, which goes against the constitutional law barring double jeopardy.
With Wednesday’s ruling, the court will now reexamine the issue. If the government prevails, the Rigases could face more penalties in the second case. The two face charges of evading more than $300 million in taxes by diverting $1.9 billion from Adelphia to family members, according to Reuters.
After the 2004 convictions, John Rigas was sentenced to 12 years, while Timothy Rigas was sentenced to 17 years. The Rigases are serving their sentences in Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina.
The tax fraud trial could start sometime this year.
Adelphia was the fifth-largest cable operator in the U.S. before its 2002 collapse. Its cable system assets were sold in 2006 to Comcast and Time Warner.