On July 8, 2004, John and Timothy were found guilty of conspiracy, securities and bank fraud. They were convicted of hiding $2.3 billion in debt, while looting Adelphia of $100 million.
Michael avoided prison by pleading guilty to making a false entry in a financial record. Michael Mulcahey, the former director of internal reporting for Adelphia, was acquitted. The government’s main witness, James Brown, Adelphia’s former vice president for finance, had pleaded guilty to fraud in 2002.
Less than a year later, on June 20, 2005, John Rigas, who at age 80 suffered from heart problems and bladder cancer, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. His son Timothy received a 20-year prison sentence. John’s sentence was later reduced to 12 years, and Timothy’s to 17 years, after a federal appeals court threw out part of the government’s case.
John and Timothy began serving their prison terms on August 13, 2007, when their initial appeals were denied. Two weeks earlier, John sat down with WIVB-TV Senior Correspondent Rich Newberg, proclaiming his innocence and desire to clear the family name.
U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand had also ruled that after serving two years, John could regain his freedom if he were diagnosed with less than three months to live. On February 19, 2016, after serving 8 years in federal prison,Rigas, at age 91, was granted a compassionate release. He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.