Jan. 13--Saying the "day of reckoning is nigh," a U.S. judge is refusing to permit a participant in a multimillion dollar scam against Rite Aid Corp. to delay his rendezvous with a federal prison cell.
The ruling U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III issues this week means Jay Findling, a 55-year-old New Jersey businessman, must keep his Feb. 1 date to surrender to start his 4-year jail term.
Finding and former Rite Aid Vice President Timothy P. Foster, 66, pleaded guilty to charges that they conspired to defraud the drug store giant on the sale of surplus inventory. Foster was in charge of disposing of that merchandise for the company.
Investigators said Foster and Findling sold the property, under-reported the sale amounts, and kept the difference. Jones determined the loss to Rite Aid was more than $11.2 million.
Both men were sentenced in November. Jones ordered Foster to spend 5 years behind bars for his role in the con, which covered nearly a decade. The judge ordered the pair to start serving their prison terms this month.
However, Findling asked to be released on bail while he challenged Jones' loss calculation. He claimed there was no loss to Rite Aid and that the firm actually benefited from his and Foster's machinations. A zero loss figure could considerably lower his jail term, Findling argued.
Jones delayed Findling's prison reporting date to Feb. 1 to address those claims. The judge ultimately determined them to be "patent nonsense." He concluded that Findling doesn't deserve to remain free during the estimated 14 months it would take for the appeal process.
The $11.2 million loss figure he set is already considerably lower that the $29 million amount prosecutors claimed, Jones noted. The idea that Rite Aid suffered no loss is preposterous, he found, especially since Foster admitted he got $5.7 million in kickbacks from the scheme.
"We have no reason to believe that any other court would come to a different loss determination," the judge wrote. "Even if our loss determination was somehow flawed, (Findling's) argument that Rite Aid suffered no loss is patent nonsense."
"The arguments before us are beyond specious," he added. "Rather, they are the desperate gestures of a guilty man who seeks to delay his punishment. Sadly for (Findling), his day of reckoning is nigh."
Ex-Rite Aid VP, businessman, get years in federal prison for multimillion dollar scam
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