Former Adelphia Communications chief financial officer Timothy Rigas has been released from prison after serving about 12 years of a 17-year federal sentence for fraud and conspiracy connected to the multi-billion dollar accounting scandal that shut down the former Pennsylvania cable operator in 2004.
Adelphia was once the fifth largest cable operator in the country. In the wake of the scandal, its systems were sold in 2006 to Comcast and Time Warner Cable, now part of Charter Communications.
Tim Rigas and his father John were convicted on 18 counts of fraud and conspiracy in 2004 connected with a massive accounting scandal where, according to the court, the Rigases used publicly-traded Adelphia as their personal piggy bank, using company funds to fund a lavish lifestyle.
Tim Rigas reported to serve his sentence in August 2007 and according to the Bureau of Prisons website, was scheduled to be released on June 3, 2022. His early release was part of a new federal law -- the First Step Act -- that allows for the early release of inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes who have served two-thirds of their sentence and are over the age of 60. Tim Rigas is 63 years old. He is expected to serve out the rest of his sentence -- about two years -- in home confinement.
Tim Rigas was originally sentenced to 20 years in prison, but that sentence was reduced to 17 years in 2008. His father John was originally sentenced to 15 years, but had that term reduced to 12 years.
John Rigas, the founder and former chairman of Adelphia, was released in 2016 after serving nearly 10 years, when a judge ordered his compassionate early release after it was thought he had about six months to live. John Rigas, who is now 94 years old, suffers from Stage IV bladder cancer.
In a Facebook post, the elder Rigas, still very much alive, expressed his joy upon his son’s release, and stressed that the family continues to try to clear its name. Both John and Tim Rigas are trying to get their convictions overturned.
“For my family and me, this is a much-anticipated event and a tremendous blessing. We are elated!,” John Rigas said in his Facebook post. “Tim will be required to serve the remainder of his sentence, about two years, in home confinement. He and I continue to hope that our convictions will be overturned in the habeas corpus appeal that is pending in New York City, where our trial was held in 2004.”
John Rigas added that although he is elated about his son’s release, he was saddened that it did not come before the death of his wife Doris, who passed away in 2014. Tim was not allowed to attend his mother’s funeral.
“For so many years, she longed deeply to see her family reunited,” John Rigas wrote. “Although Doris’s physical absence leaves a tremendous void, her spirit—so full of determination and unconditional love for her family—will always be there to help sustain and guide us.”
Rigas apparently told the Potter County Leader-Entetrprise that Tim could work in another family cable business -- Zito Media, headed by James Rigas, Tim’s brother and John’s son. But he did not elaborate as to what role he could play.