A former executive at a Cambridge biotech company has been sentenced to three years in prison for falsely telling a federal judge he was gravely ill with colon cancer in order to derail a government lawsuit against him over an experimental synthetic blood product.
The sentence late Monday for Howard Richman, 57, of Pearland, Texas, who was formerly senior vice president of regulatory affairs for Biopure Corp., also included three years of supervised release and a $50,000 fine.
At a hearing in March, Richman had pleaded guilty in US District Court in Boston to a count of obstruction of justice, averting a criminal trial. He admitted he forged a letter and an affidavit from a doctor saying he had cancer and went so far as to pretend to be his treating physician in a phone conversation with his attorneys.
The misrepresentations prompted a judge in July 2007 to end a suit by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Prosecutors said Richman lied to avoid responsibility in a high-profile lawsuit brought by the SEC. The suit alleged that he and other executives of Biopure misled investors about the company's prospects for winning approval for a synthetic blood substitute called Hemopure.
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