U.S. Supreme Court rejects Fen-Phen lawyer's appeal

Chris Rizo Apr. 21, 2009, 11:21am

U.S. Supreme Court building

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-The U.S. Supreme Court said this week it is not interested in hearing an appeal from a Mississippi trial lawyer convicted of bilking a drug company out of millions of dollars in Fen-Phen claims.

Disgraced former attorney Robert Arledge of Vicksburg, Miss., sought to have the high court hear his case. In 2007, he was sentenced to more than six years in federal prison.

Federal authorities said Arledge knowingly allowed his clients to make claims against diet drug maker American Home Products, now known as Wyeth, of about $250,000 each even though they had no legitimate health problems from taking Fen-Phen.

The diet drug combination was taken off the market in 1997 amid revelations it could cause heart problems and pulmonary hypertension.
The fraud against Wyeth netted about $6.2 million.

Federal prosecutors said Arledge made his money by taking a third of what his clients were awarded.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in December upheld Arledge's conviction, which included seven counts of mail fraud and wire fraud. A jury acquitted him of 17 counts of money laundering.

At trial, U.S. District Judge David Bramlette of the Southern District of Mississippi ordered Arledge to pay $5.8 million in restitution.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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