CINCINNATI Court of appeals rejects Monus request for new trial
Monus could be released from prison in 2005.
CINCINNATI (AP) -- An appeals court has rejected a new trial request for Michael I. Monus, the executive behind a multimillion-dollar insider embezzlement that helped lead to the liquidation of the Phar-Mor Inc. drugstore chain.
On Monday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's 2002 ruling rejecting Monus' requests that he either be granted a new trial or have his prison sentence reduced.
Monus, a former president of Phar-Mor, was convicted in 1995 and sentenced to 19 years and seven months for embezzling millions of dollars from the Youngstown-based company he founded. Prosecutors said he also lured more than $1 billion from investors with phony financial statements.
In 1999, the appeals court cut his sentence by eight years, saying the original sentence gave too much weight to some factors, including the amount of the fraud.
Monus argued at his trial that some of the compensation he received amounted to loans he took out against future earnings. He contended on appeal that he should receive a new trial because information that federal prosecutors revealed at a U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing, after his conviction, indicated that a former Phar-Mor chief financial officer could have testified at Monus' trial about terms of Monus' financial compensation in support of defense arguments.
Monus also argued on appeal that he deserved a reduced sentence because he had cooperated with federal investigators. He said his sentence should be reduced by up to three years.
Monus could be released in the fall of 2005 from the federal prison in Elkton, said his lawyer, David Engler.
Engler said he was disappointed by the court's decision. He said he would consult with Monus before deciding whether to appeal further.
Phar-Mor closed hundreds of stores, cut thousands of jobs and went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, emerging from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's protection later in 1995 with slimmed-down operations in eight states, but mostly in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia.
In 2002, the company was liquidated, selling off its remaining 73 stores with approval of bankruptcy court.