Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pearland Man Accused Of Faking Cancer

BOSTON — A former executive of Biopure Corp. pleaded guilty today to an obstruction of justice charge for pretending he had terminal cancer and admitted he had impersonated his own doctor to dodge a federal lawsuit filed by securities regulators.
Howard Richman of Pearland, a former vice president at Biopure, admitted he had instructed his lawyers to tell a judge he was gravely ill with colon cancer. He also admitted to posing as his doctor in a phone call with his lawyer so that she would tell the judge that his cancer had spread and that he was undergoing chemotherapy.

Richman, 57, declined to comment to reporters after changing his plea to guilty in U.S. District Court. But during the hearing, he admitted to committing the acts prosecutors alleged — that he had lied from October 2006 through July 2007 when he repeatedly caused his lawyers to say he had cancer.

Richman faces up to 10 years in prison at sentencing, scheduled for June 10.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James Dowden told Judge Mark Wolf that if the case had gone to trial, prosecutors would have presented evidence that Richman had fabricated the story about having cancer in an attempt to wriggle out of a lawsuit filed in 2005 by the Securities and Exchange Commission and to avoid paying a large civil fine.

The SEC complaint accused Biopure, Richman and three other executives of misleading investors over the prospects of winning approval for a synthetic blood product called Hemopure.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had rejected clinical trials because of safety concerns about Hemopure, a blood substitute made from cow hemoglobin.


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