The disgraced former head of ImClone Systems, Sam Waksal, who admitted last year to insider trading and sales tax fraud, was sentenced to seven years in prison by a New York judge and ordered to pay $4m (£2.4m) in fines yesterday.
"The harm that you wrought is truly incalculable," the judge, William Pauley, told Waksal before delivering the sentence. He disregarded pleas for a shorter prison term from the former executive's lawyers. Waksal's fall from grace, which has now also ensnared the American home-design diva Martha Stewart, dates back to December 2001.
On discovering the US government was threatening to withhold approval of an ImClone anti-cancer drug, Waksal tipped off family members to dump shares. He pleaded guilty in October to securities fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to obstruct justice and perjury. Ms Stewart, who had a long friendship with Waksal, was charged last week on five federal counts, including conspiracy and lying to prosecutors, in a case that revolves around her decision on the same day to sell 4,000 ImClone shares. Ms Stewart said she intends to plead innocent in court.
Addressing the judge yesterday in a packed courtroom, Waksal said he was "deeply disturbed and so very sorry for my actions". He went on: "I want to apologise to all the people who may have had confidence in me and whose confidence I betrayed."
Shares in ImClone picked up last week after European research showed that the drug in question, named Erbitux, could indeed be effective in combating cancer of the colon.Reuse content