Urciuoli found guilty, Driscoll acquitted

From the US attorney's office:

A federal jury today found Robert A. Urciuoli, the former president of Roger Williams Medical Center, guilty of corruptly employing former Rhode Island Senator John Celona to advance the Medical Center’s interests in the General Assembly.  The jury acquitted former hospital vice president Frances P. Driscoll of an associated charge.

United States Attorney Robert Clark Corrente announced the verdicts, which the jury returned today following four days of deliberation and a three-week trial.

During the trial, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Luis M. Matos and Dulce Donovan presented evidence that Urciuoli hired Celona in 1998, ostensibly to work for the Village at Elmhurst, an assisted living center affiliated with Roger Williams.  The evidence showed, however, that Urciuoli actually hired Celona to advance the Medical Center’s political agenda and by doing so, deprived the citizens of Rhode Island of their right to Celona’s honest services.

Between 1998 and 2004, Roger Williams paid Celona approximately $260,000 in consultant fees and, in return, Celona took steps to kill bills deemed harmful to Roger Williams and to advance legislation that Urciuoli considered favorable.

Celona worked to kill legislation that would have prohibited Medical Center officials from serving on the board of a for-profit hospital in the event of a merger.  Celona also helped Urciuoli pressure medical insurance companies to increase their reimbursements to Roger Williams for health care services.      

The jury found Urciuoli guilty of conspiracy and 35 counts of mail fraud.  He remains free on bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled for March 6, 2009.  Conspiracy and 17 of the mail fraud counts carry maximum penalties of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.  Eighteen of the mail fraud counts have maximum penalties of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine (in July 2002, Congress increased the maximum penalty for mail fraud).

The jury acquitted Driscoll of one charge of aiding and abetting the honest services mail fraud scheme.

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