COUDERSPORT — Timothy J. Rigas is now home with his family after being in prison since 2007.
His father, John Rigas, made the announcement on his Facebook page on Sunday, July 7. Tim Rigas arrived home around 3 p.m. on Monday, July 9, John Rigas told the Potter Leader-Enterprise.
In his Facebook post, John Rigas wrote, “Tim’s release has been made possible by a provision of the First Step Act, a new criminal justice reform law which permits the early release of inmates over the age of 60 who have been convicted of non-violent crimes and have served two-thirds of their sentences.” Tim Rigas, 63, will finish out the remainder of his sentence in home confinement.
Tim Rigas was originally to be released from prison on June 3, 2020, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons’s website.
Tim Rigas, CFO of Adelphia Communications, and John Rigas, founder of Adelphia Communications, were sentenced to 20 and 15 years in prison respectively — sentences that were later reduced to 17 and 12 years — after a jury convicted them on charges of securities fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy in 2004.
The $3.2 billion corporate accounting fraud scandal broke in 2002. Adelphia, the fifth largest cable company in the country at the time, filed for bankruptcy. It was eventually split up and sold to Comcast and Time Warner.
Tim and John Rigas went to jail in mid-August 2007. In 2016, John Rigas was released when a federal judge ordered a compassionate early release, as he was battling cancer. Now, 94, he’s been working to get his son out of prison and their convictions overturned.
“He and I continue to hope that our convictions will be overturned in the habeas corpus appeal that is pending in New York City, where our trial was held in 2004,” John Rigas wrote in his Facebook post.
John Rigas told the Potter Leader-Enterprise the family found out there was a possibility of an early release for Tim Rigas about a month ago, but knew for sure about two weeks ago.
“It’s quite emotional,” John Rigas said. “There’s a lot of hugs and ‘Thank the Lord’ and cheers and joy ... It’s still taken us some time to get used to seeing Tim around.”
“It’s been a wonderful day,” John Rigas said.
“The Rigas family would truly like to express our deep affection to all the people in the surrounding areas ... for all their prayers and support for many years,” John Rigas told the Potter Leader-Enterprise. “Without that — that feeling of support and love for us — I don’t know if we would have been able to go through it all.”
John Rigas said he suspects Tim Rigas will be doing many things, including working with the family and proceeding with the habeas corpus appeal.
“He’ll possibly be involved with some efforts with Zito,” John Rigas told the Potter Leader-Enterprise. Though John Rigas said he doesn’t know how he’ll fit in with those efforts.
Zito Media is a “telecommunications company that provides TV (including digital cable), high-speed internet and digital phone services to numerous communities across 19 states,” according to its website. James Rigas, John’s son and Tim’s brother, is CEO.
Zito Media purchased the former-Adelphia headquarters for almost $2 million in December 2018.
Paul R. Grand, Tim Rigas’s former defense attorney, said he was thrilled to hear he was released early.
“I’m happy to hear to that (Tim is out) and that his father is doing well,” Grand said. He said none of this should have ever happened to them.