Rite Aid Scandal Earns Ex-Officer 10 Years in Jail

Rejecting arguments that a former Rite Aid Corp. officer should be spared jail time, a federal judge sentenced 76-year-old Franklin Brown to 10 years in prison, Reuters reported.

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Brown was convicted earlier this month of making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission, obstructing justice, witness tampering and other charges.

Inflated profits and lavish executive compensation packages left the drug store chain burdened by debt and forced to restate $1.6 billion in earnings in 2000. While the business is bouncing back, the $23 million fraud nearly led to bankruptcy.

Attorney Ellen Brotman argued that Brown should be detained at home because of his age, his heart condition and the risk that he would be abused in prison by much younger inmates.

"Imprisonment of any significant length is going to be a de facto life sentence for Mr. Brown," Brotman told the court. Brown's attorneys plan to appeal the conviction and the sentence, which they pointed out was longer than the eight years received by former Rite Aid Chief Executive Martin Graff. In fact, Brown's sentence is the longest of all six former executives charged in the scandal.

In a statement to the judge, Brown referred to his conviction as "the most painful and humbling experience of my life."

"It is absolutely awful to think that I failed in my responsibility because some innocent people have been hurt. I'm deeply sorry," he said.

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