Bad Pharma Man Gets|51 Months in Prison

     SAN DIEGO (CN) — An Oceanside, Calif., pharmaceutical executive was sentenced Monday to 51 months in federal prison for fleecing investors of $2 million for a supposed cure for Parkinson’s disease, but spending the money “on his own whims and desires.”
     Greg Ruehle, 64, was hired by nonparty ICB International in 2011 to try to raise money for research in neurodegenerative diseases. “Ruehle used this position to swindle a small and tight-knit community of hardworking, trusting people, many of whom he had known for decades from his hometown in Minnesota,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement announcing his sentence.
     “Ruehle took almost $2 million from these victims, but he never delivered it to the company, as he promised both the investors and ICBI. Instead, he squandered the money on his own whims and desires,” the U.S. attorney said.
     The U.S. attorney’s statement portrays Ruehle as heartless.
     “These were not greedy investors hoping to strike it rich. Instead, they were working people of modest means: farmers, teachers, nurses, single parents, elderly citizens living on Social Security — most of them had known defendant since childhood and had every reason to trust him. And many of them also had close family members suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and felt that they were contributing to a cause by giving their money to Ruehle’s research. Based on Ruehle’s false promises, many victims cashed out their 401(k) retirement accounts, used money they had saved for down payments on their first homes, or even borrowed money to give to Ruehle. He took money from one investor knowing that she suffered from dementia, and talked another investor out of his money while the investor was at the hospital hooked up to an IV, about to receive an injection of chemotherapy.”
     He sent them fake stock certificates and forged letters from the CEO, though he never told the CEO or ICBI that he’d raised the money, prosecutors said.
     Finally, while the FBI searched Ruehle’s home as they investigated his securities fraud, they “found three weapons that Ruehle had every reason to believe were stolen.”
     Ruehle also was ordered to pay $1.9 million in restitution and forfeiture. He could have been sentenced to 30 years in prison: 20 for securities fraud and 10 for possession of stolen firearms.

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