Two Kentucky lawyers William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr. were found guilty of stealing from a $200 million fen-phen diet-drug injury-lawsuit settlement fund that was established for their clients.
Both lawyers were convicted on all nine counts including wire fraud and conspiracy by a federal court jury in Frankfort, Kentucky, after a seven-week trial. The men face as much as 20 years in prison and fines of $250,000. The panel of seven women and five men deliberated for 11 hours over two days before reaching a verdict.
The lawsuit alleges that the lawyers tried to keep more than twice that amount, prosecutors said. Gallion and Cunningham didn’t tell clients the size of the settlement and misled them about how much they would get. The contracts actually entitled them to fees of as much as one-third of the award to 440 Kentucky citizens who said they were harmed by the once-popular diet drug combination.
It was the second trial for William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham. A federal jury in Covington last year was unable to reach a verdict for Gallion and Cunningham but acquitted a third defendant.