Urciuoli, Celona, Driscoll to serve prison sentences

A federal judge last Wednesday sentenced Robert A. Urciuoli, former president and CEO of Roger Williams Medical Center, to 36 months in prison, and former hospital vice president Frances P. Driscoll to eight months, plus eight months home confinement, for their role in the corruption scandal involving disgraced state Sen. John A. Celona.
The former senator himself was sentenced to 30 months in prison for illegally using his office to benefit Roger Williams and other entities.
Senior U.S. District Court Judge Ernest C. Torres, who imposed the sentences, also fined Urciuoli $20,000 and Driscoll $10,000.
“The sentences imposed today represent another chapter in a broad investigation into corruption surrounding the State House,” U.S. Attorney Robert Clark Corrente said in a news release. “Our office, along with the FBI, the [R.I.] State Police and other agencies, has devoted an unprecedented amount of resources to an investigation that is pursuing many angles. Our mission is to root out the corruption that has existed, and level the playing field for all who do business with our government.”
Celona has been cooperating with the government in its continuing investigation into the relationships between corporations and the General Assembly. He pleaded guilty in August 2005 to mail fraud, admitting that he accepted money and gifts from corporations that had interests in legislation pending before the General Assembly, and that he used his position to fraudulently advance the interests of those corporations.
In October, a jury convicted Urciuoli and Driscoll of using the mail to fraudulently deprive Rhode Island citizens of Celona’s honest services. During their trial, federal prosecutors had presented evidence that Urciuoli hired Celona in 1998, ostensibly to work for the Village at Elmhurst, an assisted-living center affiliated with Roger Williams, but really to help advance the hospital’s political agenda. The evidence also showed that Driscoll regularly sent Celona instructions on how to advance or deter legislation that affected the Medical Center.
Between 1998 and 2004, Roger Williams paid Celona about $260,000 in consultant fees.
Torres ordered Urciuoli and Driscoll to report to prison on April 2, and Celona to report on March 2.

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