Former Merrillville attorney sentenced in perjury case

2013-03-14T17:31:00Z 2013-03-14T23:16:10Z Former Merrillville attorney sentenced in perjury caseBy Jim Masters Times Correspondent
March 14, 2013 5:31 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Former Merrillville attorney Fred Cuppy will spend a year and a day in federal prison following a perjury conviction involving a scheme to hide the wealth of a hospital official.

Cuppy’s sentencing Thursday in U.S. District Court, Chicago, included a $4,000 fine and a year of supervised release, the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago confirmed.

Cuppy, 72, must report to prison on May 7. He had faced up to five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.

Cuppy's November guilty plea to one count of perjury stemmed from an alleged plot to help his former client Peter Rogan, formerly of Valparaiso, thwart government and bank efforts to collect civil judgments totaling $188 million.

Those judgments involved the fraud leading to the financial collapse of Edgewater Hospital in Chicago, court records show.

Federal authorities alleged Cuppy, who now lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., helped Rogan — the former owner and chief executive of the hospital — create a trust, withhold accurate information to authorities about the trust and choose offshore locations to stash the funds.

Rogan purportedly created a trust in the Bahamas in 1996 to protect his assets from future judgments. By 2002, the trust held $28 million, federal authorities said.

Cuppy and Rogan engineered the trust so that it would be funded with Rogan’s assets held by various corporate entities. Cuppy transferred money from those entities to the trust, according to court documents.

Rogan sold Edgewater, 5700 N. Ashland Ave., but continued to control the hospital and medical center through various businesses and investments.

The hospital closed in December 2001 and entered bankruptcy in 2002 when four doctors, a vice president and its management company pleaded guilty to federal criminal health-care fraud charges involving kickbacks for patient referrals and medically unnecessary hospital admissions, tests and services.

The federal government filed a civil lawsuit against Rogan in 2002 alleging Medicare and Medicaid fraud. He was ordered to pay more than $64 million.

Criminal charges also are pending against Rogan, court records show.

Carl Richard Buck, Cuppy’s attorney, could not be reached for comment.

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