ATLANTA - Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker and District Attorney Danny Craig of the Augusta Judicial Circuit announced today that on October 8, 1998, Richard L. Borison, M.D., pleaded guilty to criminal charges arising out of his participation in a scheme to divert millions of dollars in Medical College of Georgia research funds into privately held companies. Borison is the former Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College.
The guilty plea came in the middle of the prosecution of the State's case against Borison. After seven days of trial testimony, Borison pleaded guilty to 36 counts, including 18 counts of theft by taking, ten counts of theft of services, seven counts of false statements, and one count of violating Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Borison was immediately sentenced by Richmond County Superior Court Judge Albert Pickett to serve 15 years in prison, followed by 15 years probation. Borison was fined $125,000 and ordered to pay $100,000 of the fine immediately. In addition, the court ordered Borison to make restitution in the amount of $4.26 million, $2.5 million to be paid within 30 days of the plea. Borison also consented to a judgment in favor of the State in a related civil RICO action brought by the Attorney General in Columbia County Superior Court.
This case was the culmination of almost two and one half years of investigation into allegations that Borison and his partner, Bruce I. Diamond, carried out a scheme through which they stole more than $10 million from the Medical College of Georgia. Both Borison and Diamond were indicted in February of 1997 in a 172 count indictment. Diamond pleaded guilty in December 1997 and is currently serving his sentence.
Attorney General Baker stated, "This may be the largest and most important criminal prosecution the Attorney General's office has ever undertaken. I am proud of the effort my office has put into this case and very pleased with the outcome. It is nationally significant because of the need to insure integrity in the clinical trials process for drugs in this country."