Feb. 9 will be a big day for Samuel Waksal, the former chief executive officer of biotech firm Imclone. That's when he'll be released from federal custody after serving five years, six months and two weeks for insider trading, nine months less than his original sentence. Why the shorter time? He was rewarded for participating in a prison rehab program for substance abusers.
Except he's not a substance abuser--or at least he wasn't until a few months before his sentencing. Waksal told a probation officer during his pre-sentence interview that he was just a "social drinker" and drank "about five glasses of wine per week." At his plea hearing, Waksal advised the judge under oath that he'd never been treated for drug or alcohol addiction. But a month later Waksal's lawyers told the feds he had recently developed a "dependence on alcohol" and would benefit from treatment for his newly acquired addiction. Convenient, given that the rehab program is the main way white-collar offenders get time off their sentences. Waksal declined comment on grounds it was a private matter.