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Probation for couple tied to deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak

BOSTON (Reuters) - A married couple who held a majority stake in a Massachusetts pharmacy that sparked a 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people were sentenced to probation on Wednesday after pleading guilty to financial crimes.

Carla Conigliaro, the 53-year-old former majority owner of the now-shuttered New England Compounding Center, and her husband, Douglas, 55, in July pleaded guilty to illegally withdrawing cash from bank accounts to avoid financial reporting requirements while their company was the target of an intense federal investigation as they sought to hide assets from creditors.

U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns sentenced Douglas Conigliaro to serve two years' probation and a $55,000 fine and Carla Conigliaro to one year and a $4,500 fine.

Federal prosecutors had asked for probation, rather than prison, following their guilty plea.


Federal prosecutors found that the company knowingly shipped batches of an injectible steroid contaminated with meningitis used to treat back pain that sickened 778 people. The Conigliaros were not charged with having played an active role in the operations or management of NECC.

Several other former employees of the company, including pharmacists Barry Cadden and Glenn Chin, are set to stand trial early next year on charges including racketeering and mail fraud for their role in the outbreak.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Andrew Hay and Leslie Adler)