SPRINGFIELD, Va. (AP) -- A federal appeals court cut nearly in half the pension of United Way's former president, who is serving a seven-year prison sentence for cheating the charity out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Wednesday's ruling means that, after also subtracting court-imposed salary penalties and fines, William Aramony will get $7,781 of what had originally been a $4.4 million pension.
Last year, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin of New York ruled that Aramony, 73, was entitled to the full $4.4 million pension because his plan made no provision for cuts if he was convicted of a crime.
But she also ruled that Aramony owed the organization $2.02 million for salary he received from 1989 to 1992. She also fined him $300,000, leaving him with just over $2 million in benefits.
But Wednesday's ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals says that the United Way is not responsible for about $2 million in the original pension benefits, based on tax and pension law rather than Aramony's criminal activity.
That leaves Aramony with the $7,781, which has already been paid, said Chris Amundsen, president of the Alexandria-based charity.
"Mr. Aramony will not be entitled to any additional distribution," Amundsen said. "United Way of America is pleased with the court's ruling."
Aramony was convicted in 1995 of defrauding the organization of about $600,000 to pay for a lavish lifestyle and luxury travel for himself and his girlfriends.
Aramony can appeal the court's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court or ask the appeals court to rehear the case.
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