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Ex-Starkey president Ruzicka gets 7 years in fraud case

December 19, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former executive at Eden Prairie-based hearing aid manufacturer Starkey Laboratories was sentenced to seven years in federal prison in an embezzlement case.

Former Starkey President Jerry Ruzicka was sentenced on Wednesday for his role in stealing more than $15 million from Starkey, owner Bill Austin and Starkey supplier Sonion.

Prosecutors had sought up to 20 years for the 62-year-old Ruzicka. The Star Tribune reports prosecutors say Ruzicka had not shown remorse.

A jury convicted Ruzicka in March of mail, wire and tax fraud. The charges involved the theft of $15.5 million in restricted stock belonging to Austin, stealing Ruzicka’s company Jaguar and creating sham companies to collect fake commissions and fees from Starkey and Sonion.

Former Sonion U.S. President W. Jeff Taylor also was convicted on fraud charges and is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday, along with two co-defendants who pleaded guilty.

In a statement, Starkey says the company is thankful to be nearing the conclusion of the case.

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This story corrects that Taylor will be sentenced Thursday instead of Wednesday.

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