Sentenced biotech entrepreneur files notice of appeal

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PITTSFIELD — The Berkshire County biotechnology entrepreneur who was sentenced last week to prison time for misusing money earmarked for cancer research filed notice of an appeal Monday.

In August, a Manhattan, N.Y., federal jury convicted Patrick Muraca of wire fraud and lying to federal investigators, and on Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Ronnie Abrams sentenced Muraca to 27 months in prison.

Muraca's charges stemmed from misuse of $335,000 to $370,000 invested into two companies he founded — MetaboRX and NanoMolecularDX — in 2016.

The companies were established to develop cancer diagnostic exams and complete cancer research, but prosecutors proved to jurors that Muraca had used money invested into the companies on personal expenses, like dinners out, on mortgage payments and splurges at Coach, and to purchase items for his fiancee and her two restaurants.

Muraca's attorney, Bennett M. Epstein, alerted the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, that his client will appeal the conviction. On the day Muraca was convicted at the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse in Manhattan, Epstien said he would base his appeal on the judge's decision not to define the words "funding" and "capitalization," as the jury had requested in a note.

Those terms, which Abrams ruled not to weigh in on because they are not legal words, but rather business terms with several possible definitions, were "key" to the case, Epstein had said.

When reached by phone Tuesday, Epstein declined to comment further on the filing.

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at horecchio@berkshireeagle.com, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.

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