- Associated Press - Friday, June 19, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - A former owner of a now-shuttered Chicago hospital accused of scheming to keep the government from reclaiming millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains appeared in a federal courtroom in Chicago on Friday after fighting extradition from Canada for years.

Before Peter G. Rogan, 69, pleaded not guilty to the perjury and obstruction of justice charges against him, the judge provided some light-hearted context for how long the case has been in and out of court.

“Welcome home,” Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan said. “While you were away the Blackhawks won three Stanley Cups.”

Rogan, who returned to Chicago on Thursday as tens of thousands of fans turned downtown into a sea of Blackhawks red during a celebration of this year’s championship, said the news hadn’t escaped him while he was up north. “As you know, Canada is hockey crazy,” he told the judge.

During the brief hearing, prosecutors told the judge that if convicted of all the charges, Rogan faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. The judge ordered him to return to court later this month for a hearing on his attorneys’ motion to allow him to be released from custody while awaiting trial.

The hearing was the latest chapter in a years-long legal battle that has included convictions of four doctors and at least one hospital executive after authorities uncovered a scheme in which doctors and others were paid to admit homeless or elderly people to Edgewater Hospital and Medical Center for unnecessary care over a period of years.

Rogan was not initially charged in 2001 when the hospital collapsed into bankruptcy and closed, but the federal government sued him the next year over his alleged role in the scheme. In 2006, the same year that he moved to Canada, a federal judge ruled against him in a lawsuit and ordered him to pay more than $64 million in damages.

In 2011, he and his attorney were indicted on federal charges alleging that they had engaged in a scheme to prevent authorities from collecting that judgment and a subsequent multi-million dollar judgment. As Rogan fought extradition, the attorney, Frederick Cuppy, pleaded guilty.

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