NEW YORK (AP) — In an unusual move, a federal appeals court in New York has ordered an opera-loving philanthropist convicted of fraud released on bail.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the order Tuesday, requiring Alberto Vilar (vee-LAHR') and a co-defendant be released before it issues its opinion on the legality of their convictions.
The appeals court heard oral arguments in August. Vilar was convicted at trial in 2008 of conspiracy fraud for cheating investors of $40 million through his San Francisco-based company. He's been imprisoned since shortly afterward.
Vilar's lawyer Vivian Shevitz says she's gratified. She says the bail order means her clients have a substantial issue likely to result in a reversal. It's unclear how soon Vilar will be released.
A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors has declined to comment.