Concerns about the coronavirus spreading in federal prisons weren’t enough to get convicted real estate fraudster Rick Koerber released early.
The Utah man’s attorney asked a federal judge last week to allow Koerber to leave a California federal prison so he could serve his 14-year sentence at home in rural Utah, saying he is more at risk to contract COVID-19 because of underlying health issues.
U.S. District Court Judge Fredric Block denied the request Monday, finding that Koerber didn’t show any evidence of current illness and noted he has only served 10 months of his 170-month sentence. The judge said that the motion could be renewed if “circumstances change.”
Koerber in October was sentenced to spend 14 years in prison for fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
Koerber’s attorney had noted in a filing last week that there has been one coronavirus-related death at the facility where Koerber is locked up. Fifteen other federal prisoners have died, and 449 inmates and 280 staff in federal prisons nationwide have contracted the virus.
There are no federal prisons in Utah, so Koerber is housed in a facility in San Pedro.
Federal prosecutors asked that Koerber remain there and serve his sentence, saying the coronavirus pandemic does not warrant his release.