Ohio woman sentenced in computer scheme

BOSTON - A former medical researcher was sentenced to two years' probation and ordered to pay a $7,500 fine Wednesday for her role in a scheme to defraud Compaq Computer Corp. of $2.5 million.

Dr. Janice Douglas, 62, of Brattenahl, Ohio, pleaded guilty on Oct. 21 to two counts of mail fraud and seven counts of wire fraud. She faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Federal prosecutors said Douglas, her former boyfriend and two other men negotiated a $2.5 million educational discount on $5.6 million worth of computer equipment from Houston-based Compaq in February 2002.

Prosecutors say Compaq agreed to the discount because the group claimed they were buying the equipment on behalf of Case Western Reserve University and planned to use it in a clinical trial of a new drug led by Douglas. She is well-known for her expertise on high blood pressure and kidney disease.

The computer equipment was instead stored in a warehouse in Tewksbury and then resold to customers in Canada and England, officials said.

Douglas' former boyfriend, Leroy Sallee, 45, a computer sales representative from Ashtabula, Ohio, pleaded guilty in July to mail fraud charges and testified at trial against Douglas and the two other men.

That trial ended in a hung jury, and a new trial for Douglas is scheduled to start in May.

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