Former Bucks County Playhouse owner Ralph Miller, convicted of insurance fraud, was sentenced Monday in a Philadelphia federal court to 30 months in prison, along with 36 months of supervised release, by Judge Cynthia Rufe.
The first 12 months of the supervised release will be under home confinement, according to Special Agent Edward Manning of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation division.
Miller was also ordered to pay a $200 fine, and restitution in the amount of $239,875.62 to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
He had faced up to 30 years in prison. But considering that maximum sentences are rarely handed down, a source close to the investigation said, “In this district, 30 months for a white collar crime, plus another 36 months of supervision, is a pretty good sentence.”
Miller was found guilty in May 2015 by a federal jury of filing fraudulent insurance claims in the aftermath of a 2006 Delaware River flood that soaked the historic Bucks County Playhouse.
The trial followed years of delays, postponements, and superseding charges. The criminal case was tried in the Federal Court of the Eastern District in Philadelphia.
Miller lost the theater to a bank in 2010, and was charged with mail fraud and money laundering in 2011 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia (U.S. vs. Ralph Miller). The prosecution alleged that Miller submitted false claims for approximately $200,000 in lighting that he reportedly said was damaged in the flood (Miller’s insurance company paid him $184,000 for the lighting out of a total $905,000 award).
The money laundering charge appears to derive from cashing the fraudulently-obtained insurance checks, according to documents filed in the case.
According to the complaint, Miller also filed fraudulent theft claims as owner of the Pocono Playhouse in Mountainhome, which was destroyed by fire in 2009. Miller owned the Bucks County Playhouse for more than 30 years before defaulting on mortgage payments in 2010. He also owned the Woodstock Playhouse in New York, destroyed in a 1988 fire, and the Falmouth Playhouse on Cape Cod, Mass., destroyed by a 1994 fire.
(Revised 4:30 p.m. to include source reaction to sentence)