A man convicted of stealing millions of dollars in a real-estate scam says he is too obese for prison.
In December, Florida resident James Olivos pleaded guilty to fraud charges and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was also ordered to pay back nearly $3 million to the victims of his scheme.
Olivos has missed three surrender dates in the months following his sentencing. Each time, he cites a list of medical reasons for why he can’t be properly cared for in prison. He lists obesity, rectal bleeding, coughing up blood, pain in his feet, and ADHD as reasons he must be kept out of jail.
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Prior to his recent court hearing, WESH reporter Bob Kealing asked Olivos if he planned to claim he was still too obese for prison.
“Do you still contend you are too morbidly obese?” Kealing asked.
“Yes, I am, sir,” Olivos answered. "Thank you very much."
At the hearing, presiding magistrate Karla Spaulding called Olivos out on his excuses. She said he was “stalling to avoid prison.”
“I don’t see anything that confirms these complaints,” Spaulding added. The judge said the only reason she didn’t have Olivos arrested immediately following his hearing is because she didn’t preside over his original trial.
Legal analyst Richard Hornsby says it’s common for criminals to try to push back prison sentences using bogus medical reasons.
"They realize that they suddenly have to pay the piper and that they're going to have to pay for their crimes, and they're trying to get out of it any way they can," he said.