A former biotech executive has been handed a three-year prison sentence and $50,000 fine after falsely claiming to have cancer to avoid a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit.

Howard Richman, former Senior Vice President of regulatory affairs at Biopure, had been hoping to get away with a 15-month prison term for the obstruction of justice where he pleaded guilty in March for lying about his health, even to his lawyers, in a bid to get out of an SEC lawsuit against him.

The lawsuit accused Biopure of misleading investors over the prospects of getting approval for the company’s synthetic blood product Hemopure.

The case was halted in July 2007 after Richman claimed he was suffering from Stage 3 colon cancer. As part of the ruse, he posed as his doctor on the phone and produced a false affidavit that claimed his chances of survival were about 15%.

Richman has since settled the SEC claim with a $150,000 fine and agreeing to never serve in the position of officer or director of a public company again.