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Michael Segal released from prison 4 months early


CHICAGO—Michael Segal, the former Near North National Group Inc. owner convicted of fraud in 2004, was freed from prison on Tuesday, four months ahead of his scheduled release date.

During a hearing at the federal courthouse in Chicago, U.S. District Court Judge Ruben Castillo ordered Mr. Segal's sentence reduced to time served, allowing him to return home on supervised release, while also ordering that Mr. Segal perform 120 hours of community service. Mr. Segal, who was convicted in connection with charges that he looted insurance agency Near North's premium fund trust account of $35 million for personal and company use, has maintained his innocence. According to the Chicago Tribune, Judge Castillo noted Mr. Segal's lack of remorse even while agreeing to reduce the sentence.

Mr. Segal's case became a legal odyssey in recent years as his attorneys appealed his conviction. In 2011, an appeals court panel ruled that Judge Castillo should review Mr. Segal's sentence, which hinged in part on convictions for "honest services fraud," a crime that was redefined by court rulings in the fraud cases against former Enron Corp. President Jeffrey Skilling and media mogul Conrad Black.

Upon his conviction, Mr. Segal was required to divest his ownership of Near North and the Department of Justice seized Mr. Segal's historic 17-acre estate in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Ill., which later was sold for $17.6 million.

“He is just gratified to be given the opportunity to be back with family,” said Mr. Segal's attorney, Marc Martin, of the Law Offices of Marc Martin.

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