Former Bristol-Myers Squibb Senior Vice-President of Strategy Andrew Bodnar has a Jan. 31 deadline for his first 75,000-word novel. But it's not agents and publishers breathing down his neck, it's federal District Judge Ricardo Urbina in Washington, D.C., who sentenced the convicted exec with a unique interpretation of community service.
Found guilty of lying to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2009 about a pharmaceutical patent deal run amok, Bodnar has been ordered to write a book about his experience. Which, I suppose, ends up being very similar to house arrest, but I digress.The non-fiction account is meant to be a cautionary tale for aspiring white collar criminals everywhere, and (spoiler alert) justice wins out in the end.
According to Jim Edwards, of Bnet, Judge Urbina directed Bodnar to make the story, "useful and instructive," and, "maybe, possibly inspirational."
Anyone who's ever stared down a blank page and felt an onset of panic might praise the judge for discovering an economically savvy -- and humane =- way to put offenders through their own personal hell. To stiffen the sentence, I'd like to suggest making him shop for an agent when he's done. Torture.
Of course, everyone loves a reformed man, so he'll probably be picked up by CAA and get his own show on the new Oprah network (think of all the other convicted execs he could interview!). But I'm not bitter. Really.
The book, or manuscript as it's usually referred to at this point, will feature the real life and alleged non-fiction account of a man who promises one thing and does another. Does this theme never get old? The opus will recount what happened when Bodnar told the FTC that his company would continue to produce its blood-thinning drug, Plavix, even after the company's rival, Apotex, introduced its own, cheaper, generic version. Instead, however, the two companies made a secret pact. The plot thickens.
Edwards described the scheme on Bnet: "In fact, Bodnar made an oral deal with Apotex to stay off the market for six months while Apotex made Plavix in return for a licensing fee. That agreement was illegal and the FTC discovered it when Apotex and Bodnar failed to get their stories straight." Busted. Some guys have all the luck.
In court transcripts, the judge asks Bodnar if he's ever thought about writing a book, the exec says, "...Although, I will never say that I think that this experience is something that I would have liked to have had...I actually have given a lot of thought to writing about it."
Hemingway once said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." A dangerous prospect for a guy who used to sell blood thinner.
Crime and Punishment: Judge Orders Book Written as Community Service