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Professor Fined $500 in Bio-Art Case

By WBFO News

Buffalo, NY – The University of Pittsburgh scientist who mailed bio-materials to UB art professor Steven Kurtz was sentenced Monday in Buffalo's federal court.

Professor Robert Ferrell was fined $500 but was given no jail time. He pleaded guilty last October to a misdemeanor in connection with mail fraud charges. Ferrell is suffering from several serious ailments and agreed to the plea deal because of his health.

The case was originally investigated as bio-terrorism. But the government indicted both Kurtz and Ferrell on felony charges of mail and wire fraud. Ferrell could have been fined $5,000 and sentenced to six months in jail.

Judge Richard Arcara said Ferrell made an "unfortunate" decision in obtaining the bacteria cultures for Kurtz.

Kurtz is still facing charges. His attorney is seeking a dismissal of the case against him.