Former Starkey Hearing Technologies President Jerry Ruzicka began his 7-year prison sentence in Duluth Monday after being convicted on eight counts of mail, wire and tax fraud.

The former Plymouth resident spent 38 years at Starkey until his firing in 2015. He was well known for transforming the once lackluster Starkey into a hefty hearing aid manufacturer, now the largest in the United States.

But Ruzicka, 62, was convicted in March 2018 for his role in stealing $18.9 million in restricted stock, fake commissions, fees and bonuses from Eden Prairie-based Starkey and a supplier firm named Sonion. 

The Federal Bureau of Prisons reported this week that Ruzicka has been assigned to the minimum-security Federal Prison Camp in Duluth.  

It is the same prison where former Starkey chief financial officer Scott A. Nelson is serving a two-year prison sentence for conspiracy for his role assisting Ruzicka with various misdeeds at Starkey. 

Nelson pleaded guilty and testified against Ruzicka.

Ruzicka is appealing his conviction.

Ruzicka's co-defendant, former Sonion President  W. Jeff Taylor, also began his prison sentence Monday in Duluth. 

Taylor was convicted in March and later sentenced to 18 months in prison on three counts of fraud for his role defrauding Sonion and Starkey via sham companies and fraudulent fees and commissions that he shared with Ruzicka. 

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