Monday, January 31, 2005

No "Smoking Gun" Document Linking Scrushy to Accounting Fraud

The government witness testifying on Jan. 31 in the trial of Richard Scrushy was Harvey Kelly, who worked for PriceWaterhouseCoopers as an accountant in its investigation of the accounting fraud at HealthSouth.  Kelly testified that he did not come across any documents (memoranda, e-mails, etc.) specifically linking Scrushy to the overstatements of revenue and income at the company, although he also noted that he was not looking for any when he conducted the internal investigation of the accounting issues.  The testimony is consistent with the defense theory that financial officers of the company were responsible for the fraudulent accounting, although it does not undermine the government's position that Scrushy urged those same officers to do whatever was necessary to make the numbers Wall Street wanted to see. It is likely the government will soon call Bill Owens, a former CFO and senior officer at the company, to testify about Scrushy's involvement in the misconduct; his testimony is expected to be quite lengthy, with the cross-examination very contentious with regard to the recordings he made prior to the government's search of HealthSouth's offices.  An AP story (here) discusses Kelly's testimony.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/whitecollarcrime_blog/2005/01/no_smoking_gun_.html

Fraud, HealthSouth, Securities | Permalink

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