A Look at the Corporate Internal Investigation
Dennis Kozlowski Seeks to Oveturn Conviction
The New York Supreme Court will decide his fate
Better Day For Milberg, Tyco Settles for $3 Billion
...already Kozlowski, one of the most noted of the Enron era's white collar crooks - he took his company, Tyco for $150 million - has served three years of his original sentence on fraud-related charges.
Labels: Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco
Tyco to Pay $50 Million on Billion Dollar Financial Overstatement
We've covered some of plaintiff firm, Milberg Weiss's travails
this week as it continues to struggle through an ongoing investigation into kickbacks the firm offered to repeat lead plaintiffs. But there are brighter spots for the firm, one being the recent $3 billion settlement of a class action lawsuit brought against Tyco International
Tyco is of course the famous former home of bad-boy CEO, Dennis Kozlowski. The Milberg-led class action (co-led by Schiffrin, Barroway, Topaz & Kessler) was brought in 2002 on behalf of several pension funds who suffered losses as a result of the fraud at Tyco.
Labels: class action, Dennis Kozlowski, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, Schiffrin Barroway, securities, Tyco
Holiday Handicap of Major Corporate Scandals
According to Tyco, the payment was expected and will have "no financial impact." Sounds like they learned their lesson, no? To be fair, Tyco's primary woes relate back to the self-aggrandizing criminal conduct of the company's former CEO, Dennis Kozlowski and CFO, Mark Swartz.
Labels: Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco
25 Years for Kozlowski and Swartz
I hope everyone is fat and happy after yesterday's indulgences. I for one, can claim consumption of three separate types of pie. Speaking of gluttony...BusinessWeek, just before the holiday, gave a run-down of the current happenings in the major corporate scandals of moment:
Status of high-profile corporate scandals
November 23, 2005
By The Associated Press
A look at some of the high-profile corporate scandals of recent years and the status of legal action in each.
ADELPHIA COMMUNICATIONS CORP. -- Michael Rigas, a son of the founder of Adelphia Communications Corp., pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a charge of making a false entry in a financial record, eliminating the need for his retrial on securities fraud and bank fraud charges in a scandal that forced the cable giant into bankruptcy. John Rigas and his son Timothy were convicted in federal court last year of conspiracy, bank fraud and securities fraud. On June 20, John Rigas was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and Timothy Rigas to 20 years. They are free pending appeal. A fourth executive, Michael Mulcahey, was found not guilty of conspiracy and securities fraud. Last month, John and Timothy were indicted in Philadelphia on charges they and other family members didn't pay $300 million in taxes.
WORLDCOM INC. -- Bernard Ebbers, who as CEO of WorldCom oversaw the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history, was sentenced on July 13 to 25 years in prison. The sentence was handed down in Manhattan three years after WorldCom collapsed in an $11 billion accounting fraud, wiping out billions of investor dollars. A judge ruled in September that Ebbers can stay out of prison while he appeals his conviction.
HEALTHSOUTH CORP. -- Former CEO Richard Scrushy was acquitted on June 28 on all 36 counts of conspiracy, false reporting, fraud and money laundering in an alleged $2.7 billion earnings overstatement at the rehabilitation and medical services chain over seven years beginning in 1996. He blamed the fraud on 15 former HealthSouth executives who pleaded guilty. Hannibal "Sonny" Crumpler, a former HealthSouth executive, the second person to stand trial in the fraud was convicted last Friday of conspiracy and lying to auditors for his role in the fraud.
TYCO INTERNATIONAL LTD. -- Former Chief Executive L. Dennis Kozlowski and Chief Financial Officer Mark H. Swartz were convicted June 17 on 22 of 23 counts of grand larceny, conspiracy, securities fraud and falsifying business records. Prosecutors accused the two of conspiring to defraud Tyco of millions of dollars to fund extravagant lifestyles. The two were sentenced Sept 19 to eight and one-third to 25 years in prison. A judge refused to release Kozlowski and Swartz on bail while they are appeal their convictions.
ENRON CORP. -- Enron founder Kenneth Lay, former CEO Jeffrey Skilling and former top accountant Richard Causey are scheduled to go to trial in January on federal fraud and conspiracy charges. Former CFO Andrew Fastow pleaded guilty in January 2004 to two counts of conspiracy, admitting to orchestrating schemes to hide the company's debt and inflate profits while pocketing millions of dollars. He agreed to serve the maximum 10-year sentence, which will begin in July 2006, after he testifies against his former bosses.
Fastow's wife, Lea Fastow, completed a yearlong sentence in July on a misdemeanor tax charge for failing to report her husband's kickbacks. Former Enron treasurer Ben Glisan Jr. is serving a five-year sentence for his role in the scandal. And two former Merrill Lynch & Co. executives were sentenced to short prison terms for their roles in a bogus Enron sale of power barges.
CREDIT SUISSE FIRST BOSTON -- The company's former investment banking star, Frank Quattrone, was convicted in May 2004 on federal charges of obstruction of justice, after his first trial ended in a hung jury. Quattrone, who made a fortune taking Internet companies public during the dot-com stock boom, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He is free on bail, appealing the conviction.
MARTHA STEWART: The founder of the homemaking empire was released March 4 after serving five months in prison, and finished serving an additional five months and three weeks of home confinement at the end of August. She was convicted in federal court last year of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements related to a personal sale of ImClone Systems Inc. stock. Her former broker at Merrill Lynch, Peter Bacanovic, served a five-month sentence and was released June 16. He still faces five months of home confinement. Stewart's conviction was not related to the company she founded, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.
CENDANT CORP.: Former Cendant Corp. Vice Chairmen E. Kirk Shelton was convicted in January of conspiracy and securities, wire and mail fraud. He was sentenced on August 3 to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay full restitution for his role in an accounting scandal that cost investors and the company more than $3 billion. Shelton was ordered to pay $3.27 billion to Cendant including an initial "lump sum" payment of $15 million last month. Shelton delivered cash, company stock and company-funded insurance policies, a combination that Cendant said is at least $2.4 million short and fluctuates daily. Shelton stood trial with former Cendant Chairman Walter Forbes, whose case ended in a mistrial and will be retried. Four other former executives have already pleaded guilty.
Pass the indictment...and the giblet gravy.
The original article appears here
Labels: 2006, Andy Fastow, Cendant, Dennis Kozlowski, Enron, Health South, money laundering, Tyco
As Kozlowski Sentencing Looms, Approriate Jail Terms for White Collar Crooks Discussed?
The day of reckoning has come and gone for Tyco's management, with both Kozlowski and Swartz receiving 25 years in prison and a demand for $135 million in restitution payments (plus another $70 million fine, just for Kozlowski). Leading up to the sentencing, Kozlowski appeared to be either extremely
well adjusted or just a tad out to lunch
. Here's typically sedate and reserved coverage of the sentencing from the New York Post
Curtains for Tycho's Thief Exec as he gets 25 Years
By Laura Italiano
September 20, 2005
The $6,000 shower curtain has finally fallen on Tyco marauder Dennis Kozlowski. The spend-a-holic former CEO — as infamous for his bizarrely pricey home furnishings as for his $600 million looting of his company — is heading up the river without a yacht for a grueling state prison stint of 8 1/3 to 25 years.
"He has committed theft and securities fraud on an unprecedented, staggering scale, exceeding anything ever prosecuted in this state," Assistant District Attorney Owen Heimer said during a sentencing hearing yesterday in Manhattan Supreme Court. "It was a shocking spree of self-indulgence," Heimer said.
But the 58-year-old Kozlowski — who showed so much gall at the helm of Tyco he kept two ex-mistresses on his payroll and even charged the company for his "yacht stylist" and his $80,000-a-year housemaid — remained dry-eyed as he was handcuffed by court officers and led out by the arm.
Just three years ago, the ruddy robber baron enjoyed a Colorado ranch, a Boca mansion, and a Nantucket beach home — multimillion-dollar residences financed through larcenous bonuses, shady employee loans and fraudulently inflated stock-sale windfalls.
Now, Kozlowski will spend the next 10 days in a 9-by-7 cell in lower Manhattan's Tombs, before being moved to Rikers Island, and, ultimately, to a yet-to-be-determined upstate prison. His dinner last night was a hamburger, mashed potatoes with gravy, and four ounces of chocolate pudding, city correction spokesman Tom Antenen said.
It will be 2013 before Kozlowski is eligible for parole. But he may be eligible for work release in 2011. Sentenced to the same time alongside Kozlowski was his former chief financial officer, Mark Swartz, derided by prosecutors as the "architect" of the pair's grand larcenies. Between them, the two must pay Tyco back $134,351,397 in restitution, with Kozlowski on the hook for $97 million of that money.
Kozlowski was additionally slammed with $70 million in fines. That brings his total Criminal Court financial hit to $167 million — although civil litigation by the company and its shareholders could empty his pockets still further...
The full article, with plenty more bon mots
and snark appears here
. Meanwhile the SEC is pondering further action
on the Tyco front.
...Assistant District Attorney Owen Heimer, who was speaking at the sentencing of former Tyco top executives L. Dennis Kozlowski and Mark H. Swartz, said the fraud may have resulted in the inflation of the Bermuda conglomerate's results by $1 billion.
...A prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's office said Monday that the enforcement staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission has recommended the agency begin an accounting fraud investigation of Tyco International Ltd. (TYC).
And we shall see what transpires.
Labels: Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco
Fidelity "Inappropriate Gifts" Scandal Takes a Sleazy Turn
Via the International Herald Tribune
Questions over jail time for white-collar crime
By Andrew Ross Sorkin
September 17, 2005
The New York Times
On Monday morning, L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former chief executive of Tyco, will learn his fate. Kozlowski, who has been convicted of grand larceny, falsifying business records, securities fraud and other charges, is to be sentenced in New York Supreme Court. He faces a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.
Recent lengthy sentences for white-collar crimes have been seen, by some, as desperately needed deterrents after a deluge of corporate scandals. But the sentencing of Kozlowski, 58, comes at a time when a number of lawyers, including former prosecutors, are questioning whether such sentences are justified.
Bernard Ebbers, the former chairman of WorldCom who was convicted of masterminding an $11 billion accounting fraud that bankrupted the company, was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Because Ebbers is 63, some have contended that the sentence amounts to a life term. Shortly before, John Rigas, the 80-year-old founder of Adelphia Communications, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in looting and hiding debt, in a scandal that bankrupted the cable-television company.
"You have to ask yourself whether the proof in these cases warrants such a sentence," said Otto Obermaier, a former U.S. prosecutor who worked on white-collar crimes from 1989 to 1993. Unlike Ebbers or Rigas, Kozlowski - along with Mark Swartz, Tyco's former chief financial officer who was convicted of the same set of crimes - is being sentenced in a state court. As a result, the judge in the Tyco case, Michael Obus, may have more latitude in his sentencing than U.S. judges, who have a strict set of guidelines to follow.
No lawyer is suggesting that white-collar criminals should not serve time. The question in legal circles has become what is appropriate for white-collar crimes in a post-Enron world? Jonathan Simon, a professor of law at University of California, Berkeley, said: "The most obvious comparison for the emerging attitude toward white-collar criminals is the harsh punishment we give to people involved in the drug trade. But both represent increasingly irrational and inhumane levels of punishment."
The main argument for imposing lengthy sentences is that they serve as a warning to other executives. After Ebbers's conviction in July, Alan Hevesi, the New York state comptroller and court-appointed lead plaintiff in the WorldCom securities class action, said it was "important to send a strong message" because of the billions of dollars and thousands of jobs that were lost as a result of the fraud.
Yet Simon, for one, said he had doubts about whether an especially long sentence worked as a significantly greater deterrent to potential white-collar criminals than shorter periods. He said that "it would be far more effective to impose a lot of short sentences on a wider group of offenders rather than the example model of harshly punishing a few celebrity cases while most potential offenders know that they are unlikely ever to be caught and punished."
Still, some prosecutors and lawyers suggest that lessons that were supposedly learned during the crackdown on corporate crime in the late 1980s did not stick, in part because the sentences were too lenient. Michael Milken was sentenced to three and a half years and served less than two.
Lawyers for Kozlowski and Swartz are expected to emphasize on Monday how different their cases are from those of Enron, WorldCom and Adelphia, companies that were forced to file for bankruptcy protection as a result of the crimes. Tyco never filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and its underlying business was relatively unaffected. The two Tyco officials were convicted of stealing about $150 million by paying themselves unapproved bonuses and conspiring to keep the thefts secret.
In addition to determining a sentence, Obus is expected to make Kozlowski and Swartz disgorge the money they stole. Prosecutors may also seek to have the men pay hundreds of millions of dollars that they say shareholders lost as a result of falsified business records and the hiding of information from investors, as well as possibly millions of dollars in fines.
The original article (which first appeared in the New York Times) can be found here.
Labels: Dennis Kozlowski, Enron, Tyco
Fidelity's problems continue as ever more unseemly details continue to emerge about the gifts their top brokers lavished on clients. No doubt these gentlemen should have known better. If the potential violation of securities laws didn't tip off Fidelity's boys that they were courting trouble, then consorting with the self-described "Heidi Fleiss of dwarf talent" should surely have given them pause...
Via the Independent Online
SEC probes dwarf-tossing party for Fidelity trader
By Jason Nisse
August 14, 2005
What would top brokers give to please traders from the world's largest fund manager? Lavish yachts, attractive female company and a dwarf to toss.
US regulators probing "inappropriate gifts" given to dealers at the financial giant Fidelity Investments have unearthed evidence of an astonishing party.
The March 2003 bachelor weekend for Thomas Bruderman Jnr, a star Fidelity trader, was paid for by three Wall Street firms - Jefferies & Co, Lazard and SG Cowan. A $65,000 (£36,000) private jet was laid on to take Mr Bruderman and his guests, who included Fidelity's then head of stock trading, Scott DeSano, and Dennis Kozlowski, the former head of Tyco International, from Boston to Miami. They were put up at the Delano Hotel, beloved of celebrities such as Madonna, and taken out on a yacht, along with at least two women who were hired to attend.
Another person hired was Danny Black, who describes himself as the "Heidi Fleiss of dwarf talent". His official role was as a waiter, but he also allowed himself to be thrown by partygoers in an activity called "dwarf tossing". Mr Black said that it "was a lavish party and a good time was had by all".
However, the US Securities & Exchange Commission is now investigating whether its rules - thatgifts from a broker to traders must not exceed $100 in value - were broken.
An internal investigation at Fidelity found that at least 16 of its employees had broken the company's rules on accepting freebies.