But He Did Not Violate Sarbox

The CFO and the case of the fabricated frostbite.

While a CFO fraud conviction doesn’t stop the presses these days, former Accent Magazine finance chief Gary Dodds has added a new twist.

After a 15-day trial in February, Dodds was convicted of falsifying evidence, causing false public alarm, and fleeing the scene of a car crash. The case stemmed from an April 2006 police manhunt that found Dodds huddled under a pile of leaves, claiming to have crashed to avoid hitting a deer. He supposedly recalled nothing after the accident, except wading through New Hampshire’s icy Bellamy River.

Dodds didn’t stand accused of fudging financials. Instead, prosecutors argued that he fabricated frostbite by submerging his feet in icy water to make it appear as though he had spent the night in the woods. His motivation? According to prosecutors, he wanted to draw attention to his floundering campaign in New Hampshire’s 2006 Democratic congressional race. But Dodds’s defense attorney, J.P. Nadeau, stated in his closing argument that “it defies common sense that anybody would intentionally crash their car into a guardrail.”

While County Attorney Thomas Velardi has called the case “one of the biggest frauds of 2006,” the county is seeking restitution only for the $20,000 it spent searching for him. As for Dodds, whose feet appear to have recovered, he’s already asked a judge to throw out the verdict.

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