Former HealthSouth CFO Gets Three Years

Michael Martin pleaded guilty in May 2003 to engaging in a conspiracy to commit fraud and file false financial statements as part of a ploy to overstate earnings

A federal judge has sentenced former HealthSouth CFO Michael Martin to 36 months in prison, according to Reuters. It was the third time Martin has been sentenced for his role in the company’s $2.7 billion accounting scandal.

The first time around, when he was sentenced to five months probation, Martin was one among a large number of former HealthSouth executives who were at first able to avoid prison time after pleading guilty to their roles in the company’s massive fraud.

Martin was later ordered to serve seven days in prison, according to the news service. Reuters points out. Both sentences were overturned after prosecutors appealed what they regarded as light penalties.

Martin pleaded guilty in May 2003 to engaging in a conspiracy to commit fraud and file false financial statements as part of a ploy to overstate earnings. In June 2004, that he faced a maximum penalty of $1.25 million in fines and 15 years in prison; prosecutors had sought a five-year prison term. The ex-CFO “was the most culpable of those sentenced to date,” Michael Rasmussen, assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, reportedly charged at the time. “He had the most seniority, the most authority, and the longest time. He also obtained substantial income.”

The ex-CFO ended up receiving one of the stiffest penalties among the 15 former executives who pleaded guilty to participating in the fraud, Reuters reported. On Tuesday, a tearful Martin reportedly told the court and U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler: “I only have myself to blame for where I am standing.”

Martin apologized to those who suffered from the fraud, adding, according to the wire service, that “I committed a very serious crime and I am prepared to face the consequences.”

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