Former Qwest CFO Reaches Deal with SEC

Robin Szeliga is expected to be a key witness in the criminal trial of former Qwest chief executive officer Joe Nacchio.

Former Qwest Communications chief financial officer Robin Szeliga has reached a settlement in principle of a civil fraud lawsuit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, reported the Rocky Mountain News.

Filed on Friday, the one-page court document disclosed few details, according to the newspaper, except that the proposed settlement with the SEC’s Denver office was subject to review and formal approval by the SEC commissioners in Washington, D.C. The paper also noted that Szeliga agreed to a similar deal but subsequently pulled out.

In 2005, the SEC Szeliga and a number of other former Qwest executives were accused of engaging in a massive fraud from April 1, 1999, through March 31, 2002, that resulted in the overstatement of about $3 billion in revenue. At the time, the commission sought disgorgement of $1.6 million in “ill-gotten gains” from Szeliga.

Szeliga also faced criminal charges, and soon after pleaded guilty in federal court in Denver to a single count of insider trading. The former CFO, who had faced up to 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine, was sentenced last year to two years of probation, six months of house arrest, and a $250,000 fine. She also agreed to pay $125,000 in restitution, equal to the sum she earned on her illegal trading, according to an Associated Press report at the time.

Szeliga is expected to be a key witness in the criminal trial of former Qwest chief executive officer Joe Nacchio, scheduled to begin March 19, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Nacchio, who has been charged with 42 counts of insider trading stemming from $101 million in stock sales, reportedly faces up to 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine on each count.

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