Accounting & Tax

Prison Time for Former HealthSouth Exec

''The fact that you have suffered weighs very little because it is a suffering of your own making,'' says the judge.
Stephen TaubDecember 22, 2005

Jason Brown, a former HealthSouth Corp. vice president of finance, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and two years of supervised release for his role in the company’s massive accounting scandal, according to published reports.

Brown, who pleaded guilty in December 2003 to falsifying HealthSouth’s financial records, must report to prison on February 1.

“Executives who commit corporate fraud are not more than common thieves wearing suits and wielding pens as their weapons while bilking millions from investors,” said U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Blackburn, reported Reuters.

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Brown is the last of 15 HealthSouth executives who pleaded guilty to be sentenced, noted the Associated Press. Hannibal “Sonny” Crumpler, a former controller of HealthSouth’s outpatient division who was convicted at trial, is scheduled to be sentenced in May. Founder and former chief executive officer Richard Scrushy was acquitted in June.

“The magnitude of the fraud is mind-boggling,” Blackburn observed. Reportedly she also lamented the light sentences that other judges had handed down to several individuals who pleaded guilty.

Before he was sentenced, Brown said he regretted his participation in the fraud. “I made two very poor decisions in 2002. I learned a very painful and difficult lesson,” he told the court, according to Reuters.

Blackburn reportedly responded, “The fact that you have suffered weighs very little because it is a suffering of your own making.”