Risk Management

Former Qwest Finance Exec Pleads Guilty

May testify against a former senior vice president whose case ended in a mistrial earlier this year.
Stephen TaubJune 2, 2004

In a deal with federal prosecutors, a former finance executive at Qwest Communications International Inc. has pleaded guilty to one felony charge connected to the Denver-based company’s 2001 accounting scandal.

Grant Graham, former chief financial officer for Qwest’s global business unit, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of accessory after the fact to wire fraud with reckless indifference, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn warned Graham that he could be sentenced to up to 30 months in prison and a $125,000 fine under federal guidelines, reported the Rocky Mountain News. The plea deal, however, calls for a year of probation and a $5,000 fine, in exchange for Graham’s cooperation with prosecutors. Sentencing is scheduled for August 31, reported Reuters.

Graham was one of four former Qwest executives who went on trial earlier this year before Judge Blackburn. The defendants had been accused of improperly booking $34 million in revenue in the second quarter of 2001, for an Internet equipment sale to Arizona schools, to help meet earnings projections and revenue expectations.

In April a jury found Graham not guilty on three counts and deadlocked on eight others.

Bryan Treadway, a former assistant controller, and John Walker, a former vice president, were found not guilty on all 11 counts against them; the jury was deadlocked on all 11 counts against former senior vice president Thomas Hall. Judge Blackburn then declared a mistrial on all the deadlocked charges against Graham and Hall.

Hall is scheduled to go to trial again in July. Will Graham testify against him? Both Graham’s attorney Daniel Sears and prosecutor William Leone declined to comment specifically, Reuters noted.

“We hope justice is evenly spread in this entire matter,” Sears told reporters.

“The investigation goes on,” said Leone.