Fraud Estimates Grow

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Court documents show that HealthSouth, headquartered in Birmingham, is now accused of overstating earnings by more than $2.5 billion since 1997.

The documents released Thursday increase the number from the $1.4
billion figure initially announced. It adds $440 million in 1997 and $635 million in 1998.

Government officials say the health care giant overstated the earnings to make it look like it was meeting Wall Street forecasts.

Meanwhile in court, five more HealthSouth executives admitted taking part in a scheme that already had resulted in guilty pleas from three top executives and a criminal probe of ousted founder and CEO Richard Scrushy.

Chief information officer, Kenneth Livesay, 42, of Birmingham, agreed to plead guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and falsifying corporate records.

Four more people reached plea deals on fraud charges: 33-year-old Angela C. Ayers of Hoover; 39-year-old Cathy C. Edwards of Hoover; 35-year-old Rebecca Kay Morgan of Pelham, all corporate vice presidents and assistant vice president, 33-year-old Virginia B. Valentine of Chelsea.

The five face maximum prison sentences ranging from five to 15 years, Martin said, but punishment as light as probation also is possible under the law.

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