The U.S. Attorney in Birmingham, Alabama is not a happy camper, according to the Corporate Crime Reporter.
Earlier this year, her showcase white-collar crime prosecution against former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy went down in flames when a jury found Scrushy not guilty on all counts.
And while her office has convicted 17 HealthSouth executives, only three have been sentenced to jail – and only one has served time….
In September, Presiding federal Judge U.W. Clemon sentenced Michael Martin to seven days in jail for his role.
“It makes no sense,” Martin told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview. “It is intellectually dishonest. If you have a bank robbery, and three people rob the bank but law enforcement only catches and prosecutes two, do you say – well, gosh, because we didn’t catch the third, we can’t send these two to jail?”
“Mike Martin was the CFO, he was the longest serving CFO during this fraud,” she said. “And he made tremendous profit – in fact, I believe the most personal profit of any of these officers prosecuted. And he deserved jail time. I don’t know why certain judges want to be soft on white-collar crime. It sends a horrible message to the public.”
And Martin said that she was disappointed that only three of the 17 convicted HealthSouth defendants were sentenced to prison.
Judge Clemon sentenced all the remaining defendants to probation or probation and home detention.
Perhaps Ms. Martin should take a look at her own role in the failed prosecution of Richard Scrushy and her office’s decision to make so many deals in advance of the Scrushy trial just to “get” him. Maybe someone should take a look at why the local FBI office doesn’t know the difference between a digital recorder and a tape recorder – or how to use either effectively.
After covering the trial myself, it is obvious there are more political problems in the local justice system than anyone knows…
© 2005, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.