Former WorldCom executive enters innocent plea to bank fraud, lying charges

Tuesday, April 22nd 2003, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Former WorldCom executive Scott Sullivan pleaded innocent Tuesday to new charges that he lied on financial statements to secure $4.25 billion in credit for the company.

At a hearing in federal court, Sullivan, 40, entered the plea through his lawyer, Irv Nathan.

The new charges of bank fraud and making false statements were added by the government last week to original charges of conspiracy, securities fraud and false Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Sullivan also pleaded innocent to those charges.

Sullivan was chief financial officer at Mississippi-based WorldCom when investigators say the company carried out a $9 billion accounting fraud, the largest in U.S. history.

The original charges accuse Sullivan of ordering WorldCom accountants to remove operating expenses from the books, making the company appear profitable when it was losing money.

The new charges accuse Sullivan of using false financial statements to obtain loans in 2001 from Bank of America, Chase Manhattan, Citibank and other lending institutions.

Sullivan had faced up to 65 years in prison if convicted on the original charges. The new charges add 120 years to his potential sentence.

Also Tuesday, the judge postponed Sullivan's trial from Sept. 8 to next February to give the defense more time to review thousands of pages of additional documents.

The trial is scheduled to take place in New York, but Sullivan's lawyer told the judge he will seek to have it moved because of pretrial publicity. The judge had rejected a previous request by Sullivan, who lives in Florida, to have the trial moved because of the financial burden a New York trial would place on his family.

Court documents showed Sullivan was the highest-paid CFO in the United States in 1997, receiving $19 million in salary, bonuses and other compensation.

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