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HealthSouth whistle-blower sentenced to 27 months in prison, $1.5 million fine

[JURIST] Former HealthSouth [corporate website; JURIST news archive] finance chief Weston Smith was sentenced to 27 months in prison followed by one year of probation and ordered to forfeit $1.5 million in assets Thursday for his role in the company's accounting scandal [Wikipedia backgrounder]. In June, the company's former CEO Richard Scrushy [defense website] was acquitted of all charges [JURIST report] during his trial in connection with the scheme to overstate earnings. Smith's sentence is the harshest yet given to those convicted. Prosecutors sought a 5-year prison term, and said Smith deserved more if he hadn't come forward when he did. Defense attorneys countered that Smith was being made an example since Scrushy was acquitted, and that the scandal might never have been uncovered if Smith hadn't revealed it. Former HealthSouth investments vice president Will Hicks received two years probation in a separate proceeding on Thursday, the ninth executive to avoid prison in the case. Three others previously received prison terms of five months, three months, and one week. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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