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Fifteenth HealthSouth Exec Pleads Guilty in Fraud Probe

Nov 25, 2003 | AP

A former vice president at HealthSouth Corp. pleaded guilty Monday to faking records on a $27 million stock sale, the 15th former employee to plead guilty in a massive accounting fraud at the rehabilitation services giant.

Catherine Fowler, a former vice president and cash manager, admitted being part of a conspiracy to make it appear stock had been sold in 2002, when it actually was sold in 2001, prosecutors said.

Fowler, 36, admitted sending a series of wire transfers to generate a paper trail on the bogus transactions. She also attended a meeting where senior officers discussed the scam, prosecutors said.

Authorities have not released the name of the company whose stock was sold.

Fowler faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but she could also get probation.

Fowler joined Birmingham, Ala.-based HealthSouth in May 1994. She resigned on March 19, 2003, the day the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit accusing the company and former chief executive Richard M. Scrushy of overstating earnings by some $2.7 billion to make it appear the company was meeting the forecasts of Wall Street analysts.

Scrushy is awaiting trial on 85 criminal counts related to the fraud.

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