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Former Rite Aid Chief Pleads Guilty

Jun 17, 2003 |

Martin Grass, former chief executive of Rite Aid, the third-largest pharmacy chain in the US, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy related to a massive accounting scandal. The charges of conspiracy to defraud and obstruct justice carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $500,000.

Under the plea bargain, Mr Grass also agreed to forfeit $3m. He must co-operate with prosecutors and could testify against former colleagues.

Rite Aid was last year the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission probe. When accounting fraud was discovered, the group restated its pre-tax income by $2.3bn and net income by $1.6bn.

Mr Grass entered his plea before Judge Sylvia Rambo in a US district court in Pennsylvania, days before he was due to stand trial on 35 criminal counts. Judge Rambo accepted the plea, but a sentencing hearing is not likely to occur for another three months.

Franklyn Bergonzi, former chief financial officer of Rite Aid, this month pleaded guilty to a single felony count.

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