A verdict stemming from a multiple count indictment is usually handed down in writing.
Earlier this summer, I noted the pending Westar corporate fraud case that involved a defense of an “unwritten policy” allowing family use of corporate aircraft.
A press release from US Attorney Eric Melgren Monday described the verdict that found ex-Westar executives David Wittig and Douglas Lake guilty of conspiring to loot Westar of money and assets. The schemes detailed in the indictment included:
falsifying company records, circumventing internal controls, perverting corporate programs for personal profit, structuring a subsidiary with intent to loot company assets and leave debt behind in the utility for ratepayers, using corporate aircraft for personal business, misusing corporate counsel to assist in removing directors who were critical of management; depleting company assets through lavish spending, making false statements in Director and Officer Annual Questionnaires, making false statements in reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other violations.
The part in bold about misusing counsel to aid in removing critical directors is a new tactic to me. Corporate counsel are not counsel to senior officers.
Arguments from Wittig and Lake that their actions were legal, approved by directors, and disclosed in regulatory filings apparently did not persuade the jury.
Now the focus of the government turns to how much defendants Wittig and Lake should forfeit.
Further details are available from the intrepid Tom Kirkendall.
In a final counterpoint to the “unwritten policy” gambit, AUSA Richard Hathaway stated in his summation that the weeks of trial demonstrated “robbery with a fountain pen.”