exec's sentencing delayed
Robin Szeliga has pleaded guilty to insider trading and
faces July 28 sentencing.
By The Associated Press
Rocky Mountain News
Thursday, April 20, 2006
A federal judge agreed Wednesday to a three-month delay in
sentencing ex-Qwest finance chief Robin Szeliga for insider
trading but rejected a prosecutor's request to put it off
until the end of the year. U.S. Attorney Bill Leone sought
the postponement because Szeliga is cooperating in the
insider-trading case against former Chief Executive Officer
Joe Nacchio, which has not been set for trial.
Szeliga could avoid prison time if her cooperation is deemed
U.S. District Judge Walker Miller told Leone the case needed
to be completed in a timely manner and refused to delay
Szeliga's sentencing past July, a deadline set in her plea
"I do not want to end up deciding this matter in the fall,"
Szeliga sat alone at a counsel table during the brief court
hearing as her attorney, Terry Bird, participated by
telephone. She left the courtroom without comment after the
new sentencing date was set for July 28.
Szeliga pleaded guilty last July to a single count of
insider trading amid the multibillion-dollar accounting
scandal at Denver-based Qwest Communications. She admitted
to improperly selling 10,000 shares of Qwest stock in the
spring of 2001 for a net profit of $125,000.
Prosecutors alleged Szeliga sold the stock based on
nonpublic information that some Qwest business units would
fail to meet revenue targets and that one-time deals were
improperly used to meet those goals.
Szeliga faces up to 10 years in prison and a $1 million
fine, although sentencing guidelines recommend a term of 15
months to 21 months and experts believe she'll probably
avoid jail time.
During the hearing, Leone told Miller that Szeliga's
cooperation has been "exemplary to date" in the case against
Nacchio, who is accused of 42 counts of insider trading
stemming from his $101 million sale of stock. Leone sought
a delay until December to give prosecutors time to determine
the extent of her cooperation, noting that Nacchio's trial
date isn't expected to be set until early June.
Former Qwest finance executive Grant Graham's expected
sentence of one year's probation has been delayed as he
continues to cooperate in the government's case against
Prosecutors and defense attorneys have tentatively agreed to
changing Graham's probation sentence to time served since
his plea nearly two years ago. Graham's attorney Daniel
Sears recently pointed out that Graham has been under
probationlike conditions during that period anyway.