The Association of U S West Retirees



Sentence may be adjusted for ex-Qwest executive
By Sandy Shore

DENVER (AP) - A former Qwest executive facing a year of probation in a $34 million fraud scheme may have his sentence converted to time already served, attorneys said Monday.

Grant Graham pleaded guilty nearly two years ago to an accessory count, but his sentence has not been imposed.  His plea agreement requires him to cooperate with prosecutors in their insider trading case against former Qwest Chief Executive Joseph Naccio, who has not yet gone to trial.

During a hearing in federal court Monday, U.S. Attorney Bill Leone and Graham's attorney said they have discussed changing Graham's probation sentence to the time he has served since his plea.

Leone told U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn he hoped Graham's sentence could be finalized by year end, and Blackburn asked for a status report to be submitted by late June.

Graham was one of four midlevel Qwest Communications International Inc. managers accused of improperly booking nearly $34 million in revenue during a 2001 deal to link Arizona schools to the Internet.

He pleaded guilty to one count of accessory after the fact to wire fraud in May 2004.  Prosecutors dropped eight other charges against him and agreed not to seek restitution.

The agreement was reached after a jury acquitted Graham of three wire fraud charges and deadlocked on three counts of wire fraud, three counts of securities fraud, one count of conspiracy and one count of making a false statement.

Two other former executives, Bryan Treadway and John Walker, were acquitted of all 11 charges, and Thomas Hall pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of falsifying documents and served a year on probation.

Nacchio has pleaded not guilty to 42 counts of insider trading.  A June status hearing is set in district court.

Government officials have said Denver-based Qwest, a phone service provider in 14 mostly Western states, booked revenue from one-time sales of equipment and fiber-optic swaps while falsely claiming to investors that the income was recurring.  Qwest later restated earnings from 2000 and 2001 to erase about $2.2 billion in revenue.

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