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Ex-Qwest exec Graham sentenced today
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, December 8, 2006

Former Qwest finance executive Grant Graham is scheduled to be sentenced today, more than two years after he pleaded guilty to one felony count in connection with an alleged revenue-inflation scheme.  The plea deal called for Graham, 40, to receive a year's probation in exchange for his cooperation with the government's investigation of former Qwest executives including former CEO Joe Nacchio.

But Graham is expected to get credit for his cooperation and for being under pretrial supervision since the plea deal and could be sentenced to little if any probation. Prosecutors last month filed a motion to reduce his sentence based on his "substantial assistance" to the government's criminal investigation.

The plea deal also called for Graham to be fined $5,000.  The fine was low because Graham ran out of money and needed court assistance in 2004 with his legal bills.

Graham initially was to be sentenced within a year of his plea deal, but prosecutors wanted to ensure his continued cooperation as they built their criminal cases against other former Qwest executives, including Nacchio.

Nacchio, who faces 42 counts of insider trading, goes to trial March 19.

Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado, said he couldn't comment on the Graham sentencing.

Dan Sears, Graham's attorney, said Graham looks forward to the conclusion of the case.

"It has been a lengthy ordeal for him and his family," Sears said.

Graham's is the last Qwest criminal case to be resolved, except Nacchio's.  While the government has won several plea deals, no one has served jail time.

Former Qwest Chief Financial Officer Robin Szeliga and former Qwest business development executive Marc Weisberg pleaded guilty to one felony count each and were sentenced to probation. Former Qwest sales executive Thomas Hall pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and served probation.

Graham and three other former Qwest executives were tried in early 2004 on charges of conspiracy and fraud in connection with Qwest's booking of $34 million of revenue from a deal to provide Internet service to Arizona schools.  A jury deadlocked on eight of 11 charges against Graham and acquitted him of three charges.

In May 2004, Graham pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to wire fraud with reckless indifference.,2777,DRMN_23910_5198233,00.html