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HealthSouth Sentences to Be Reviewed

From Associated Press

Prosecutors said Wednesday that they would again seek prison time for two former HealthSouth Corp. executives who pleaded guilty in a huge fraud but whose sentences were viewed by an appeals court as so light they needed to be reviewed.

Former finance chief Mike Martin and Richard Botts, a vice president of the rehabilitation hospital chain, both avoided prison time with home detention and probation, fines and forfeitures, but a federal appeals court ordered a second look.

Both committed serious crimes, said U.S. Atty. Alice Martin. “It’s appropriate they go to jail,” she said.

Her office had sought 62 months in prison for Martin and 40 months in prison for Botts.

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But Martin, who pleaded guilty to securities fraud, conspiracy and other counts, got six months’ home detention, probation for five years and a $10,000 fine and was ordered to forfeit $2.38 million. Botts, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and falsifying records, received six months’ house arrest, five years’ probation and a $10,000 fine and was ordered to forfeit $265,000.

The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in its ruling Tuesday, said the federal judge who sentenced Martin and Botts last year didn’t adequately explain why he gave the pair house arrest rather than time in prison.

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit, acting on the prosecutors’ appeal, ordered U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon to review the sentences he gave. He doesn’t necessarily have to toughen them, as prosecutors want, just explain why he made an “extraordinary departure” from sentencing guidelines, according to the ruling.


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