More criminal behavior involving HealthSouth Corp. made news as the U.S. attorney's office in Birmingham, Ala., announced that two former company executives would plead guilty to criminal charges related to a kickback scheme stemming from a deal to provide staffing and management services to a 450-bed hospital in Saudi Arabia. Vincent Nico, 47, a former vice president at HealthSouth, agreed to forfeit $1 million received in kickbacks and will face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to wire fraud. Thomas Carman, 52, a former executive vice president, will face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to making false statements to the FBI. U.S. Attorney Alice Martin said other charges related to the Saudi kickback scandal may be forthcoming.
Meanwhile, HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy, who stands accused of ordering billions of dollars in accounting fraud at the company, launched a half-hour morning television show on the Birmingham station WTTO with his wife, Leslie, as co-host, Reuters news service reported. In the first program, Scrushy compared the media to "old Satan sneaking in the back door" and complained of its role in tarnishing his reputation. He also interviewed former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was taken off the state Supreme Court for refusing to remove from the courthouse rotunda a monument to the Ten Commandments. Scrushy purchased the daily half-hour time slot for 12 months, Reuters said. -- by Julie Piotrowski