Fired HealthSouth Corp. Chief Executive Officer Richard Scrushy reached an $81 million settlement to end a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission that blamed him for a $2.7 billion accounting fraud at the healthcare services company.
U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson approved the settlement Monday in Birmingham, Ala.
Scrushy acknowledged no wrongdoing but agreed to give up $77.5 million that the government says he gained from the scheme. He agreed to pay another $3.5 million in civil penalties.
Rather than writing a check to the government for the total amount, Scrushy will get credit for $71.5 million he already has paid or forfeited in three other cases linked to HealthSouth. That leaves Scrushy owing a balance of $9.5 million, but the total could be reduced further by other cases.
"It could go down to zero," Scrushy attorney David Russell said.
If the final amount doesn't go that low, Russell said, Scrushy might not be able to pay anything else because he already has spent more than $30 million on attorney fees. -- by the Associated Press