The fifth and final HealthSouth finance chief to serve under Richard Scrushy took the stand this morning in his corporate fraud trial. Weston Smith testified like the others that the fired CEO participated in a scheme to inflate earnings.
He said Scrushy's name often came up in meetings of a group called "the family," which figured out how much HealthSouth needed to overstate its results to meet Wall Street forecasts.
Smith testified that former executives repeatedly asked if Scrushy knew of the overstatement and Scrushy aide Bill Owens reportedly said that Scrushy knows everything that's going on.
Smith in 2003 was the first of 15 former HealthSouth executives to plead guilty in the fraud. Owens, also has pleaded guilty.
Others also have tied Scrushy to the fraud. They include former chief financial officers Aaron Beam, Mike Martin and Tadd McVay.
The defense claims Owens orchestrated the fraud, and that he and others lied to Scrushy for years to cover up its existence so they could earn promotions and raises.
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