HealthSouth cut 20 percent of its headquarters staff Thursday as five more executives agreed to plead guilty in a huge accounting fraud case.
The layoff of 165 people was HealthSouth's first mass personnel cut since the government accused it of overstating earnings by more than $1 billion to make it appear the company was meeting Wall Street forecasts.
Meanwhile in court, five more HealthSouth executives admitted taking part in a scheme that already had resulted in guilty pleas from three top executives and a criminal probe of ousted founder and CEO Richard Scrushy.
Chief information officer, 42-year-old Kenneth Livesay of Birmingham agreed to plead guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and falsifying corporate records.
Four more people reached plea deals on fraud charges: 33-year-old Angela C. Ayers of Hoover; 39-year-old Cathy C. Edwards of Hoover; 35-year-old Rebecca Kay Morgan of Pelham, all corporate vice presidents and assistant vice president, 33-year-old Virginia B. Valentine of Chelsea.
The five face maximum prison sentences ranging from five to 15 years, Martin said, but punishment as light as probation also is possible under the law.