WASHINGTON – Two former National Century Financial Enterprises (NCFE) executives were sentenced today for their roles in a scheme to deceive investors about the financial health of NCFE, Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M. Glavin and U.S. Attorney Gregory G. Lockhart of the Southern District of Ohio announced. NCFE, formerly based in Dublin, Ohio, was one of the largest healthcare finance companies in the United States until it filed for bankruptcy in November 2002.
Lance K. Poulsen, 65, former president, owner and chief executive officer of NCFE was sentenced to 30 years in prison and three years of supervised release following the prison term. A federal jury convicted Poulsen on Oct. 31, 2008, of conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Poulsen was also found guilty by a federal jury on March 26, 2008, of conspiring to interfere with a witness who was preparing to testify in the fraud trial against Poulsen and other NCFE executives. He is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for that conviction. The court ordered Poulsen’s 30-year sentence to be served concurrently with the 10-year sentence for witness tampering.
Rebecca S. Parrett, 60, former vice chairman, secretary, treasurer, director and owner of NCFE was sentenced to 25 years in prison and three years of supervised release following the prison term. A federal jury convicted Parrett on March 13, 2008, of conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Parrett fled after the conviction and remains at large.
U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley also ordered Poulsen and Parrett to forfeit $1.7 billion of property representing the proceeds of the conspiracy and to pay restitution of $2.3 billion, jointly and severally with other defendants.
"Corporate executives who violate the law, as well as investors’ trust, can and will be held accountable for their illegal actions," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M. Glavin. "The Department of Justice will continue to seek appropriate punishment, including jail time, for individuals who participate in financial frauds to the detriment of the investing public."
"Evidence showed that Poulsen knew the business model NCFE presented to the investing public differed drastically from the way NCFE did business within its own walls," U.S. Attorney Lockhart said. "Their actions were designed to hide a financial house of cards from investors, eventually costing investors $2 billion."
"When corporate officers elect to betray the public’s trust for personal gain, the very core of how and why our corporate system operates is immediately and negatively impacted," Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division Jose A. Gonzalez said. "As signified by today’s NCFE sentences, the IRS gives priority to investigations involving the alleged breach of the public trust by corporate officials at any level."
FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge Keith L. Bennett noted the significant sentences imposed on both Poulsen and Parrett. "This should serve as a warning to those who might be tempted to manipulate the complexities of our financial systems to defraud others. The FBI stands ready to root out those who would do so, bring them to the judicial system and ensure they lose both their ill-gotten wealth and their freedom."
Witnesses testified at both trials that Poulsen, Parrett and other NCFE executives engaged in a scheme from 1995 until the collapse of the company to deceive investors and rating agencies about the financial health of NCFE and how investors’ money would be used. NCFE bought accounts receivable from healthcare providers using money NCFE obtained through the sale of asset-backed notes to institutional investors, including pension funds, insurance companies and churches.
Evidence at both trials showed that NCFE misused investors’ money and made unsecured loans to health care providers, including those owned in whole or in part by Poulsen, Parrett and another owner of NCFE, Donald H. Ayers. Former employees testified that Poulsen, Parrett and other NCFE executives covered up the fraud by lying to investors and rating agencies. The government presented evidence that Poulsen and others created investor reports containing fabricated data and moved money back and forth between programs in order to make it appear that NCFE was in compliance with its own governing documents. Evidence showed that Poulsen and Parrett knew the business model NCFE presented to the investing public differed significantly from the way NCFE actually conducted business.
Four other NCFE executives have been convicted in connection with the fraud. Donald H. Ayers, an NCFE vice chairman, chief operating officer, director and an owner of the company, was found guilty on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud and money laundering and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Randolph H. Speer, NCFE’s chief financial officer, was found guilty on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Roger S. Faulkenberry, vice president for client development, was found guilty on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. James E. Dierker, chief credit officer, was found guilty on charges of conspiracy and money laundering and was sentenced to five years in prison. In addition, four other former NCFE executives have pleaded guilty in connection with this fraud.
The cases were prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and investigated by FBI Special Agents Matt Daly, Ingrid Schmidt and Tad Morris; IRS Special Agents Greg Ruwe and Mark Bailey, U.S. Postal Inspector Dave Mooney; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Celeste Koszut. Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Squires of the Southern District of Ohio, Assistant Chief Kathleen McGovern and Senior Trial Attorney Wes R. Porter of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted Parrett, Ayers, Speer, Faulkenberry and Dierker. Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Squires of the Southern District of Ohio, Assistant Chief Kathleen McGovern, Trial Attorneys N. Nathan Dimock, and former Trial Attorney Leo Wise of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted Poulsen. Fraud Section Paralegal Specialists Crystal Curry and Sarah Marberg assisted with these cases.