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National Century verdict has far-reaching effects

The 30 plaintiffs represented in the civil lawsuit include the State of Arizona, the Chicago Teacher's Pension Fund and the New York City Employee Retirement system. Houston attorney Kathy Patrick said she hopes to bring the case to court early next year. Patrick said the federal suit that ended yesterday is similar to her suit which she filed years before federal action was taken.

"We're obviously very pleased that the jury has confirmed what our clients have said for years, which is that NCFE was a big fraud," she said.

After six-weeks, the trial resulted in guilty verdicts on 26 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. Several of the defense attorneys said they will appeal. Deliberations took a day and a half. Patrick says that short period of time shows the strength of the case against the executives.

"I think it says the fraud was obvious and that notwithstanding the defendant's efforts to obscure the truth by suggesting that some other issue was relevant or some other document should be considered,' she said. "They saw through that--saw the fraud for what it was and were able to very quickly hold those defendants accountable."

A forfeiture hearing is set for April 28. Federal prosecutors said they will try to recover 1.9 billion dollars from the executives. Patrick said her clients may get some money from the government recovery.

"We don't imagine that these two defendants, Don Ayers and Rebecca Parrett, have anything approaching $1.6 billion dollars to make our clients whole on their losses, but obviously we welcome whatever the government can recover," she said.

But with her civil lawsuit Patrick said she is also holding the investment firm Credit Suisse liable. Both Ayers and Parrett declined comment yesterday after their convictions.