Three of four former execs denied bond
A federal judge in Columbus has revoked bond for several former executives of Dublin-based National Century Financial Enterprises. Last month five executives with the now-defunct company were found guilty on multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy. Yesterday's ruling to revoke bond comes after the disappearance of one executive, and an alleged plot for the others to do the same.
On March 13 five executives at National Century were found guilty on multiple federal charges related to the loss of nearly two billion dollars. For 11 years the company bought debt from health care providers, and then sold the debt as securitized bonds to investors. Prosecutors say the group illegally funneled money to many health care providers, including some in which the investors themselves held an interest.
Following the trial, all five executives were ordered to give up their passports and keep in contact with authorities while awaiting sentencing. But just days later, Rebecca Parrott disappeared, and is still being sought by U.S. Marshalls.
But even after her disappearance, the other four executives remained free on bond.
Enter Robert Cihy.
Cihy is a career criminal, and was recently being held in Ross County on charges related to bank robbery. While at the Ross County facility he shared a cell with Lance Poulson, the former president and CEO of National Century who is awaiting his own trial on fraud charges. Speaking from the witness stand, Cihy gave a detailed account of conversations with Poulsen. Cihy says Poulsen talked of a plan for all the executives to flee the country and meet up in Aruba if convicted.
Defense attorneys spent much of the day trying to discredit Cihy, pointing to his long rap sheet and admitted long-time use of crack cocaine.
Also trying to discredit Cihy: the executives themselves.
Appearing in jail-issued jumpsuits and wrist and ankle restraints, all four former executives in the courtroom testified they had no intention of fleeing. All said they had not spoken to Poulsen in months, sometimes years. Prosecuting attorney Doug Squires says the judge's ruling validated Cihy's testimony.
"Conspiracies born in Hell do not have angels as witnesses," Squires says. "Mr. Cihy came to the courtroom with baggage, but he readily admitted that. What the judge found creditable was that he had facts that could not have otherwise had without a conversation with defendant Poulsen about this plot to flee the country."
The judge did grant temporary freedom to one of the disgraced executives. James Dierker was in mid-level management at National Century from 1999 to 2002, and according to Judge Algenon Marbley played the smallest role in the conspiracy. Marbley said Dierker was not likely to flee given his status in the community, and that he's still working as an executive with Victoria's Secret. Attorney Angelo Lonardo represents Dierker.
"We're pleased, but we were pretty confident that would be the outcome," Lonardo says. "You saw the outcome of people here, the roots he had in the community, and the fact that he really hadn't communicated with the alleged source of the information for six years. That was not refuted, so we felt pretty good."
Lonardo said Dierker would be processed and released as soon as possible, probably within a day, he said. The other three executives, Randolph Speer, Donald Ayers, and Roger Falkenberry, will remain in custody until sentencing, which usually occurs within 90 days of convictions. Lance Poulsen's trial is scheduled to begin in August.