Thursday, July 14, 2005

Ogilvy & Mather’s fraudster sentenced

You have to go through a long winded free reg to get this article but it's worth it to view the final chapter of the fraudulent billing uncovered in 2002 in the agency's anti-marijuana campaign that was mounted for the ONDCP. These were those famously ineffective ads equating marijuana use with terrorism and teenage pregnancy.

The first to be sentenced out of the group of defendants is former finance director Thomas Early who received 14 months in prison and a $10,000 fine, to be followed with two years of supervised release, for his part in the fraud.

The judge downwardly departed the recommended sentence of 51 months being sought by the prosecution, "citing in addition to other factors, Mr. Early’s image as a "family man and a community-conscious individual."

The same could be said for many drug defendants currently incarcerated on much longer sentences for simple possession. Too bad the judges can't take that into consideration in their sentencing as well.

Doesn't say much for our justice system when lying and defrauding the government of millions of tax dollars carries less of a penalty than smoking a plant.

Update: Another defendant, Shona Seifert is sentenced to 18 months and $125 G fine. She was also ordered to develop a written code of conduct for the advertising industry.

...Seifert, who as executive group director at Ogilvy New York was the lead person on the Office of National Drug Policy account in its early days at the agency and the main focus of the trial.

As with Mr. Early, Judge Berman took into account her previously clear record, the fact that a senior ONDCP official hailed both her work and Ogilvy & Mather’s, and her involvement in the community, which includes post-conviction volunteer work with victims of domestic violence. He also said that she obstructed justice by lying while testifying in her own defense. Her denials that she ordered Ogilvy staffers to revise timesheets to reflect hours not worked on the account were contradicted by credible witnesses, Judge Berman said.

In a brief statement that was barely audible over her sobs, Ms. Seifert said, “I regret that a campaign that was [designed] to do so much good was a source of pain and suffering for so many."

She also, as a British citizen, faces deportation but we won't be holding our breath over that. That only happens to poor people who shoplift or get caught with tiny amounts of drugs and such. She'll probably get out of jail and write a best selling book about her "ordeal."


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