LOS ANGELES: Former Fleishman-Hillard SVP Steve Sugerman formally entered a guilty plea last week on charges that he helped the agency defraud the city Department of Water & Power by padding bills to the tune of $4.2 million.
The plea is part of a June deal by Sugerman to cooperate in the long-running investigation in exchange for leniency. He pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud, which carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $750,000 fine, though he could receive only probation.
His sentencing is scheduled for next March. Until then, he is expected to testify in the upcoming trial against former Fleishman LA GM Doug Dowie and John Stodder Jr., who succeeded Sugerman at the Omnicom firm as public affairs head.
Dowie is currently free on $750,000 bail, after surrendering his passport.
Dowie and Stodder have pleaded not guilty to related charges. The trial is set to begin November 15.