Former F-H executives found guilty of fraud in US

LOS ANGELES: Ex-Fleishman-Hillard Los Angeles executives Doug Dowie and John Stodder were last week found guilty in a fraud trial that has gripped the US PR industry for two years.

After five days’ deliberation, a federal jury delivered verdicts at the close of a five-week trial featuring 15 witnesses.
The jury found Dowie guilty on 14 counts of ‘wire fraud’ and one count of conspiracy – in a scheme to overbill city tax-payers for PR services. Stodder, the agency’s one-time SV-P of PA, was convicted on 11 counts of wire fraud and one on conspiracy.

Neither man reacted visibly to the verdicts, and a sentencing date has not been set. Dowie and Stodder had been charged with scamming F-H clients for more than $300,000 (£107,000).

F-H Los Angeles general manager Richard Kline said: ‘We deeply regret that improper and indefensible bills were presented to several of our clients and we apologise to the people of Los Angeles.’

He added that the firm had taken ‘numerous steps to avoid the possibility of something like this ever occurring again’.

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