Ex-Qwest Accountant Accuses SEC of “Abuse of Process”

The lawyer for former Qwest accountant James Kozlowski alleged in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Denver last week that the the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Kozlowski with fraud in March 2005 because he wouldn’t “spill the beans” on ex-chief executive Joe Nacchio. Eleven other ex-officials of the company were charged along with Kozlowski and Nacchio. Four defendants have settled, but Nacchio, Kozlowski and seven others are denying the charges, the Denver Post reports.


Low Cost Accounting Software Support

Provider of low cost support, consulting, training and custom report writing for MAS 90, MAS 200 and MAS 500 accounting software systems. Call us toll free at 1-866-762-3990 to learn how we can help. http://www.saveonsupport.com

Kozlowski’s attorney, Kevin Evans, requested that the judge allow him to add “abuse of process” to his client’s response to the SEC charges.

“They really tried to squeeze this low-level person to try to get him to cough up information on senior executives,” Evans said, according to the Post. “When he couldn’t, they said “Fine we’ll sue you”.

Evans also writes in the filing that a high-ranking officer of the SEC in Washington said that an accountant needed to be included in the government’s case, the Rocky Mountain News reports, “because we need to send a message to the accounting community.”

SEC officials declined to comment. SEC attorney Bob Fusfield said the government will respond in its own filing, according to the Post.

Former SEC lawyer and University of Denver law professor Jay Brown told the Post that the SEC “does not charge people they don’t have a case against. Cases have to be approved at multiple levels. What one person (in the SEC) thinks hardly matters.”

The SEC accused Nacchio, Kozlowski and the other Qwest officers of participating in a scheme to book one-time revenue from the sale or trade of capacity on fiber optic lines as recurring revenue from operations. The scheme allowed the company to book $3 billion in revenue from 1999 to 2002.

Before Kozlowski was charged in December 2004, a high-ranking SEC official told Evans that Kozlowski, who left Qwest in 2000, had made a “persuasive argument against fraud charges,” the News reports. Kozlowski has also said that he did not have the authority to set company policy and that outside auditors KPMG and Arthur Andersen “routinely and extensively reviewed” Qwest’s accounting during his employment.

You may like these other stories...

Here's a CPA who truly walks the walk. On March 15, Frank Ryan, CPA, departed San Diego, California, with plans to be in Ocean City, Maryland, by July 2 to teach a course at the Maryland Association of CPAs’ (MACPA...
When Theodore J. Flynn first joined the Massachusetts Society of CPAs (MSCPA) in 1970, it was a different world and a different profession.  The "Big Eight" were still headquartered in Boston. Vietnam War...
Accountant Rickey Charles Goodrich had it a little too good. Many bean counters would kill to serve as financial guru to the likes of Pearl Jam. Goodrich was hired in 2005, and the following year, he became the CFO of Curtis...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 17
In this exciting presentation Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA shares tricks that you can use with pivot tables every day. Remember, either you work Excel, or it works you!
Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.