First Rite Aid Executive Sentenced in Accounting Scandal

Former Rite Aid Corp. executive Eric Sorkin became the first of six former top company officials to be sentenced in an accounting scandal at the drug store chain.

Sorkin, 55, was sentenced yesterday to spend five months in jail and five months house arrest, to be followed by two years of probation. He was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

The accounting scandal touched off a stock free fall and resulted in a restatement of earnings for the late 1990s by $1.6 billion, the Associated Press reported.

Sorkin said he planned to "spend the rest of my life trying to earn back the respect" of family, friends and colleagues. He pleaded guilty in June to conspiring to obstruct justice and could have gotten five years in prison, the AP reported.

"I'm not making excuses for what I did. It was wrong," the former vice president for pharmacy purchasing told U.S. District Judge Sylvia H. Rambo.

Three other former executives await sentencing later this week, including Martin L. Grass, former chairman and chief executive of the drug store chain founded by his father. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

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