Monday, February 18, 2008

James Happ is scheduled for trial in October because he wasn't charged in connection with the company's failure until last May.

National Century's indicted Poulsen hires new lawyers
The founder and former chief executive of National Century Financial Enterprises Inc. has hired lawyers from Charlotte, N.C., to represent him in criminal trials stemming from the Dublin health-care finance company's collapse in 2002.

Anderson Terpening PLLC, a white-collar criminal defense law firm that specializes in fraud cases, said Lance K. Poulsen retained its lawyers for an obstruction trial scheduled for March and a securities fraud trial scheduled for August. Poulsen needed new lawyers because his former defense attorneys pulled out of the case last year.

Poulsen, 64, faces 13 counts of securities fraud, concealment of money laundering, conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy in connection with company's financial collapse. The federal government later indicted the former CEO and an associate, alleging they attempted to bribe a government witness.

Five other National Century executives are being tried in a criminal case that began this week in U.S. District Court in Columbus. The government has alleged those five executives, along with Poulsen and another executive were behind a $3 billion fraud at the company.

Poulsen's lawyers, Thomas and James Tyack of Tyack Blackmore & Liston Co. LPA, pulled out of the case last November, telling a judge that Poulsen's Oct. 23 indictment on conspiracy charges created a conflict of interest. According to the indictment, Poulsen and associate Karl A. Demmler allegedly hatched a scheme to give $500,000 to an ex-National Century executive if she would develop "amnesia" when testifying as a government witness about the firm's collapse. A revised indictment in January added a count each of witness tampering and witness tampering by influencing testimony to the conspiracy charges.

Poulsen and Demmler in January pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Anderson Terpening said its attorneys have argued for Poulsen's release from the Ross County Jail in Chillicothe, where he was transferred in January from the Franklin County Jail, saying having him out from behind bars is necessary to allow "direct and daily interaction" with his lawyers and complex documents.

Poulsen isn't the only National Century executive scheduled for a trial apart from the five now in court. James Happ is scheduled for trial in October because he wasn't charged in connection with the company's failure until last May.

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