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Ex-Qwest chief faces jail

Like Levis 501s and Coca-Cola, it seems insider trading will never truly go out of fashion. For some, like former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio, the temptation to off load shares in a sinking ship is simply too great.

A jury in federal court in Denver found Nacchio guilty on 19 out of 42 counts of fraud, totalling illegal sales of $52m in stock.

In 2005, Nacchio and six other former Qwest executives were accused by the SEC of a $3bn fraud between 1999 and 2002 and of benefiting from an inflated stock price.

Sadly for Nacchio, and numerous others, such financial chicanery is about as subtle as taking your attractive new secretary on a business trip to the Bahamas the weekend your wife is having her varicose veins removed.

Nacchio faces sentencing in July and could get ten years on each count for his troubles. That means he could be out in the year 2197 a sprightly 246 year-old. It is more likely though that he’ll get between ten and 15 years.

In its case, the government stated that Nacchio continued to tell Wall Street that Qwest would be able to achieve aggressive revenue targets long after he knew that they could not be achieved. This helped it buy up regional phone rival US West, the government alleges.

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