Reutes, Apr. 25, 2003
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A second associate of former EarthLink Inc. financier Reed Slatkin has agreed to plead guilty to charges of obstructing justice in the probe into Slatkin’s $600 million investment scheme, federal prosecutors said Friday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said Richard McMullin, 38, has agreed to plead guilty at a May arraignment to charges of obstructing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s probe into Slatkin and making false statements under oath to federal agents and a bankruptcy trustee.
Slatkin, who provided start-up funds for Internet service provider EarthLink, pleaded guilty last April to bilking nearly 800 clients out of almost $600 million in a so-called ”Ponzi scheme,” where he used investments from new clients to pay returns to old clients.
Slatkin filed bankruptcy in May 2001 and had his assets frozen by the SEC, though the investigation into his activities began in 1999.
In his plea, authorities said, McMullin admitted that he and Slatkin conspired to obstruct the SEC’s investigation after it was initiated.
McMullin also lied to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service and to the court-appointed attorney serving as trustee for Slatkin’s estate, officials said.
McMullin has agreed to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution to Slatkin’s victims, prosecutors said. He earned $2 million in salary and bonuses from Slatkin between 1986 and 1999 and made $952,000 from an investment account with him.
Another former Slatkin associate, Daniel Jacobs, agreed last October to plead guilty to helping obstruct the SEC investigation.
Slatkin, who faces up to 105 years in prison, is set to be sentenced on June 9.