Former Posterscope financial director James Buckley was sentenced Tuesday for his role in a scheme to defraud the company. He got off lightly,
considering the maximum sentence could have been 40 years in prison. Instead, Buckley received time-served -- effectively the one day that he was in custody following his arrest, plus one year of
supervised release. In addition, Buckley was ordered to pay restitution of nearly $27,000.
Still to be sentenced is Todd Hansen, the former president of Posterscope USA, the Aegis Group-owned out-of-home ad-buying shop. Hansen was originally scheduled to be sentenced this month as well, but his sentencing has been rescheduled for January 2013.
Buckley’s sentence was confirmed by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office, which declined further comment on the case. That office prosecuted the Posterscope case after a joint investigation with Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Whether Hansen gets off as lightly as Buckley remains to be seen. But it’s doubtful. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has made a reputation for being tough on white-collar crime -- and made a point of mentioning Hansen by name, but not Buckley, when the pair entered guilty pleas in June.
Both Hansen and Buckley initially pled not guilty to charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud after they were indicted earlier this year. When they changed their pleas, Bharara stated, “Todd Hansen and his co-conspirator engaged in accounting sleight-of-hand for the sole purpose of self-enrichment, in violation of the securities laws, and his fiduciary and ethical duties to his company and its shareholders. They have now both admitted their guilt and will be punished accordingly.”
The former executives were arrested last fall and formally indicted in February on the fraud and conspiracy charges.
According to the government’s investigation, the pair allegedly falsified accounting ledgers to make it appear that the out-of-home agency was booking more ads than it actually was in order to increase their own compensation.
The alleged scheme made it appear as if Posterscope earned net income of $19.7 million more than it actually did between 2005 and 2009, per the charges. “As a result of meeting these fictitious performance goals, Hansen and Buckley were paid total salaries and bonuses in the amounts of $1.1 million and $650,000 respectively,” the initial charge sheet stated.