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Archive for Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sentencing delayed for Wittig, Lake

November 22, 2005

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— A federal judge on Monday pushed back the sentencing date for two former Westar Energy Inc. executives convicted of looting the Topeka-based utility.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson said that she will now sentence former Westar chief executive David Wittig and former chief strategy officer Douglas Lake on April 3 instead of Jan. 9.

A Kansas City, Kan., jury on Sept. 12 found the men guilty of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and circumventing internal controls as part of numerous schemes to boost their own salaries and benefits at the company.

They were pushed out of Westar in late 2002.

In court papers filed last week, attorneys for Wittig argued they needed more time to review and respond to the presentencing report, which will provide staff recommendations to Robinson on the length and type of punishment for Wittig.

In addition, Wittig and Lake are fighting Westar over the forfeiture of property and legal fees advanced to the men's attorneys. The filing said Wittig and Lake may need to bring in experts to discount claims by Westar and the government about financial losses to the company, the state's largest electric utility.

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