Federal government brings 85 charges against HealthSouth CEO Scrushy

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The federal government on Tuesday indicted former HealthSouth Corp. Chief Executive Richard Scrushy on 85 criminal charges related to an alleged $2.5 billion accounting fraud scheme.

 Scrushy faces charges that include conspiracy to commit fraud, filing false financial statements, money laundering and securities and wire fraud. The federal government also is trying to collect more than $278 million in forfeitures from the founder of the Birmingham, Ala.-based company.

 Scrushy posted bail with a $10 million bond and 297,000 shares of his HealthSouth stock. He also turned over his passport and pilot's license, agreed not to leave Alabama without court permission and wears an ankle bracelet.

 Scrushy could face up to 650 years in prison and more than $36 million in fines. He also faces a civil complaint of insider trading and fraud brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

 Fifteen former HealthSouth executives, including five former CFOs, already have pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges and have cooperated with the federal investigation.

 In March, the FBI raided HealthSouth headquarters in its probe of alleged accounting fraud. The federal government alleges that HealthSouth intentionally overstated its earnings by approximately $1.4 billion since 1999 and overstated its assets by $800 million to artificially elevate the company's stock.