Former Qwest CEO faces sentencing over insider trading

Joe Nacchio, the former chief executive of US giant Qwest Communications, returns to federal court to be sentenced for illegally selling $52 million in stock while the telecommunications company became mired in a multibillion-dollar accounting scandal, an Associated Press report said.

Nacchio, 58, a former AT&T executive, is among the latest in a string of former top-level executives to be convicted in corporate fraud scandals targeted by a government task force established in 2002, the Associated Press report said.

He faces a maximum of seven years, three months in prison, a $19 million fine and forfeiture of as much as $52 million in assets for his April conviction on 19 counts of insider trading, the report said.

US District Judge Edward Nottingham also will decide whether to allow Nacchio to remain free on bond pending an appeal, the report said.

It is a day thousands of investors have awaited after they lost money when Qwest's stock price plummeted from more than $60 a share in 2000 to just $2 a share in 2002. The scandal forced Qwest, a primary telephone service provider in 14 mostly Western states, to restate $2.2 billion in revenue.

Some retirees are expected to attend the hearing, although it was not immediately clear whether any would testify, said Mimi Hull, president of the Association of U S West, the report further added.