Ex-Charter Execs Sentenced

Four former Charter Communications Inc. executives who pleaded guilty to fraud charges stemming from an accounting scandal at the fourth-largest MSO were sentenced in federal court in St. Louis Friday, with two receiving jail time and $200,000 in fines.

Former Charter chief financial officer Kent Kalkwarf was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Carol Jackson to 14 months in prison, two years of probation and a $200,000 fine. Former chief operating officer David Barford received 12 months in prison, two years probation and a $200,000 fine.

Former Charter Eastern region senior vice president David McCall and former Western region senior VP James “Trey” Smith III each received two years of probation. McCall received a $200,000 fine and Smith was fined $175,000, according to U.S. Attorney James Martin.

Kalkwarf pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in January. He and Barford were indicted in July 2003 on 14 counts of fraud and conspiracy stemming from a scheme to defraud Charter investors by artificially inflating the MSO’s subscriber and cash-flow numbers in 2000 and 2001.

Also in July 2003, Smith and McCall were indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and eight counts of wire fraud tied to the same scheme.

McCall pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in July 2003. Barford pleaded guilty to the same charge in December 2004, followed by Smith in January.

Charter -- which was not accused of any wrongdoing and fully cooperated with the government in its investigation -- fired Barford and Kalkwarf in 2002 after an internal investigation. Smith left the company in 2001, and McCall resigned in 2003.

In a statement, Charter spokesman Dave Andersen said that since the four men have not worked for Charter in almost three years, their sentences would have no effect on the MSO’s operations.