Bad news for former Charter Communications Inc. executives facing trial early next year: Another co-defendant has agreed to testify.
Charter ex-COO David Barford Thursday pleaded guilty to one federal count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Barford acknowledged that he conspired to defraud investors by inflating Charter’s subscriber numbers. Another 13 counts were dismissed.
Two other former executives are scheduled to go to trial Feb. 7, former CFO Kent Kalkwarf and former California regional Senior VP James Smith.
From June 2001 to March 2002, Charter execuitves allegedly instructed employees to simply keep serving customers who called to cancel or failed to pay their bills.
That inflated the company’s true customer count. Former Senior VP David McCall has already pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He awaits sentencing.