Ex-ad execs get jail terms in media scam

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Two former executives of an advertising placement agency have been sentenced to federal prison for stealing tens of millions of dollars from corporate clients including Universal Studios in deals to place ads on ABC, NBC and elsewhere.

Thomas Rubin, the former chairman and CEO of Focus Media, was sentenced Wednesday to 5 1/2 years in prison after being convicted on 25 felony counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud and money laundering.

Focus Media chief financial officer Thomas Sullivan was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison after being convicted on 27 felony counts.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said that Focus defrauded Uni, Sears and other corporate clients by taking money for media buys and diverting funds to private purposes in a 12-month period of 1999-2000.

"During the course of the yearlong scheme, Focus Media received more than $50 million from clients, but no more than $10 million was paid to media outlets," authorities said.

U.S. District Judge Gary Feess set a hearing for Jan. 29 to determine how much restitution the convicted execs must pay.
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