O&M 'Tireless' on ONDCP Work, Court Told

14 February 2005

Defense lawyers are now presenting their case in the trial of two former senior Ogilvy & Mather executives accused of conspiring to defraud a US government department.

Onetime official at the Office of National Drug Control Policy Alan Levitt told the New York court that the accused, Shona Siefert, was dedicated and tireless, often working late into the evenings on the $1 billion (€73m, £53m) anti-drugs campaign.

Prosecutors allege former executive group director Siefert and ex-finance director Thomas Early masterminded a scheme to falsify timesheets and inflate billings to make up a $3 million revenue shortfall on the ONDCP account. Both plead not guilty but face up to five years in jail if convicted.

Levitt was fulsome in his praise of the agency citing examples of pro bono work and saying: "Ogilvy was superb. If I could hire them again, I'd do it in a heartbeat."

Lilly Pu, O&M senior partner of strategic planning, backs Levitt's opinion of Siefert, claiming: "Nobody worked harder than Shona, no matter how late I worked or how early I came in, Shona was always there."

Both Pu and O&M senior partner Margaret Bassette told the court Seifert never instructed them to alter their timesheets.

The trial continues.

Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff