Second Ex-O&M Executive Jailed for ONDCP Overbilling

15 July 2005

Shona Seifert, a former senior partner and executive group director at Ogilvy & Mather New York, yesterday followed onetime colleague Thomas Early to jail.

Both were found guilty in February of fraudulently overbilling the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in 1999 and 2000. Early was sentenced Wednesday to fourteen months in prison and a fine of $10,000 (€8,271; £5,697) for his part in the plot.

One day later, Thursday, Seifert learned her fate - eighteen months incarceration plus a $125,000 fine. And as if to prove that even federal district judges have a sick sense of humor, Judge Richard Berman also ordered her to write a code of advertising industry ethics.

Seifert left O&M in 2002 to become president of the New York office of TBWA/Chiat/Day, resigning from that position after her subsequent conviction.

The guilty pair claimed their actions were in response to the anger of O&M North America's co-president Bill Gray at a $3 million shortfall in anticipated ONDCP billings. In 2002, O&M extricated itself from the affair via an $1.8 million settlement with the Justice Department.

Bemused Madison Avenue denizens are reportedly shaking their heads and asking why the words 'guys' and 'fall' keep coming to mind?

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff