Ex-Ogilvy Exec Pleads Guilty in ONDCP Case

NEW YORK A former Ogilvy & Mather media executive has pleaded guilty in federal court to overbilling the government for work on behalf of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, sources said.

Peter Chrisanthopoulos, the former director of broadcast at the WPP Group agency, pleaded guilty to several counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States in a scheme that involved falsely adding hours to his time sheets and instructing another Ogilvy employee to do the same, sources said.

The plea follows the indictment earlier this month of two other senior Ogilvy execs, Thomas Early and Shona Seifert. They have pleaded not guilty.

Chrisanthopoulos, who in January resigned as president and COO at Pappas Telecasting Azteca America TV Station Group, could not be reached. He left Ogilvy in March 2000.

A representative for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District, which is prosecuting the case against Early and Seifert, had no comment, saying that the Chrisanthopoulos matter is sealed and is not on the public record.

In response to questions on regarding Chrisanthopoulos’ guilty plea, Ogilvy issued a statement: ” A plea by a former employee who left the company in 2000 was expected. Like the indictments against two former employees last month, it is related to billing mistakes for which Ogilvy compensated the government in a settlement announced two years ago. The conduct that resulted in this plea and the earlier indictments is totally inconsistent with the high professional and ethical standards that Ogilvy demands from anyone associated with the firm. Ogilvy as a firm has not been charged with any crime, and we continue to cooperate fully with the government. The small number of individuals who have been, or may yet be, prosecuted are no longer with the firm.”