BELNICK
Louis Lanzano  /  AP FILE
Belnick, accused of stealing millions by accepting an illegal bonus and abusing company loan programs, had faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the top count, grand larceny.
updated 7/15/2004 3:42:06 PM ET 2004-07-15T19:42:06

Mark A. Belnick, former top lawyer for Tyco International Ltd., was acquitted Thursday of grand larceny, securities fraud and falsifying business records.

The Manhattan state Supreme Court jury returned the verdict in its fifth day of deliberations, while prosecution and defense lawyers had been discussing a possible plea deal.

Belnick, accused of stealing millions by accepting an illegal bonus and abusing company loan programs, had faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the top count, grand larceny.

Belnick sat impassively as the jury foreman repeatedly pronounced “Not guilty.” On the last count, he bowed his head into his interlaced fingers and began shaking with sobs.

His wife, Randy, who had attended the trial daily, let out a loud gasp and then a sob. Then she wept as the final “Not guilty” verdicts were read.

Tyco, based in Bermuda but with U.S. headquarters in West Windsor, N.J., makes products ranging from telecommunications equipment to home alarm systems. In 2003, the corporation had more than 250,000 employees and sales of about $36 billion.

Former CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski, 57, and former chief financial officer Mark Swartz, 43, were tried earlier this year on charges of stealing $600 million from the company. Their first trial ended in a mistrial in May after a juror received a menacing letter. They are expected to be retried in January.

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