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Milne Pleads Guilty, Faces Maximum 27 Months in Prison

John Milne, former president and chief financial officer of United Rentals last week pleaded guilty to falsifying company records in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn.

As part of a plea agreement, Milne faces a recommended sentence of 27 months in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 11. To resolve a separate civil action brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Milne has agreed to pay $6.25 million.

According to court documents and statements made in court, from December 2002 through his termination in August 2005, Milne admitted that in 2003 he and others conspired to falsify United Rentals’ books and records with respect to the nature of payments made to settle obligation incurred as a result of minor sale leaseback transactions entered into by United. Milne executed a contract on behalf of United with Terex Corp. relating to United Rentals’ obligations under a remarketing agreement that United had with Terex.

In the contract, United agreed to make a payment to Terex to cover losses incurred by Terex in connection with one of the minor sale leaseback transactions with another manufacturer that Terex acquired. The check requisition for the second payment falsely noted that the payment was for the purchase of equipment.

“This case demonstrates that corporate executives who engage in wrongdoing will be held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy. “Federal law enforcement is committed to investigating and prosecuting those who falsify company financial information in order to mislead the investing public.”

Based in Greenwich, Conn., United Rentals is No. 1 on the RER 100.

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