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That was the crux of the message that U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre delivered on Friday to the jury deliberating in the case of Richard Scrushy, founder and former CEO of HealthSouth (Birmingham, Alabama).

Jurors sent a note to the judge saying that they had been unable to come to an agreement concerning any of the counts against Scrushy, who is accused of engineering a multi-year, multibillion-dollar accounting fraud and money laundering scheme while he headed the company.

Failure to reach a guilty or not guilty verdict in the case will produce a mistrial, and Bowdre urged the jurors to continue their deliberations, which will reach a total of 11 days today.

The judge delivered to the jury what is called an “Allen charge,” which urges those holding the minority opinion of either guilt or innocence to “most thoughtfully” reconsider their position in order to break the deadlock.

Outside the court, Scrushy told reporters that he was confident of a “not guilty” verdict.

A not guilty verdict or a mistrial would put on hold the validity of recently enacted Sarbanes-Oxley legislation designed to hold a corporation’s top corporate executive responsible for its financial reports.

Scrushy is the first person being tried under the legislation.

In other legalities, several subsidiaries of the Progressive Group of Insurance Companies (Mayfield Village, Ohio) have filed suit against the owners and operators of All-Care Chiropractic (Philadelphia), charging that All-Care has been carrying out a fraud scheme throughout Pennsylvania.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, alleges that All-Care owners and operators, among other things, charged for medical services never performed and billed Progressive for “unnecessary and excessive” treatments. The suit also alleges that the defendants used improperly licensed and unsupervised personnel for in-home patient visits.

In August 2004 the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office announced that 23 people had been arrested in connection with the insurance fraud schemes.