The Associated Press
Friday, January 22, 1988
 

Securities Cases Included False Testimony By 'Expert'

      (AP) _ A man who testified as an "expert witness" in several

lawsuits against brokerage firms was actually a college dropout who

lied about his education and work experience, prosecutors said.

 

      The discovery throws into jeopardy judgments and other rulings

made in an undetermined number of cases in which Thomas E. Nix

testified on behalf of investors suing their brokers for alleged

mismanagement of funds, officials said.

 

      The finding already has resulted in the dismissal of one

complaint and formed the basis of an appeal in another case.

 

      Nix has agreed to plead guilty to one count of making false

statements in a lawsuit, and could receive up to five years in prison

and a $10,000 fine, the U.S. attorney's office said.

 

      Prosecutors said the Florence, Ala., man lied under oath about

having degrees from two universities and experience at several

financial institutions when he testified in 1986 in an arbitration

hearing involving Dean Witter Reynolds Inc.

 

      Lawyers who hired Nix to testify about financial matters,

defense lawyers for securities companies and the U.S. attorney's

office said Thursday they did not know the exact number of cases in

which he testified.

 

      Robert Dyer, an Orlando attorney who specializes in suing

brokerages, said he used Nix as a witness in four or five cases. He

said he knows of at least two other lawyers who used him. In one

case, he said, the testimony resulted in a damage award of $800,000.

 

      "In all honesty, the factual basis of the testimony there was

nothing wrong with," Dyer said. "It's peculiar. Why would someone

lie about their credentials?"

 

      The U.S. attorney's complaint charged that Nix falsely

testified he had a bachelor's degree in finance from the University

of Alabama and a bachelor's degree in accounting from Columbia

University.

 

      He also falsely testified he was employed with the

International Investment Group, with Lloyd's of London and with St.

Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co., the complaint said.

 

      Dyer said that Nix, who is in his mid-20s, actually attended

the University of Alabama engineering school for three years but did

not graduate.

 

      Because of Nix' false testimony, Dean Witter is appealing a

$177,000 damage award made to James and Beverly Bonar of Orlando

after a suit in which Nix took the stand.

 

      In addition, an arbitrator dismissed a complaint against A.G.

Edwards & Sons Inc. learned of the false testimony. The dismissal is

being appealed.

 

      Nix's lawyer, William Sheaffer, did not immediately return a

telephone call Friday seeking further comment. Nix's telephone

number is unlisted.