Judge refuses to delay businessman's sentencing

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge has refused to postpone a sentencing hearing for a former company executive who has asked to withdraw his guilty plea to embezzling nearly $1 million from his ex-employer.

Mark Titus, former chief operating officer of New Orleans-based Garner Services, had asked for more time to prepare for Wednesday's hearing. U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle rejected his request on Tuesday.

Prosecutors are recommending a 60-month prison sentence for Titus. Titus has asked Lemelle for permission to withdraw his guilty plea to a conspiracy charge, claiming prosecutors have reneged on a verbal agreement not to seek forfeiture of his assets.

His brother-in-law, Dominick Fazzio, also is charged in the case. Titus and Fazzio allegedly conspired to fraudulently bill Garner Services for work that was never performed.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)