Doug Dowie, former general manager of Fleishman-Hillard's Los Angeles office, pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges he over-billed the city of Los Angeles on a $3 million annual contract with the Department of Water & Power.

Dowie was indicted last week on charges he defrauded the city agency of more than $300,000 in public relations bills submitted from January 2000 through January 2004. The indictment supersedes an earlier indictment brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles against John Stodder, who was in charge of the Los Angeles office's "public affairs" practice group from May 2002 until this year.

Dowie's lawyer, Thomas Holliday, a partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, has said he is "disappointed" in the indictment. "We believe the charges are ill-placed and unfounded, and we look forward to Mr. Dowie having an opportunity to defend himself in court and anticipate he'll be fully vindicated," Holliday said.

Dowie faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for one count of conspiracy and 20 years in prison for each of 15 counts of wire fraud.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.