Conrad Black was indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago Thursday.
He's the former chairman of Hollinger International, the company that owns the Chicago Sun-Times.
Numerous Sun-Times executives, including current Publisher John Cruikshank, crowded into the press room where the charges against Black were announced.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald says Black and other top executives bilked the company and its shareholders of more than $80 million.
"All in all, what has happened here (has) been the grossest abuse by officers and directors and insiders," Fitzgerald said. "They decided to line their pockets, they told lies, and when those became apparent, they told further lies. This is the sort of thing that, in the words of Mr Black, is simply unacceptable."
The indictment alleges that instead of giving bonuses, Black diverted payments from the sale of newspapers from shareholders to himself and other executives in the form of bogus fees.
Former Sun-Times Publisher David Radler pleaded guilty to similar charges two months ago.
Fitzgerald says Radler is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.