WESTERLY, R.I. - Washington Trust Bancorp said this week that it had revised first-quarter earnings to account for a $4.8 million charge stemming from the settlement of a 1997 lawsuit brought against it by a former corporate customer.

The $1.3 billion-asset company restated its results to show net income of $154,000, compared with the $3.5 million it reported last month.

The company said it had settled a lawsuit brought by Maxson Automatic Machinery Co., which alleged that Washington Trust should have known that the president and treasurer of the machinery company was using funds from a company account for his own benefit. The executive allegedly embezzled as much as $12.7 million during 10 years. Washington Trust admitted no wrongdoing.

"The agreement ends a very expensive, time-consuming, and distracting matter and eliminates the possibility that this could stretch on for additional years," said John C. Warren, chairman and chief executive officer of Washington Trust, in a prepared statement.

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