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Former Comverse Exec Gets One-Year Sentence for Backdating Scheme

Reuters
Thursday, 10 May 2007 | 1:03 PM ET

The former top lawyer at software maker Comverse Technology was sentenced to a year and one day in prison for his role in a stock options backdating scheme at the software maker.

William Sorin pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn to one criminal count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud as part of a plea agreement.

Sorin and other Comverse executives were accused of reaping millions of dollars in profits by altering the grant dates of stock option awards from 1998 to 2002 to boost gains available to themselves and favored employees.

Judge Nicholas Garaufis ordered Sorin to pay nearly $52 million in restitution. However, the judge stayed the payment of the restitution because the case against other Comverse executives is continuing.

The restitution amount is the government's estimate of losses incurred by investors through the backdating activity.

David Kreinberg, the company's former chief financial officer, has also pleaded guilty in the case to one count of conspiracy and one count of securities fraud.

Former Comverse Chief Executive Jacob "Kobi" Alexander is in Namibia as that government considers a U.S. extradition request.

Overall, more than two dozen U.S. executives have resigned in the storm over stock options and at least 150 companies have mounted internal investigations or are being investigated by federal officials to see if they wrongfully manipulated the dates of past stock option awards.

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