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Former Computer Associates CEO Sentenced, Fined For Account Fraud

By Michael J. De La Merced
THE NEW YORK TIMES


NEW YORK

The former chief executive of Computer Associates International, Sanjay Kumar, was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in prison for orchestrating a $2.2 billion accounting fraud at the software company. He was also fined $8 million.

Because he pleaded guilty in April to securities fraud and obstruction of justice charges, Kumar, 44, had faced a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The judge, I. Leo Glasser, of U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, described such a punishment as excessive. But he repeatedly rebuked Kumar for helping inflate the company’s sales figures in 1999 and 2000, as well as lying to federal investigators and authorizing a bribe to a potential witness.

“This shocked the conscience of this court, and I dare believe it shocked the conscience of any reasonable person,” Glasser said.

The sentence came down after a nearly two-hour hearing in which Kumar again apologized to the court.

“I stand before the court today to accept full responsibility for my actions,” said Kumar, wearing a tie and charcoal gray suit. “I deeply regret the actions I took.”

Joining Kumar in the courtroom were his wife, father and two sisters, as well as a phalanx of lawyers. His two daughters stayed home. Upon hearing the verdict, neither Kumar nor his family betrayed any emotion.

Kirby D. Behre, a partner at the law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker and a former federal prosecutor, said he considered Kumar’s sentence stiff but just. “It’s a far cry from a life sentence, but it’s still a decade behind bars,” Behre said.

Kumar is the latest convicted chief executive to receive a lengthy prison sentence in recent years.

Jeffrey K. Skilling, the former chief executive of Enron, was sentenced last week to 24 years and four months in prison, while Bernard J. Ebbers last year received 25 years in prison.

Kumar’s fine, the judge said, has been deferred until restitution is determined next year. Kumar is scheduled to report to prison on Feb. 27. At the hearing, his main lawyer, John P. Cooney Jr., requested that Kumar serve his prison term at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fairton, N.J., a medium- and minimum-security prison 40 miles west of Atlantic City. After the hearing, Cooney said his client had not yet decided whether to appeal the sentence.