The former CEO of software giant Computer Associates International Inc. and a former key sales executive both pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to allegations of a massive securities fraud involving the company.
Former chairman and CEO Sanjay Kumar and former executive vice president of sales Stephen Richards appeared before Federal Judge I. Leo Glasser in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, accompanied by teams of lawyers. Both men were released on $5 million personal recognizance bonds, secure by their homes.
Federal prosecutors Wednesday charged Kumar and Richards with 10 counts each of securities fraud and obstruction of justice, as the company reached a multimillion-dollar agreement aimed at dismissal of corporate criminal charges.
At Thursday’s arraignment, both men were ordered to turn in their passports, and travel was restricted to the continental United States. Because of Kumar’s continuing business responsiblities, he will be allowed to request his passport for travel on a case-by-case basis, the judge said.
Each man uttered “Not guilty” in firm tones when asked to the plead to the charges. They are due to return to court on Nov. 23 for a pretrial conference.
Wednesday, in a dizzying day of developments in the two-year-old case, a grand jury handed up indictments of Kumar and his one-time top lieutenant, former executive vice president of sales Stephen Richards, saying they masterminded a scheme to prematurely book sales at the Islandia software company to the tune of $2.2 billion. They could face a maximum of 100 years in prison on the 10 counts.
Also Wednesday, CA’s onetime top lawyer, former general counsel Steven Woghin, entered an emotional guilty plea to securities fraud conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges. Woghin, who is cooperating in the investigation, faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.
The company also agreed to a laundry list of new controls and measures as part of a deferred prosecution agreement that also includes a $225 million fine and the hiring of an independent monitor for at least 18 months.
The developments Wednesday represented a sharp turn for a storied local company that grew rapidly from a small software outfit to one with more than 15,000 employees around the world, including thousands here.
In a conference call Wednesday, chairman Lewis Ranieri said, “CA accepts responsibility for the improper accounting practices and misstatement of revenue from January 1, 1998, through September 30, 2000, and for impeding and failing to cooperate with the Department of Justice and the SEC investigations,” he said. “This conduct was wrong. I want to be very clear on this point: We fully support the government’s efforts to bring wrongdoers to justice.”
Kumar left CA in June after 17 years at the company. In a statement Wednesday he denied wrongdoing and his attorney, Jack Cooney, said he “expects to be exonerated of all charges.” Rather than obstruct the federal probes, Kumar recommended the hiring of outside law firms to uncover the wrongdoing, the statement said, and he pushed for the release of documents and employee cooperation.