Initially, my column was only going to cover that a day after former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling was sentenced to 24 plus years, the SEC announced it settled civil fraud charges involving options backdating. The agreement provides for the payment of nearly $2.4 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest, a permanent injunction, a permanent officer-and-director bar, and suspension from appearing or practicing before the Commission as an accountant.The SEC had charged the former CFO of Comverse Technology, Inc., David Kreinberg and two other former Comverse executives with engaging over many years in a fraudulent scheme to grant undisclosed in-the-money options to themselves and to others by backdating stock option grants to coincide with historically low closing prices of Comverse common stock. The SEC also alleged that Kreinberg and Comverse's former chairman and CEO created a slush fund of backdated options that the former Chairman and CEO used to recruit and retain key personnel.

The release indicates that in a separate matter filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Kreinberg pled guilty to one criminal count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud, and one criminal count of securities fraud.

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