Two former top executives of software manufacturer Computer Associates International avoided a courtroom battle by both pleading guilty to eight counts of securities fraud and obstruction of justice.

According to the indictment in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, Sanjay Kumar, 44, the company's former chief executive, and Stephen Richards, the company's former top salesman, confessed to inflating sales in 1999 and 2000. The men admitted they used methods such as backdating contracts and fabricating sales to meet analyst forecasts as part of an accounting fraud the governments says totaled over $2 billion .

The men had previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry prison sentences of up to 20 years each. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 12.

In April 2004, three other former senior executives pleaded guilty to charges in the case; they still await sentencing. Those pleas lead to Kumar's resignation as chief executive and the company has since replaced almost its entire senior management team. Just last week, the government brought a new indictment against former executive Thomas Bennett, for allegedly spending millions in 2003 to bribe a potential witness in the investigation under Kumar's orders.Five former senior executives at Computer Associates have now pleaded guilty, and the company has paid $225 million into a restitution fund for shareholders. Computer Associates, now known as CA Inc., is the world's fifth-largest software provider, and provides software to major corporations to manage computer networks.

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