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Law360 (March 20, 2009, AM EDT) -- More than a year after targeting Mc Afee Inc.’s former general counsel for allegedly backdating stock options at the security technology firm, the U. Securities and Exchange Commission has decided to drop its civil case. Roberts on Thursday filed a stipulation to dismiss with prejudice all claims raised in the securities suit in the U. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The move to end the case comes after criminal charges against Roberts were dismissed in October, meaning that Roberts faces no more government allegations related to the accounting woes at Mc Afee....
The Santa Clara security software company, formerly known as Network Associates, fired Kent Roberts in 2006 after learning of his altered contract. District Court jury in San Francisco refused to convict Roberts of two felony charges of submitting fraudulent reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2002 to conceal his alleged scheme to enrich himself by changing his stock option dates.
Mc Afee ousted two top executives later in 2006 and lowered its earnings statement by 7 million for the previous decade because of stock-options backdating. Jurors deliberated 2 1/2 days after a two-week trial. Attorney Joseph Russoniello had no comment, said spokesman Joshua Eaton.
Jurors declined to discuss their verdict before leaving the courthouse and did not disclose their vote on the deadlocked count of falsifying records.
The company board set the date of the grant as February 2000, when the stock traded at .62 per share, but Roberts later changed the date to April 2000, when the share price was .75 - potentially increasing the value of his option by 7,600, prosecutors said. His lawyer, Stephen Neal, said the date change was approved by the company's controller, Terry Davis - who was fired for unrelated reasons after an investigation led by Roberts. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, who presided over the case, urged them to drop it. not pursuing this any further," Patel said after the jury left. Kent Roberts, 50, of Dallas, Texas, was charged in a seven count indictment with devising a scheme to defraud by granting himself and others valuable in-the-money stock options while hiding the true nature and value of the stock option grants from Network Associates, its Board, its shareholders, its auditors, the public, and the SEC.These charges are the result of an investigation by the FBI and the U. Attorneys Office for the Northern District of California.Roberts never exercised the options and he claims he relied on the company’s controller in changing the date.Robert Dutkowsky, a former member of Mc Afee’s board of directors, testified yesterday that Roberts told him about the backdating before a shareholders meeting in 2006, the Daily Journal story says.