Comverse technology backdating
Photo Credit: Bloomberg News / Naashon Zalk Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, the former CEO of Long Island software firm Comverse Technology who fled to Africa to avoid fraud charges, was sentenced Thursday in Brooklyn federal court to 30 months in prison. When he fled, he allegedly misled his own lawyers and the government about his plans to return and secretly moved million overseas.Alexander, 64, an Israeli citizen who founded digital voicemail pioneer Comverse in 1982, returned last year to plead guilty to securities fraud after fleeing to Namibia in 2006 to evade prosecution for backdating stock options and trying to bribe an underling to take the fall. Alexander claimed in a letter to the judge that he fled out of fear of a draconian sentence for a white-collar crime and fought extradition for a decade because he was “terrified” by seeing his name on a Most Wanted list with Osama bin Laden. He was also charged with obstruction for offering another executive a bribe to take responsibility for the scheme.
CNBC tracked him there in 2007, and found him living in a gated community on the grounds of the Windhoek Country Club.
“I really don’t understand how someone as brilliant and accomplished and focused and respected as you could be so incredibly, abjectly foolish as to make some of the decisions you made,” said U. In brief remarks before the sentence was announced, Alexander, who has been jailed since his return to the U. last August, asked for leniency, telling the judge in a quiet voice that he was “truly sorry.” “I deeply regret my decision to run away instead of dealing with the justice system like I should have,” he said. Two other Comverse officials eventually pleaded guilty.
Although Alexander never cashed in his options, prosecutors said the scheme cost the company .8 million and led to its delisting as a publicly traded company, reducing the market capitalization by 0 million.
“Judge can do zero to max of 10 years,” Brafman, the superstar lawyer who’s represented such high-profile clients as Michael Jackson and Martin Shkreli, told The Post.
“[We’ll] be asking for [the] lowest possible sentence.” When indicted in 2006, the disgraced tech executive faced 25 years in prison.
Alexander will plead guilty Wednesday to a one-count superseding indictment, according to his New York-based criminal attorney, Benjamin Brafman, bringing to a close one of the last remaining cases of the dot-com era. Attorney's office in Brooklyn, which brought the original indictment, declined to comment.