updated 6/3/2004 4:33:16 PM ET 2004-06-03T20:33:16

Seven former top executives of Symbol Technologies, a leading maker of bar-code scanners and wireless networks, were charged Thursday with inflating the company’s earnings by more than $200 million.

The defendants “cooked the books every which way they could,” U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf said.

The defendants include the company’s former president, Tomo Razmilovic, and chief financial officer, Kenneth Jaeggi, along with the executives’ chief legal counsel.

The defendants were awaiting arraignment in federal court on Long Island on multiple charges of securities fraud; if convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison. The names of their attorneys were not immediately available.

Five former managers have previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges arising from the case.

The company has agreed to pay $139 million in fines and restitution, Mauskopf said. That includes a $37 million fine to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission case alleging a pattern of fraud between 1998 and 2003.

“Symbol has worked tirelessly during the past two years to resolve problems created by the company’s former management,” said Symbol president and chief executive William Nuti.

The indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn accuses the company of recording sales of products to vendors who made no commitment to buy them; overstating expenses to create a “cookie jar” reserve that could be tapped to bolster results; and allowing executives to set their own prices when exercising stock options.

The SEC also has accused the company of interfering with its investigation by destroying or withholding incriminating data.

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