The former chief executive of Computer Associates International Inc. was sentenced to 12 years in prison and was fined $8 million on Thursday for his role in a massive accounting fraud scandal at one of the world’s largest software companies.
Sanjay Kumar, 44, had faced up to 20 years behind bars after pleading guilty in April to obstruction of justice and securities fraud charges at the company, which since has been renamed CA Inc.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Kumar could have faced life in prison but the judge called that punishment unreasonable.
U.S. District Judge Leo Glasser said though Kumar was not a violent criminal, he “did violence to the legitimate expectations of shareholders.”
Prosecutor Eric Komitee said Kumar deserved severe punishment as the architect of an elaborate cover-up that was “the most brazen in the modern era of corporate crime.”
“I know that I was wrong and there was no excuse for my conduct,” Kumar, who is also a co-owner of the New York Islanders hockey team, told the judge at his sentencing.
The defense had urged the judge to give Kumar a short prison term followed by lengthy community service.
His attorneys described him as one of the “great minds” of the software industry who turned Computer Associates into a thriving enterprise. “I hope the court will not lose sight of the good he did for that company,” said attorney John Cooney.
Kumar was ordered to surrender on Feb. 27.
According to a 2004 indictment, Kumar was so involved with adding false revenue to a financial quarter after it closed that he flew on a corporate jet to Paris in July 1999 to finalize a $19 million deal and signed a contract that had been backdated.
The indictment also charged that Kumar and other executives instructed salespeople to complete deals after the quarter had closed — a practice known within the company as the “35-day month” — and “cleaned up” contracts by removing time stamps from faxes.
After the FBI began investigating the company in 2002, Kumar orchestrated a cover-up that involved lying under oath about the “35-day month” and other frauds and trying to buy the silence of a potential witness, authorities said.
With 15,000 employees worldwide, CA Inc. is now the world’s fifth-largest software provider.