|10 years later, indicted tech CEO pleads guilty to one count of securities fraud |
Indicted Comverse Technology founder Jacob "Kobi" Alexander pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud in a federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday afternoon, almost exactly 10 years after moving to Africa in what the government says was a clear attempt to flee prosecution.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis denied bail, arguing that Alexander's intelligence and guile are clear indications that he cannot be trusted. Alexander will be sent to a maximum-security facility between now and his sentencing on Dec. 16. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
After the hearing, lead defense attorney Benjamin Brafman told CNBC, "We are bitterly disappointed by the judge's ruling, but he's the judge and I'm not."
Alexander moved his family to Namibia in July 2006, as prosecutors were preparing a sweeping fraud case against the tech executive. A federal grand jury ultimately indicted him on 35 counts including conspiracy, fraud, obstruction of justice and witness tampering, in a 15-year scheme to manipulate Comverse options. But Brafman argued that because Alexander left before he was charged, he did not flee. And now that he has left Namibia, he has no place else to flee to.
Prosecutors paint a much different picture in a filing Wednesday morning. Arguing that Alexander is "cunning and resourceful," they want him held without bail. Otherwise, they say, "the government is confident that the defendant could find his next Namibia should he so choose."
The government's letter includes newly released details of Alexander's maneuvers as prosecutors were bearing down on him during the summer of 2006 amid public fury over a wave of accounting-fraud cases in the wake of the dot-com bubble.