Sanjay Kumar was once the prot?g? and right-hand man of Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) founder Charles B. Wang. The Sri Lankan native took over as CEO in 2000, promising to improve accounting and customer relations. But while customer ties got better, the accounting came under fire. A Justice Dept. probe of CA's accounting begun nearly three years ago culminated last September with Kumar, 42, being indicted for securities fraud and obstruction of justice. He denies the charges.
The government got its big break in the case last January, when a midlevel CA manager started cooperating with investigators. Then, one after another, more executives and managers started talking. The government found that at the end of quarters in fiscal 2000 and 2001, CA executives kept the books open for extra days so the company could recognize revenues from late-closing deals -- boosting its financial performance. Insiders called it the 35-day month.
Kumar was one of 15 former executives and employees who lost their jobs as a result of the investigation. Most pleaded guilty to accounting misdeeds and obstruction of the federal investigation. CA itself avoided prosecution by agreeing to being monitored and paying $225 million into a fund for shareholders. Kumar awaits trial this year.