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Vitesse Officials Get Probation in Backdating Case

Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer Louis Tomasetta and ex-finance chief Eugene Hovanec received sentences of three years’ probation for scheming to destroy documents sought by the U.S. as part of a federal probe into options backdating.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff today sentenced the men to probation and fined each $30,000. The judge followed the recommendation of prosecutors and lawyers for the two men that he not sentence them to serve time in prison.

Tomasetta and Hovanec each pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy in August after two mistrials on charges of backdating stock options and inflating sales figures at the Camarillo, California-based maker of integrated circuits.

In the first trial, U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty declared a mistrial in April 2012 on the fourth day of deliberations after jurors said they couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on any of seven criminal counts.

Prosecutors then filed a new indictment, dropping most of the charges and accusing the men of a single count each of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, which carried a maximum of five years in prison.

A second trial also ended in a mistrial in February as the jury deadlocked on charges that they conspired to misstate earnings at the chipmaker.

The case is U.S. v. Tomasetta, 10-1205, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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