U.S. judge cuts New Zealander executive's sentence

Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:00pm EDT

* Former Computer Associates sales chief to be freed

* Stephen Richards admitted fraud, faces deportation

By Grant McCool

NEW YORK, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Imprisoned former Computer Associates sales chief Stephen Richards was resentenced on Thursday to the 3-1/2 years time served following the New Zealander's guilty plea to a fraud at the U.S. company, his lawyer said.

Richards's lawyer, David Zornow, said U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser in Brooklyn, New York, made the order at a hearing in response to an August federal appeals court ruling.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals did not rescind Richards's guilty plea, but said he should be resentenced because Glasser did not give him sufficient credit for accepting responsibility.

Richards, 45, a native of New Zealand, pleaded guilty in November 2006 to taking part in a fraud to artificially boost quarterly revenues. He began serving a seven year sentence in February 2007 at Taft Correctional Institution in Taft, California.

His wife and five children have been living in Australia since August 2006, Zornow said.

"We are extraordinarily gratified that the judge has reduced the sentence, which will allow him to reunite with his family in Australia and try to put their lives back together again," Zornow of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in New York said.

No one was immediately available at Glasser's chambers to confirm Thursday's decision.

Zornow said Richards would be deported from the United States, but it was unclear how long the process would take.

The three-judge appeals court panel upheld the 12-year prison sentence of Sanjay Kumar, the former chief executive of the company on New York's Long Island that changed its name to CA Inc (CA.O). Kumar has petitioned the full court to reconsider the decision.

In 2004, U.S. prosecutors accused Kumar and other executives of manipulating earnings by backdating software contracts to make it appear there were signed license agreements for the quarter.

Criminal charges against the company were dismissed in 2007, three years after it agreed to pay $225 million toward repaying shareholders.

The case is USA v Kumar et al, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, No. 04-846. (Reporting by Grant McCool; editing by Andre Grenon)

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