Monday, December 13, 2010
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of Prabhat Goyal, former chief financial officer of Network Associates (formerly known as McAfee), holding that the government "failed to carry its burden" on an issue of materiality. The court stated that "Goyal's desire to meet NAI's revenue targets, and his knowledge of and participation in deals to help make that happen, is simply evidence of Goyal's doing his job diligently." The court noted that "Goyal's presumed knowledge of GAAP as a qualified CFO does not make him criminally responsible for his every conceivable mistake."
But be sure to read the concurring opinion by Hon. Kozinski. He states in part:
This case has consumed an inordinate amount of taxpayer resources, and has no doubt devastated the defendant's personal and professional life. The defendant's former employer also paid a price, footing a multimillion dollar bill for the defense. And, in the end, the government couldn't prove that the defendant engaged in any criminal conduct. This is just one of a string of cases in which courts have found that federal prosecutors overreached by trying to stretch criminal law beyond its proper bounds." (citations omitted)
He ends his concurrence with: "Although we now vindicate Mr. Goyal, much damage has been done. One can only hope that he and his family will recover from the ordeal. And perhaps, that the government will be more cautious in the future."
(esp)(hat tip Christopher R. Noyes)