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Peregrine Systems |Ex-CEO Gets 8 Years

(CN) - Peregrine Systems former CEO Stephen Parker Gardner was sentenced Thursday to eight years and one month in prison for conspiracy, securities fraud and obstructing justice. Gardner, who defrauded shareholders of the software firm from 1999 to 2002, also was ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in restitution.

Gardner and his coconspirators juggled the books to meet Wall Street's expectations, thereby inflating the price of Peregrine stock. He also gave false testimony to the SEC, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Peregrine was a hot stock from 1997 until May 2002, when the book juggling came to light. The stock price collapsed, Peregrine declared bankruptcy and eventually was sold to Hewlett-Packard. Shareholders lost $3 billion. Along the way, Gardner paid himself annual bonuses, sometimes of more than $1 million, prosecutors say.

Gardner, 55, lives in Maine.

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