Ex-Peregrine Execs Charged With Fraud

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (search) filed civil suits on Wednesday charging that six former top executives at the technology company Peregrine Systems (search) committed massive accounting fraud.

In February 2003, Peregrine restated financial results for 11 quarters, reducing previously reported revenue of $1.34 billion by more than $507 million, the SEC said.

Company executives improperly recorded millions of dollars in revenue from re-sellers who purchased software from San Diego-based Peregrine, the SEC said.

"This was very much fraud that permeated this company. It was complex in a number of ways," said Fredric Firestone, assistant director of enforcement at the SEC.

The SEC charges are against Stephen Gardner, Peregrine's former chairman and chief executive; Gary Lenz, former president and chief operating officer; Douglas Powanda, former executive vice president of sales; Berdj Rassam, former controller; Joseph Reichner, a former senior vice president; and Peter O'Brien, former director of strategic alliances.

In addition to the former officers, the SEC filed fraud charges against two former customers of Peregrine and a former outside auditor for their connection to the revenue overstatement.

The former executives are also the target of a Department of Justice criminal case.