Ex-CEO gets prison term after years as a fugitive

NEW YORK - A wealthy former CEO who dodged securities fraud charges for a decade by fleeing to Africa has been sentenced in New York City to 30 months in prison.

Jacob “Kobi” Alexander appeared Thursday before a federal judge in Brooklyn.

Alexander came under investigation as the successful head of a telecommunications software firm called Comverse. He was in Israel and negotiating a possible surrender when he vanished in 2006.

That year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors charged Alexander and other Comverse executives with a scheme to manipulate stock options. The options’ grant dates were allegedly falsified to coincide with a low point in the stock’s value, thereby boosting the value of the stock option. 

He turned up in Namibia after having transferred tens of millions of dollars overseas. He lived comfortably there until last year, when he gave up an extradition fight and agreed to plead guilty in the U.S.

In 2010, he agreed to pay nearly $54 million to settle a civil action by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The defense said the 64-year-old Alexander shouldn’t get more than two years behind bars.