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Company Executives Charged with Fraud

Federal officials Thursday stepped up their nationwide investigations of suspected stock-option accounting abuses, charging former top executives of computer-networking firm Brocade Communications with fraud. The criminal indictment and civil complaint were among the first charges to be brought against executives in the widening crackdown by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on dozens of companies suspected of stock-option manipulation. A recent study by Indiana University and UNIVERSITY OF IOWA business professors found that 29 percent of 7,774 U.S. firms backdated or manipulated stock grants to executives from 1996 to 2002.

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