Former Autonomy CFO Charged with Wire Fraud
Defendant Allegedly Defrauded Hewlett-Packard Company in the Acquisition of Autonomy for $11 Billion
A federal grand jury indicted Sushovan Hussain, 52, a citizen and resident of the United Kingdom, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and multiple counts of wire fraud. According to the indictment filed last Nov. 10, Hussain allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud purchasers and sellers of securities of Autonomy Corporation plc (Autonomy) and Hewlett-Packard Company about the true performance of Autonomy’s business, its financial condition and its prospects for growth.
According to the indictment, Hussain, was the former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Autonomy, a company incorporated in the United Kingdom. Autonomy maintained dual headquarters in San Francisco and Cambridge. In 2010, about 68 percent of Autonomy’s reported revenues came from the United States and other countries in the Americas.
The case involves the acquisition by Palo Alto-based Hewlett-Packard Company and Hewlett-Packard Vision B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of HP (collectively HP), of Autonomy. On Aug. 18, 2011, HP entered into an offer agreement with Autonomy and publicly announced its offer to acquire Autonomy for approximately $11 billion. On Oct. 3, 2011, HP’s acquisition of Autonomy closed and HP acquired control of Autonomy.
According to the indictment, between 2009 and 2011, Hussain artificially inflated Autonomy’s revenues by backdating written agreements to record revenue in prior periods; recorded revenue on contracts that were subject to side letters or other contingencies that impacted revenue recognition; improperly recorded revenue for reciprocal or roundtrip transactions; and made false and misleading statements to Autonomy’s independent auditor about transactions allegedly supporting the recognition of revenue and other items in Autonomy’s financial statements. In so doing, Hussain allegedly issued materially false and misleading quarterly and annual financial statements on behalf of Autonomy. The indictment further alleges that defendant and others provided these financial statements to HP during the time that HP was considering whether to purchase Autonomy.
In addition, the indictment alleges that Hussain caused Autonomy to make materially false and misleading statements directly to HP regarding Autonomy’s financial condition, performance and business during the negotiations between HP and Autonomy leading up to the Aug. 18, 2011, acquisition announcement. Allegedly, Hussain made false and misleading statements about the nature of Autonomy’s products, concealed Autonomy’s non-appliance hardware sales and made other false and misleading statements during HP’s “due diligence” of Autonomy. In sum, the indictment charges Hussain with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 14 counts of wire fraud.
No federal court appearance has yet been scheduled for the defendant.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution, for each count of wire fraud and for the conspiracy count. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert S. Leach and Adam A. Reeves are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Phillip Villanueva and Bridget Kilkenny. The prosecution is the result of a multi-year investigation involving the FBI and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.