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CA executive pleads guilty

Former business development chief pleads guilty to obstruction of justice and is scheduled for sentencing in October.

A former Computer Associates executive pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges Wednesday, yet another CA executive to be swept up in the controversial financial fraud case that's marred the software company's reputation.

Thomas Bennett, 50, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., and is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 12. Bennett, a former CA senior vice president in charge of business development, faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Bennett joins Sanjay Kumar, CA's former chief executive, who pleaded guilty in April regarding his role in the case, and Stephen Richards, former sales executive, who made his plea the same month.

Bennett, a 16-year CA employee who resigned in 2004, is alleged to have participated in a scheme to prop up the company's financial quarterly performance to meet analysts' estimates, according to court filings.

Bennett, Kumar and other CA executives were accused of conspiring to have the company pay cash and goods to Enterprise Management Systems, which in turn would allegedly provide similar payments to CA. Revenue swapping occurs when companies exchange cash or products that they wouldn't otherwise exchange.

As the Securities Exchange Commission and law enforcement agencies began to investigate CA's accounting practices, Bennett and other CA executives allegedly bribed an executive with Enterprise Management Systems to keep him quiet about the alleged revenue swapping. Kumar and Richards will both be sentenced Sept. 12.