Vitesse Execs Charged With Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday that it has filed civil fraud charges against four former senior executives of Camarillo-based Vitesse, over their role in backdating stock options and inflating revenues from shipments of Vitesse's products. According to the SEC, it charged Vitesse, co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer Louis Tomasetta, former Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Eugene Hovanec, former Controller and Chief Financial Officer Yatin Mody, and former Manager and Director of Finance Nicole Kaplan in a suit filed in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York. Separately, the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York has filed criminal charges of securities fraud against Tomasetta and Hovanec, with Mody and Kaplan pleading guilty to criminal charges.

As part of the civil lawsuit, the SEC said it has settled the matter with Vitesse, which said Friday it will pay a $3M civil penalty in the case. The SEC said it has also entered into a bifurcated settlement with Mody and Kaplan, where they will be permanently enjoined and ordered to pay disgorgement, in a penalty to be determined later by the district court. Mody has also been barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company.

The SEC said that its case against Tomasetta and Hovanec has been contested. Tomasetta and Hovanec were due to appear in court in New York on Friday.