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If Jay Lapine’s indictment is any indication, the fallout from the current round of corporate scandals could last a while. The former general counsel of HBO & Co., a San Francisco software firm, was indicted for fraud in June � four years after the misdeeds allegedly occurred. Federal prosecutors claim that Lapine helped his company design and execute an elaborate plan to artificially increase revenue prior to its January 1999 merger with McKesson Corp., the San Francisco�based health care giant. When the scheme was revealed three months later, the merged company’s market value plunged $9 billion in a single day. A total of six HBO & Co. executives have now been indicted in the case, including former chairman of the board Charles McCall and president Albert Bergonzi. Lapine’s attorney, William Goodman of San Francisco’s Topel & Goodman, rejects the charges against his client and states, “We say just the opposite.” Goodman adds that Lapine did not initially appear to be a target of the investigation. “[Prosecutors] reinitiated contact with us regarding the matter only within the last couple months,” he says. Why did the government take so long to indict Lapine? According to Mark Mershon, special-agent-in-charge with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the case “advanced significantly” after McKesson gave prosecutors the report from its 1999 internal investigation into the fraud. Lapine is also a defendant, along with 11 others, in a Securities and Exchange Commission suit arising from the HBO & Co. case.

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