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LOS ANGELES — A federal judge has overturned part of a jury verdict against the former controller and chief financial officer of computer maker Gateway Inc. in a case brought by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. John Todd, former CFO, and Robert Manza, the former controller, had been seeking a new trial after a jury found them guilty in March of violating several provisions of federal securities law in crafting an accounting scheme to boost earnings nearly seven years ago. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Robert T. Benitez, of the Southern District of California, granted both of the defendants’ motions for judgment as a matter of law. In his ruling, the judged noted several instances in which the SEC failed to present substantial evidence that Todd or Manza made material misrepresentations or that they acted with fraudulent intent. The judge also denied several of the SEC’s requests: An injunction against Todd and Manza that would prevent them from committing future securities violations; a bar preventing Todd and Manza from acting as officers and directors of a public company; and “ill-gotten gains” of $1.7 million from Todd and $85,000 from Manza, plus pre-judgment interest. Also, the SEC had sought $220,000 in civil penalties from Todd and $110,000 from Manza. The judge granted civil penalties of $10,500 against Manza and $16,500 against Todd. The judge, however, said that both Todd and Manza were liable for aiding and abetting securities violations and denied their motions for a new trial. Robert Rose, a partner, and associates Vincent Brown and John Dineen, all in the San Diego office of Los Angeles-based Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, represent Todd; James Sanders and Brandon Roker, both partners in the Los Angeles office of McDermott, Will & Emery, represent Manza.

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