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In the final days of 2000, accounting troubles led McAfee Inc. to announce a surprise loss in revenue. The company’s chief executive resigned, along with three other officers.

Soon after, the Securities and Exchange Commission launched its first investigation into the Santa Clara company’s books. In the ensuing years, the SEC would bring suits against the departed officers, charging each with securities fraud. And in January 2006, just weeks before the SEC filed a civil fraud suit against the company — alleging it had misled investors and inflated revenues by hundreds of millions of dollars — McAfee’s president suddenly stepped down. That month, the company paid the SEC $50 million to settle the matter.

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