Former exec agrees to plea

first_imgThe former vice president of Homestore Inc. pleaded guilty Thursday to one fraud charge and has agreed to testify against the company’s former chief executive at a trial later this month. Peter Tafeen, 36, former executive vice president of business development for the real estate listings firm, was originally charged with conspiring to violate securities laws, insider trading, creating false books and records and lying to Homestore’s accountants. In his plea agreement, Tafeen acknowledged he made $6.5 million by selling company stock between April and August 2001, when the company was reporting inflated revenue. He also agreed to testify against ex-CEO Stuart Wolff, whose trial is scheduled to begin March 28. Wolff and Tafeen still face civil charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. To date, nine people have settled SEC charges and pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection to the Homestore fraud. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Wolff headed the company from 1997 until he resigned in January 2002. Tafeen started at Homestore in 1997 and left in November 2001. Homestore changed its name to Move Inc. The criminal and civil claims against both men were generated by a federal probe into what prosecutors said were a series of fraudulent transactions in 2001 designed to inflate Westlake Village-based Homestore’s online ad revenues. Prosecutors said Homestore would pay some vendors, including AOL, Cendant and others, extra for their products or services and the vendors would turn around and use the money to buy advertising from two media companies. The media companies, in turn, would buy advertising from Homestore, whose officials would improperly list the revenue on the company’s financial statements in order to exceed Wall Street analysts’ expectations. In his plea agreement, Tafeen acknowledged his role in arranging the so-called “round trip” financial transactions. His plea recommends he receive three to four years in prison. He will be sentenced Aug. 28. last_img

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