Samuel Waksal, the former head of biotech company ImClone Systems, was sentenced on Tuesday to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay $3 million in fines for tax evasion and insider trading, plus restitution of $1.26 million.
Waksal pleaded guilty last October to six felony counts related to insider trading, and in March, he pleaded guilty to charges he evaded taxes on $15 million worth of art he purchased. He had been named in a 13-count indictment in August 2002, accusing him of bank and securities fraud and obstruction of justice.
Prosecutors alleged Waksal tried to sell his ImClone shares ahead of a public announcement that the FDA would reject the company’s highly touted new cancer drug, called Erbitux.
Decorating expert Martha Stewart, a friend of Waksal’s and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, pleaded not guilty last week to charges of securities fraud, conspiracy and making false statements to federal agents. She sold nearly 4,000 ImClone shares in December 2001, just before the bad news about Erbitux came out.
Hours after she was indicted, she set up a website, marthatalks.com, to defend her name. Stewart said more than 6 million visitors have swamped the site and sent 40,000 e-mails of praise and support. Image consultants say it’s part of a shrewd campaign to win the battle for public opinion – and influence potential jurors who may one day decide her guilt or innocence.
A new kind of memory: IBM and Infineon Technologies (IFX) said they took an important step toward developing a new kind of memory that could enable computers to boot up instantaneously.
IBM (IBM) said that the magnetic random access memory technology, or MRAM, could replace existing forms of dynamic random access memory, or DRAM – which is the most popular form of computer memory – as early as 2005. But it also acts like flash memory and retains information when power is turned off, which means that it could replace flash, as well.
With MRAM, a personal computer could turn on almost immediately, like a light switch, IBM said. The move comes as the industry is looking for better ways to make handheld computers and cell phones so that they can handle data more efficiently, one analyst said.
WorldCom browbeat workers: The record collapse of WorldCom was marked by imperious top executives who browbeat underlings for questioning their authority, according to two reports with an insider’s look into the corporate culture that fueled the $11 billion accounting scandal that led to the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.
In one incident investigators cited, an accounting executive warned an underling who questioned the company’s books to not show auditors the numbers or “I’ll throw you out the (expletive) window.”
The outlines of WorldCom’s financial wrongdoing have been known for a year, but the reports offered some of the most explicit details yet. Portions of one of the reports revealed that WorldCom’s former chairman had been in meetings in which company officials discussed ways to artificially inflate revenue.
Sun pushes Java: Sun Microsystems, aiming to push its Java computer language beyond the confines of software programmers, plans to spend tens of millions of dollars to build Java into a full-fledged consumer brand.
Sun (SUNW) will unveil plans for an advertising campaign and new websites, featuring singer Christina Aguilera toting a Java-enabled cell phone that plays games, Sun executives said. In addition to the millions of dollars of advertising – roughly half its budget for its entire fiscal year – the new websites and programming are aimed at “creating demand for all things Java.”
Sun’s strategy with Java may seem perplexing, analysts said, because Sun, which has been harder hit than rivals in the technology recession, is known as a computer-hardware company and does not sell consumer products.
Take that mortgage with you: Online financial services company E-Trade Group tweaked the mortgage market by offering fixed-rate loans that borrowers can take with them as they change addresses.
The portable mortgages are designed to appeal to people who want to lock in their monthly payments at today’s low interest rates, even if they sell their home and buy a new one before the end of the typical loan’s 30-year duration. Portable mortgages are common in Ireland and Australia, but have never been a staple in the United States.
Getting such a mortgage comes at a price – the interest rate is slightly higher than on a conventional mortgage. E-Trade (ET) offered 30-year portable mortgages at 5.875 percent, a hop up from the conventional rate of 5.5 percent. That premium might be worthwhile if, as some analysts expect, long-term interest rates climb during the next few years.
TiVo court battle ends: Ending a three-year legal spat, TiVo and Gemstar-TV Guide settled their dueling lawsuits over the electronic program guide built into TiVo’s digital video recorders.
Under the deal, TiVo (TIVO) will license a patent from Gemstar-TV Guide, which in turn will provide some content to TiVo’s service. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but both firms said it would not affect their previous financial forecasts.
The agreement clears a major obstacle for TiVo. The company sells its own recorder as well as its service to cable and satellite set-top makers, which would be reluctant to include legally disputed technology in their offerings, said a TiVo spokeswoman.
Sony launches on-demand brand: Sony unveiled a new brand in an attempt to bring a sense of cool to a product lineup that has lost some of its cachet.
The consumer-electronics maker said products bearing the new brand, called Qualia, will be made only after a customer has placed an order. The new brand is part of Sony’s (SNE) strategy to differentiate itself from rivals such as Samsung and to restore its faded brand premium, Sony’s CEO told a news conference.
The first products in the range include a high-definition home theater projector, a 36-inch Trinitron super-clear television and a 2-megapixel digital camera that can fit in a shirt pocket. The range also features a CD audio system in which a disc can be placed anywhere on a playing surface the size of a salad plate.
You’ve got more tools: America Online said the next version of its Internet service, to be released this summer rather than in a typical fall launch, would include more security and safety tools for high-speed users.
The new version will be the first one from AOL that is focused on high-speed users. In the past, most upgrades have been focused on dial-up users who account for the bulk of its business.
AOL (AOL) is trying to offset a slump in advertising and contraction in its dial-up subscriber base with paid features and its new bring-your-own-access service for high-speed Internet users. The company is also beginning to move away from one major new version a year and unveiling upgrades when it has major innovations, according to an AOL vice president.