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Alexander had been the CEO of Comverse Technology, a New York-based software developer that, with the backing of the Israeli government, offered both services for phone providers and surveillance tools for government and law enforcement agencies to record conversations.

The company collapsed in 2006 when the stock options scandal broke, and Alexander himself went on the run.

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He was later found in Namibia, and prior to returning to the US last August had spent a decade fighting extradition from the African nation.

That period on the lam was factored in by Judge Garaufis when he handed down the record sentence.

These types of accommodations may violate a company's option plan and constitute additional compensation to the employee. The risks faced by companies and their executives cut across the financial, accounting, taxation, and legal arenas. Under rules in effect until recently, option grants made at the stock's then-current market price did not produce any immediate compensation expense.

An award of "in-the-money" options, on the other hand, constituted immediate compensation to the employee.

The challenged practices apparently include: (1) Using a grant date earlier than the date of the compensation committee meeting at which the options were awarded; (2) Using an "effective as of" or "look back" grant date; and (3) Changing or altering the recorded date of a board resolution, board meeting, award notification, or option agreement.

Many of these alleged practices may also raise issues regarding the procedures used by directors and option plan administrators to fix option grant dates and the amount of discretion given to executives or administrators in the implementation of option awards. So far, press reports and research analysts have looked for evidence of back-dating.Press reports and research analysts have started looking at option grants made shortly before large run-ups in a company's stock price.Analysts have already begun to argue that these produce "excess returns" to executives when compared to those received by long-term investors.The revelations are being fueled by press and stock analyst reports of unusual correlations between option grant dates and low points in a company's stock price.These correlations appear, in some cases, simply too good to be true, leading observers to speculate that option grants were back-dated or otherwise manipulated to capture the lowest possible strike prices.He decided to tack additional time onto what the defense had hoped would be an 18- to 24-month prison term.