Cisco Accountants Plead Guilty to Massive Share Scam

Two former accountants with Cisco Systems have admitted to stealing more than $5 million in company shares by hacking into the company computer systems.

Geoffrey Osowski and Wilson Tang both pleaded guilty to charges of computer fraud in a plea bargain that will mean they have to serve nearly three years in prison. Sentencing is due to take place in November.

Mr. Osowski was a financial analyst with Cisco and Mr. Tang an accounting manager until they were fired in March after the FBI was called in to investigate irregularities in the trading accounts. In April a federal grand jury indicted them for the share swindle. The grand jury alleged that the two gained access to internal share administration systems and transferred 100,000 shares to their own account. They transferred another 100,000 shares to other brokerage accounts.

Mr. Osowski and Mr. Tang sold nearly $5 million in stock and used the proceeds to buy jewelry and a Mercedes car. The government seized approximately $5 million,but the two are likely to have to pay back up to $200,000 each, depending on how much more money the government is able to recover.