Checking the stats the other day, I noticed that someone from Cooley Godward Kronish had been looking at my posts regarding the trial of Dan Stulac, former Arthur Andersen auditor for Peregrine.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan dismissed six counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud charges against Daniel Stulac, the ex-Andersen partner, and Patrick Towle, Peregrine’s one-time revenue accounting manager.
Daniel F. Stulac, one of the first outside auditors in the post-Enron era to go to trial against allegations of direct collusion with corrupt management. The jury announced yesterday that it was deadlocked following the six-week trial, with six jurors voting not guilty on all charges. Mr. Stulac faced a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted.
Mr. Stulac, formerly a partner of the former Big 5 accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP, was charged in October 2004 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego with securities fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud in connection with the financial reporting of Peregrine Systems, Inc. Peregrine was a San Diego-based software company that filed for bankruptcy in 2002 after it announced that it was conducting an internal investigation of possible misstatements in previous financial reports. The investigation resulted in the resignations of Peregrine’s CEO and CFO. At the time of the indictment against Mr. Stulac and ten other defendants, the U.S. Attorney described the case as “the largest fraud in the history of the Southern District of California.”
Attanasio acknowledged that convincing the jurors of Stulac’s innocence wasn’t easy, even though the majority of both juries voted for his acquittal. “Several jurors had the impression that because my client was a CPA and because he worked for a large accounting firm at the time and he was well-educated, he should have known or must have known of the fraud given his role as an outside auditor,” Attanasio says. “It was tremendously difficult to dispel that notion in the jury selection and throughout the trial.”