The Game is Over: SEC and Prosecutors Settle Backdating Charges Against Former Chairman and CEO of Maker of “Grand Theft Auto”

To end a long investigation and series of regulatory actions over the past two years, the SEC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and concurrently announced its settlement of charges against Ryan Ashley Brant, former chief executive and chairman of video and computer game company, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.

The complaint alleges that over a seven-year period, the senior executive enriched himself (and others) by granting “in the money” stock options to officers and employees, including himself. The complaint asked for injunctive relief, presumably a bar from serving as an officer of a public company, as well as disgorgement and penalties in the aggregate sum of $6,261,606.

The New York County District Attorney’s Office also announced that Brant pleaded guilty to felony criminal charges of Falsifying Business Records in the first degree and agreed to pay $1 million in lieu of fines and forfeiture, to be distributed to state and local New York authorities.

Here is a copy of the SEC’s press release and consent order. For more on the company’s internal investigation, see this earlier post.

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