Which one is correct?
Let’s compare the stories this morning by the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register business desks covering the sentencing of billionaire Henry Samueli for a stock option scam.
Times reporter Scott Reckard writes, “Billionaire philanthropist Henry Samueli was sentenced today to five years of probation for lying to regulators about his role in an alleged $2.2-billion stock-option scam at Broadcom Corp., the Irvine microchip designer he co-founded in 1991.
“Samueli, owner of the Anaheim Ducks pro hockey team, also must pay $12.2 million in fines and penalties as part of a bargain with federal prosecutors. His former partner, Broadcom co-founder Henry T. Nicholas III, faces years behind bars if convicted on fraud and drug charges.”
Read the story here.
Meanwhile, John Gittelsohn of the Register reports a much different story. He writes, “A federal judge today rejected the plea deal for Henry Samueli, co-founder of Broadcom Corp. in Irvine.
“Here’s an excerpt from the 22-page order from U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney that rejects the plea agreement:
“It would ‘erode the public’s perception of our justice system to accept a plea agreement containing an unprecedented payment of $12 million to resolve the criminal liability of one of four co-conspirators in an alleged $2.2 billion securities fraud.'”
Read Gittelsohn’s story here.
Based on other coverage from the AP, Reuters, the local business newspapers and others, the Register story appears to be correct. The Times story appears to be an example of the dangers of prewriting news and then allowing it to escape onto the Internet.
UPDATE: The Times changed its story and acknowledged its error in an updated version at 2:49 p.m. EST.