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Disgraced former Cisco Systems executive Robert Gordon will spend next Christmas behind bars after receiving a five-and-a-half year sentence last week for fraud and insider dealing.

Gordon, 43, a former vice president and director of business development at Cisco, masterminded an elaborate scam involving diverting $50 million of Cisco-owned stock through overseas accounts he controlled. In July he pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, and one charge of using inside information to make an illicit profit from stock deals.

At a sentencing hearing last Friday, US District Judge Jeremy Fogel rejected Gordon's arguments that mental health problems warped his judgement and lead him into launching his criminal career. In court papers, the defence submitted evidence that Gordon was a schizophrenic who, as a child, witnessed his mother's attempt to kill his father.

He is to begin his sentence next March.

Gordon's fall from grace began in April 2001, when Cisco fired him after an internal investigation that established his wrongdoing. A month later he was indicted by a Grand Jury accused of stealing $20 million from Cisco. Gordon initially denied all the charges against him.

Last April, he went on the run for a month after missing a court hearing. Hunted by the FBI (who issued a warrant for his arrest), Gordon was eventually arrested at Santa Barbara hospital after a failed suicide attempt. He was transferred to a psychiatric unit at a Mountain View hospital, where he remained under federal custody.

Gordon has paid Cisco $18 million, and around $7 million in fines and restitution to the US government. Had he not made partial amends for his crime, Gordon might have been looking at an even longer jail term. ®

Related stories:
Cisco exec pleads guilty to $50m fraud
Prison suicide watch for ex Cisco exec
FBI hunts ex-Cisco exec

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