A federal prosecutor asked a jury Thursday to convict former KB Home chief Bruce Karatz of 20 felony charges, saying he secretly backdated stock options to enrich himself and other executives at the Westwood home-building company for seven years.
But defense lawyer John Keker argued that the prosecution's case was largely based on the testimony of another former KB Home executive who has admitted lying to FBI investigators and was hopelessly flawed as a result. He also told jurors that Karatz and other KB executives thought the company's options practices were proper and a sign that the former chief executive acted in good faith -- not as the thief prosecutors portrayed.
Karatz, 64, is one of the most prominent figures yet to stand trial in the government's long-running crackdown on stock options backdating -- a practice in which companies looked back in time to grant options when the stock price was low, making them more valuable.
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