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South Bay CEO Missing After Accounting Investigation

Jul 23, 2002 | KPIX The Nasdaq has halted trading of a San Jose software company.

The SEC is investigating HPL Technologies for accounting irregularities. But the man who may hold all the answers is now missing.

The San Jose firm fired CEO David Lepejian for allegedly falsifying documents and fixing millions of dollars in bogus sales. But now he can't be found. In a conference call to investors, interim Chief Executive Elie Antoun said, "We believe at least $11 million out of $13.4 million in recognized as revenue ... in the quarter ending March 2002 were based on fictitious transactions."

Antoun says about $10 million in cash reported in the company's financial statements is also missing.

Lepejian was last seen leaving HPL last Tuesday. The company has made repeated attempts to reach him at his Palo Alto home. We talked to the family babysitter, who says she has no idea where he could be.

Since the company went public last July, Lepejian has cashed in about $750,000 in stock options. Most recently, in June, he sold 19,500 shares and made $264,000 dollars. In February, 30,000 shares amounted to another $460,000. In all, Lepejian held almost $190 million in stocks.

HPL Technologies says it's hired a forensic accounting firm to examine its financial statements.

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