Take-Two founder pleads guilty

Publisher's former CEO to pay almost $7.3 million to settle charges stemming from stock-option scandal.

Former CEO of Take-Two Interactive, Ryan Brant, has agreed to part with almost $7.3 million in connection to the publisher's ongoing stock option scandal, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced today. That sum includes $6.3 million to settle civil charges the SEC filed against him, and another $1 million to New York state and local authorities. Brant also pled guilty to first-degree felony criminal charges of falsifying business records.

One of Take-Two's founders, Brant stepped down as chairman and director of the company in March 2004, assuming the role of vice president of publishing. He left the company in October 2006, after being officially on disability since June. Last month, Take-Two released the results of its independent investigation into the scandal, pinning the blame squarely on Brant.

The SEC believes that from 1997 to 2003, Brant granted stock options to himself and other employees and altered the records regarding when the options were granted in order to make them instantly profitable to the receiver. The civil complaint said that this was done in most cases without the approval of the board of directors but that other Take-Two employees prepared false documents to back up the stock option grants at Brant's direction.

This is not the first time Brant has run afoul of the SEC. According to the commission, he paid $3.6 million to settle with the group for his alleged role in a "massive financial fraud" case at Take-Two in 2000-2001.

As for the current Take-Two scandal, the SEC said its investigation is continuing. With investors perhaps taking this as a sign that the stock option scandal is coming to an end for the publisher, Take-Two shares jumped 8 percent today, closing up $1.61 to $20.97.

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Discussion

69 comments
cjcr_alexandru
cjcr_alexandru

Some people don't learn from their first mistake...

rome_tx
rome_tx

Wouldn't it be ironic if he shared a jail cell with Jack Thompson?

Tony-Baxter
Tony-Baxter

Take Two..................years in prison!!

nappan
nappan

"makemeweak What is with this guy? TWO times he tries to get money illegally and gets fined millions? You'd think he'd have gotten the clue after the first fine. " Sociopaths are incapable of learning that kind of lesson, and this guy is a classic. He reeks of impulsivity and poor insight into the consequences of his actions. He'd probably make a fantastic politician :)

dbeddow
dbeddow

He should be going to jail for that crap.

makemeweak
makemeweak

What is with this guy? TWO times he tries to get money illegally and gets fined millions? You'd think he'd have gotten the clue after the first fine.

TRH4469
TRH4469

hes also guilty of car theft, prostitution, murder, procession of narcotics, arson, assault and battery, and also flying airplanes without a license.

sieg6529
sieg6529

He's not the only one, that's for sure.

smghottie
smghottie

Dude its not dishing dirt man. Its not as if they are making this up. Its a true story about how one man is selfish enough to do this, and would compromise his company just to make some extra money. If there is new about the game industry beyond just the games, I'd like to hear about it.

bigpimppapa
bigpimppapa

I AM NOT SURPRISED ONE BIT, WHO IS NEXT SONY CEO'S ?

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

Sort of makes you think of the whole PC gaming Industry. Not doing things illeagal of course, but just willing to float near the wind to make an extra buck regardless of the customer. DVD cases so you cannot see the system requirements, pdf manuals to save money then complaining about piracy, 5-15 hour gameplay games taking over from the normal 25-35 average we used to have, working in conjunction with hardware companies making me suspicious of all this constant upgrading requirement, etc, etc. When the gaming media talks about the gaming market maturing, I think they have to look at the publishers as much as the games themselves!

epormada
epormada

"Another one bites the dust!"

GuchFairy
GuchFairy

haha, dishing dirt? It's something called reality.

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

He plays too much games, especially GTA games. Not good! Bad boy you are!

billjacksonn
billjacksonn

It's sad to see Gamespot is now dishing dirt on people in the industry. Thanks for working AGAINST the industry Gamespot. Perhaps Gamespot should change their name to "Gamespot Inquirer". Pathetic.

anarchicgoth
anarchicgoth

lol Bgrngod : "GTA made him do it!!"- thats funny dude seriously!

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

GTA MADE HIM DO IT!!

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

That's what you get for using the Free Market as your toilet, you SOB.

GhaleonQ
GhaleonQ

As if I need more reasons to hate Take Two...

Outlawlaw
Outlawlaw

he should blame the video games for his wrong doings :)

TryMe01
TryMe01

message: crime does not pay, even if you're making violent games... sad, so sad

pcmacro
pcmacro

He was a big influence in GTA3 what do you expect? lol

lzorro
lzorro

At least he was honest about it :?

sj420
sj420

umbrae that's friggin crazy lol

umbracascade
umbracascade

wow, umbrae if your story was true, that's really funny

JFreezy02
JFreezy02

Sounds like Brant should have been in the same cell with Martha Stewart LOL!!

umbrae
umbrae

I have a funny story. Back in the early days of gaming I bought one of the first games by Take Two. I hated it and return it the same week. I went to the Take Two boards on AOL (dont laugh it was a long time ago) and stated my displeasure. I was immediately attacked by a Take Two person on the boards and continually emailed. I was called a thief and many other not-so-PC terms hundreds of times until I complained to AOL's abuse department. This was so bad I contacted the corporate office to complain, only to find out it was Ryan Brant. founder of the company. I NEVER bought a Take Two product after that. Now I have the last laugh. To think _HE_ called _ME_ a criminal.

BraindeadRacr
BraindeadRacr

If he can "let money dissapear", he must know how to spell: BUSTED!.

MagusMaleficus
MagusMaleficus

Bottom line: powerful men with great wealth get slapped on the wrist and fined. Everybody else goes to jail. Oh, what a wonderful world...

blackops67
blackops67

This just proves my point, the world is full of stupid people and liars.

smbius
smbius

klactose. You definitely know what you're talking about. I follow the stock market closely and the dark news that comes with it. I too also read the Wall Street Journal (although very expensive but worth it for investments) and it is really sad, especially in the gaming industry, that a CEO can potentially get out of this mess. This affects the people below the CEO and the games they make since they're less inclined to trust who they work for. It affects their morale and the quality of their work. For those into GTA and the 2K series, take note.

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

These nuckas are real mafiosos man! No wonder the GTA series have so much flavor! Mo' Street Cred. Yo! That's what's up!

klactose
klactose

@ pencilpusher69 ... Sorry to inform you, but you are still living in dreamworld. Someone needs to pinch you and wake you up. Yes, with the recent spat of very public corporate crimes, especially the Enron fiasco, it has been more fashionable of late to actually sentence some of these people (the ones in the spotlight) to minimum security facilities. But do not sit there and make bold claims like "The majority of corporate crimes, send those found guilty to jail for 7-10 years on average." Because that is simply bullcrap. What you need to do is STOP getting your information from "business news" cable programs who are generally only giving marginal coverage to these matters to begin with as they do not like to paint the business world as a seedy place. The "business news" source that covers these types of crimes the most is the Wall Street Journal and I guarantee if you go back through 10 years of coverage you will find the vast majority of cases DO NOT receive 7-10 year sentences, and actually usually end up paying fines while receiving minimal or NO jail time.

polsci1503
polsci1503

he was collecting disability? for what? overwhelming guilt?

Isakovic
Isakovic

no sad thing is that we dont realize how that ammount is only a pocket change... let me give you an example... 30 000 000 games for PS2 x 59.99$... 1 800 000 000$, and thats just for one system... hmm dont feel sorry for him @ all.

TintedChimes
TintedChimes

can I have some of the confiscated stock?