) -- Two former top executives at

Vitesse Semiconductor


have been charged with securities fraud for backdating options, according to the Justice Department.

Ex-CEO Louis Tomasetta and former Executive Vice President Eugene Hovanec were also charged with conspiracy and making false filings with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

. The alleged scheme ran between 2001 and mid-2006.

Vitesse paid out $8.75 million in 2007 to settle shareholder lawsuits over the backdating of employee stock options.

Tomasetta and Hovanec were fired in 2006 after an investigation over the timing and accounting of past stock-option grants.

Shares of Vitesse rose 2.5% in afternoon trading Friday to $4.47.

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

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