The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against three former Computer Associates International finance executives on Thursday stemming from its probe of accounting violations at the Islandia, N.Y., software company.The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against three former\u00a0Computer Associates International\u00a0finance executives on Thursday stemming from its probe of accounting violations at the Islandia, N.Y., software company.Those three executives -- including CA's former chief financial officer (CFO) -- are expected to plead guilty Thursday to criminal charges brought by the local U.S. Attorney's Office, according to news reports from outlets including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.The SEC and other government agencies, including the FBI, have been conducting a still-ongoing investigation of improper accounting at CA during its 2000 fiscal year. By recording revenue from contracts before they were finalized, CA inflated its quarterly earnings and prematurely recognized more than $1.4 billion in revenue, the SEC said Thursday in a written summary of its complaint.CA admitted in October to premature revenue recognition. At that time, it asked for and received the resignations of CFO Ira Zar, Vice President of Finance David Rivard and Senior Vice President of Finance Lloyd Silverstein.Silverstein pleaded guilty in January to charges of accounting fraud. The SEC and U.S. Justice Department charges Thursday are against Zar, Rivard and David Kaplan, a former vice president of finance who left CA in December.The latest round of charges against former CA executives indicates that the government is working its way up the ladder in its investigation of the company's accounting practices. No charges have yet been brought against sitting executives, but CA CEO Sanjay Kumar served as the company's president and chief operating officer during the period of improprieties, and is a likely target of investigators' inquiries.Kumar defended his leadership at CA during a February meeting with analysts, at which questions arose about his corporate conduct with regard to the accounting violations."I believe my actions have been proper with respect to this matter," Kumar said at the time. "You're looking at the person who went to the board and said, 'We have to come up with a better way to run this company.'"The SEC's complaint alleges that Zar and Rivard knew about CA's practice of backdating customer contracts to prematurely book revenue. The agency said both men personally signed at least one backdated contract. Kaplan oversaw preparation of CA financial statements including revenue from the backdated contracts, according to the SEC.Without admitting or denying the charges against them, all three former executives have consented to a permanent ban preventing them from serving as officers or directors of a public company, the SEC said. The agency is also seeking financial penalties.What Kumar calls a cloud over CA is likely to darken in the next few months, as the government and the company's own board continue their investigations. The SEC\u00a0notified CA\u00a0in January that it is considering seeking civil penalties against the company for the accounting violations.