Fugitive Technology Executive Sentenced to 30 Months for Stock-Options Backdating Scandal - WSJ Fugitive Technology Executive Sentenced to 30 Months for Stock-Options Backdating Scandal - WSJ

Stock option backdating scandal, related sectors

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There's an exception in the tax code, however, for "performance-based compensation," which includes stock options. Afterward, the number of suspicious grants dropped in half.

This is also a clash of rules-based accounting vs.

DEFINITION of 'Options Backdating'

They are supposed to transform executives from fly-by-night plunderers in the mold of former Tyco or WorldCom executives into rational leaders who make prudent, long-term-oriented decisions with shareholder capital. For instance, public companies generally grant stock options in accordance with a formal stock option plan approved by shareholders at an annual meeting.

The shares increase in value and--presto--the options are worth more.

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Since at-the-money options require a firm's share price to appreciate in order for the executives to profit, they meet the criteria for performance based-compensation and therefore qualify as a tax deduction.

A amendment to the tax code created an incentive for executives and their employers to work together to break the law.

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Federal officials held a press conference on July 21 in San Francisco to announce civil and criminal charges relating to allegations of stock option backdating by former top executives of the networking-gear manufacturer. It seems that executives were also allowed to select dates in the past where the market price of the stock was lower and that price became the exercise price of their option shares.

Backdating Options - The Daily Reckoning

The Securities and Exchange Commission SEC hook up message boards investigating several companies, including UnitedHealth Group, for back-dating options in order to increase their value to executives and not recording a corresponding cost to earnings.

Therefore, any criminal prosecution is likely to be based on option grants made before Sarbanes-Oxley took effect, and the deadline facing the government for bringing those prosecutions has already passed. The practice of backdating options is not illegal as long as it is disclosed to shareholders.

In all my reading of the backdating scandal coverage, I have yet to see a thorough analysis of the real victims of this scandal: Perhaps this exposure will occur at a pace similar to the exposure of stock option dilution. Vice President Al Gore.

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In addition, Antonio Canova, Brocade's former chief financial officer, is facing civil charges. Bubbles in Natural Gas or Energy Drinks? A handful of cases involving similar allegations and parties are pending in California federal court against chipmaker Rambus.

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The Bottom Line Betting on stock prices when you already know the answer is dishonest. Brother Louis DeThomasis is chancellor of St.

Stock option backdating

However, if the exercise price is below the market price so that the options are in the money, then the compensation will not be performance based, as the options would have intrinsic value immediately. Sing or Keep Mum? Stock options are promoted by their supporters as the most effective way to align executive and employee interests with those of shareholders.

Also, management teams usually wait for a significant run in the stock before issuing a secondary, rather than doing so at average prices over a long period. There is nothing illegal or necessarily immoral about paying deserving executives and employees very well.

BREAKING DOWN 'Options Backdating'

What was it all about? Attorney Kevin Ryan said the task force will be investigating spring-loading as well. From a shareholder's perspective, nobody likes to be lied to when providing the financing and paying the salaries. The Wall Street Journal describes how the company now faces a significant charge and earnings restatement relating to the unfolding backdating scandal.

Companies would simply wait for a period in which the company's stock price fell to a low and then moved higher within a two-month period. Why pay a high multiple for EPS with zero real growth? What's going on with Brocade Communications Systems? Read on to find out how the scandal emerged, what brought it to and end and what you can learn from it now.

He told the Minneapolis-St. As of 17 Novemberbackdating has been identified at more than companies, and led to the firing or resignation of more than 50 top executives and directors of those companies.

They found that about 24 percent of stock option grants are reported late.

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This percentage is calculated by dividing the Academics have found some evidence that CEOs time the release of negative information to happen just before a scheduled grant date, and release positive information after a scheduled grant date.

Although many companies have been identified as having problems with backdating, the severity of the problem, and the consequences, fall along a broad spectrum. The tech bubble of the late s was a time when top-notch engineers and programmers routinely demanded generous stock option packages as inducement to sign on with public companies.

The company would then grant the option but date it at or near its lowest point. That's an expense that must be disclosed to shareholders.

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This enabled companies to issue enormous compensation packages to senior executives without notifying shareholders.