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Likewise, in a case involving Comverse Technology Inc., the U. Attorney charged the former CEO, the former CFO, and the former General Counsel with violating securities laws.
Professor Lie concluded that the robust profitability of so many options was statistically impossible absent some artificial influence such as backdating.
Subsequently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took an interest, followed by the securities plaintiffs’ bar and many corporations. The practice of options backdating, apparently widespread from 1996 through 2002, is widely believed to have been short-circuited by the enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley in 2002.
But while options backdating may have a truncated life expectancy, its current impact is robust.
The SEC is investigating many companies, ranging from small to Fortune 500 companies, for options irregularities.
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This sort of case can be brought against the corporation and its officers and directors and can result in the disgorgement of profits, stiff monetary penalties, and prohibitions against officers and directors serving any public company in those capacities in the future.