This is legal if properly recorded, but many companies didn't record the expenses involved with this practice, and the SEC has been investigating several companies in connection with backdating.
However, a date of October 19 was assigned to the grant, when a board of directors meeting was supposedly held to approve it. The minutes of a were created to provide cover for the October date; who is responsible for those minutes appears to be a key question in the case.The SEC is charging that Heinen ordered the creation of the falsified documents, but the reported earlier this week that Heinen's lawyers plan to argue that an in-house lawyer, Wendy Howell, was acting on her own when she created the minutes. As part of his settlement with the SEC, Anderson did not admit to any wrongdoing nor did he deny the charges.It has said several times that Jobs didn't understand how accounting for backdating options should be handled and that he didn't profit personally from the backdating."Although (Apple's) investigation found that CEO Steve Jobs was aware or recommended the selection of some favorable grant dates, he did not receive or financially benefit from these grants or appreciate the accounting implications," Apple said in a filing with the SEC last December.The lawsuit comes after months of investigation by both regulators and Apple into the backdating, which Apple has made to Jobs and other executives--including Heinen and Anderson.
The SEC is charging that Heinen fraudulently selected earlier grant dates for two options grants, one in February 2001 to several Apple executives including Jobs, Anderson and herself, and one in October 2001 to Jobs.
The practice of has engulfed hundreds of companies over the past couple of years, including CNET Networks, publisher of CNET
Backdating occurs when a company's officers assign a grant date for a stock option award that was earlier than the date it was actually awarded, generally to take advantage of a lower stock price on the earlier date.
There was nothing untoward about the grant of 10 million options on January 12, 2000, but the paperwork for a second tranche of 7.5 million granted on October 19, 2001 had been falsified.
The approval for the second grant "was improperly recorded as occurring at a special board meeting on October 19, 2001.
A similar lawsuit against Anderson was filed but simultaneously settled.