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Claims that Jobs was unaware of the accounting implications of backdating are hardly believable, but there was no evidence to the contrary. The idea to backdate options at Apple was likely first brought up by a board member or high executive who had participated in options backdating at another firm. However, such measures will not prevent further commissions of other types of corporate fraud, except to the extent to which they increase the perceived or actual consequences to fraud. The possibility of corporate fraud, such as options backdating, is a very real threat even after the many scandals that have been uncovered. The Bottom Line Betting on stock prices when you already know the answer is dishonest.

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Investors have developed methods to detect options backdating more quickly. The Dangers of Options Backdating.

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This subordinate was ultimately responsible to Heinen, who reported to Jobs and Anderson. Since he or she had already successfully backdated options, it gave that person and the idea more credibility. Since directors often serve on more than one board, they form a tight-knit community of interlocking boards.

These three men had an interest in keeping favor with Jobs since he helped them to get on the board and since they had friendly personal relationships. As more directors and executives appeared to favor the idea at Apple, it became more difficult for any one person to oppose options backdating.

Options backdating

Investors were the major losers in the scandal. Jobs and Heinen never admitted to any wrongdoing.

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This would have likely have been ineffective in preventing options backdating at Apple. Apple and companies like it can prevent future unethical behavior by increasing consequences and rewarding the ethical behavior of whistle-blowers. Adding to the pressure to conform was an uncertainty about the consequences of options backdating. It is rare for someone to commit unethical behavior without the expectation of gaining some sort of benefit. Notable companies embroiled in the scandal include Broadcom Corp.

Group conformity, conformity to authority, and poor judgment of consequences all pressure individuals, such as Jobs, Heinen, and Anderson, to act unethically. Read on to find out how the scandal emerged, what brought it to and end and what you can learn from it now.

They were deceived when Apple appeared to be more profitable than they actually were. This reward could be accompanied or replaced by clemency if the whistle-blower was involved in the scandal. While the story was enthralling, I didn't understand what any of it had to do with a federal investigation into stock option backdating. Deposition in Apple options backdating case gives glimpse of the real Jobs. The amount of people who knew about backdating and did nothing to stop it is evidence of group conformity.

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There may have been other directors and executives who were interlocked with boards that had also previously participated in backdated options. It allows the grantee to receive options that are already in the money, which allows him or her to glean a much higher profit. And, he did not directly benefit from the backdated options because they were canceled and exchanged for restricted shares. To prevent similar fraudulent activity in the future, Apple should take measures to increase consequences for bad behavior or incentivize whistle-blowers. Heinen for their alleged roles in backdating Apple options.

Some firms have attempted to teach ethical behavior and instill an ethical corporate culture within their firms. Sarbanes Oxley has made options backdating more difficult by shortening the time frame firms have to report options grants. Look, this stuff isn't black and white. The pressure to conform to a group is very real, as Solomon Asch showed in his experiments. Increasing the consequences of corporate fraud is one way in which a company can discourage fraud.

Said another way, do the feds really need to dig that deep to find enough rope to hang executives with? This enabled companies to issue enormous compensation packages to senior executives without notifying shareholders. The fact that Jobs did not profit is not a valid defense. This was one of many options backdating scandals to occur within the last decade.

Apple's Options Backdating Scandal

Check out Investopedia Academy's Options for Beginners course. For instance, public companies generally grant stock options in accordance with a formal stock option plan approved by shareholders at an annual meeting. From a shareholder's perspective, nobody likes to be lied to when providing the financing and paying the salaries. Until very recently, a company that granted stock options to executives at fair market value did not have to recognize the cost of the options as a compensation expense. The lambs in question are former Sr.

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If you cover it up and fail to report that expense, the way Apple's folks allegedly did, well, that amounts to accounting fraud. That seemed like a contradiction to me, but whatever. And we're just getting started. Heinen, Jobs also claimed that recognition by his peers was what drove him to ask for the options. You'd think they'd be up to their eyeballs in rope.

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After all, stock option backdating is all the rage these days. Many of the options that Jobs and other executives had been granted were worthless due to the collapse of the tech bubble. In the case of Apple, not only did the board send two sacrificial lambs to slaughter, but the feds hung some pretty hefty charges on their necks to boot.

Jobs and the other executives felt that they deserved a reward for their contributions to the company. That means the company incurs an expense equal to the difference in the share price between the two dates. Part of the reason that the board may have failed to live up to their responsibilities to the investors was the close ties they had with Jobs. Some of the more prominent corporate figures involved in the controversy currently are Steve Jobs and Michael Dell.

Jobs, Anderson, and Heinen were all respected executives. Performance-based compensation, on the other hand, was deductible.

Heinen allegedly covered up the back-dating, which caused Apple's earnings to be inflated. Apple Executives Settle Backdating Suit. In addition to the pressures already mentioned, the subordinate was also subject to conformity to authority. Jobs, a notoriously difficult and abrasive chief executive.

That's serious fallout considering that options backdating is legit as long as the company reports it and accounts for it accurately. The other major way that backdating can be misleading to investors relates to the method by which the company accounts for the options. Apple Owns Up to Backdating. However, if the company granted options with an exercise price below fair market value, quick dating events there would be a compensation expense that had to be recognized under applicable accounting rules.

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