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The Internal Revenue Service has also joined a number of investigations due to the tax implications of options backdating, both with respect to the individuals who received the backdated options as well as the corporations that failed to account properly for the options when they were granted.Of course, disparity between a reported grant date and the actual grant date is not always intentional.But even if no criminal charges are filed, the SEC still can bring a civil fraud action in federal court.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.
Other similar practices are being reviewed by government officials as well.
Not surprisingly, the defendants themselves earned millions of dollars from backdated options.
Another troublesome outcome for a corporation is that the SEC will bring civil fraud charges stemming from options backdating in all cases where criminal charges have been filed.
And in addition to officer and director bars imposed by government authorities, internal investigations have led to numerous officer resignations from at least 25 companies including Quest Software, KB Homes, United Health Group, Inc., Mc Afee, Inc., CNET Networks, Inc., and Monster Worldwide.
Even Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs was implicated by an internal investigation into backdating, although he apparently did not receive, or otherwise benefit from, the backdated grants.