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It was forced to restate earnings by recognizing a stock-based expense increase of 3 million between 19, after allegedly manipulating its stock options grants for the benefit of its senior executives.
It allegedly failed to inform investors, or account for the options expense(s) properly.
Options backdating may still occur under the new reporting regulations, but Sarbanes-Oxley compliant backdating is far less likely to be used for dishonest reasons due to the short time frame that is allowed for reporting.
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.Although many companies have been identified as having problems with backdating, the severity of the problem, and the consequences, fall along a broad spectrum.At one extreme, where it is clear that top management was guilty of conscious wrongdoing in backdating, attempted to conceal the backdating by falsifying documents, and where the backdating resulted in a substantial overstatement of the company's profitability, SEC enforcement actions and even criminal charges have resulted.For instance, public companies generally grant stock options in accordance with a formal stock option plan approved by shareholders at an annual meeting.Many companies' stock option plans provide that stock options must be granted at an exercise price no lower than fair market value on the date of the option grant.