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New research (July 2006) by Eric Lie and Randall Heron found that 29.2% of companies issuing options to executives and/or directors between 19 have grant date patterns that suggest backdating or other manipulative practices (such as "spring-loading," the announcement of a grant before good news is released), and 23% of options issued to executives appear to have been backdated or spring-loaded.The pattern was somewhat more common in technology companies, smaller companies, companies granting options to more executives and directors, and companies with higher stock price volatility.Three months later, the publisher released the results of its independent investigation into the scandal and pinned the blame squarely on Brant.The SEC found that from 1997 to 2003, Brant granted stock options to himself and other employees and altered the records regarding when the options were granted in order to make them instantly profitable to the receiver.The government intends to file a new indictment in connection with the guilty plea, the filing said. Attorney's Office in San Francisco declined to comment, as did an attorney for Abrams.In criminal cases that is usually an indication the defendant will plead to a lesser charge. In 2007, the company agreed to pay million to settle a U. Securities and Exchange Commission case over stock option backdating, along with 7.5 million to resolve an investor lawsuit.To be exact, it has an axe to grind with four former executives who helped run the company during the previous decade.Reuters reports that a federal judge in New York has given the go-ahead for the owner of Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games to sue its onetime leaders for securities fraud related to backdating stock options.
* Sharlene Abrams to appear in court on Monday -filing * Tax indictment was connected to stock option backdating SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 9 (Reuters) - The former chief financial officer of Mercury Interactive intends to plead guilty in a case resulting from stock option backdating at the company, according to a court document filed on Thursday. Attorney's Office in Northern California has launched a series of investigations and in July issued criminal and securities fraud charges against two top executives at Brocade Communications. National concern about the practice has been spurred by a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal. Companies found to have practiced this could be forced to restate their earnings. District Attorney's Office has also issued several subpoenas in launching a criminal probe. The typical practice was to record a felicitously timed prior date as the grant date, such as the point when the stock had been at its lowest in recent months, instead of the date when the award was actually granted.According to the law, the crime of insurance fraud can be prosecuted when: The Fraud Division is charged with enforcing the provisions of Chapter 12 of the California Insurance Code, commonly referred to as the "Insurance Frauds Prevention Act," California Penal Code, Sections 549-550 and California Labor Code, Section 3700.5.
Current law requires the Fraud Division to investigate various felony provisions of the Penal and Insurance Codes.Volatility is especially significant: 29% of companies with high volatility appear to have manipulated grant dates, compared to 13% of those with low volatility.