Option backdating and its implications
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Options dating is lawful as long as the three conditions exist: (1) the company's board has authorized the backdating, (2) the backdating has been fully disclosed, and (3) the company has reported the transaction under appropriate tax laws. By examining the recent criminal actions against Broadcom executives as an illustrative anecdote, the paper shows how prosecutorial indiscretion not only tampers with the lives of innocent people at taxpayers' expense, but can also complicate the pursuit of convictions against actual guilty persons. With an option, the employee has the right to buy a share of stock at an "exercise" price. That price usually correlates with the selling price of the day the option was granted. If the company's stock rises, the employee can essentially increase his income by purchasing shares at the lower price, as specified in the option. In this way, stock options serve as an effective form of executive compensation, because they create a financial incentive for the executive to take actions that will benefit the company. When a company grants stock options to its executives, they must file reports with the SEC.
Options backdating occurs when the employee manipulates the date that the option was granted.
For example, suppose an executive receives an option on April 15, when the company's stock price is $40.
Prosecutors can certainly address problems reflected in the Broadcom prosecutions by exercising greater restraint and respect for the rule of law.
A much more effective deterrent against inevitable overreaching, however, is to moderate the underlying incentive: vague federal criminal laws.
Greater precision in our criminal laws will decrease opportunities for abuse, while also increasing the likelihood that guilty parties will be convicted.
Stock Options, Backdating, and SOX Stock options are contracts that employers give to employees as a form of compensation. Information retrieved through https://pacer.login.uscourts.gov/.