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For a period beginning in 2006, plaintiffs’ lawyers filed a wave of options backdating securities class action lawsuits.

The cascading litany of alleged charges is not likely to stop with the Brocade case.

Indeed, with more than 80 companies being reviewed by the SEC for potential illegal backdating practices, and one academic study claiming that more than 2,000 companies have engaged in the practice, civil and criminal charges will probably mushroom in the next few months. The purpose of backdating is straightforward: it gives options holders an immediate paper gain, and a real gain once the option is exercised.

There is no statute that explicitly outlaws backdating stock-option grants, but it seems virtually impossible to backdate options and achieve the ultimate goal of putting grants “in the money” without first deliberately falsifying documents and then covering up the sham.

At least that seems to be the conclusion reached by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding their first case against executives charged with fraud related to backdating.

Now that the cases are largely resolved, it may be time to calculate the final tally.

In the accompanying guest post, Adam Savett, Director, Class Action Services at I would like to thank Adam for his willingness to publish his guest post on my site.

A substantial portion of that litigation took the form of securities class actions, typically filed against a publicly traded company (the issuer) and certain officers and directors of the issuer.

The first such securities class action was filed on May 19, 2005 against Brocade Communications.

have led to the resignation of dozens of top executives and investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors. 29, Apple discussed the report and accounted for the impact of the earnings restatements in its 10-Q.

But the options scandal has never touched a more exciting company than Apple or a more thrilling executive than Jobs. In June 2006, a special committee of Apple outside directors, chaired by former Vice President Al Gore, hired its own attorneys to investigate options backdating at the company. It turns out there were literally thousands of examples of backdating at Apple—6,428 options grants on 42 dates over a period of several years.

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.

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