Backdated options

The WSJ details, in a handy chart format, over 105 companies (so far) involved in the backdated options scandals. This includes SEC, criminal, and internal investigations, as well as “restatement of income”, which is always a useful way to say that previous financial statements were made-up garbage.

Companies being investigated by the Justice Department include

Applied Micro
Barnes & Noble
Brocade Communications
Computer Sciences
Home Depot
Michaels Stores

Those are just some of the criminal investigations. The SEC is also on the case. Broadcom just did an internal review and said they will take 1.5 billion in charges because their previous financial statements were, well, fantasy. Seems to me on a ripoff that big, someone needs to go to prison.

Perhaps the highest profile company involved is Apple, who is late with their filings (a serious matter) and is conducting an internal investigation. They say earnings will be restated, and that one of the options granted went to Steve Jobs, who must getting nervous about this. I don’t get it. He co-founded Apple, Like, he needs more money?

In a perhaps fitting sequence of events, given the jackal-like nature of predatory capitalism, hedge funds are exploiting the crisis. Companies with late filings are in technical default of their bonds (it’s in the fine print) thus they will have to pay more, and quickly too.

Sue, who is a forensic accountant (they are called in to examine financial records when it’s assumed something has gone seriously wrong) says this scandal is huge. Many companies will take massive earnings hits.

Perhaps more than a few formerly high-flying execs will be taking residence at the Martha Stewart Memorial Wing at your local federal prison. Hey, Martha did time over a crummy $70,000, and it was because they caught her in a lie, not because of the original charge. All of which now seems minor compared to this current lot of greedy pigs.