Capital one backdating
In his role, Levoff was in charge of Apple’s insider-trading policy and was its named representative on many of its subsidiaries and corporate acquisitions.
Levoff was deeply familiar with the company’s trading policies, routinely sending emails to workers reminding them not to buy and sell stock amid earnings announcements, the SEC said.
They’re valuable only if the stock price rises after you get them.
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At Apple Inc., former top lawyer Gene Daniel Levoff was responsible for making sure employees didn’t violate insider-trading laws. Levoff, who until last year was Apple’s senior director of corporate law, traded on advance knowledge of revenue-and-earnings figures multiple times dating back to 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
In the case of backdating, the only crime was the coverup. In-the-money options—but not at-the-money options—had to be recorded as an expense, which drove down reported earnings.
Backdating allowed companies to reward employees with in-the-money options while getting the favorable accounting treatment of at-the-money options. Classifying the options properly would have lowered the number in the “earnings” box, and so C. O.s assumed that it would also drag down the company’s stock price.
Executives do it because they believe that if they don’t the stock market will punish them. As the investment strategist Michael Mauboussin puts it, “The market follows cash flows,” not earnings.