News & Events

Stock Option Investigation Announced

Northern California's top federal prosecutor said Thursday he has formed a task force to investigate whether companies in Silicon Valley have committed fraud by improperly issuing employee stock options. The task force, formed by U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan in San Francisco, is already investigating "several companies," Ryan said at a press conference. Formation of the task force, which is made up of four assistant U.S. attorneys and an undisclosed number of FBI agents, comes as more than 65 U.S. companies have said in recent days that they are under investigation for retroactively changing the date stock options were granted. ERIK LIE, an associate professor at the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, studied 8,000 publicly traded companies and found that at least 1,600 of them, or 20 percent, appeared to engage in backdating or other suspicious behavior with the options they granted. The newspaper is based in California.

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