Appleis former General Counsel Nancy Heinen and former CFO Fred Anderson are the most likely targets for criminal charges in the SEC backdating probe into the Mac and iPod makeris stock option grants. Criminal charges could be filed against the former Apple executives as early as this week, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Ms. Heinen was investigated for her alleged role in orchestrating stock option grants that were backdated to favorable dates for the recipients, and for approving falsified documents related to option grants . She may also have benefited from backdated grants herself.
Miles Ehrlich, Ms.Heinenis lawyer, said that she is being used as a scapegoat because Apple is a high profile company. "Itis simply unfair to single out Nancy Heinen for enforcement action from among the thousands of executives in hundreds of companies all over this country whoive been swept up in these stock options cases," he said.
Unnamed sources close to the investigation also claimed that former CFO Fred Anderson may be targeted with criminal charges. His legal team was not available for comment, and the SEC has not confirmed or denied the claim.
Apple launched its own independent investigation into possible backdated option grant irregularities last year. In June 2006, the company announced that it had found evidence of improperly backdated grants, and then turned the information over to the SEC. The investigation raised concerns about the involvement of former Apple executives, presumably Ms. Heinen and Mr. Anderson, but cleared CEO Steve Jobs.
The SEC conducted its own investigation, and later the U.S Attorneyis office launched a criminal investigation as well. That investigation seemed to be focused on former Apple attorney Wendy Howell and her involvement in an option grant awarded to Mr. Jobs. Ms. Howell claimed that she was working under instructions from Ms. Heinen.
Should Ms. Heinenis legal team state that they will fight any charges brought against her. Mr. Ehrlich commented "Nancy didnit backdate stock options, and she didnit deceive anyone."