Former Apple Lawyer's Latest Options: Severely Limited
The wheels of justice grinding away at Apple’s option-backdating scandal for the past few years have worn another career down to gritty dust. The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday settled the last civil case against a former Apple executive accused of stock-option fraud. Without admitting or denying guilt, former Apple (AAPL) general counsel Nancy Heinen agreed to settle federal charges against her that she helped to fraudulently backdate stock-option grants to Apple CEO Steve Jobs and other Apple execs and falsified board meeting minutes to support them. Under the terms of her settlement, Heinen, who served as Apple’s general counsel from 1997 until mid-2006, agreed to pay $2.2 million in disgorgement, interest and penalties, and accept a five-year ban on serving as an officer or director of a public company.
The settlement marks the end of a legal debacle that began back in 2006, after an investigation by the Apple board uncovered some troubling options grants at the company. It also means that Jobs, who was likely to have been called to testify in Heinen’s SEC trial, won’t be. “This is it for backdating of stock options and Apple,” Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University, told the Los Angeles Times. “Steve Jobs dodged a bullet.”