The issue that almost touched Steve Jobs is now surfacing once again.
Just last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recommended action against ex-Pixar chief financial officer Ann Mather, now a Google board member. According to paperwork filed by Google, the regulator is recommending civil proceedings for alleged backdating at Pixar Animation Studios between 1999 and 2004.
Steve Jobs controlled Pixar during that period, though Walt Disney purchased the animation studio in 2006. Internal investigations cleared Jobs of any backdating at Apple or Pixar, and the government opted to steer clear of a high-profile shakedown. But others were less fortunate, including former Apple attorney Nancy Heinen, who is currently awaiting trial for various backdating charges.
The practice of backdating illegality falsifies the grant date on an employee option, thereby artificially lowering the strike price and raising the ultimate gain.