Former Apple lawyer settles options case with SEC

Nancy Heinen will pay $2.2 million in fines to settle charges, without admitting guilt, that she falsified corporate documents to cover up Apple's stock option backdating.

Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.
Tom Krazit

Former Apple general counsel Nancy Heinen has settled with the SEC over charges that she improperly backdated stock options at the company.

The SEC filed a lawsuit against Heinen last year charging her with cherry-picking grant dates for stock option awards to Apple executives--including CEO Steve Jobs--and falsifying paperwork in order to cover up the selection of the favorable dates. Stock option backdating is legal if properly disclosed, but dozens of companies--including CNET Networks--in the earlier part of this decade failed to do so, and executives at other companies have gone to prison as a result.

Heinen will pay $2.2 million in penalties and fines to settle the case, without having to admit or deny any guilt in the case, according to Reuters. Her attorney issued a statement following the release of the settlement: "I cherish the great people I worked with at Apple, and I am proud of my contributions to its historic turnaround and current success. With this lawsuit behind me, I look forward to addressing the greater challenges of social justice and economic disparity."

Apple conducted an internal investigation into stock option backdating at the company in 2006. While it admitted the practice occurred, the company cleared all current executives of the company, including Jobs, of any wrongdoing. Former CFO Fred Anderson was also sued by the SEC along with Heinen but he settled his case the same day it was filed.