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But if someone asks you to write down a date from a month ago on a legal document, rather than today’s date, doesn’t it give you pause?If someone presents you with a spreadsheet of the last month’s stock prices and asks you to pick the date on which you want to pretend that you granted, or were granted, several million options, might that not at least spur further inquiry?Physical controls ensure that only authorized employees may access company assets.Some common controls include lockboxes for petty cash, key cards for warehouses and unique passcodes for employees using cash registers.Denise Sullivan has been writing professionally for more than five years after a long career in business. Whenever I write about backdating, many people write in to tell me that backdating’s not illegal; you just have to account for it correctly.
Now the fair response in Jobs’s defense at this juncture would be to say: “Well, look, people just didn’t look at this stuff the way they do today, post-Sarbanes-Oxley, and so on.Major transactions may require approval from more than one person.For example, you may permit all employees to execute purchase orders under ,000 and require manager approval for any amount over this.When then-general counsel Nancy Heinen emailed Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs such a spreadsheet on January 30, 2001, she noted that it was a bad idea to choose January 2 as the grant date–even though that was the day the stock had been at its lowest–if they wanted “to avoid any perception that the Board was acting in appropriately [sic] for insiders prior to Macworld announcements.” (They ultimately chose one of the next-best dates from after Macworld.) Now isn’t it obvious to everyone on that email that shareholders are being misled?She’s saying that shareholders will naively think that the options were really granted on January 2, leaving them suspicious of springloading.