The Daily Outrage: Bad apples

Bad Apples: Stock options for corporate employees

Who: Apple Inc.

What: The computer firm’s former top attorney, Nancy Heinen, on Thursday agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle charges she altered company records.

Why they're doing it: Stock options have been a popular way to reward corporate employees. Backdating options allows the company to control their value and the way in which they are reported.

Why it's a bad idea: The practice, now banned, hurts outside shareholders. Apple underreported its expenses by nearly $40 million due to the fraudulent backdating of stock options, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Where to vent: Apple is one of hundreds of companies to be investigated by the SEC and federal prosecutors over stock options backdating in recent years. A criminal probe of the company ended in July.

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