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US Securities and Exchange Commission

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This article isn't about the US SEC being stupid; it's about them being cowards.

AppleInsider report the inevitable's about to happen: Nancy Heinen, formerly of Apple and NeXT, will be brought up on charges for her involvement in a bit of bookkeeping legerdemain to benefit Apple's $1 Chief Executive Steven Paul Jobs with 7.5 million stock options that were deliberately backdated through minutes of a board meeting that never took place.

The shift from the actual date of the decision to the made up date represented a difference of $2.71 per share or a clean profit of $20,325,000.00. Not bad for a dishonest day's work and $20,324,999.00 ahead of official salary.

The illegal transaction took place in December 2001. As general counsel for Apple Heinen would have had to see it. Both she and former CFO Fred Anderson have since resigned from Apple.

What's curious about this affair is that Heinen did nothing out of greed; she did not profit from being a part of this sordid affair; and she was probably told in no uncertain terms what was expected of her.

There is only one rule maker at Apple and everyone knows who that is. You don't breathe funny without approval of The One. But considering his already considerable wealth, why would he want to pull this penny ante stunt for a meagre twenty million? Because he thought he was entitled to it? Because he deserved it?

No matter: the perpetrator of this crime isn't being touched; the people he harassed are; and the SEC, true to form, are making a sham and a travesty of justice.

Perhaps Heinen has time to ask around how life in Alderson was. Or have another scapegoat put in a good word for her.

And perhaps it's time to give Eric Schmidt a more practical tour of One Infinite Loop.

Postscript: The San Jose Mercury News Version

The story AppleInsider refer to is - to say the very least - more thorough and balanced. Why is that?


Basically people are supposed to believe Nancy Heinen, having performed her duties admirably at NeXT and thereafter at Apple, who forward dates her own options even though she loses money because it's more fair, suddenly decides to do something totally out of character - something illegal? To engage the services of a secretary to make up minutes to a meeting that never took place? That profits the $1 CEO over $20 million - and he's never to know of this?

Nancy, meet Martha; Martha, meet Nancy.

It's a tragedy for someone who has as much commitment to integrity as Nancy does.
 - James Pooley

It's simply unfair to single out Nancy for enforcement action from among the thousands of executives in hundreds of companies all over this country who've been swept up in these stock options cases. Nancy didn't backdate stock options and she didn't deceive anyone.
 - Miles Ehrlich

Postscript II: Fred's Out!

Not surprisingly former Apple CFO Fred Anderson's been able to cut a deal with his good old boy friends at the SEC. He'll pay a slap on the wrist fine and will walk free and won't even have to admit to any wrongdoing.

Nancy isn't a member of the club and has no choice but to stick to her guns. And she'll most likely go down: with Nancy removed from the equation it's still obvious there was wrongdoing - benefitting her former boss and no one else. And if she ostensibly wasn't behind the scam, then whoever could be? Gee that's a tough one.

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