And whether Jobs benefited from backdated options may be immaterial if federal regulators come calling. Regulators have indicated that they are focusing more on whether insiders defrauded investors in how they disclosed or accounted for backdated options than whether they profited from them. For instance, the
criminal charges federal officials recently filed against former executives at Brocade ( BRCD) came despite the fact that neither of the executives was accused of benefiting from the backdating that led to the charges. The companies caught up in the backdating scandal are accused of issuing to insiders options to buy company stock at prices that were known weeks or months after the fact to be near-term lows. Although backdating by itself isn't necessarily against the law, investigators are trying to determine whether companies defrauded investors either by not properly disclosing backdated grants or by not accounting for them properly. Investors have blamed the recent selloff in technology stocks in part on the broader backdating probe and the constant trickle of new backdating allegations.