Apple, Execs Facing Securities Fraud Suit -- Again


Steve Jobs may have been exonerated in Apple's internal investigation of stock options backdating practices, and he has not faced criminal charges or a fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Also last year, a U.S. district judge dismissed a civil lawsuit brought against Apple by the New York City Employees' Retirement System. The judge determined the plaintiffs failed to show a link between the backdating and a drop in Apple's stock price.


But Jobs isn't out of the liability woods, according to The Register. Two stockholders have filed a securities fraud lawsuit against Jobs, former CFO Fred Anderson, former corporate counsel Nancy Heinen and four boad members. They are currently seeking class action status in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California at San Jose.


As I understand it, the plaintiffs in this latest suit are claiming that Apple's stock price dropped 14 percent after Apple revealed that certain executives had indeed backdated stock options. It's the $7 billion loss of stock value following the drop that the plaintiffs want to recover, InformationWeek reports.


I don't know all the details, of course, and these particular shareholders may have better proof than the first group, but the case sounds remarkably like the New York City Employees' Retirement System suit that was dismissed last year. I will be surprised if this one gets much further.