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20-Dec-2015 13:03

Monster Worldwide has agreed to pay a .5 million penalty to settle charges that the job search specialist secretly backdated stock options granted to thousands of its officers, directors and employees.

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The court filing gives as one example, Monster's annual 10-K filing for 2001, which reported the company's "net income was ,020,000, but this was, in fact, an overstatement of more than 1,900 percent..." "In all, the backdating scheme resulted in an understatement of compensation expense in the amount of approximately 9 million, pretax, during the period 1997 through 2005," said the memorandum, which was filed late on Tuesday.

Monster, it said, misled investors by failing to report these expenses, which ran into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

James Clarkson, acting regional director of the SEC's New York office said: "Backdating stock options made the company look like it had more money than it really did."The SEC had previously charged four Monster executives - chief executive Andrew Mc Kelvey, president and chief operating officer James Treacy, general counsel Myron Olesnyckyi and controller Anthony Bonica - over their alleged roles in the backdating scheme.

Mc Kelvey recently reimbursed the company 3,046, which includes interest, for expenses paid by the company from 1996 through 2006.

The company added that it continues to seek reimbursement, plus interest, for other items.

According to federal regulators, Mc Kelvey conspired with other former senior executives at Monster to systematically backdate stock option grants to Monster employees between 19, in an effort to fraudulently suppress Monster’s compensation expenses, and falsely inflate its earnings.