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Another example, in simpler terms, might be that if something antedates something else, it predates it, or is older than it.

Options backdating is the practice of altering the date a stock option was granted, to a usually earlier (but sometimes later) date at which the underlying stock price was lower.

For instance, public companies generally grant stock options in accordance with a formal stock option plan approved by shareholders at an annual meeting.

Additionally, companies can use backdating to produce greater executive incomes without having to report higher expenses to their shareholders, which can lower company earnings and/or cause the company to fall short of earnings predictions and public expectations.

Corporations, however, have defended the practice of stock option backdating with their legal right to issue options that are already in the money as they see fit, as well as the frequent occurrence in which a lengthy approval process is required.

The backdating scheme involved moving an effective date for the exercise of stock options from when the options were 'out of the money' to a date that made the options 'in the money' to allow certain executives to exercise their options profitably.

Companies such as Comverse, Verisign, F5 Networks, Intuit and Mc Afee - as well as Home Depot, Michael's Stores and United Health Group, to name a few - all engaged in this fraudulent activity to varying degrees and were forced to pay fines and penalties and conduct time-consuming and expensive restatements of their books.

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In 1972, a new revision (APB 25) in accounting rules resulted in the ability of any company to avoid having to report executive incomes as an expense to their shareholders if the income resulted from an issuance of “at the money” stock options.

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