WASHINGTON — The co-chief executives and two other executives at BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. have been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with tampering with stock options to enrich themselves and other workers.
The charges, filed Tuesday by the SEC in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and announced with a simultaneous settlement of the case, allege that the executives pulled down millions of dollars in compensation that wasn't properly disclosed to investors.
The practice, known as backdating, has been investigated at hundreds of companies. It involves tweaking the paperwork so option awards look as if they were issued earlier than they actually were, usually on a date when the stock was trading lower. That makes it cheaper for the recipient to cash out the options, and boosts the potential windfall.
Together, the executives have agreed to pay more than $1.4 million in fines and give back more than $800,000 in profit to settle the SEC's case, the SEC and RIM said.