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Together with the remainder of this study, our analysis provides additional evidence on the magnitude and determinants of opportunistic behavior associated with executive stock options. The series of Wall Street Journal articles on backdating of stock options has won the business news category of the George K.High-profile companies including Apple, United Health Group, Broadcom, Staples, Cheesecake Factory, KB Homes, Monster.com, Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., Vitesse Semiconductor and dozens of lesser-known technology firms were implicated in the scandal.The essence of the options backdating scandal can be summarized simply as executives falsifying documents in order to earn more money by deceiving regulators, shareholders and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).They were established in 1949 to remember George Polk, a CBS correspondent slain covering the Greek civil war. American City Business Journals Awards Barron's Bloomberg Business Insider Business Week Business weeklies CNBCCommentary Company coverage Coverage Crain's publications Dow Jones & Co.Federal prosecutors are strongly considering criminal charges against former executives of Broadcom , Apple , and KLA-Tencor , related to the backdating of stock options, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the situation.Prosecutors are also nearing charges against a former official of computer-security company Mc Afee , the paper said, citing people familiar with the situation.

Once the decision to exercise is made, insiders who plan to hold the acquired shares have an unambiguous personal tax-based incentive to exercise on the day with the lowest possible stock price.

This post comes from Shane Heitzman at the University of Rochester Simon Graduate School of Business, Dan Dhaliwal at the University of Arizona and Merle Erickson at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

, we investigate the opportunistic timing of stock option exercises by insiders.

While this finding is consistent with the conclusion that backdated exercises are more likely when the firm has a relatively weaker internal control environment we also find that the probability of a suspect exercise is not consistently related to common proxies for corporate governance based on the subsample of observations with available governance data.

We estimate that our sample of CEOs saved an average of thousand in taxes per exercise by exercising on the day of the month with the lowest closing stock price.

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