Feeds

Former Juniper attorney faces SEC's wrath

Juniper out of the bush but Berry gets the squeeze

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Juniper Networks has settled with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over allegations of improper stock option backdating. But while the networking equipment maker swims out of hot water, its former legal counsel is getting a double dip in the stew pot.

The SEC filed fraud charges yesterday against Bay Area attorney Lisa Berry for her role in the backdating options while at Juniper and at KLA-Tencor Corporation.

The Commission's complaint against Berry, filed in federal district court in San Jose, accuses her serial backdating. While at KLA, she allegedly identified dates with historically low stock prices to facilitate the backdating of option grants by the companies option committee. Berry moved to Juniper shortly before its 1999 IPO. At Juniper, the SEC claims, she established a similar backdating process, creating minutes of fictitious stock option committee meetings to document false grant dates - at times using the names of other committee members with a signature stamp.

As a result of the allegedly misleading disclosures, KLA overstated its net income in fiscal years 1998 through 1999 by as much as 47 per cent. Juniper overstated its 2003 net income by nearly 22 per cent. This year, Juniper restated its financial earnings, showing nearly $900m in previously unreported compensation expenses.

"The Commission's action ... confirms that attorneys are no less bound by the securities laws than other public company executives," said Linda Chatman Thomsen, the SEC's director of enforcement. "At both KLA and Juniper, Ms. Berry was in a unique position to insure that the companies accurately disclosed their stock option expenses; instead, she facilitated their fraud on investors."

The SEC announced yesterday that — of course without admitting or denying the allegations — Juniper has consented to a permanent injunction against violations of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws. Juniper said it has done so without being fined, and the investigation is closed.

The charges against the company and Berry stem from an industry-wide probe of backdating investigation by the SEC. Last week, the commission fingered former Brocade CFO Michael Byrd with eight counts of fraud related to backdating stock options. Earlier this month, Gregory Reyes, Brocade's former CEO, was found guilty of backdating securities fraud. The company's former HR veep, Stephanie Jensen, also faces charges. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.