Feeds

Former Juniper attorney faces SEC's wrath

Juniper out of the bush but Berry gets the squeeze

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.