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Former Monster Worldwide Inc. (NASD: MNST) President and COO James Treacy was indicted on criminal charges that include securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud over stock options backdating that took place between 1997 and 2003, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York reported. The backdating caused the company to understate compensation expenses between 1997 and 2005 of more than $300 million, according to the office. One of the criminal counts carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years if convicted.
An attorney for Treacy told Reuters that his client is innocent of the charges.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also announced that it sued Treacy and Monster's former Controller Anthony Bonica, in a civil lawsuit over stock options backdating.
The U.S. Attorney's Office had announced in January that Andrew McKelvey, former chairman and CEO of Monster, was charged with backdating stock options. It said those charges will be dismissed in 12 months if he abides by terms of a deal with the office because of his terminal medical condition. In addition, Monster's former Senior VP and General Counsel Myron Olesnyckyj pleaded guilty to securities fraud on February 2007 over backdating.