Brooks Reports Falsified Options Document

August 1, 2006 ( - Coinciding with its restatement of several years of earnings to compensate for options-related accounting problems, Brooks Automation Inc. reported two former directors and its former CEO falsified documents allowing the CEO to reap millions by exercising an expired stock option.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Massachusetts-based semiconductor equipment manufacturer announced that former outside directors Roger Emerick and Amin Khoury relinquished their positions in May. Robert Therrien stepped down as CEO in 2004 and retired as chairman earlier this year.

The company tacked on about $60 million to its expenses from 1996 to September 2005 to compensate for the backdating of options. The WSJ reported that the option for Therrien was set to expire in August 1999, but he exercised it just two days before the deadline, reaping a profit of about $5.8 million.

In its filing with the SEC on Monday, Brooks said the transaction actually occurred months later. The company said in the filing that the document signed by the three executives described a loan that Therrien was thought to have been granted as of August 1999.

However, an internal probe into the document found there was no loan.

The company is among others under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for stock option backdating, a far reaching investigation that has been likened to the mutual fund trading scandals that broke three years ago (See Stock Option Probe Biggest Since Abusive Fund Trading Cases ).