Options Charges Claim Second Brocade Defendant

December 6, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - The former Brocade Communications Systems HR vice president has been convicted of stock-options backdating - the second ex-company executive convicted of options-related charges.

An Associated Press news report said that Stephanie Jensen, who worked at Brocade from 1999 to 2004, was found guilty of conspiracy and falsifying corporate records at the San Jose data-storage networking company.

Prosecutors alleged that Jensen doctored offer letters and other personnel documents from 2000 to 2004 to make it appear that prized new workers were hired — and awarded stock options — before they actually were.
Her defense lawyer, Jan Little, countered that her client doesn’t have a finance background and wasn’t aware that the doctored paperwork was helping the company circumvent accounting rules. Prosecutors charged that statements she made to colleagues revealed she knew she was doing something wrong.

Jensen, 50, is one of about a dozen executives from different companies who have been criminally charged by the Justice Department over alleged tampering with stock-option awards, the news report said. Ex-Brocade CEO Gregory Reyes was convicted of option-related charges in August.

Jensen is to be sentenced March 12. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and the falsification charge carries a 20-year maximum sentence.

Last week, another former HR offficial agreed to plead guilty to options backdating-related charges (See  Broadcom Ex-Exec Pleads Guilty in Options Probe ).