Backdating of executive stock options
So, Richards and his sales force would prepare each impending contract by writing on the signature pages the company name, and the name and title of the person who’d be signing, and leave the signature box blank.They’d also stamp a date onto the contract, but it wouldn’t actually be the day the contract eventually would be signed.“He sent this beautiful cursive handwritten letter joking how he doesn’t have Microsoft Word available in prison,” Soltes said during a recent interview with Fraud Magazine.
What were their intentions once they were released? One particularly poignant letter came from Stephen Richards, a former senior executive at Computer Associates (CA).
(Academics at 60 business schools around the world now use the case study in their classes.) Richards’ case history compelled Soltes to begin a quest to postulate theories about why white-collar criminals “did it.” He continued in earnest to correspond and visit with more than four dozen of the most senior executives who oversaw some of the most significant corporate failures in history, including Bernie Madoff; Andrew Fastow, Enron’s former chief financial officer; Allen Stanford, former chairman and CEO of the Stanford Financial Group; Sam Waskal, the former CEO of Im Clone Systems; and Dennis Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco.
Infamous Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff “is the ultimate rationalizer,” says Eugene Soltes, the Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and author of “Why They Do it: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal.” Soltes has interviewed Madoff for several years — and continues to interview him — to try to answer the question in the title of Soltes’ book.
But he’s unfazed, which shows his remarkable capacity to compartmentalize,” Soltes says.
The results of the prison correspondence and visits plus Soltes’ research on white-collar criminology resulted in his 2016 book, “Why They Do it: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal” (Public Affairs).