SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Federal prosecutors are probing whether former Apple Computer Inc. officials forged documents to maximize executives' profits from stock options, according to a legal publication that also reported chief executive Steve Jobs has hired his own lawyers to represent him.
Shares of the maker of iPods and Macintosh computers went on a roller coaster ride in trading yesterday, falling almost 5 percent before rebounding.
In a morning note, UBS Investment Research Ben Reitzes called investors' fears "overblown."
The Recorder, a San Francisco-based publication owned by American Lawyer Media, reported Tuesday that federal prosecutors are looking into forged documents at Apple related to administering stock options.
The report cited people with knowledge of the case who requested anonymity because the case is the subject of criminal and civil government probes.
An Apple spokesman said the company is providing the Securities and Exchange Commission with results of its internal investigation into the company's stock options granting practices, but had no further comment yesterday.
The publication also reported that Jobs has hired outside counsel.
"Investors seem to be reacting to the mention of Steve Jobs," Reitzes said in his note. "We believe it could make sense to obtain counsel given his immense personal fortune and influence."
Apple is one of nearly 200 companies that have disclosed SEC, Department of Justice, or internal investigations about backdating of stock options.
In October, Apple said the internal investigation raised concerns about how two former officers recorded and accounted for stock options.
Citing people with knowledge of the investigation, The Recorder also reported those two former officers were general counsel Nancy Heinen and chief financial officer Fred Anderson.