Brooks settles stock-options case with SEC
Chelmsford semiconductor equipment maker Brooks Automation Inc. failed to properly account for employee stock options, overstating its income by $64.5 million over 10 years, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a settlement disclosed with the company today.
The SEC previously had charged Brooks' former chief executive Robert Therrien with backdating stock options to make them more valuable. Therrien has denied wrongdoing. In its settlement today the SEC did not fine Brooks and in a statement the agency praised the company for its "swift, extensive, and extraordinary cooperation'' in the agency's investigation.
As part of the settlement Brooks did not admit or deny the agency's allegations. The SEC says that backdating by Therrien and the company's improper accounting resulted in misleading disclosures from 1996 to 2005. In its fiscal year alone 2000 Brooks overstated its profit by as much as 30 percent, the SEC said.
(By Ross Kerber, Globe staff)