Will Pixar director and animation messiah John Lasseter soon be wearing a sporty ankle bracelet just like Martha? Both Lassster and Ed Catmull, both of whom are huge players in the Disney’s newly reorganized animation division could be investigated in a huge brewing insider trading scandal, according to an article in Variety.

John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, the forces behind the animation phenom, suddenly find themselves caught up in the so-called options-backdating imbroglio after a report uncovered that they once received stock options with suspicious dates.

Options backdating is a practice in which a company manipulates dates on stock options so execs can receive artificially high profits from a stock sale — and then doesn’t reveal the practice to Wall Street. It is not always illegal, but frequently can be.

Execs who were found to receive backdated options could be forced to forfeit gains, pay penalties and even face jail time if they are found guilty of deceiving investors.

Questions over options now engulf an estimated 80 firms, many of them in Silicon Valley, with execs at tech firm Brocade under criminal investigation. On Tuesday, Cablevision said it could not disclose earnings because it had been in contact with the SEC over options issues.


  1. This is interesting, but I think Variety is overstating the case a little bit. There was a report on NPR on a similar “scandal” going on at Apple involving Steve Jobs regarding the same process of backdating stock options. The backdating itself is not illegal, as long as all of the records are kept correctly, but the penalties were stated to be small for any executives involved, with most of it being a fine for the company.