Brocade backdating stock options
While not quantifiable in terms of dollars and cents, in some cases, the damage to the company's reputation could be irreparable.
Another potential ticking time bomb, is that many of the companies that are caught bending the rules will probably be required to restate their historical financials to reflect the costs associated with previous options grants. In others, the costs may be in the tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars.
In a worst-case scenario, bad press and restatements may be the least of a company's worries.
In this litigious society, shareholders will almost certainly file a class-action lawsuit against the company for filing false earnings reports.
Some executives have, well, at least when it comes to their stock options.