U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
LITIGATION RELEASE NO. 21542 / June 1, 2010
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION V. ANTHONY BONICA (S.D.N.Y. Civ. 08 CV 4052 (RJS))
FORMER MONSTER WORLDWIDE OFFICER CONSENTS TO INJUNCTIONS AND PAYS MORE THAN $209,000 IN OPTIONS BACKDATING CASE
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission announced that on May 28, 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a Final Judgment by consent in a previously-filed enforcement action against Anthony Bonica (Bonica), a certified public accountant who formerly served as the controller of Monster Worldwide, Inc. (Monster). The judgment was entered in connection with a civil injunctive action filed April 30, 2008 by the Commission against Bonica and James J. Treacy, the former president and chief operating officer of Monster. The Final Judgment enjoined Bonica from direct and indirect violations of the federal securities laws and ordered him to pay a total of $209,537.60 in disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, interest and penalties.
The Commission's complaint alleged, among other things, that Bonica participated in a fraudulent stock option backdating scheme; that Bonica's fraudulent conduct caused Monster's periodic filings and proxy statements to falsely portray Monster's options as having been granted at exercise prices equal to the fair market value of Monster's common stock on the date of the grant, when, in fact, Monster was granting in-the-money options; and that Bonica understood the accounting consequences of granting in-the-money options but did nothing to ensure that Monster properly accounted for these options in its financial statements. The complaint alleged that Bonica's conduct caused Monster to file materially false and misleading public reports that contained financial statements that materially understated Monster's compensation expenses and materially overstated its quarterly and annual net income. On December 13, 2006, Monster restated its historical financial results for 1997-2005 in a cumulative pre-tax amount of approximately $339.5 million to record additional non-cash charges for option related compensation. The complaint further alleged that Bonica benefited from the scheme, including the receipt and exercise of backdated grants of in-the-money options.
Without admitting or denying the Commission's allegations, Bonica consented to the entry of the Final Judgment, which permanently enjoined him from violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act [15 U.S.C. § 77q(a)], Sections 10(b) and 13(b)(5) of the Exchange Act [15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b) and 78m(b)(5)] and Rules 10b-5 and 13b2-1 [17 C.F.R. §§ 240.10b-5 and 240.13b2-1] thereunder, and from aiding and abetting violations of Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A) and 14(a) of the Exchange Act [15 U.S.C. §§ 78m(a), 78m(b)(2)(A) and 78n(a)], and Rules 12b-20, 13a-1, 13a-11, 13a-13 and 14a-9 [17 C.F.R. §§ 240.12b-20, 240.13a-1, 240.13a-11, and 240.13a-13 and 240.14a-9] thereunder. Bonica also consented to pay $115,736.71 in disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, $33,800.89 in prejudgment interest and a penalty of $60,000.
In separate administrative proceedings to be instituted, Bonica also has consented to the entry of an order suspending him from appearing or practicing before the Commission as an accountant, with a right to request that the Commission consider his reinstatement after three years.