Dozens more companies may be charged with backdating stock option grants, Bloomberg reports, citing U.S. officials, lawyers and executive-pay experts.

As early as this week, the Department of Justice may file its second criminal case against the practice.

In what has become the biggest scandal since the uncovering of the mutual fund trading transgressions in 2003, the Securities and Exchange Commission has begun investigating 80 so far, and 19 executives have been fired. To some, the extent of the abuse is proof that corporate crime continues to this day.

"It really calls profoundly into question the assertion we've heard innumerably over the years from the business community that they've cleaned up the mess," said Damon Silvers, associate general counsel at the AFL-CIO. "This thing is going to get bigger."

The Department of Justice filed its first criminal charges in the scandal last week, against former Brocade Communications Systems Chief Executive Officer Gregory Reyes. His lawyer says he will plead not guilty.

The SEC started the investigation, and besides the Justice Department, U.S. attorneys in at least seven districts have opened investigations of their own. They include New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Newark, N.J. The Internal Revenue Service will begin auditing as many as 40 companies, and a number of corporations are conducting internal reviews of their own.

 The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.