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SEC Hits Execs Fines

24 Feb, 2006

SEC Hits Execs Fines

Four former and current partners of Big Four accounting firm KPMG agreed to pay record-setting fines to settle charges stemming from a 1997-2000 earnings manipulation scheme at copier maker Xerox Corp., U.S. regulators said on Wednesday.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said three of the executives agreed to pay civil penalties and to be suspended from practice before the SEC, with rights to reapply in one to three years, while a fourth partner agreed to be censured.

KPMG itself in April agreed to pay $22 million -- one of the largest accounting firm payouts ever -- to settle the case, in which the SEC said KPMG let Xerox manipulate its accounting to close a $3 billion gap between actual and reported results.

The SEC said the four individuals agreeing to settle were Ronald Safran, KPMG engagement partner on the Xerox audit for 1998 and 1999; Michael Conway, senior engagement partner on the audit for 2000; Anthony Dolanski, engagement partner for 1997; and Thomas Yoho, review partner from 1997-2000.

Safran and Conway each agreed to pay a civil penalty of $150,000 and Dolanski to pay a penalty of $100,000.

Six former Xerox executives agreed in June 2003 to pay more than $22 million to settle charges related to the case. Among them were former Xerox CEOs Paul Allaire and Richard Thoman.

Xerox agreed to pay $10 million in April 2002 to settle with the SEC over its accounting irregularities.

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