The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed financial fraud charges against Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp., saying the health club chain's financial statements from at least 1997 to 2003 contained more than two dozen accounting improprieties.

The accounting problems caused Bally to overstate its originally reported year-end 2001 stockholders' equity by nearly $1.8 billion, or more than 340 percent, according to the SEC.

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