Washington (June 6, 2003) -- Signaling its new, get-tough stance against top corporate wrongdoers, the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday fined six former top Xerox Corp. executives a whopping $22 million.

The SEC filed the civil suit in New York federal court against former chief executives Paul A. Allaire, G. Richard Thoman, former Chief Financial Officer Barry Romeril, and three others.

The SEC's complaint charges that the executives purposely misled investors about Xerox's earnings to inflate its stock price and stature on Wall Street. Under terms of the settlement, the defendants neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.

The complaint alleges that the executives' actions sped up the recognition of equipment revenues by nearly $3 billion and increased pre-tax earnings by approximately $1.4 billion in Xerox's 1997-2000 financial results.

"Collectively, the defendants knowingly or recklessly prepared and filed with the commission quarterly and annual financial statements which failed accurately to reflect the business performance," the complaint said.

Last year, Xerox paid a $10 million civil fine, the largest ever at the time, to settle complaints relating to the same matter.

-- WebCPA staff

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