Supermarket chain Ingles Markets Inc. settled charges that it improperly accounted for vendor rebates and allowances with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Asheville, N.C.-based Ingles, which operates more than 250 locations in the southeast, neither admitted nor denied the allegations as part of the settlement.

The SEC had alleged that the company's former vice president and director, Anthony Federico -- who left the company in February 2004 and died from a heart attack in October 2005 -- provided false information to the company's accounting department in 2002 and 2003. Federico was a son-in-law of company founder and chief executive Robert Ingle.

"We are very pleased to finally put this matter behind us, without the payment of a penalty, and are now able to completely focus our efforts on the company's future," Ingle said, in a statement. "We believe that this resolution attests to our cooperation with the SEC, as well as our recent efforts to improve our internal control environment."

The SEC said that the company had no meaningful controls over how it recognized millions of dollars from upfront vendor payments in certain quarters. The company restated its financial statements in February 2005 to reflect the corrected accounting, and also implemented internal controls to properly account for payments.

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