United Rentals, the world's largest equipment rental company, said that it removed three financial officers and fired two other employees after hearing a report from a special committee confirming accounting irregularities within the company.

Although no finds of intentional wrongdoing were found, United's board of directors agreed to remove the company's corporate controller, principal accounting officer and the vice president of finance, along with dismissing the other unidentified workers. The board said that an additional three employees had received written reprimands.

The board formed the special committee in March 2005, after the Securities and Exchange Commission launched a probe into lease-back transactions between December 2000 and March 2002. United fired its chief financial officer, John Milne, in August, after he refused to cooperate with the SEC investigation.

"The misconduct by some of our employees found by the committee is unacceptable," chief executive Wayland Hicks said, in a statement. " The company remains fully committed to cooperating with the SEC in its inquiry. ... We are making progress toward finalizing our financial results for 2004."In August, the company said that preliminary plans would mean the restatement of three years of results between 2000 and 2004 -- fixing a broad range of accounting practices relating to a self-insurance reserve, the equipment sale-lease-back transactions and an income tax provision.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access