Thursday, August 9, 2007
The SEC announced the filing of a civil injunctive action against former senior officials of Nicor, Inc., a major Chicago-area natural gas distributor, alleging financial fraud lasting from 1999 to 2002. The SEC's complaint alleges that former Chairman, CEO and President Thomas Fisher, former CFO and Executive Vice-President Kathleen Halloran, and former Treasurer and Vice-President George Behrens engaged in or approved improper transactions, and misrepresented Nicor's gas inventory in order to meet earnings targets and increase the company's revenues under a performance-based utility rate plan. As a result of the manipulative scheme, Nicor materially overstated its reported income for the years ending 2000 and 2001, and for each of the quarters within those years and the financial statements filed with those reports. The Commission's action seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement, civil penalties, and officer and director bars against Fisher, Halloran and Behrens.
Nicor previously consented to the entry of a court order enjoining it from violating the antifraud and reporting provisions of the federal securities laws and ordering that it pay a $10 million civil penalty.