Securities Law Prof Blog

Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Former Cablevision Employees Settle "Prepay" Charges

The SEC filed a settled civil action against Catherine R. McEnroe, Noreen O'Loughlin and Martin von Ruden in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, alleging improper expense recognition at Cablevision Systems Corporation (Cablevision).  The complaint alleges that from at least 1999 through mid-2003, contrary to GAAP, Cablevision recognized certain costs as current expenses when, in fact, the expenses should not have been recognized in those periods. These improper "prepays" occurred because employees prepared and submitted inaccurate invoices and other documents in order to accrue expenses earlier than when they should have been accrued. These improperly recognized expenses were reflected in Cablevision's books, records and accounts and caused Cablevision to overstate expenses in earlier fiscal periods and understate expenses in later periods. As a result, Cablevision's reports to the public and the Commission for the period 1999 through mid-2003 were inaccurate and caused Cablevision to restate its financial statements filed with the Commission for the period 2000 through the first nine months of 2003.

The Commission's complaint alleges that McEnroe, O'Loughlin and von Ruden, while serving as officers and managers of significant business units of Cablevision, directed or were aware of improper prepays and signed inaccurate payment authorization forms that caused improper prepays, and that they thereby violated Section 13(b)(5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) and Rule 13b2-1 thereunder. Without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission's complaint, McEnroe, O'Loughlin and von Ruden consented to final judgments ordering them to pay civil penalties of $30,000, $15,000, and $15,000, respectively.

In a related settled cease-and-desist proceeding against them, and also without admitting or denying the Commission's factual findings in its Order Instituting Cease-and-Desist Proceedings Pursuant to Section 21C of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Making Findings and Imposing a Cease-and-Desist Order, McEnroe, O'Loughlin and von Ruden each also consented to an administrative order to cease and desist from committing or causing any violations and any future violations of Exchange Act Section 13(b)(5) and Rule 13b2-1 thereunder.

Separately, the Commission today announced that it instituted settled cease-and-desist proceedings against Cablevision for improper expense recognition. For further information, see Release No. 34-59277 / Jan. 22, 2009.

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