Thursday, September 29, 2011
The SEC announced that, on September 6, 2011, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a settled final judgment against J. Michael Kelly, the former Chief Financial Officer of AOL Time Warner Inc. and that on July 19, 2010, the district court entered a settled final judgment against Joseph A. Ripp, the former Chief Financial Officer of the AOL Division of AOL Time Warner, in SEC v. John Michael Kelly, Steven E. Rindner, Joseph A. Ripp, and Mark Wovsaniker, Civil Action No. 08 CV 4612 (CM)(GWG) (S.D.N.Y. filed May 19, 2008).
The final judgments resolve the Commission’s case against Kelly and Ripp. The Commission’s complaint alleges that, from at least mid-2000 to mid-2002, AOL Time Warner overstated the company’s online advertising revenue with a series of round-trip transactions. The complaint further alleges that the defendants participated in this effort and that their actions contributed to this overstatement. Online advertising revenue was a key measure by which analysts and investors evaluated the company.
Without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, Kelly consented to entry of a final judgment permanently enjoining him from future violations of Section 17(a)(2) and (3) of the Securities Act of 1933 and ordering him to pay disgorgement of $200,000 and a civil penalty of $60,000. Without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, Ripp consented to the entry of a final judgment permanently enjoining him from future violations of Rule 13b2-1 promulgated under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) and from aiding and abetting violations of Exchange Act Section 13(b)(2)(A) and ordering him to pay disgorgement of $130,000 and a civil penalty of $20,000.