Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Former CEO and CFO of AstroPower, Inc. Settle Fraud Charges
The SEC filed a settled civil fraud action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against Allen Barnett, the former CEO, and Thomas Stiner, the former CFO, of AstroPower, Inc., a manufacturer of solar electric power products. AstroPower is no longer an operating company as its common stock was cancelled and its assets liquidated via bankruptcy in 2004. Barnett and Stiner agreed to permanent injunctions; payment of civil penalties in the amount of $65,000 and $40,000, respectively; and other sanctions.
According to the Complaint, Barnett and Stiner made material misstatements, engaged in fraudulent accounting practices, and signed filings made with the Commission that they knew, or were reckless in not knowing, contained materially false and misleading financial statements. The Commission alleged that at the direction of Barnett and Stiner, and in contravention of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, AstroPower improperly recognized approximately $4 million in revenues from four transactions executed over the course of the second and third quarters of 2002. According to the Complaint, as a result of improperly recognizing revenue from these transactions, AstroPower's net income was overstated by approximately $160,000 or 80% for the second quarter of 2002, and approximately $440,000 or 113% for the third quarter of 2002. The Commission alleged that these material misstatements of revenue and net income were included in Commission filings that Barnett and Stiner signed.