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Cablevision settles accounting irregularities case

Mon, 01/26/2009 - 7:30am
Deborah Yao, AP Business Writer

Cablevision Systems Corp. has settled a regulatory complaint about accounting irregularities, including expenses improperly booked by former employees, according to a filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Friday.

The SEC on Thursday ordered the diversified cable operator to cease from such misconduct, adding that the errors led Cablevision to issue "materially inaccurate" financial reports. The Bethpage, N.Y.-based company did not admit or deny any wrongdoing. It was not fined.

From at least 1999 to 2003, certain employees falsified invoices and other documents to record expenses earlier than when they should have been booked, according to the SEC. Three former employees were fined a total of $60,000, but they did not admit to or deny any wrongdoing.

Cablevision said the irregularities occurred mainly at its Rainbow Media unit, which owns several cable channels, including AMC and Sundance.

Cablevision also improperly recognized launch and marketing support payments made by TV program vendors for advertising and marketing campaigns designed to attract viewers to their programs.

The company said it first brought these accounting irregularities to the SEC's attention. In 2004, Cablevision completed the restatement of its financial statements from 1999 to 2003.

"It is now behind us," said spokesman Charles Schueler, who noted that the company took prompt remedial action after discovering the irregularities and reporting them to the SEC.

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