Cable operator Charter Communications Inc arranged to overpay Scientific Atlanta
Cable operator Charter Communications Inc. arranged to overpay Scientific Atlanta and Motorola $20 for each set-top box it purchased- with the understanding that they would return the overpayment by purchasing cable advertising from Charter. The transactions, it was alleged, had no economic substance; but because Charter would then record the advertising purchases as revenue and capitalize its purchases of the set-top boxes-in violation of generally accepted accounting principles-the transactions would enable Charter to fool its auditor into approving a financial statement showing it met projected Wall Street revenue and operating cash-flow numbers. The suppliers agreed to the arrangement. Charter used the inflated number of $17 million on its financial statements that were filed with the SEC and reported to the public. The suppliers had no role in preparing or disseminating Charter's financial statements, and their own statements booked the transactions as a wash. A private right of action was brought against the cable box suppliers by investors for damages under Section 10(b) of the 1934 Act as "aiders and abettors." Decide. [Stoneridge Investment Partners, LLC v. Scientific Atlantic, Inc., 552 U.S. 148]

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