WASHINGTON — The Securities and Exchange Commission is pursuing fraud charges against three former executives of ATM maker Diebold Inc. after reaching a $25 million settlement with the company yesterday.
The SEC filed civil charges against former Diebold executives Gregory Geswein, Kevin Krakora, and Sandra Miller, alleging they manipulated the books to meet earnings forecasts from 2002 through 2007.
Attorneys representing Geswein and Krakora disputed the SEC’s charges. Miller’s lawyer wasn’t available for comment.
Diebold’s former chief executive, Walden O’Dell, agreed to pay back about $470,000 in cash, plus stock and options. He was not charged with fraud but the government was allowed to recapture his compensation under the so-called clawback provision of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley antifraud law.
“We are pleased that the settlement with the SEC is final,’’ Thomas Swidarski, Diebold’s CEO, said in a statement.
The SEC alleged that Diebold manipulated its earnings from at least 2002 through 2007 to meet financial forecasts and that it made misstatements to investors in dozens of regulatory filings and news releases. The improper accounting practices inflated Diebold’s reported earnings by at least $127 million, the SEC said.
Diebold managers received regular “flash reports’’ comparing its earnings to analysts’ forecasts and then drew up “opportunity lists’’ of ways to close the gap between the two, according to the SEC. The so-called opportunities included fraudulent accounting transactions designed to improperly book revenue, the agency said.
Diebold neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s charges but did agree to refrain from future violations of the securities laws.