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Dell admits to 4 years of financial malfeasance -- up to $150 million to be scrubbed

Thomas Ricker, @trixxy
August 17, 2007
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It's already been a rough year for Dell's dwindling market share much to the delight of HP and Apple. Now, as followup to the evidence of accounting errors and misconduct announced back in March, Dell has admitted that their senior / executive management regularly falsified quarterly financial returns from 2003 to 2006. In a filing with the SEC, Dell admits that "account balances were reviewed, sometimes at the request of senior executives, with the goal of seeking adjustments so that quarterly objectives could be met." In only one case did Dell actually invent sales numbers, usually, the shifty accounting involved the recognition of revenue earlier than appropriate. Dell must now reduce its reported net income for the period by as much as $150 million with the biggest downward restatements hitting Q1 2003 and Q2 2004 by 10 to 13 percent -- other quarters are expected to be 5 percent or less. It's unclear whether any of the management responsible for, or engaged in this malfeasance are still employed by Dell. Dell's CFO only said that "disciplinary action had been taken" and that current management and the board are "comfortable we have taken steps necessary to make sure this never happens at Dell again." Dell's stock is actually up a few points in pre-market trading which could be a sign that investors aren't too concerned by the piddley restatement (Dell posted $12 billion in net income during the period in question) and are stoked to see Dell finally move forward, undistracted. That is, if the SEC agrees. We'll see how the stock does once investors wake to the latest fetor to seep outta Austin this side of SXSW.

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