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Former AOL executives charged with fraud

May 20, 2008 at 11:38 AM

NEW YORK, May 20 (UPI) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission charged eight former AOL executives with fraud, court papers filed in New York City show.

The filings alleged that company executives fraudulently inflated Internet advertising revenues by $1 billion before AOL merged with Time Warner in 2000, then the largest corporate merger in U.S. history, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

In separate lawsuits, four of the eight have agreed to pay $8 million in damages but admitted admitting no wrongdoing, the Times reported.

The other four charged with taking part in the sceme are former chief financial officers John Michael Kelly and Joseph Ripp, head of accounting policy Mark Wovsaniker and Steven Rindner, senior executive in the business affairs unit.

Their attorneys said they did not settle with the SEC because they were not involved in wrongdoing, The Washington Post said.

AOL Time Warner paid $300 million to settle similar charges in 2005, the Times reported.

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