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Published on NewsOK Modified: December 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm •  Published: December 18, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — The company that operates the financial news website and three executives have settled federal civil charges of accounting fraud.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that the company, TheStreet Inc., and the executives engaged in a scheme in 2008 to artificially inflate the company's revenue and mislead investors. The co-presidents of a company subsidiary and a former chief financial officer of the company agreed to pay a total of about $409,000 to settle the charges.

Co-presidents Gregg Alwine and David Barnett were barred for 10 years from serving as officers or directors of any public company. Former CFO Eric Ashman was barred for three years.

TheStreet Inc. and the three executives neither admitted nor denied the allegations but agreed to refrain from future violations of the securities laws.

Attorneys for the executives and company representatives didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.

The company filed false financial reports throughout 2008 which reported revenue from sham transactions at the subsidiary, which it acquired in 2007, the SEC said. The subsidiary conducts promotions such as sweepstakes on the Internet.

The agency said Alwine and Barnett made the phony transactions and also fabricated and backdated documents to enable the fraud.

Ashman caused TheStreet Inc. to report revenue before the company had earned it, the SEC said in a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan.

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