"Alwine and Barnett used crooked tactics, Ashman ignored basic accounting rules and TheStreet failed to put controls in place to spot the wrongdoing," Andrew Calamari, director of the SEC's regional office in New York, said in a statement. "The SEC will continue to root out accounting fraud and punish the executives responsible."
Under the settlements Alwine agreed to pay a civil fine of $120,000 and Barnett is paying a $130,000 civil fine. Ashman agreed to a $125,000 civil fine and to reimburse TheStreet Inc. $34,240.40. The SEC recovered the money for the company in a so-called "clawback," under an anti-fraud law that requires senior executives to repay bonuses and stock profits they received during a period in which their company violated financial reporting rules.
TheStreet.com was co-founded in 1996 by former hedge fund manager James Cramer, who is the host of cable TV network CNBC's "Mad Money" show.
In September, TheStreet Inc. announced its purchase of The Deal LLC for $5.8 million. The digital publication specializing in news on mergers and acquisitions brings a customer base of 40,000 professionals, including bankers, lawyers and partners in private equity firms, TheStreet said.