UPDATE 2-United Rental to pay $14 mln to settle SEC charges
(Adds United Rentals comments, details on former executives)
WASHINGTON, Sept 8 (Reuters) - United Rentals Inc (URI.N) has agreed to pay $14 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission claims the equipment rental company engaged in fraud to meet earnings forecasts and analyst expectations, the SEC said on Monday.
United Rentals, which did not admit to or deny the charges, said the settlement ends the SEC's four-year probe.
According to the complaint, United Rentals was involved in a series of schemes and other improper accounting practices and materially misstated its financial condition and operating results.
From 1997 to 2000, United Rentals improperly accounted for its acquired assets and other items that overstated its net income, the SEC said.
From 2000 to 2002, United Rentals engaged in a series of fraudulent sales with suppliers in an effort to boost its earnings, the SEC said.
According to the complaint, United Rentals sold blocks of used equipment for amounts in excess of fair value in exchange for certain undisclosed financial inducements offered to the suppliers.
United Rentals also engaged in a series of fraudulent transactions from late 2000 through 2002 that involved complex leasing transactions orchestrated by the company's former chief financial officer, Michael Nolan, and by its former vice chairman and chief acquisitions officer, John Milne.
Nolan and Milne were previously charged by the SEC for wrongdoing and are no longer with the company.
United Rentals recognized a charge of $14 million relating to the settlement in the second quarter and said the fine will have no effect on its third-quarter operating results. (Reporting by Rachelle Younglai; editing by Carol Bishopric, Jeffrey Benkoe, Gary Hill)
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