Washington Drug giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is paying $150 million to settle federal regulators' charges that it manipulated its inventory of medicines in a fraudulent scheme to inflate earnings and meet Wall Street targets, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday.
Bristol-Myers agreed in its settlement with the SEC to pay a $100 million civil fine and an additional $50 million, both of which will go into a fund for shareholders -- who recently won $300 million from the company in a class-action lawsuit. Bristol-Myers neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.
It was one of the largest SEC penalties in recent years for alleged accounting violations against a viable company that continues to operate. The $150 million Bristol-Myers is paying dwarfs the $10 million fine levied on Xerox Corp. in 2002, which was the largest at the time, to resolve allegations of accounting fraud.
New York-based Bristol-Myers faces a related criminal investigation by the Justice Department.