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FCA and the SEC reach a settlement on charges of misreported sales

FCA is paying a $40 million fine and admits no wrongdoing, as long as it promises not to do it again.

FCA got caught juicing its sales numbers and now has to pay a $40 million fine to the SEC.

FCA

If there are two things that we should have all learned from the Coen Brothers' masterwork, Fargo, it's that A) they install that TrueCoat at the factory, and B) avoid Peter Stormare when he's near a woodchipper. If there's a third thing though, it's definitely that you really shouldn't mess with your sales numbers.

It would seem that FCA execs never got that last tidbit of sage advice committed to memory because, according to a press release issued on Friday, they are now being slapped with a $40 million fine by the Securities and Exchange Commission for misreporting sales to make it look like the company had been on a long-term, month-over-month unbroken sales streak.

Spoiler alert: that streak ended in 2013.

If any of this FCA stuff is sounding familiar, it's because it's not the first time we're writing about it. Previously, we covered former Ram boss Reid Bigland's attempt to file a whistleblower lawsuit against FCA for its alleged attempts to scapegoat him for speaking out against the sales reporting practices that he inherited from his predecessors.

"New vehicle sales figures provide investors insight into the demand for an automaker's products, a key factor in assessing the company's performance," said Antonia Chion, associate director in the Division of Enforcement for the SEC, in a statement. "This case underscores the need for companies to truthfully disclose their key performance indicators."

"FCA US cooperated fully in the process to resolve this matter. The company has reviewed and refined its policies and procedures and is committed to maintaining strong controls regarding its sales reporting," said an FCA representative, in a statement. "The settlement requires a payment of $40 million, which will not have a material impact on the financial statements of the Company."

What's important to note is that as part of its settlement, FCA isn't required to admit any wrongdoing. So, despite a hefty fine, it's not all that bad of a deal for the company. 

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