October 2005

Waste Management settles lawsuit for $26.8 million

Washington— Waste Management Inc., the world’s largest trash hauler, agreed to pay $26.8 million to cover most of the costs of a settlement between four former top executives and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The lawsuit alleged that the company’s founder, Dean L. Buntrock, was part of accounting fraud between 1992 and 1997. The lawsuit was filed back in 2002.

The settlement, approved in U.S. District Court in Chicago, ends the three-year-old SEC accounting fraud suit. The SEC suit alleged that former chairman Dean L. Buntrock and three other former executives failed to report expenses, postponed costs and filed false financial statements for five years, Waste Management said in a statement filed with the agency yesterday.

Under the agreement, the company will pay $17.1 million for Buntrock, whom the SEC accused in 2002 of leading a “massive” fraud that cost shareholders $6 billion. Buntrock, who founded Waste Management in 1968 and took the company public in 1971, also reportedly agreed to pay a $2.3 million fine out of his own pocket.

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