As American consumers turned to the Bankrate website for accurate financial data, two executives at the company were allegedly manipulating the company’s financial results.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday said it levied civil penalties and an industry bar for former Bankrate CFO Edward DiMaria and former director of accounting Matthew Gamsey in a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.

According to a 2015 SEC complaint, DiMaria and Gamsey took part in a scheme to fabricate revenues and avoid booking some expenses to meet analysts’ estimates for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, causing Bankrate to overvalue its second quarter 2012 net income.

Bankrate, a New York-based financial services firm, operates a series of free, informative personal finance websites, deriving its revenue from the sale of advertisements.

Upon realizing that the company’s second quarter 2012 earnings would be nearly $1 million below expectations, DiMaria allegedly remedied the situation by directing several Bankrate divisions to record improper revenue.

According to the SEC, DiMaria and Gamsey each took steps to cover up the alleged fraud, including failing to inform Bankrate’s CEO of the improper accounting entries; instructing the company’s vice president of finance to record entries in a manner that would not attract auditors’ attention; misrepresenting the nature of the improper revenue to the company’s auditor; and signing a management representation to the auditor that contained false and misleading statements.

When the company announced inflated second quarter financial results, its stock rose, allegedly spurring DiMaria to sell more than $2 million in stock at a price the SEC claims was “inflated by hundreds of thousands of dollars” as a result of improper accounting practices and false statements.

In its investigation, the SEC also found that a Bankrate expense account has been used as a “cushion” to manipulate the company’s financial results for at least a year.

In September 2015, Bankrate settled accounting fraud charges related to the case by agreeing to pay a $15 million penalty. Bankrate’s former vice president of finance, Hyunjin Lerner, also settled the SEC’s charges in 2015 by agreeing to a $180,000 fine.

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