AOL Time Warner Agrees to $144M Fraud Settlement with Ohio

March 7, 2007 ( - The state of Ohio reached a $144 million settlement with Time Warner Inc. over charges that state retirement funds were defrauded when the company merged with AOL in 2001, Reuters reported.

The state represented the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation and five state pension funds, who claimed that they lost $400 million when the stock of the merged company plummeted from $48 a share to less than $10, because the company misrepresented sales and subscriber figures ahead of the merger.   

The company did not admit any wrongdoing.

According to Reuters, the state of Ohio still has a pending case against the company’s accountant Ernst & Young.

The company settled a suit in March brought by five institutional investors, alleging securities fraud over its accounting standards (See  Time Warner OKs $400M Settlement with Opted Out Institutional Investors ).

In addition, Time Warner agreed to pay $2.4 billion in 2005 to resolve a class action securities suit against the company and $300 million to settle civil charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission).   The Ohio State Teachers Retirement System filed suit in 2003 along with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) against AOL Time Warner, claiming losses of $250 million because of improper accounting practices when the company inflated its stock price by overstating advertising revenues (See  California, Ohio Pensions File AOL Time Warner Suits   ).