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Final settlements reached in Sunbeam scandal

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BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) _ Two former Sunbeam Corp. executives and a former Arthur Andersen partner agreed to settle civil charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission for their roles in a massive accounting scandal that helped push the company into bankruptcy.

The deal announced Monday marks the end of civil litigation by the SEC against those it held responsible for a scheme during 1996 and 1997, during the tenure of former chairman ``Chain Saw'' Al Dunlap that masked the company's financial problems.

Dunlap agreed earlier to pay $500,000 to settle accounting fraud charges.

In the latest settlements, ex-controller Robert J. Gluck and Donald R. Uzzi, former vice president of sales, agreed to pay $100,000 each to settle charges they helped inflate profits by falsifying Sunbeam financial records.

Gluck also was barred from serving as an officer, director or accountant with a public company for five years.

Former Andersen audit partner Phillip E. Harlow was barred from accounting with public companies for three years. The SEC alleged Harlow accepted Sunbeam managers' promises about the finances instead of performing proper audits.

Sunbeam's 1996 and 1997 financial statements did not meet auditing standards, and 1997 profits were overstated, the SEC found. The company was forced to restate its profit in 1997, slashing its earnings by half.

Other executives reached earlier settlements with the SEC.

In shareholder lawsuits, investors won a $141 million settlement from the appliance maker.

Dunlap, who got his nickname for cutting thousands of jobs at various companies, was hired in 1996 to lead the Boca Raton, Fla.-based maker of Sunbeam, Oster, Mr. Coffee, First Alert appliances out of a rough business patch.

His memoir ``Mean Business: How I Save Bad Companies and Make Good Companies'' became a best seller.

Sunbeam's bankruptcy reorganization plan was approved in November, and the company changed its name last month to American Household Inc.
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