The former chief financial officer of Bankrate Inc., the financial services and marketing company, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for securities and accounting fraud that resulted in $25 million in shareholder losses, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday.
Edward DiMaria, 53 years old, was also ordered to pay restitution of $21.2 million to Bankrate’s shareholders. Mr. DiMaria pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the company’s accountants, falsify the company’s books, records and accounts, and commit securities fraud, as well as one count of making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“The significant sentence handed down today underscores the serious nature of corporate fraud and the damage it causes to shareholders and to the public’s trust in our financial markets,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said in a statement.
Mr. DiMaria’s attorneys didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. DiMaria admitted to conspiring and directing a scheme to artificially inflate Bankrate’s earnings through “cookie jar” or “cushion” accounting, a practice in which a company keeps a large quantity of reserves from an economically successful year on its books to boost its earnings results, while incurring them against losses during weaker quarters.