Sec. & Exch. Comm'n v. Apuzzo, No. 11-696 (2d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Terex manufactures equipment. Apuzzo was its Chief Financial Officer. URI is an equipment rental company. Nolan was URI’s Chief Financial Officer. URI and Nolan, carried out fraudulent “sale-leaseback” transactions, to allow URI to recognize revenue prematurely and inflate profits. URI sold used equipment to GECC, a financing corporation, and leased it back. To obtain GECC’s participation, URI convinced Terex to agree to resell the equipment after the lease periods. Terex guaranteed that GECC would receive at least 96 percent of the purchase price for the equipment. URI secretly agreed to indemnify Terex for losses from the guarantee and to purchase new equipment from Terex. Apuzzo knew that if the extent of the transactions was transparent, URI would not be able to claim increased revenue under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Apuzzo disguised URI’s risks and obligations, and approved inflated invoices to conceal indemnifications. Following transactions under the scheme, the SEC charged that Apuzzo aided and abetted securities laws violations through his role in a fraudulent accounting scheme. The district court dismissed; the complaint plausibly alleged that Apuzzo had actual knowledge of the primary violation, but did not allege “substantial assistance.” The Second Circuit reversed, holding that Apuzzo associated himself with the venture, participated in it as in something that he wished to bring about, sought by his action to make it succeed.