Bankrate, publisher of finance data, paying $15M to settle SEC charges of manipulating results

Bankrate Inc., a publisher of widely-read consumer finance data, has agreed to pay a $15 million fine to settle federal regulators' charges of manipulating its financial results to meet analysts' expectations.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement Tuesday of civil charges of accounting fraud with Bankrate and a former vice president of finance. Bankrate, based in North Palm Beach, Florida, neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing. It has agreed to refrain from future violations of the securities laws.

The former vice president, Hyunjin Lerner, is paying $180,045 to resolve allegations that he and two other Bankrate executives ran a scheme to inflate revenues and omit some expenses from reports to meet analysts' estimates for the second quarter of 2012.

The SEC is continuing the case against the two others.