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GE is under SEC investigation

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Posted at 9:40 AM, Jan 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-24 09:40:43-05

General Electric is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

GE said on Wednesday that regulators are investigating a $6.2 billion insurance loss that the company revealed last week. The disclosure is a new and potentially much more serious problem for a company already reeling from missteps and questionable management decisions.

The SEC is also investigating the company's accounting, chief financial officer Jamie Miller told analysts during a conference call. Specifically, she said the agency is looking into "revenue recognition and controls" for the company's long-term service agreements.

"We are cooperating fully with the investigation, which is in very early stages," Miller said.

GE said it will restate its 2016 and 2017 quarterly numbers to reflect new accounting standards.

The SEC declined to comment.

GE shocked Wall Street last week by taking a $6.2 billion hit from insurance problems at GE Capital, the lending business that nearly ruined the company during the financial crisis. GE further warned it will have to devote $15 billion to boost insurance reserves at GE Capital.

The unexpected news led investors to fear what other problems might be hiding on GE's massive balance sheet.

GE is facing a cash crisis that analysts blame on terrible deal-making, murky accounting and needless complexity.

In 2009, the SEC charged GE with accounting fraud, alleging the company used "overly aggressive accounting" to make false and misleading statements to investors. GE paid $50 million to settle the charges. It neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.