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Class action lawsuit hits CHS

Distributor accused of falsifying accounts

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CHS Electronics is facing a class action lawsuit from shareholders, charging the US distributor with submitting false financial statements and earnings. The company is being sued on behalf of every person who bought CHS common stock between February 27 1997 and March 10 1999. The complaint was filed in US District Court, Southern District of Florida, by Steven Cauley, of Little Rock, Arkansas. This is not a trivial matter - the allegations say CHS submitted financial statements based on forged documents and false customer orders, and inaccurately described the amount of its vendor rebates. It also claims that certain assets, primarily accounts receivable, were kept off the balance sheet and that assets and earnings were materially overstated. And, as if that wasn’t enough, the company’s shares performed worse than publicly represented, Cauley’s suit alleges. On February 24, CHS admitted it had found discrepancies in expected vendor rebates that may have impacted earnings. At the time it said that preliminary fourth-quarter earnings did not meet analyst expectations. ®

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