AT&T has been cooking the books since 2016 and probably longer

The year is 2016 and the month is March, AT&T is slated to report quarterly results and the company is on their way to a 3rd straight earnings miss. Senior Vice President, CFO and 28 year veteran of the firm John Stephens is feeling the pressure from falling profits and has decided to let his investor relations department in on the secret. That secret was the dead money company was falling behind peers regarding the smartphone market. In a deliberate act to cover his ass, Stephens guided a few mid level paper pushing relations employees who were named as Christoper C. Womack, Michael J. Black and Kent D. Evans in the lawsuit to tap about 20 analyst one by one who cover the stock in a bid to get lowered estimates for the upcoming report. The calls/emails worked and the revisions were made. The lawsuit which was filed by the SEC Friday in New York claims that AT&T and 3 executives violated Regulation FD when they did not disclose the potential earnings miss to the investing public. Regulation FD was created in 2000 and is intended to stop the sharing of meaningful company information behind the publics back just like what happened in this case. The most notable case involving FD was back in 2013 when Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had wrote about the companies streaming numbers in a Facebook post, the rules were then revised and he was not charged. In a press release today denying the allegations the company said “the evidence could not be clearer and the lack of any market reaction to AT&T’s first quarter 2016 results confirms there was no disclosure of material nonpublic information and no violation of Regulation FD” and that they look forward to having their day in court. Interesting to note that AT&T is defending their ethics by mentioning the performance of the stock after the call, fuckin clowns, lock em up. Good timing for Stephens (not named in the suit) as he is set to retire this month after joining the media conglomerate back in 1992. One must wonder just how many of these mini scandals occurred before technology ruled the waves. By the way, dead money in a stock means it hasn’t moved or has been negative. AT&T was higher in 2016 aka dead money since.