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Case 8-5 Kreme Doughnuts Krispy

, Inc. On March 4, 2009, the SEC reached an agreement with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc., and issued a cease-and-desist order to settle charges that the company fraudulently inflated or otherwise misrepresented its earnings for the fourth quarter of its FY2003 and each quarter of FY2004. By its improper accounting, Krispy Kreme avoided lowering its earnings guidance and improperly reported earnings per share (EPS) for that time period; these amounts exceeded its previously announced EPS guidance by 1 cent. The primary transactions described in this case are “round-trip” transactions. In each case, Krispy Kreme paid money to a franchisee with the understanding that the franchisee would pay the money back to Krispy Kreme in a prearranged manner that would allow the company to record additional pretax income in an amount roughly equal to the funds originally paid to the franchisee. There were three round-trip transactions cited in the SEC consent agreement. The first occurred in June 2003, which was during the second quarter of FY2004. In connection with the reacquisition of a franchise in Texas, Krispy Kreme increased the price that it paid for the franchise by $800,000 (i.e., from $65,000,000professional writing services near me

in return for the franchisee purchasing from Krispy Kreme certain doughnut-making equipment. On the day of the closing, Krispy Kreme debited the franchise’s bank account for $744,000, which was the aggregate list price of the equipment. The additional revenue boosted Krispy Kreme’s quarterly net income by approximately$365,000 after taxes. The second transaction occurred at the end of October 2003, four days from the closing of Krispy Kreme’s third quarter of FY2004, in connection with the reacquisition of a franchise in Michigan. Krispy Kreme agreed to increase the price that it paid for the franchise by $535,463, and it recorded the transaction on its books and records as if it had been reimbursed for two amounts that had been in dispute with the Michigan franchisee. This overstated Krispy Kreme’s net income in the third quarter by approximately $310,000 after taxes. The third transaction occurred in January 2004, in the fourth quarter of FY2004. It involved the reacquisition of the remaining interests in a franchise in California. Krispy Kreme owned a majority interest in the California franchise and, beginning in or about October 2003, initiated negotiations with the remaining interest holders for acquisition of their interests. During the negotiations, Krispy Kreme demanded payment of a “management fee” inconsideration of Krispy Kreme’s handling of the management duties since October 2003. Krispy Kreme proposed that the former franchise manager receive a distribution from his capital account, which he could then pay back to Krispy Kreme as a management fee. No adjustment would be made to the purchase price for his interest in the California franchise to reflect this distribution. As a result, the former franchise manager would receive the full value for his franchise interest, including his capital account, plus an additional amount, provided that he paid back that amount as the management fee. Krispy Kreme, acting through the California franchise, made a distribution to the former franchise manager in the amount of $597,415, which was immediately transferred back to Krispy Kreme as payment of the management fee. The company booked this fee, thereby overstating net income in the fourth quarter by approximately $361,000. Additional accounting irregularities were unearthed in testimony by a former sales manager at a Krispy Kreme outlet in Ohio, who said a regional manager ordered that retail store customers be sent double orders on the last Friday and Saturday of FY2004, explaining “that Krispy Kreme wanted to boost the sales for the fiscal year in order to meet Wall Street projections.” The manager explained that the doughnuts would be returned for credit the following week—once FY2005 was under way. Apparently, it was common practice for Krispy Kreme to accelerate shipments at year-end to inflate revenues by stuffing the channels with extra product, a practice known as “channel stuffing”

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