Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) announced on Thursday that it received a notice from the SEC stating that the company was under investigation concerning its "previously-announced restatements of its financial statements in 2006 and 2008 and other matters."
CEO Patrick Byrne noted in the press release that "All of the matters that are the subject of the subpoena have been thoroughly disclosed and we are disappointed, given the extensive public disclosures Overstock has previously made, that the SEC, given all of the challenges it faces, has apparently chosen to expend time and resources on another investigation of Overstock. Rest assured, I will continue to speak out as I have on the shortcomings of our financial regulatory system."
Right. In Byrne's world it seems, the SEC is investigating Overstock to deflect attention from its own shortcomings policing issues like Byrne's pet cause, naked short selling. Project much?
Over on his blog, Gary Weiss notes that "What makes this latest SEC probe especially painful for Byrne is that this is a total vindication for white collar crime-fighter Sam Antar, who has repeatedly pointed out the shortcomings in Overstock's financials, particularly concerning its restatements."
The substance of the SEC investigation sounds interesting, but it fails to tackle the larger issue: Will the SEC -- or anyone -- do anything about Overstock's habit of stalking, harassing, and intimidating critics of its accounting practices?