Class Claims Celera Juggled the Books

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Celera Corp., a health-care business, inflated its stock price for more than a year through false and misleading statements, a county retirement fund claims in a federal class action.

     Washtenaw County, Mich., claims Celera, its CEO and two CFOs made false and misleading statements about the company’s finances from April 2008 through July 2009.
     Celera, based in Alameda, “delivers personalized disease management through a combination of products and services,” according to the complaint. Defendants include CEO Kathy Ordoñez, former CFO Joel Jung and CFO Ugo DeBlasi.
     Celera stock reached a high $16.23 during that time, in July 2009, the price sank to $5.83 per share, a 64 percent loss, according to the complaint.
     “By misrepresenting Celera’s financial results, the defendants presented a misleading picture of Celera’s business and prospects,” the complaint states.
Washtenaw County, whose seat is Ann Arbor, claims Celera falsified quarterly financial reports and failed “to properly account for its bad debts, which overstated the company’s assets and net income.”
     Celera assured investors it was adequately reserving for bad debts, but as an out-of-network provider of lab services, it allowed patients to skip out on paying for their lab work, the complaint states. By July 2009, 48 percent of Celera’s revenue had been eaten up by bad debts, the class claims. Celera then announced that it had decided to write off all accounts more than 360 days old, adding to its financial problems, according to the complaint.
The class demands damages for securities violations. Its lead counsel is Shawn Williams with Robbins Geller Rudman.

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