Is that a mirage out there in the Las Vegas desert, or are



financial numbers disappearing before investors' eyes?

The troubled, Las Vegas-based e-commerce software company took an ax to its previously released first-quarter financial results today, chopping revenue by 42% and a posting a Grand Canyon-sized loss.

No reason was given for the restatement, but the bad news comes one day after the company announced the

ouster of Chairman and CEO Charles "Junior" Johnson. Concerns also have been raised about PurchasePro's accounting procedures, specifically its practice of granting partners

warrants in exchange for revenue.

Shares in PurchasePro were off 40 cents, or 13.4%, to $2.57 in recent trading Tuesday. That just about erases the small gain made Monday after investors cheered the news of Johnson's departure.

Someone needs to buy PurchasePro a copy of

Accounting for Dummies

because the company doesn't seem to be able to get its first-quarter financial books in order. Today, the company cut its reported first-quarter revenue to $17.1 million, down from $29.8 million reported April 26.

The first-quarter net loss, minus special charges, grew to 23 cents a share, from the previously reported net loss of 2 cents a share.

What makes today's disclosure even more puzzling -- and raises further questions about PurchasePro's accounting -- is that the company originally said that it saw a total of $43 million in first-quarter "contract activity" but that its auditors wouldn't let it recognize all that revenue due to accounting rules.

During its April 26 conference call, company executives said a large piece of that $43 million wasn't recognized for a variety of reasons, including $4.1 million in first-quarter deals that were categorized as deferred revenue and another $3.7 million in revenue that wasn't recognized because of customers' potential credit problems.

And in case you forgot, investors are still waiting for a 10-Q to be filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

for the company's first quarter. That filing was delayed last week, and the company has not held a conference call or offered any further explanations for the delay or today's restated results.

A company spokesman did not return phone calls seeking comment.

"It's pretty clear that this company has some serious issues," says

Wedbush Morgan

analyst George Santana. "While I don't know if there is an SEC investigation, today's restatement opens up the possibility that the company may have to go back and refile financial results from last year." Santana rates PurchasePro sell, and his firm has not done banking for the company.