Williams, Adelphia Have Heard from SEC

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The

Securities and Exchange Commission

has reportedly begun inquiries into accounting practices at

Williams Cos.

(WMB) - Get Report

and

Adelphia

(ADLAC)

as part of a crackdown under which the agency has opened 49 financial reporting cases in the first two months of 2002.

Williams was contacted by the SEC on Feb. 2 about its financial results in last year's third quarter,

The Wall Street Journal

reported, while Adelphia is the subject of an informal inquiry recently begun by the agency's New York office.

Adelphia's shares have been crushed over the last several days following revelations of off balance sheet loans to members of the company's controlling Rigas family.

Williams has been pulling itself out of a debt quagmire related to its spun-off

Williams Communications

(WCG) - Get Report

unit that forced it to delay the filing of its year-end financial results. A spokesman said the company is "not aware of any unresolved issues with the SEC."

The

Journal

quoted an SEC enforcement official who said the agency has seen progressively more financial-reporting cases over the last few years and this year has also seen the inquiries relating to larger companies. After the first two months of 2001, the SEC had opened 18 new accounting inquiries.