Joseph Apuzzo (defendant) was the chief financial officer of the Terex Corporation (Terex). A second company, United Rentals, Inc. (URI), had a chief financial officer named Michael Nolan. With the help of Apuzzo, Nolan and URI carried out two fraudulent transactions that allowed URI to earn revenue prematurely and, by that means, inflate the profit generated by URI’s sales. Through an indemnification agreement, URI retained the risks and reward of ownership of the equipment that URI stated had been sold. This violated generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Apuzzo recognized that if these transactions came to light, URI would not be able to claim increased revenue. Consequently, Apuzzo executed agreements that disguised URI’s involvement. Apuzzo also approved inflated invoices from Terex. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) (plaintiff) brought suit against Apuzzo, alleging that Apuzzo had aided and abetted violations of securities laws through his role in the scheme. The district court granted Apuzzo’s motion to dismiss, finding that the SEC’s complaint did not allege substantial assistance by Apuzzo. The SEC appealed.