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Looks like the Securities and Exchange Commission is trying to enter the Internet age.
Specifically SEC Chairman Mary Shapiro recently signaled that she wants to evaluate the rules for raising money through crowd-funding, making it a more viable source for investment in small business.
Federal regulators have charged the former treasurer of a private mortgage lending company for her role in a more than $1.9 billion fraud scheme and an attempt to scam the Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
Desiree Brown, the former treasurer of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker (TBW), pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank, wire and securities fraud, which contributed to the failures of Colonial Bank and TBW, according to US Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The Securities and Exchange Commission charged a Kansas company that manages government websites, as well as four current and former executives, including two finance executives, for failing to disclose more than $1.18 million in perquisites to the former chief executive officer.
The Commission alleges that NIC filed false and misleading proxy statements, annual reports and registration statements that failed to disclose Jeffrey Fraser's benefits and falsely represented he worked virtually for free from 2002 until 2005, and continued to materially understate the benefits Fraser received in 2006 and 2007.
One item that's high on the To-Do list of the PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board) for 2011: foreign inspections. "Robust oversight of audit work done in other countries is critical to the protection of US investors, given that significant operations of many US public companies are located beyond our shores," said Daniel Goelzer, acting PCAOB chair in a December speech at a national conference of the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs). In fact, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported last year that sales by majority-owned foreign affiliates of U.S. firms came to about $5.5 trillion, or nearly 60 percent of the sales generated by their U.S. parent companies.
What's more, according to Section 106 of Sarbanes-Oxley, non-U.S. auditors of companies who register with the SEC are subject to PCAOB rules to the same extent as U.S. auditors.
The former chief financial officer of an Oklahoma energy company was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his role in a fraud.
David Grose, who served as CFO of Quest Energy Partners LP from 2004 to 2008, was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release upon his release from prison, forfeit $1 million in assets, and pay $1 million in restitution to the company.
The Securities and Exchange Commission's aggressive crackdown on illegal insider trading has snared a former Deloitte Tax LLP partner and his wife.
The pair on Tuesday was accused with repeatedly leaking confidential merger and acquisition information to family members overseas in what the regulator calls a multi-million dollar insider trading scheme.
The SEC alleges that Arnold McClellan, head of one of Deloitte's regional mergers and acquisitions teams, and his wife Annabel provided advance notice of at least seven acquisitions planned by Deloitte's clients to Annabel's sister and brother-in-law in London. The brother-in-law then took positions in US companies that were targets of acquisitions by Arnold McClellan's clients.
The SEC has settled a rare Reg FD case with Office Depot and two of its executives, including its top finance exec.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also charged Office Depot with unrelated accounting violations.
The Securities and Exchange Commission voted unanimously last week to propose measures that would require companies to disclose more information on their short-term borrowings. The goal? "Under the proposed rules, investors would have better information about a company's financing activities during the course of a reporting period - not just a period-end snapshot," SEC chair Mary L. Shapiro said in a statement.
As the SEC noted in its release about the proposal, no regulation currently requires companies, other than bank holding companies, to disclose borrowing levels throughout a reporting period. That has prompted concern that companies may incur significant borrowing during a reporting period, only to cut way back at the end of the period in order to show lower levels of leverage.
One of the most high profile players in the subprime lending crisis is going to trial in October.
A US District Judge in Los Angeles denied a motion to dismiss the civil charges against three former top executives at Countrywide Financial Corp.--Chief Executive Officer Angelo Mozilo, chief operating officer and president David Sambol and chief financial officer Eric Sieracki.
A recent study, "Why Do CFOs Become Involved in Material Accounting Manipulations," by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Washington attempts to answer just this question. Their finding? Pressure from the companies' CEOs, more than the possibility of financial gain, tends to drive the actions of crooked CFOs.
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