Thursday, August 27, 2009
The SEC charged a Las Vegas-based CPA and his public accounting firm with securities fraud for issuing false audit reports that failed to comply with Public Company Accounting Oversight Board ("PCAOB") Standards and were often the product of high school graduates hired with little or no education or experience in accounting or auditing. The Commission's lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Las Vegas, Nevada, names Michael J. Moore ("Moore"), CPA, and Moore & Associates Chartered ("M&A"), and they have agreed to settle the charges without admitting or denying the allegations.
According to the SEC's complaint, Moore and M&A issued audit reports for more than 300 clients who consist of primarily shell or developmental stage companies with public stock quoted on the OTCBB or the Pink Sheets. The SEC alleges that Moore and M&A violated numerous auditing standards, including a failure to hire employees with adequate technical training and proficiency. The SEC further alleges that Moore and M&A did not adequately plan and supervise the audits, failed to exercise due professional care, and did not obtain sufficient competent evidence. Despite the audit failures, M&A issued and Moore signed audit reports falsely stating that the audits were conducted in accordance with PCAOB Standards.
To settle the Commission's charges, Moore and M&A consented to the entry of a final judgment permanently enjoining them from future violations of the securities and ordering them to disgorge ill-gotten gains of $179,750 plus prejudgment interest of $10,151.59. Moore separately agreed to pay a $130,000 penalty. Moore and M&A also consented to the entry of an administrative order that makes findings and suspends them from appearing or practicing before the Commission as an accountant pursuant to Rule 102(e)(3) of the Commission's Rules of Practice.