Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Resume Check at Usana

Utah-based nutritional supplement distribution company Usana Health Sciences, Inc., seems to be having a few problems with the resumes of some of its officers.  An AP article (here) reports on the latest bit of possible resume padding, this time by the CFO who listed himself as a CPA even though his license expired in 1986.  Probably a technical violation, because a company's chief financial officer does not have to be a CPA, but a bit sloppy.  The article notes three other resume problems: a company director decided not to stand for re-election in April 2007 due to a master's degree listed on his resume that he never received; a member of a medical advisory board who claimed to be a licensed doctor had his licensed suspended in two states; and, a senior officer changed his resume to show that his Ph.D. was in forestry, not biology -- a minor difference to be sure for those of us who abhor science classes.

Usana has been embroiled in a fight with Barry Minkow, the former head of ZZZZ Best who served a then-substantial prison sentence in the 1990s for fraud and who now researches companies that he believes are acting improperly through his Fraud Discovery Institute.  Usana filed a defamation suit against Minkow in March 2007 and sent a letter to the SEC asking for an investigation of him.  Usana faces its own investigation by the SEC, as the Commission's Salt Lake City office informed the company that it had initiated an informal investigation, which a press release  (here) brushed off as related "to assertions appearing in the mass media about USANA," i.e. Minkow.  A New York Post article (here) states that the SEC is also looking into stock sales by Usana's CEO in February 2007, right when Minkow began raising questions about the company.  This fight is likely to take place in the media as the various sides trade accusations. (ph)

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