The Securities and Exchange Commission has accepted a settlement offer from an accounting executive at an energy company who falsely claimed to be a CPA.
John Scullin, 51, was the manager for project accounting at Baker Energy, Michael Baker Corporation’s energy segment, from June 2006 through June 2008. Scullin was never licensed to practice as a CPA, but falsely represented himself to Michael Baker management as a CPA licensed to practice in Virginia. Michael Baker Corporation is an energy and engineering company based in Moon Township, Pa.
In a complaint filed earlier this month, the SEC alleged that for the 2006 annual reporting period and the first three quarters of 2007, Scullin, who misrepresented himself as a CPA to Michael Baker’s management, willfully engaged in improper accounting practices and aided and abetted Michael Baker’s fraudulent accounting practices, which resulted in Michael Baker overstating its revenue and net income.
As a result of Scullin’s actions, the company overstated its consolidated net income by $1.5 million or 15 percent for 2006 and overstated its consolidated net income by $1.5 million or 94 percent, $2.4 million or 39 percent, and $1.9 million or 42 percent, for the first, second and third quarters of 2007, respectively.
The overstatements of revenue and net income were primarily the result of Scullin’s improper accounting practices, which he knew or should have known were improper, according to the SEC.
The SEC said Monday it imposed the sanction of suspending Scullin from appearing or practicing as an accountant before the Commission, which was agreed to in Scullin’s offer of settlement.
Earlier this month, the SEC also charged Dennis Higgins, a former operations manager in Michael Baker’s energy segment, with insider trading, and he agreed to settle the charges for about $35,000, without admitting or denying wrongdoing. Former CFO Michael Higgins also agreed to a cease and desist order, without admitting or denying the allegations, after he was charged with violations of the reporting, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the federal securities laws.
The company, Michael Baker Corp., also agreed to settle SEC charges without admitting or denying the charges and consented to a permanent injunction against future violations of the reporting, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the federal securities laws.
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