PwC: Are you listening?
It’s highly unusual for the SEC to go after counsel to firms that are under investigation for fraud and reporting violations, as many have attested. But maybe hell is freezing over or, rather, the polar ice cap is melting?
The Securities and Exchange Commission has put the profession on notice as it continues to pursue individuals connected with the collapse of Refco.
The SEC filed a suit at the US District Court in New York yesterday against Joseph P. Collins, a partner at the law firm of Mayer Brown, claiming that he substantially assisted Refco and its corporate successor, Refco Inc as they failed to disclose hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and related transactions.
‘Financial and disclosure frauds are often possible only if an attorney, an accountant, or some other outside professional assists,’ said Linda Chatman Thomsen, director of the SEC’s division of enforcement. ‘The commission relies on these professionals to act as gatekeepers to our markets. We will aggressively pursue individuals who ignore their professional obligations and instead assist in their clients’ violation of the federal securities laws.’
Refco, a leading New York-based financial services and commodities brokerage firm, collapsed in 2005.