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The Daily

SEC Suspends Five CPAs, Two Audit Firms for "Bad Auditing"

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Dec 11, 2015
As a CPA, it is generally expected that you will hold yourself to a higher professional standard, one that includes integrity, diligence and and ethics. Unfortunately, it seems that five CPAs didn't get that memo, as the SEC has suspended them, and the audit firms they came from, over extraordinarily bad work.

Much of the issue seems to center around Peter Messineo, as well as his firm, which had over 70 corporate clients. The SEC said the firm "skipped mandatory quality reviews for their own audits and performed deficient quality reviews for audits by another audit firm." 

This clearly would not stand, and the firm knew it, and so "to cover up these violations, [Robin] Bigalke falsified and backdated audit documents in her role as Messineo & Co.’s senior accountant. She also arranged with [Joseph] Mohr, the firm’s quality reviewer, the backdating of quality review documents"

Mohr, incidentally, is also said by the SEC to have falsely identified himself as a CPA during a time when he was not, in actuality, a CPA yet.

Beyond this, Messineo was also the CFO of two public companies whose auditor, Richard Confessore, of the firm DKM, "was improperly serving conflicting roles as a member of the DKM audit team and an employee of Messineo & Co." That, however, did not stop Messineo as CFO to certify the companies' public filings, however. Maybe he thought there was nothing wrong with independence issues, because the SEC said that Messineo later resigned from his CFO positions and merged his audit firm into DKM, which "
exacerbated DKM’s independence issues because he retained ownership interests in the two companies while DKM continued to audit them." 

"
Messineo and his firm Messineo & Co. are permanently barred from practicing as accountants on behalf of any publicly traded company or other entity regulated by the SEC. [DKM partner Charles] Klein, Confessore, and DKM are suspended from appearing or practicing before the SEC as accountants for at least two years. Mohr is suspended for at least four years and Bigalke is suspended for at least three years.  They are collectively paying penalties and disgorgement totaling more than $100,000 to settle the SEC’s charges."