January 22, 2018
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against six certified public accountants – including former staffers at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and former senior officials at KPMG LLP – arising from their participation in a scheme to misappropriate and use confidential information relating to the PCAOB’s planned inspections of KPMG. The SEC’s Division of Enforcement and Office of the Chief Accountant allege that the former PCAOB officials made unauthorized disclosures of PCAOB plans for inspections of KPMG audits, enabling the former KPMG partners to analyze and revise audit workpapers in an effort to avoid negative findings by the PCAOB. Two of the former PCAOB officials had left the PCAOB to work at KPMG. The SEC’s Enforcement Division and Office of the Chief Accountant allege the third official leaked PCAOB data at the time he was seeking employment with KPMG. The three former KPMG partners were all in the firm’s national office. According to the SEC’s order, the misconduct began in 2015 and persisted until February 2017. Soon after the conduct was discovered, the six respondents were terminated, resigned or placed on leave before separating from KPMG and the PCAOB, respectively. The six CPAs were Brian Sweet, Cynthia Holder, Jeffrey Wada, David Middendorf, Thomas Whittle, and David Britt. SEC For update on conviction at trial, see March 11, 2019.