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The SEC Just Charged Trump Media’s Spelling-Challenged Auditor with “Massive Fraud”

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“Borgers and his sham audit mill have been shut down.”

Fresh off the SEC press release press, the Securities and Exchange Commission today charged audit firm BF Borgers CPA PC and its owner, Benjamin F. Borgers with deliberate and systemic failures to comply with Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) standards in its audits and reviews incorporated in more than 1,500 SEC filings from January 2021 through June 2023.

The SEC also charged Ben F Brogers* with falsely representing to their clients that the firm’s work would comply with PCAOB standards; fabricating audit documentation to make it appear that the firm’s work did comply with PCAOB standards; and falsely stating in audit reports included in more than 500 public company SEC filings that the firm’s audits complied with PCAOB standards.

YIKES. The SEC did not mince words in this press release.

“Blake F Borgers* and his audit firm, BF Borgers, were responsible for one of the largest wholesale failures by gatekeepers in our financial markets,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “As a result of their fraudulent conduct, they not only put investors and markets at risk by causing public companies to incorporate noncompliant audits and reviews into more than 1,500 filings with the Commission, but also undermined trust and confidence in our markets. Because investors rely on the audited financial statements of public companies when making their investment decisions, the accountants and accounting firms that audit those statements play a critical role in our financial markets. Borgers and his firm completely abandoned that role, but thanks to the painstaking work of the SEC staff, Borgers and his sham audit mill have been permanently shut down.”

The SEC order finds Ben F Vonesh* failed to adequately supervise and review the work of the team performing the audits and reviews; did not properly prepare and maintain workpapers, and failed to obtain engagement quality reviews. According to the SEC’s order, of 369 BF Borgers clients whose public filings from January 2021 through June 2023 incorporated BF Borgers’s audits and reviews, at least 75 percent of the filings incorporated BF Borgers’s audits and reviews that did not comply with PCAOB standards.

And the faking of workpapers:

The SEC’s order further finds that, at Ben F orgers*’s direction, BF Borgers staff copied workpapers from previous engagements for their clients, changing only the relevant dates, and then passed them off as workpapers for the current audit period. As a result, the order finds, BF Borgers’s workpapers falsely documented work that had not been performed. Among other things, the workpapers regularly documented purported planning meetings – required to discuss a client’s business and consider any potential risk areas – that never occurred and falsely represented that both Benjamin Borgers, as the partner in charge of the engagement, and an engagement quality reviewer had reviewed and approved the work.

Thus, the SEC order finds that Borgers and the firm named after himself engaged in improper professional conduct and violated, and caused violations of, the antifraud, recordkeeping, and other provisions of the federal securities laws.

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings as to each of them, BF Borgers and Benjamin Borgers both consented to an order, effective immediately, which bars him from appearing or practicing before the SEC as an accountant.

To settle the SEC’s charges, BF Borgers agreed to pay a $12 million civil penalty, and Benjamin Borgers agreed to pay a $2 million civil penalty. Both Respondents also agreed to permanent suspensions from appearing and practicing before the Commission as accountants, effective immediately.

Earlier:

*the name thing is a joke from this.

5 thoughts on “The SEC Just Charged Trump Media’s Spelling-Challenged Auditor with “Massive Fraud”

    1. I apologize to KPMG. That was mean.

      But seriously, I think every single member of the accounting profession should be outraged by BF Borgers. That firm’s actions undermine our entire profession. They are the stereotype of the “drive through audit”. Give us money and we’ll give you an unqualified opinion. I hope BF Borgers is shut down forever (sounds like it will be) and Benjamin Borgers has his day in criminal court.

  1. I read the SEC’s 15-page AAER 4500. I looked at Borger’s 2023 year form APs. Borger’s filed 122 2023 forms AP. If BF Borger had 1500 chargeable 2023 hours, that’s 12.4 hours per audit. The PCAOB should have been all over this firm years ago.
    I am not outraged. Borger’s “opinions” were on obscure companies with miniscule market caps. If they were a few billion dollars in total, so what? In an SEC registrant universe of say $64 trillion in MC, we’re talking about 1 / 32,000 or so of the total. Who knows how much accounting garbage is in the financials of say: Citicorp, Wells Fargo and other big banks?
    Look at the Fed with its $133 billion of deferred losses and trillion difference between the fair value of its assets and their book value. Shades of Enron accounting on a larger scale.
    All said, BF Borger’s good bye and good riddance.

  2. This is such a shame but not a shock. The shame is now all auditors, even good ones, will now be associated with this. However, not a shock because anyone that works in and around the space BF was in, knew the firm was doing sub-par audits, if they were doing audits at all. I’m not sure anyone knew just how bad it was but I don’t think many people in the space were surprised. The firm got a reputation of taking and signing off on anything as long as you paid. There are 2-3 other firms I could easily think might be doing something similar. They all have the same attributes, fast audits/reviews, not earning a pass rating during their private peer reviews, and financials that are clearly not accurate or adequately reviewed. Will be interesting if the SEC starts to pay a little more attention.

  3. Ben Borgers is, plain and simple, a very bad guy. It was clear to those who had lost clients to him that they were not doing proper audits. While a huge o teary penalty, it shows how much he must have pocketed over the years. How did the PCAOB not catch this?

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