Former Beazer Homes executive indicted
Atlanta Business Chronicle
A former chief accounting officer for Beazer Homes USA Inc. was charged in a 11-count federal indictment with conspiracy, securities fraud, obstruction, witness tampering, false statements to a financial institution, misleading conduct, and destruction of records.
Michael T. Rand, 48, of Alpharetta, appeared Aug. 24 before a U.S. magistrate judge in U.S. District Court in Asheville, N.C., and was ordeed detained pending a detention hearing.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the charges arise from an ongoing government investigation involving Atlanta-based Beazer (NYSE: BZH) and its employees. In July 2009, a federal bill of information was filed in U.S. District Court charging Beazer with, among other things, participation in the conspiracy and securities fraud with Rand. Beazer accepted responsibility for those charges and, in a deferred prosecution agreement, agreed to pay restitution over time up to $50,000,000.
According to the indictment, Rand is alleged to have directed an accounting fraud conspiracy to manipulate Beazers books and records, to deceive Beazers auditors, and to achieve earnings targets, and to boost or lower earnings at Beazer. The conspiracy is alleged to have gone on from at least in or about 2000 through in or about 2007.
The indictment alleges that Rand and others executed the conspiracy in two main ways: First, between 2005 and 2006, it is alleged, Rand entered into a hidden oral side agreement with another company through one of its employees, which was designed to allow Beazer to obtain cash and recognize revenue from purported sales of model homes.
This activity was, according to the allegations, in direct contravention of the accounting rules as interpreted by Beazers auditors, and, as alleged, was hidden from Beazers auditors. Second, between 2000 and 2007, the indictment further alleges, Rand directed and agreed with others to engage in a scheme to commit securities fraud and create false books and records at Beazer by practicing a form of what is commonly known as cookie jar accounting, which allowed Rand and others to manipulate Beazers publicly reported financial statements.