U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 19853 / September 29, 2006
Accounting and Auditing Enforcement
Release No. 2490 / September 29, 2006
Securities and Exchange Commission v. William S. DeLoach, Maria M. Garcia and Rosario F. Licata, (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Civil Action No. 06-22329-CIV-GOLD filed September 29, 2006)
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the filing of a settled civil injunctive action against William S. DeLoach, Maria M. Garcia, and Rosario F. Licata, three former employees of The PBSJ Corp., an employee-owned engineering, planning and architectural firm based in Miami, Florida. The Commission's complaint alleges that DeLoach, PBSJ's former Chief Financial Officer, and Garcia and Licata, two former employees in PBSJ's accounting department, stole more than $35 million from the company. As a result of the defendants' embezzlement scheme, PBSJ filed materially false quarterly and annual reports with the Commission.
According to the SEC's complaint, from approximately 1992 until March 2005, DeLoach, of Aventura, Florida, Garcia of Hialeah, Florida and Licata of Davie, Florida, stole tens of millions of dollars by writing checks for their benefit directly from the company's master cash disbursement account and by diverting funds from PBSJ's medical benefits account to two secret bank accounts that DeLoach controlled. The complaint alleges that the defendants concealed their theft by failing to include the fraudulent checks in the company's accounting journals, preparing phony bank reconciliations and recording false and unsupported journal entries on PBSJ's books and records. Following the company's discovery of the fraudulent scheme in March 2005, the defendants resigned their respective positions and confessed to the theft.
Upon the filing of the Commission's complaint, and without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, DeLoach, Garcia and Licata consented to the entry of a final judgment permanently enjoining them from violating Sections 10(b) and 13(b)(5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") and Rules 10b-5 and 13b2-1 thereunder, and aiding and abetting PBSJ's violations of Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A), and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Exchange Act and Rules 12b-20, 13a-1, 13a-11 and 13a-13 thereunder. DeLoach also consented to the entry of a final judgment permanently enjoining him from violating Rules 13b2-2 and 13a-14 under the Exchange Act and agreed to be barred from acting as an officer or director of a publicly-traded company. The Court will determine at a later date whether it is appropriate to order disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and civil penalties against the defendants.
The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida conducted a parallel investigation of this matter. Simultaneous with the SEC's announcement of this action, the United States Attorney's Office announced the filing of charges against DeLoach, Garcia, and Licata. Defendants have pleaded guilty to criminal mail and wire fraud charges.
The staff's investigation is continuing.