U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 19026 / January 7, 2005
Accounting and Auditing Enforcement
Release No. 2164 / January 7, 2005
SEC v. Douglas A. Murphy, David G. Kay and Lawrence H. Theriot, Civil Action No. H-02-2908 (S.D. Texas)
LAWRENCE H. THERIOT CONSENTS TO PERMANENT INJUNCTION AND PAYMENT OF CIVIL PENALTY FOR AIDING AND ABETTING VIOLATIONS OF THE FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that on December 30, the Honorable Lynn N. Hughes, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Texas, entered a Final Judgment permanently enjoining Lawrence H. Theriot from violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and ordering him to pay an $11,000 civil penalty. Theriot, a resident of Reston, Virginia, was a consultant of American Rice, Inc. Theriot consented to entry of the Final Judgment without admitting or denying the allegations of the Commission's Complaint.
In its Complaint, filed on July 30, 2002, the Commission alleged that Theriot aided and abetted a bribery scheme in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). From approximately January 1998 to August 1999, an American Rice vice president authorized a series of bribery payments to Haitian customs officials in order to reduce American Rice's import taxes illegally. As part of the scheme, American Rice made at least 12 separate bribery payments to Haitian customs officials, totaling approximately $500,000. In exchange, Haitian customs officials permitted American Rice to illegally avoid approximately $1.5 million in Haitian import taxes. American Rice was a public company based in Texas at the time of the bribery payments. The reduced taxes assisted American Rice to obtain or retain its business of selling rice at competitive prices to Haitian rice merchants and consumers. American Rice employees and agents carried out the bribery scheme in violation of the anti-bribery, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the FCPA. Theriot, a consultant hired by American Rice, provided substantial assistance to American Rice officers and employees in implementing and monitoring the bribery scheme.
The Commission's action against the other two defendants, Douglas A. Murphy and David G. Kay, is still pending in the Southern District of Texas.