SEC Institutes Administrative Proceeding against Connecticut-Based Accountant and Her Firm
March 14, 2022
File No. 3-20794
March 14, 2022 - The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it has instituted an Administrative Proceeding against Barbara Halpern ("Halpern") and Halpern & Associates, LLC ("H&A") based on their improper professional conduct in the audits of a private equity fund for 2015 and 2016 audits completed in 2017 and 2018.
The SEC's Order alleges Halpern approved the issuance of audit reports for the private equity fund despite having strong indications that the fund's valuation of certain portfolio assets was speculative, based on inflated revenue projections, and used inconsistent inputs. The matter involving Halpern and H&A will be scheduled for a public hearing before the Commission, which will issue a decision stating whether the Enforcement Division has proven the allegations in the Order and what, if any, remedial actions are appropriate.
In 2015, following a four day hearing, Halpern was previously denied the privilege of appearing or practicing before the Commission as an accountant for one year for improperly staffing an audit and failing to obtain sufficient confirmation, thereby causing her client, a broker dealer, to file inaccurate audit reports. H&A was censured in that proceeding.
The current administrative proceeding seeks to bar Halpern and H&A from appearing or practicing before the Commission pursuant to Section 4C of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") and Rule 102(e)(1)(ii) of the Commission's Rules of Practice.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by Nandy Celamy, Rhonda L. Jung, Kim Han, and Sheldon Pollock of the New York Regional Office and supervised by Mr. Pollock and Lara Shalov Mehraban. The litigation will be led by Christopher Dunnigan and Ms. Jung.