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Auditor Charged for Multiple Audit Failures

Sept. 22, 2022

File No. 3-21139

September 22, 2022 - The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the institution of cease-and-desist and administrative proceedings against a New Jersey-based CPA for alleged willful violations of the federal securities laws and alleged multiple failures in auditing the financial statements of two clients, which had made filings under Regulation A with the Commission.

According to the SEC's order, the Enforcement Division and the Office of the Chief Accountant (OCA) allege that Ira S. Viener audited Punch TV Studios Inc.'s financial statements for fiscal years 2015 through 2019, and the financial statements for fiscal year 2018 for another commonly controlled company (Company A). The Order alleges that all of the audit reports falsely stated that the audits had been conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS) when, in fact, they had not. The Enforcement Division and OCA allege that Viener failed to adhere to GAAS in his audits because he failed to satisfy the Commission's independence standards by preparing the very financial statements he later audited for Punch TV, for fiscal years 2017-2019, and for Company A. The Enforcement Division and OCA also allege that Viener engaged in improper professional conduct in all of his audits by failing to comply with GAAS, including by failing to properly plan the audit, failing to prepare adequate documentation, failing to obtain written representations from management, failing to review the filings containing his audit reports, failing to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence and failing to exercise due professional care and professional skepticism. The administrative proceeding against Viener 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.

The SEC previously filed a subpoena enforcement action against Viener seeking an order directing him to comply with investigative subpoenas for documents and testimony.

The investigation was conducted by Lucee Kirka and Carol Kim and supervised by Robert Conrrad. The Enforcement Division's litigation will be conducted by Charles Canter and Daniel Blau and supervised by Gary Leung.

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