U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Litigation Release No. 21848 / February 10, 2011
Securities and Exchange Commission v. David E. Watson, et al., Civ. No. 08-cv-00677-CV-W-GAF (W.D. Missouri).
COURT ENTERS FINAL JUDGMENT AGAINST FORMER EXECUTIVE OF AMERICAN ITALIAN PASTA COMPANY DAVID E. WATSON PURSUANT TO SETTLEMENT
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri entered a Final Judgment on January 28, 2011, in a civil action against David E. Watson, a former executive vice president of American Italian Pasta Co. (“AIPC”), a Kansas City, MO based producer and marketer of dry pasta in North America. Watson, without admitting or denying the Commission’s allegations, consented to the entry of a Final Judgment that enjoins him from violations of Sections 10(b) and 13(b)(5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Rules 10b-5, 13b2-1, and 13b2-2 thereunder, and aiding and abetting violations of Sections 13(a) and 13(b)(2)(A) of the Exchange Act and Rules 12b-20, 13a-1, 13a-11, and 13a-13 thereunder; finds him liable for disgorgement of $397,113, plus prejudgment interest in the amount of $189,464; orders him to pay a civil penalty of $75,000; and prohibits him from acting as an officer or director of a public company for 5 years.
According to the SEC’s amended complaint in this matter, from AIPC’s fiscal year 2002 through the second quarter of fiscal year 2004, Watson and others at AIPC engaged in a fraudulent scheme to mislead the investing public regarding the growth of AIPC’s earnings and increase its stock price. The amended complaint alleged that AIPC fraudulently overstated its pre-tax net income, which caused its earnings per share to be overstated by approximately 23 percent in fiscal year 2002, 41 percent in fiscal year 2003, 59 percent in the first quarter of fiscal year 2004, and 8 percent in the second quarter of fiscal year 2004.