Litigation Release No. 22150 / November 10, 2011
SEC v. Joseph S. Amundsen, Civil Action No. 83-cv-00711 (N.D. Cal)
SEC Seeks Contempt Finding Against Certified Public Accountant Joseph S. Amundsen
On November 9, 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a motion seeking to have Certified Public Accountant Joseph S. Amundsen held in civil contempt of court for violating the terms of an injunction barring him from appearing or practicing before the SEC in any way.
Amundsen was barred from appearing or practicing before the SEC in any way as the result of a 1983 SEC action alleging that Amundsen had provided materially false and misleading audit reports to Olympic Oil and Gas, which then included those reports its filings with the SEC. In settling the 1983 suit, Amundsen, without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, agreed to be permanently barred from appearing or practicing before the SEC. Amundsen also agreed at that time to be permanently enjoined from violating antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws.
According to the SEC’s contempt motion filed in federal court in San Francisco, Amundsen violated the terms of the injunction, whose entry he had consented to in February 1983, by repeatedly auditing the financial statements of broker-dealers that were registered with the SEC. Amundsen knew that those broker-dealers would then file those financial statements, including Amundsen’s audit report, with the SEC under Securities Exchange Act Rule 17a-5. The SEC’s motion asserts that Amundsen’s audits of broker-dealers violated the terms of the injunction because performing such audits constitutes practicing before the SEC as an accountant.
The SEC’s motion seeks an order finding that Amundsen has contemptuously violated the 1983 injunction, requiring him to disgorge all ill-gotten gains from violating the injunction, and imposing other equitable relief. The injunction barring Amundsen from appearing or practicing before the Commission in any way remains in effect.