Litigation Release No. 22220 / January 4, 2012
Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Release No. 3352 / January 4, 2012
Securities and Exchange Commission v. JBI, Inc., John Bordynuik and Ronald Baldwin, Jr., Civil Action No. 1:12-cv-10012, United States District Court, District of Massachusetts
SEC CHARGES COMPANY AND ITS OFFICERS WITH ACCOUNTING FRAUD
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it filed an action in federal court in Massachusetts against JBI, Inc., a publicly-traded company formerly located in Massachusetts and now headquartered in Ontario, Canada. The Commission also charged JBI’s current CEO, John Bordynuik, a resident of Ontario, Canada, and its former CFO, Ronald Baldwin, Jr, a resident of Palm Harbor, Florida. The action alleges that the defendants engaged in a scheme to commit securities and accounting fraud by reporting materially false and inaccurate financial information on the financial statements of JBI, Inc. for two reporting periods during 2009.
According to the Commission’s complaint, JBI is purportedly a technology company focused on data restoration and recovery and environmentally engineered product development. The company is headquartered in Canada, but purportedly has operations in New York, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The complaint alleges that JBI is purportedly also involved in the research and development of a process designed to convert plastic waste into oil, known as “Plastic2Oil” or “P2O”. The Commission alleges that during the third quarter of 2009 and the year end 2009, JBI materially overstated certain assets in an effort to bolster its balance sheet and success in two private capital raising efforts (Private Investment in Public Equity or PIPES) geared toward raising the capital necessary to begin commercial operation and production of P2O. The Complaint alleges that JBI raised over $8.4 million for the company in these PIPES just before the company issued a public statement indicating its financial statements could no longer be relied upon, in part, due to the erroneous valuation of certain assets, known as media credits, on the balance sheet.
The Commission alleges that in contravention of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”), the company erroneously booked the media credits at a value of $9.997 million, thereby becoming the single largest asset on the company’s balance sheet, when they should have been initially booked at a value of $1,000,000 when acquired in August 2009, and subsequently, the media credits should have been remeasured at their current value and written down to zero as of the end of the company’s third fiscal quarter on September 30, 2009. According to the complaint, Bordynuik was aware of, or was reckless in not being aware of, GAAP concerns surrounding the reported value of the media credits in advance of the company’s third quarter 2009 Form 10-Q filing with the Commission on November 16, 2009 and the year end 2009 Form 10-K filing with the Commission on March 31, 2010 yet falsely certified that the company’s financial statements for those reporting periods were filed in conformity with GAAP. The Commission complaint further alleges that Baldwin was aware of, or was reckless in not being aware of, GAAP concerns surrounding the reported value of the media credits in advance of the company’s year-end 2009 10-K filing on March 31, 2010, yet falsely certified that the company’s financial statements for that period were filed in conformity with GAAP.
The Commission’s complaint charges JBI, Inc. with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) and Sections 10(b), 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A), 13(b)(2)(B) and 13(b)(5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Rules 10b-5, 12b-20, 13a-1, 13a-11 and 13a-13 thereunder. The complaint alleges that Bordynuik violated Sections 17(a) of the Securities Act, Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5, and Section 13(b)(5) of the Exchange Act. In addition, the Commission’s complaint alleges that Baldwin violated Sections 17(a) of the Securities Act, Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5, and Section 13(b)(5). Finally, the complaint alleges that Bordynuik and Baldwin violated directly or aided and abetted JBI’s violations of Sections 10(b), 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Exchange Act and Rules 10b-5, 12b-20, 13a-1, 13a-11 (Bordynuik only), 13a-14, 13b2-1 and 13b2-2 (Bordynuik only). In its complaint, the Commission seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, and civil penalties against all three defendants, and officer and director bars against Bordynuik and Baldwin.