U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 23874 / July 5, 2017
Accounting and Auditing Release No. 3882 / July 5, 2017
SEC v. Ryan Petersen, No. 15-cv-04599 (N.D. Cal. filed Oct. 6, 2015)
SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against CEO Charged with Accounting Fraud and Other Accounting Failures
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it has obtained a final judgment against Ryan Petersen, the former chief executive officer of OCZ Technology Group Inc. whom the SEC charged with an accounting fraud at the now-bankrupt seller of computer memory storage and power supply devices.
The final judgment, entered by the Honorable Richard Seeborg, U.S. District Judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on June 30, 2017, permanently enjoins Petersen from violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Sections 10(b) and 13(b)(5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Exchange Act Rules 10b-5, 13a-14, 13b2-1, and 13b2-2, and aiding and abetting violations of Exchange Act Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B), and Exchange Act Rules 12b-20, 13a-1, 13a-11, and 13a-13. The judgment also bars Petersen from acting as an officer or director of a public company, and orders him to pay $121,600 in disgorgement and relief pursuant to Section 304(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, prejudgment interest on the disgorgement of $18,400, and a civil penalty in the amount of $100,000. Petersen consented to the final judgment.
The court's entry of the judgment against Petersen resolves this litigation in its entirety.
The SEC charged Petersen with engaging in a scheme to materially inflate OCZ's revenues and gross margins from 2010 to 2012. The agency separately charged OCZ's former chief financial officer, Arthur Knapp, with certain accounting, disclosure, and internal accounting controls failures at OCZ. Knapp agreed to settle the SEC's charges without admitting or denying the allegations against him and, on October 23, 2015, the SEC suspended Knapp from appearing or practicing before the SEC as an accountant, which includes not participating in the financial reporting or audits of public companies. On August 29, 2106, the SEC suspended Thomas Dulek, a California-based accountant, from appearing and practicing before the SEC as an accountant, which includes not participating in the financial reporting or audits of public companies, based on his violations of important auditing standards. The SEC's investigation found that Dulek conducted deficient audits of OCZ's financial statements for fiscal years 2011 and 2012.