Court Enters Final Judgment Against Board Chairman Charged with Lying to Auditors

Litigation Release No. 24174 / June 22, 2018

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Stephen Pence, Civil Action No. 15-cv-7077 (GBD-GWG) (S.D.N.Y.)

On June 19, 2018, a federal court entered a final judgment against Stephen B. Pence, the former chairman and majority shareholder of General Employment Enterprises (GEE), in a case alleging that he misled the company's auditors and investors by concealing his knowledge regarding $2.3 million in missing company cash and several related-party transactions.

The SEC's complaint, filed on September 9, 2015 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleged that Pence, who is a former U.S. Attorney and lieutenant governor of Kentucky, misled GEE's investors and auditors after the company discovered that substantially all of its cash - $2.3 million in all - was missing. As alleged in the complaint, Pence created the impression that he was acting independently as GEE's chairman, when he was in fact a figurehead working on behalf of convicted felon Wilbur Anthony Huff. According to the complaint, in July 2009, Huff caused GEE to transfer substantially all of its cash to a third party, as part of a criminal scheme masterminded by Huff and an accomplice. The SEC alleged that Pence subsequently misled GEE's auditors about the missing funds and related-party transactions, and that Pence signed the company's 2009 annual report despite knowing that it included false and misleading statements and omissions.

Without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations, Pence consented to the entry of a judgment permanently enjoining him from violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5 and 13b2-2 thereunder, ordering him to pay a $200,000 civil penalty, and permanently barring him from serving as an officer or director of a public company.

For further information, see Press Release 2015-184 (September 9, 2015).