SEC Charges Former Texas City Official for Falsifying City's Financial Documents

Litigation Release No. 25426 / June 16, 2022

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Anthony Michael Holland, No. 1:22-cv-00590 (W.D. Tex. Filed 6/16/2022)

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged former City of Johnson City, Texas chief administrative officer and city secretary, Anthony Michael Holland, with securities fraud for creating and causing to be distributed falsified financial statements and a falsified audit report for the city's 2016 fiscal year.

According to the SEC's complaint, Holland created the falsified documents to prevent discovery on his ongoing embezzlement of city funds. The complaint alleges that, between 2015 and 2020, Holland stole approximately $1 million from the city, including $107,137 during the 2016 fiscal year. The complaint further alleges that, to hide his theft, Holland initially delayed the annual independent audit of the City's 2016 financial statements, and then, in approximately August 2018, falsified the 2016 documents by changing dates on the city's 2015 financial statements and audit report. According to the complaint, Holland then provided the falsified documents to the city's mayor and municipal advisor, knowing that the material would be posted to the city's public website and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board's Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) system and made available to investors. During the time the falsified documents were available to investors on EMMA, investors engaged in secondary trading in the city's outstanding municipal bonds.

The SEC's complaint, filed in the Western District of Texas, charges Holland with violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Without admitting or denying the SEC allegations, Holland has consented to the entry of a judgment enjoining him from future violations and from, among other things, participating in the preparation of certain material relating to municipal bond offerings. He agreed to pay disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties in amounts to be determined at a later date by the court.

In December 2021, Holland was criminally charged by the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas and pled guilty to one count of Theft from a State or Local Government and admitted to stealing over $1 million from the City for his personal benefit.

The SEC's investigation was conducted by Michael Adler and Creighton Papier of the Public Finance Abuse Unit under the supervision of Peter Diskin. The litigation will be conducted by William P. Hicks and M. Graham Loomis of the SEC's Atlanta Regional Office. The SEC acknowledges the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.