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SEC settles with SAExploration for accounting fraud

2020-12-18 20:36 ET - Street Wire

Also Street Wire (U-SAEX) SAExploration Holdings Inc

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by Mike Caswell

Seismic data provider SAExploration Holdings Inc. has reached a deal to settle charges the company faces from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over a $100-million accounting fraud. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) The SEC said that the company misled investors by recognizing non-existent revenue in 2015 and 2016. The SEC further accused SAExploration's mostly-Canadian management of pocketing $6-million of the company's money for themselves.

The settlement with SAExploration is contained in a judgment handed down on Thursday, Dec. 17, in federal court in New York. Without admitting any wrongdoing, the company has agreed to injunctions barring future violations. There is no fine or other financial penalty for the company (and the prospects of collecting any fine would have been dubious, with the company having entered bankruptcy protection on Aug. 27, 2020).

While the SEC did not seek a fine for SAExploration, the regulator is still pursuing the company's former management members. The mostly Canadian group includes chief executive officer Jeffrey Hastings, 62, of Kelowna and Anchorage, as well as Michael J. Scott, 62, of Alberta, and Brian A. Beatty, 58, of Ontario. The SEC is seeking penalties for the group that include fines and bans.

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