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by Mike Caswell
Brian Beatty, an Ontario man charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as part of the SAExploration Holdings Inc. accounting scheme, has agreed to a permanent ban to settle the case. The SEC claimed that Mr. Beatty was part of a fraud that resulted in SAExploration reporting $100-million in revenue that did not exist. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) Mr. Beatty, who founded SAExploration in 2006, was the company's chief executive officer in the early part of the scheme.
The ban for Mr. Beatty is contained in a proposed judgment filed on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, in federal court in New York. The judgment permanently bans Mr. Beatty from serving as an officer or director. He also must pay $261,703 to the SEC and $441,995 to SAExploration. The penalties, which still require approval by the judge, represent a negotiated settlement in which Mr. Beatty has not admitted any wrongdoing.
Tuesday's settlement comes with the scheme's mastermind, Kelowna-Alaska resident Jeffrey Hastings, serving three years in a U.S. prison for the fraud. Mr. Hastings, who succeeded Mr. Beatty as SAExploration's CEO, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. After entering the plea, he sought to avoid jail, claiming that his crime arose from an honest effort to save the company from bankruptcy. Prosecutors disagreed, and sought a "significant" jail term, saying that Mr. Hastings devised a way to extract millions from SAExploration, using multiple shell companies and backdated contracts.
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