Massive Fraud Charges Against Auditor and Owner of Trump Media’s Auditing Firm

Massive Fraud Charges Against Auditor and Owner of Trump Media’s Auditing Firm

The recent announcement by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed that the auditing firm for Trump Media and its owner were slammed with charges of “massive fraud.” The auditor, BF Borgers CPA, along with its owner Benjamin Borgers, agreed to a permanent suspension from practicing as accountants before the SEC. Additionally, they agreed to pay a hefty combined sum of $14 million in civil penalties. The SEC labeled BF Borgers as a “sham audit mill,” pointing out deliberate and systemic failures to comply with Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) standards in audits and reviews included in over 1,500 SEC filings from January 2021 through June 2023.

During the specified time frame, BF Borgers served as the auditor for Trump Media, a privately held company, transitioning towards a merger with the publicly traded Digital World Acquisition Corp. This merger came to fruition in late March 2024, enabling Trump Media to become a publicly traded entity under the DJT ticker. The SEC accused the Lakewood, Colorado-based BF Borgers and Benjamin Borgers of misleading clients by falsely asserting that their work complied with PCAOB standards. They were charged with fabricating audit documents to create an illusion of compliance and falsely stating in audit reports, included in over 500 public company SEC filings, that their audits met PCAOB standards.

Gurbir Grewal, the Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, expressed dismay over the situation, labelling it as one of the “largest wholesale failures by gatekeepers in our financial markets.” He highlighted the risks posed to investors and markets due to the incorporation of noncompliant audits and reviews in numerous filings with the Commission. Grewal emphasized the erosion of trust and confidence in the markets resulting from the fraudulent conduct of BF Borgers and Benjamin Borgers.

The SEC’s action has raised significant concerns regarding the accuracy of financial data in reports issued by entities audited by BF Borgers, including Trump Media, where former President Donald Trump holds a majority stake. These reports, which are regularly submitted to the SEC, play a crucial role in providing essential information for investors and analysts to evaluate publicly traded companies. The investor relations page on Trump Media’s website still identified BF Borgers as the independent auditor at the time of the SEC’s announcement. However, a spokesperson for Trump Media stated that they are looking forward to collaborating with new auditing partners as per the SEC’s order.

Following the news of the SEC charges, the share price of Trump Media, the owner of the Truth Social app, experienced a significant drop of 9% at the commencement of trading on Friday. The ongoing developments in this case warrant continued monitoring for updates.

The allegations brought forth by the SEC against BF Borgers and its owner underscore the critical importance of upholding ethical standards and regulatory compliance in the financial industry. The repercussions of fraudulent activities extend beyond monetary penalties, impacting investor trust, market stability, and the overall integrity of the financial system. It serves as a cautionary tale for accounting firms and professionals to prioritize transparency, accountability, and adherence to established regulations to maintain the credibility and reliability of financial information.

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