RPM International Charged with Disclosure and Accounting Failures

RPM International Inc. On September 9, 2016 the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) charged Ohio-based chemical company RPM International Inc. and its General Counsel, Edward Moore, with failing to disclose a material loss contingency, or record an accrual for, a government investigation when required to do so under governing accounting principles and securities laws.

The SEC alleges that, from 2011 through 2013, RPM and one of its subsidiaries were under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for overcharging the government on certain contracts. Moore, RPM’s General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, oversaw RPM’s response to the DOJ investigation. According to the SEC’s complaint, however, Moore did not inform RPM’s CEO, CFO, Audit Committee, and independent auditors, of material facts about the investigation. For example, Moore knew but failed to inform them that: RPM sent DOJ estimates showing RPM’s subsidiary overcharged the government on the contracts under investigation by a material amount; RPM agreed to submit a settlement offer by a specific date to resolve the DOJ investigation; and, prior to submitting the settlement offer to DOJ, RPM’s overcharge estimates increased substantially to at least $28 million.

As a result of Moore’s conduct, the SEC alleges that RPM filed multiple false and misleading documents with the SEC. For example, among other things, RPM failed to disclose in its filings with the SEC any loss contingency related to the DOJ investigation, or to record an accrual on its books, when required to do so by governing accounting principles and the securities laws. The company also failed to disclose in its SEC filings a material weakness in its internal control over financial reporting and its disclosure controls when in fact such weakness existed. Consequently, the company did not provide investors with accurate information about its financial condition. In August 2014, RPM restated its financial results for three quarters that occurred during the DOJ investigation and filed amended SEC filings for those quarters, disclosing the DOJ investigation and related accruals. In the restated filings, the company also disclosed errors relating to the timing of its disclosure and accrual for the DOJ investigation.

The SEC’s complaint charges RPM with violating antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, Sections 17(a)(2) and (a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933; the reporting provisions of the federal securities laws, Section 13(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 12b-20, 13a-1, 13a-11, and 13a-13 thereunder; and the books and records and internal controls provisions of the federal securities laws, Sections 13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Exchange Act. The complaint also charges Moore with violating Sections 17(a)(2) and (a)(3) of the Securities Act and Rules 13b2-1 and 13b2-2 under the Exchange Act. The complaint seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest, and penalties.

For further information about this securities law blog post, please contact Brenda Hamilton, Securities Attorney at 101 Plaza Real S, Suite 202 N, Boca Raton, Florida, (561) 416-8956, by email at [email protected] or visit www.securitieslawyer101.com.   This securities law blog post is provided as a general informational service to clients and friends of Hamilton & Associates Law Group and should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal and compliance advice on any specific matter, nor does this message create an attorney-client relationship. Please note that the prior results discussed herein do not guarantee similar outcomes.

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