Ex-Beazer Homes CFO giving back $1.4M in SEC deal

AP News
Posted: Aug 30, 2011 7:05 PM
Ex-Beazer Homes CFO giving back $1.4M in SEC deal

The former chief financial officer of a major U.S. home builder accused of committing accounting fraud five years ago is giving back roughly $1.4 million in bonuses and stock profits.

James O'Leary, the former CFO of Beazer Homes USA Inc., agreed to return the money to the company in a deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Tuesday. He admitted no wrongdoing.

O'Leary wasn't charged in connection with the accounting violations. But an anti-fraud law enacted in 2002 requires senior executives to repay bonuses, other incentive pay and stock profits received during a period in which their company violated financial reporting rules. The SEC is empowered to recoup the money for the company.

In March, Beazer's then-CEO Ian McCarthy agreed to give back about $6.5 million.

Beazer Homes USA Inc., based in Atlanta, is one of the largest U.S. home builders. It settled civil accounting-fraud charges with the SEC in September 2008. Federal prosecutors filed criminal fraud conspiracy charges against the company in July 2009. In a deferred prosecution agreement, Beazer accepted responsibility for fraudulent mortgage-making and accounting practices, and agreed to pay up to $50 million in restitution.

The SEC accused Beazer of inflating profits five years ago by falsely recording home-financing transactions and manipulating other results.

Beazer got out of the mortgage business in February 2008.

The SEC filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday against O'Leary in federal court in Atlanta. O'Leary is repaying about $1 million he received in cash bonuses and approximately $400,000 from stock sales.

O'Leary, who is a certified public accountant, was Beazer's chief financial officer from August 2003 to March 2007. His attorney did not immediately return calls Tuesday.