FORMER CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER PLEADS GUILTY TO FALSIFYING ACCOUNTING RECORDS AND LYING TO ACCOUNTANTS
BARTHOLOMEW FRANK PALMISANO, JR., a/k/a Bart Palmisano, Jr., age 39, a resident of Metairie, Louisiana, pled guilty today in federal court before U. S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt to a two count bill of information charging him falsifying corporate books and records and lying to auditors and accountants of a publicly-traded company, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to court documents, from 1998 through 2001, PALMISANO was employed as the Chief Financial Officer of Orthodontic Centers of America, Inc. (OCA), a publicly-traded company formerly based in Metairie, Louisiana. During that time period, the defendant entered over a dozen accounting entries into the Company’s accounting system that increased the Company’s revenues while simultaneously increasing its assets.
According to the Factual Basis, in 2005, OCA employed an accounting firm to assist it in preparing certifications required to be filed with the SEC under federal law. An accountant working at this firm uncovered the accounting entries booked by the defendant from 1998 through 2001, found them to be suspicious in nature, and raised questions about the basis for those entries.
After learning accountants were reviewing and testing these suspicious transactions, PALMISANO covered up the entries by concocting a fictitious story to explain them and fabricating documents to support that story. Additionally, the defendant wrongfully accessed the Company’s accounting database and manipulated accounting entries to make it appear as if the original entries had been entered by a deceased employee and that they had been “reversed.”
PALMISANO faces a possible maximum penalty of twenty (20) years imprisonment, three (3) years supervised release, and a $5,000,000 fine as to each count. Sentencing has been scheduled for October 6, 2010, at 9:00 A.M.
The case was investigated by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Matt Chester and Eileen Gleason.
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