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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 20, 2018

Former CFO of Vancouver Business Management Company Indicted for Certifying False Financial Reports

False Entries Underreported $12 Million in Workers Compensation Payments

The former Chief Financial Officer of a Vancouver, Washington business management company was indicted yesterday in connection with his false certifications of the company’s periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  JAMES DOUGLAS MILLER, 54, of Washougal, Washington, served as the CFO of Barrett Business Services, Inc. (BBSI) from 2008 to 2016.  MILLER was fired in 2016 when he disclosed to the company that he had falsified entries in the company’s books to improperly report workers’ compensation expenses as payroll taxes and fees.  As a result of MILLER’S accounting improprieties, BBSI underreported approximately $12 million in workman’s compensation expenses in 2013.  At the same time as he falsified BBSI’s books and falsely certified the periodic reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, MILLER profited on BBSI stock, by exercising stock options worth 35,300 shares for $467,261 and selling it for more than $2.4 million.

MILLER is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Tacoma at 2:30 this afternoon.

According to records filed in the case, on four different occasions in 2013 and 2014, MILLER falsely certified periodic reports filed with the SEC.  MILLER’s certifications contained a number of false statements, including, among others, statements that BBSI’s periodic reports fairly presented, in all material respects, the results of BBSI’s operations, that BBSI had designed and maintained effective internal controls over its financial reporting to ensure that BBSI’s financial statements complied with generally accepted accounting principles, and that MILLER had reported any fraud, whether or not material, that involved management who had a significant role in BBSI’s internal control over financial reporting.  Contrary to his representations, MILLER knew that during each calendar quarter of 2013, he had circumvented BBSI’s internal controls and created a number of accounting entries that improperly classified workers’ compensation expenses as payroll and payroll tax expenses in violation of generally accepted accounting procedures.

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations.  A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today filed a civil complaint following their separate investigation.

Willful certification of a false periodic report is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000,000.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Justin Arnold and Francis Franze-Nakamura

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Public Affairs Officer Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.
Updated September 20, 2018