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Trump Media's auditor charged with 'massive fraud' by SEC

Geoff Weiss   

Trump Media's auditor charged with 'massive fraud' by SEC
  • Trump Media's auditor, BF Borgers, committed fraud in 1,500 filings, the SEC said.
  • The firm and its owner are set to pay $14 million in penalties and have been banned from accounting.

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday charged the accounting firm BF Borgers and its owner, Benjamin Borgers, with "massive fraud."

Borgers handled auditing for former President Donald Trump's media company, Trump Media & Technology Group, during which Borgers spelled his own name 14 different ways in filings.

"Trump Media looks forward to working with new auditing partners in accordance with today's SEC order," a TMTG spokesperson told Business Insider.

The SEC said the fraud affected "more than 1,500 SEC filings from January 2021 through June 2023" and included filings for more than 500 public companies.

The SEC says it reached a settlement with the firm. BF Borgers is set to pay a $12 million civil penalty, and Borgers himself is set to pay $2 million.

Both have been permanently suspended from practicing accounting with public companies, the SEC said.

"Borgers and his sham audit mill have been permanently shut down," Gurbir S. Grewal, the director of the SEC's division of enforcement, said in a statement. He said that the fraud had put investors and markets at risk.

The firm changed dates on work papers to suggest labor it hadn't actually done, the SEC said, and documented meetings that never occurred.

Bloomberg reported in April that the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board identified multiple deficiencies in every audit it had received from Borgers over the past two years.

In November, the firm was also removed from the peer-review program of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

BF Borgers did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BI.

Trump Media is the company behind Truth Social, Trump's Twitter clone, which launched after he was booted off social-media platforms following the January 6, 2021, riot.

Despite losing money and being cagey about how its user base compares with its social-media rivals', Trump Media is now valued at over $6.3 billion.

The meme stock's value has soared and plummeted since it went public, with investors trying to make quick cash selling shares off when they jump and Trump's fans boosting the price to cut out short positions.