The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced financial fraud charges against four former SMF Energy Corp. officers, alleging that former CEO Richard E. Gathright, former chief financial officer Michael S. Shore, former chief accounting officer Laura P. Messenbaugh, and former senior vice president of sales and investor relations officer Robert W. Beard vastly inflated SMF’s revenues through a fraudulent billing scheme.
The SEC’s action, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleges that SMF overbilled certain mobile fueling customers, including the U.S. Postal Service, by charging for fuel that was not delivered and adding surcharges that the customers’ contracts did not permit. As a result, the SEC alleges that Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based SMF materially overstated its revenues, profit margins, shareholders’ equity and net income, and understated its liabilities in its annual reports for fiscal years 2010 and 2011, its quarterly reports in its fiscal year 2011 and the first half of fiscal year 2012, and other reports filed on Form 8-K over the same time period.
SMF Energy filed for bankruptcy after the fraud scheme was revealed in 2012.