Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had filed a civil injunctive action against an Atlanta, Georgia-based municipal advisor and its principal. The defendants are accused of defrauding the City of Rolling Fork, Mississippi and failing to disclose certain related-party payments in connect with a municipal bond offering.
In the complaint filed, the SEC alleges that Malachi Financial Products Inc. and its principal, Porter B. Bingham of Roswell, Georgia fraudulently overcharged the city for municipal advisory services in relation to an October 2015 municipal bond offering. Malachi Financial Products is registered as a municipal advisor with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board and the SEC.
The complaint explains that Malachi and Bingham submitted two invoices to the bond trustee for payment after the offering closed. The SEC believes that one of the invoices was fraudulent, since it was submitted for services that the defendants did not perform and the city never authorized. The complaint also alleges that Bingham failed to disclose that he had accepted payments totally $2,500 from Anthony Stovall, who was an employee of a municipal underwriter shortly before the defendants recommended that the city hire Stovall’s firm to underwrite the bond offering.
The complaint explains that the city ultimately hired the firm based on the recommendations from Malachi and Bingham. Finally, the SEC complaint alleges that the defendants violated their fiduciary duty to the city. Additional details have been made available here.