United States v. Weiner

578 F.2d 757 (1978)

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United States v. Weiner

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
578 F.2d 757 (1978)

Facts

Weiner, Lichtig, and Block (accountants) (defendants) were accountants involving in auditing Equity Funding Corporations of America (Equity). Weiner was in charge of the Equity audits for 12 years; Lichtig supervised the field work for five audits and then signed registration statements as Equity’s principal accounting officer; and Block replaced Lichtig as the field-audit supervisor and supervised four Equity audits. Equity sought to increase its stock value by publishing false financial statements that overstated the company’s income and claimed fictitious assets. The accountants were charged with securities fraud and willfully making false statements to the SEC and New York and Pacific Coast Stock Exchanges. Witnesses testified at trial that audit manuals were not prepared, there were no checks on internal controls, and standards for confirming accounts were not followed. The jury was instructed that in determining whether the accountants acted willfully and knowingly, it could consider whether the accountants followed or deviated from generally accepted accounting standards (GAAS) or generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), and whether the accountants acted in reckless, deliberate indifference to or disregard for truth or falsity. The accountants were convicted and argued on appeal that the district court’s instructions regarding intent were erroneous.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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