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Former Faro Salesman Settles With SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a settled enforcement action Friday against Oscar H. Meza, the former sales director in Asia for Faro Technologies, Inc. Florida-based Faro designs, develops, and markets software and portable computerized measurement devices. The SEC’s civil complaint alleged that Meza “authorized bribery payments to employees of Chinese state-owned companies in order to obtain contracts, and that in order to conceal the bribes Meza instructed that account entries be altered.”

He was charged with violating the FCPA’s antibribery provisions (Section 30A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 [15 U.S.C. §78dd-1]), the books and records and internal control provisions (Section 13(b)(5) ofthe Exchange Act and Exchange Act Rule 13b21 [15 U.S.C. § 78m(b)(5) and 17 C.F.R. § 240.13b2-1]), and with aiding and abetting Faro’s violations of the anti-bribery, books and records, and internal controls provisions.

The SEC’s complaint alleged that beginning in 2004, Meza authorized a former employee of Faro’s China subsidiary to make the improper payments. Faro China paid $444,492 in bribes from 2004 through 2006, generating about $4.5 million in sales and $1.4 million in net profit.

Meza will pay a $30,000 civil penalty and $26,707 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest. He’s also permanently enjoined from future FCPA violations

In June 2008, his employer Faro resolved FCPA charges with the Justice Department and the SEC. The DOJ settlement required the company to pay a $1.1 million criminal penalty and enter into a two-year non-prosecution agreement that included appointment of a compliance monitor. In settling with the SEC, Faro paid about $1.85 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest. It self-reported the violations in China to U.S. authorities in March 2006. See our post here.

View the SEC’s Litigation Release No. 21190 and Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Release No. 3041 (both dated August 28, 2009) here.

Download a copy of the SEC’s complaint in SEC v. Oscar H. Meza, Civil Action No. 1:09-CV-01648 (D.D.C.) (Filed August 28, 2009) here.

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