A sports supplement and nutrition company has been charged with failing to report compensation paid to executives, including cars, golf club memberships, clothing and meals given to the firm’s CEO in lieu of pay, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Tuesday.
MusclePharm Corporation in Denver, three former or current executives and the former chairman of the audit committee have agreed to settlements without admitting or denying guilt, according to the SEC. The four people and the firm were involved in various aspects of the disclosure violations, the SEC says.
MusclePharm omitted or understated nearly $500,000 worth of perks given to its executives, including about $244,000 paid to CEO Brad Pyatt, the SEC says. Even after the company began an internal review of undisclosed executive perks and then-audit committee chair Donald Prosser became directly involved in the process, MusclePharm continued filing financial statements that failed to disclose that private jets, vehicles and golf club memberships were provided for its executives, the SEC says.
“Executive compensation is material information for investors, and companies must ensure that perks it pays for executives are properly recorded and disclosed in public filings,” says Andrew J. Ceresney, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
Also charged were former chief financial officers L. Gary Davis and Lawrence Meer.
The firm and the individuals failed to disclose personal bankruptcies, overstated the company revenues, failed to report $100,000 for an aircraft lease and failed to implement internal accounting controls, the SEC complaint says.
The SEC also says MusclePharm issued stock without a registration statement when it entered into numerous transactions with third parties that agreed to pay MusclePharm vendors in exchange for shares.
MusclePharm agreed to pay a $700,000 penalty and hire an independent monitor for one year. Pyatt agreed to pay a $150,000 penalty and Prosser and Davis each agreed to pay $30,000 penalties. Meer and Davis agreed to be suspended from practicing as accountants on behalf of any SEC-regulated entities for three and two years, respectively.