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SEC charges Penn West Petroleum with accounting fraud

Jaclyn Jaeger | June 30, 2017

The Securities and Exchange Commission this week charged a Canadian-based oil and gas company and three of its former top finance executives for their roles in an extensive, multi-year accounting fraud.

The SEC complaint alleges that Penn West Petroleum (which has since been renamed Obsidian Energy) fraudulently moved hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses from operating expense accounts to capital expenditure accounts. This alleged fraudulent movement caused Penn West to artificially reduce its operating costs by as much as 20 percent in certain periods, which falsely improved reported metrics for oil extraction efficiency and profitability.

The SEC complaint states that the fraud was orchestrated by Penn West Petroleum’s former CFO Todd Takeyasu; former vice president of accounting and reporting, Jeffery Curran; and...

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