World Acceptance Corporation, a small-loan consumer finance company, announced it has recorded an aggregate accrual of $21.7 million to resolve a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
As previously disclosed, the company said it retained outside legal counsel and forensic accountants after receiving an anonymous letter “to conduct an investigation of our operations in Mexico.” The letter was immediately forwarded to the audit committee of the board of directors, and the company promptly commenced its investigation under the oversight of the audit committee.
In a 2017 regulatory filing, the company said the internal investigation addressed “whether and to what extent improper payments, which may violate the FCPA and other local laws, were made approximately between 2010 and 2017 by or on behalf of WAC de México SOFOM, a subsidiary of the company, to government officials in Mexico relating to loans made to unionized employees.”
World Acceptance said it voluntarily contacted SEC staff and the Department of Justice in June 2017 “to advise both agencies that an investigation was underway.” The company said it has been cooperating fully with these agencies.
On Thursday, the company announced it was in “ongoing discussions with the SEC regarding the possible resolution of these matters. The discussions with the SEC have progressed to a point that the company can now reasonably estimate a probable loss and has recorded an aggregate accrual of $21.7 million with respect to the SEC matters.”
“As the discussions with the SEC are continuing, there can be no assurance that the company’s efforts to reach a final resolution with the SEC will be successful or, if they are, what the timing or terms of such resolution will be,” the regulatory filing stated. “The company has no offer of settlement or resolution with the Department of Justice at this time.”