Ex-Beazer Homes Finance Chief James O’Leary Settles SEC Lawsuit Over Bonus

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission settled a suit with Beazer Homes USA Inc. (BZH)’s former finance chief over stock-sale bonuses he got while the homebuilder’s accounting statements were out of compliance with federal law.

James O’Leary, the ex-CFO, must reimburse the company more than $1.4 million that he received after Beazer filed fraudulent financial results for fiscal 2006, the SEC said today in a statement. The agency accused the Atlanta-based homebuilder of falsifying reports to overstate income.

“The CFO got incentive compensation and profits at a time when the company was putting out inaccurate numbers, and pursuant to the settlement he returns the incentive compensation,” Bill Hicks, an SEC lawyer in Atlanta, said in a phone interview.

The SEC filed a single-count complaint against O’Leary in Atlanta federal court alleging failure to reimburse, according to the statement. O’Leary isn’t accused of misconduct and didn’t admit or deny liability, the SEC said. A federal judge must approve the settlement.

Larry Iason, a lawyer for O’Leary, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

In March, former Beazer Chief Executive Officer Ian McCarthy agreed to return $6.5 million in compensation.

Michael Rand, Beazer’s chief accounting officer at the time of the targeted reports, was indicted last year on charges of securities fraud and obstruction of justice.

The case is SEC v. O’Leary, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta).

-- With assistance from Jef Feeley in Wilmington, Delaware. Editors: Andrew Dunn, Mary Romano

To contact the reporters on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at jrosenblatt@bloomberg.net; Laurence Viele Davidson in Atlanta at lviele@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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