Five Ex-Brooke Executive Settle SEC Fraud Charges Accusing Them of Concealing Financial Firm’s Deteriorating Finances

Five of the six former Brooke executives accused of securities fraud have settled the charges filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the SEC, the defendants misrepresented the deteriorating financial condition of Brooke, which eventually filed for bankruptcy. The agency says they employed “virtually any means necessary” to hide Brooke’s financial state, which included liquidity crises that occurred almost every week. The SEC also contends that Aleritas’s loan losses, which was in the hundreds of millions of dollars, caused a number of regional banks to fail.

Among those that settled are brother Robert and Leland Orr. Robert formerly served as Brooke Corp. chairman, while Leland was chief executive. The other three who settled were former Aleritas executives Michael S. Lowry and Michael S. Hess and former Brooke Capital and Brooke Corp. CFO Travis W. Vrbas. A sixth executive, former Brooke executive Kyle Garst, is contesting the securities fraud allegations.

By agreeing to settle the ex-Brooke executives are not admitting to or denying the allegations. The Orr brothers have consented to disgorge profit and pay fines, but the court has yet to determine the figures. Lowry has agreed to $214,500 in disgorgement, $24,004 in prejudgment interest, and a $175,000 penalty. Hess is to pay a $250,000 penalty. Vrbas has consented to a $130,000 penalty.

The SEC has also accused two Brooke affiliates, insurance agency franchisor Brooke Capital Corp. and lender Aleritas Capital Corp., of securities fraud. The fallout from the alleged fraud has had a “devastating” effect on the livelihood of “hundreds of insurance franchisees.”

Related Web Resources:
Five former Brooke execs settle SEC fraud charges, Reuters, May 4, 2011
Financial Firm Execs Misled Investors, 
SEC Contends; Five of Six Settle Charges, BNA Securities Law Daily, May 5, 2011

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