02 Oct

Medifast Cease and Desist Order and Civil Penalty

On September 18, 2013 a cease and desist order was filed pursuant to the Security and Exchange Commission’s investigation of Medifast Inc. (Medifast’s business includes Take Shape for Life, or TSFL, which is its multi-level marketing division.) Medifast materially overstated income and understated expenses from 2006 through 2009, according to the SEC. This has resulted in the cease and desist order, and has Medifast paying a $200,000 penalty to the government.

You may recall that Medifast sued several people (including me) in 2010 for criticizing their business model and business practices.

One of the issues in the lawsuit was the criticism of Medifast’s auditors, Bagell, Josephs, Levine, and Company.The criticism of the auditors was grounded in a 2008 PCAOB report on an inspection of six of BJL’s audits, which turned up audit deficiencies in three of them. In 2010 Medifast switched auditors. Read More

18 Sep

The Fun Continues in the Medifast Litigation

Lainie E. Cohen, Esq.

Lainie E. Cohen, Esq. arriving for my deposition (click to see full size)

UPDATE: On February 17, 2010, Medifast Inc. filed suit in US District Court, Southern District of California, alleging defamation, violation of California Corporations Code, and unfair business practices. On March 29, 2011, Judge Janis Sammartino dismissed all of Medifast’s claims against me in her ruling on my anti-SLAPP motion.

For nearly two years, Medifast (NYSE:MED) and its lawyers have known that I am not an appropriate target for a lawsuit. Nonetheless, they have pursued their malicious civil suit against me. Since the suit was filed, Medifast has been made aware of all the reasons why they shouldn’t be suing me:

  • I never said anything false about the company
  • I’m not aware of anything false that my co-defendants said, and which I later reprinted on this blog (and reprinting the writings of others does not make me responsible for those writings)
  • Every bit of evidence produced during discovery shows that I was not part of any conspiracy, and that I actually went out of my way to make sure that false statements or assumptions weren’t made or published about Medifast

But why let a little thing like the truth get in the way? Read More

20 Apr

Medifast Changes Auditors: Was Barry Minkow Right When He Criticized Former Auditors?

UPDATE: On February 17, 2010, Medifast Inc. filed suit in US District Court, Southern District of California, alleging defamation, violation of California Corporations Code, and unfair business practices. On March 29, 2011, Judge Janis Sammartino dismissed all of Medifast’s claims against me in her ruling on my anti-SLAPP motion.

Last week, Medifast Inc. (NYSE:MED) announced that it changed auditing firms. The company previously used Bagell, Josephs, Levine and Company, and they were criticized for the choice of auditors by Fraud Discovery Institute and Sam Antar. FDI’s criticism was summed up in a press release:

Expert’s letter sites possible stock-touting of Medifast (NYSE:MED) stock by company’s single-officed, New Jersey based, outside auditors through their alleged independent investment entity. Expert also notes that PCAOB cited Medifast auditors for significant deficiencies in three of six audit engagements reviewed by them, or 50% of audits in their sample.

Antar simply said that if Medifast was serious about the quality of its auditors, then it would find new ones. Read More

24 Jun

Conflict of Interest For Medifast Auditors?

UPDATE: On February 17, 2010, Medifast Inc. filed suit in US District Court, Southern District of California, alleging defamation, violation of California Corporations Code, and unfair business practices. On March 29, 2011, Judge Janis Sammartino dismissed all of Medifast’s claims against me in her ruling on my anti-SLAPP motion.

Last week Barry Minkow and Fraud Discovery Institute released a report regarding the independence of the auditors of Medifast Inc. (NYSE:MED). The company is audited by Bagell, Josephs, Levine & Company. The audit partner happens to also be a part of BJL Wealth Management, an investment firm with the same address as the audit firm.

This becomes interesting when you consider that BJL Wealth Mangement recommended the purchase of Medifast stock to an operative of FDI. Is this a conflict of interest? It may be. Does the audit partner, in his role at the investment firm, make recommendations regarding Medifast stock? Does he have any financial interest in transactions invovling Medifast stock? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then the audit partner would have compromised his independence. Read More