Conflict of Interest For Medifast Auditors?

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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. Continue reading