Public records indicate Southern Company executives engaged in insider transactions that could lead to felony charges. The apparent offense is called "fraud by omission," and longtime Alabama attorney and entrepreneur Donald Watkins provides background in a post today. Under the headline "Was Southern Company Money Used to Fund Private Deals for Execs/Board Members?" Watkins writes:
In recent years, the Southern Company has invested nearly a billion dollars in more than 125 private business deals. The private companies that received this venture-capital money are listed in the Southern Company’s annual 10-K filings, dating back to 2017.
Did one or more of these private companies hold the ownership interests of certain top Southern Company executives and board members?
If so, were these “insider” transactions and related conflicts of interest properly disclosed to the Southern Company’s full board of directors and government regulators, as required by law?
Which top executives and board members benefited financially from their undisclosed participation in these venture-capital deals?
Why didn’t the participating corporate officers come clean with the full board of directors and government regulators about their involvement in these transactions?
These are serious questions, the kind that demand examination -- and Watkins intends to provide it:
In a special series of investigative articles, we will expose and explain these undisclosed, apparent conflicts of interest.
It appears that participating Southern Company executives and board members enriched themselves by channeling electric/gas customer money into one or more private deals where they held an ownership interest, without telling those who had a legal right to full disclosure.
This conduct is called "fraud by omission." Each time a participating executive/board member in the fraud scheme failed to disclose this material fact/conflict of interest to those who had a legal right to know about, it constitutes a separate felony charge.
Hopefully, our articles will wake up the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and energize Joe Biden’s atrophied Department of Justice. Both agencies have been sleeping like Rip Van Winkle, while the Southern Company’s lawlessness, avarice, and political prowess have transformed it into a modern-day "untouchable" in Washington.
For the record, the Southern Company’s corporate thugs are way bigger crooks than the 15 top executives who were convicted and imprisoned in the $2.7-billion HealthSouth Corp. fraud scandal that rocked Wall Street from 2003 to 2005.