SEC charges Provectus founding CEO Dees with looting millions for girlfriends’ cosmetic surgeries, travel and more
Back in the early part of 2016, when Provectus’ $PVCT founding CEO Craig Dees resigned for “personal and health reasons,” new chairman Alfred Smith wished Dees well and then went on to say that the biotech had set up a review of the way it handled compensation and expenses.
Late that year, the longtime CFO and interim CEO Peter Culpepper, was dismissed “for cause.” And today the SEC says that both Dees and Culpepper had looted the company during their tenures at the penny stock biotech, which trades OTC.
Dees — who once saw his company’s stock tank as he tried to explain why their lead drug, the long suffering PV-10, had been refused a breakthrough drug designation — was accused of using the company “as a personal piggy bank” in a complaint filed in Knoxville, TN’s federal court. The feds charged he took more than $3 million from the company by using fake expense reports related to business travel he never took.
Some of that money went to “cosmetic surgery for female friends, restaurant tips, and personal travel.”
Provectus’ new management detailed much of the pilfering that went on in an SEC filing in April of last year, claiming that the CEO had done a poor job of covering his trail. In 2015, the company stated, Dees had claimed close to a million dollars for travel advances, later filing receipts covering just a portion of that.
Culpepper is disgorging $152,376 to settle up, while agreeing to stop work as an accountant for at least three years, when he can appeal.
The feds didn’t single out the company with any fine, saying that the new management had fired those who had crossed the line and cooperated in the investigation. But they’re still going after Dees, looking for disgorgement and a bar from any future involvement as an officer or director in a public company.