Former MiMedx chief ‘Pete’ Petit charged with accounting fraud

Parker “Pete” Petit, former chairman and chief executive of a Marietta biotech firm, has been criminally charged with accounting fraud, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced today.

Both he and former MiMedx Group Chief Operating Officer William Taylor face securities fraud charges for allegedly engaging in a scheme to fraudulently inflate the company’s revenue.

“As alleged, Parker Petit and William Taylor deceived the SEC, auditors, and the investing public by repeatedly misrepresenting the financial condition of a publicly traded company,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. “They allegedly conspired, through secret agreements and financial inducements with four distributors, to misstate sales revenue. The alleged conduct resulted in serious criminal charges Petit and Taylor now face.”

The indictment was unsealed today, and both men are expected to appear in an Atlanta federal court, a news release said.

Petit, 80, did not immediately respond to messages.

Taylor’s attorney says he denies the charges. “He always acted in the best interests of MiMedx’s customers, employees and shareholders and served the company for nearly 10 years with dedication and integrity,” attorney Bill Weinreb said in a written statement. “Today’s charges grow from a deeply flawed internal investigation by a self-interested audit committee, designed to appease government regulators by scapegoating executive management.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that Petit, Taylor, another MiMedx ex-executive and the company itself are being sued by the agency for allegedly defrauding investors by misstating the company’s revenue and attempting to cover up their misconduct.

MiMedx, which uses placental tissue for a variety of products promoted for treating everything from wounds to burns and orthopedic injuries, has already agreed to pay a $1.5 million penalty to settle the case, a news release said.

For 37 years, Petit ran publicly traded companies in the healthcare and biotech industries in the Atlanta area. He donated millions of dollars to local institutions, getting his name on biotech and sciences buildings at Georgia Tech and Georgia State University, as well as the football field at GSU stadium.

He served as the finance chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Georgia in 2016, and he also has ties to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who contacted the FBI about a complaint Petit filed against an investor.

MiMedx forced Petit out last year, and earlier this year shareholders voted against allowing him to return to the board of directors.