RIVERSIDE CPA PAYS $25,000 PENALTY
FOR VIOLATING STATE ACCOUNTANCY ACT
Hartford - Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz's office announced today that the Connecticut State
Board of Accountancy has accepted a settlement agreement with Michael Smeriglio, a certified public
accountant (CPA) from Riverside, Connecticut, practicing in Greenwich, which requires Smeriglio to pay a
$25,000 civil penalty for allegedly violating the State Accountancy Act. Smeriglio is reported to have
received commissions from the sale of financial products. The penalty represents the net income he
received from the illegal profits of that activity.
Connecticut law bars CPAs from accepting commissions or referral fees, even when done through a
business separate from their CPA firm, according to Michael Kozik, attorney for the Connecticut State
Board of Accountancy.
The Boards case against Smeriglio was initiated when another Connecticut CPA sent the Board a copy of
newsletter apparently published by Trusted Securities Advisors, Corp. Smeriglio was quoted in the
newsletter as saying, In addition to generating commission revenues that used to go to brokers, I also
make my clients feel much more comfortable with me as their personal financial advisor. Its a win win
scenario for all of us.
According to Kozik, Smeriglio fully cooperated with the Boards investigation. None of Mr. Smeriglios
clients complained to the Board, and he may have even thought that he was acting lawfully by setting up
a separate business through which to receive the commissions. He was wrong. He made illegal profits for
about two and a half years. This settlement deprives him of all of those profits, Kozik added.
The settlement also provides that Smeriglio will immediately stop accepting commissions for referring the
products or services of others and will waive his right to receive future commissions on products already
sold. The settlement specifically provides that by agreeing to settle the case, Smeriglio is not admitting he
did anything wrong. He retains his Connecticut CPA license.
Kozik also noted that, although there is a great deal of discussion in the profession and the business
community about changing the law prohibiting CPAs from receiving commissions, in late October the
Board voted down a proposal to seek such a change from the legislature. The traditional view in the
accounting profession is that accepting commissions would imperil a CPAs objectivity and independence.
The State Board of Accountancy, which was established in 1907 to regulate the practice of public
accountancy in Connecticut, has been part of the Office of the Secretary of the State since 1986.