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New: Oakland Chamber of Commerce Executive Board Member Charged with Committing $19.75 Million Corporate Fraud

by Darwin BondGraham
Tuesday November 22, 2011 - 09:32:00 AM

In a case that is emblematic of the corporate chicanery and greed the Occupy movement proclaims to stand against, Todd Hansen, a former president of Posterscope, a global advertising firm, has been arrested by the FBI and charged with orchestrating a financial fraud to inflate company earnings, thereby enriching himself. 

Until recently Hansen was a member of the executive committee of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's board of directors, and the President of Clear Channel Outdoor's San Francisco Division, headquartered in downtown Oakland. 

According to the FBI, Hansen and a former colleague at Posterscope, "are accused of engaging in a five-year, $19.75 million accounting fraud scheme to make it appear that the Company was meeting certain performance targets when it was not, so that they could receive higher salary increases, bonuses, and stock options." 

By inflating the company's earnings with fictitious revenues the FBI says Hansen was able to boost his annual bonuses by $1.1 million during his five years at the company. 

Hansen is also accused of misusing thousands of dollars of the company's funds to rent apartments, pay for country club memberships, and purchase airplane tickets for himself, his family, and friends. (Read the FBI's press release here:) 

Hansen was arrested on November 3 and awaits trial at the United States District Court, Central District of California. According to Hansen's lawyer, William Portanova, "this whole mess arises out of the bookkeeping practices of other people several years ago. We are working to straighten the entire situation out." 

The Oakland Chamber of Commerce recently put pressure on Oakland's City Council and Mayor to evict the Occupy encampment from Frank Ogawa Plaza, claiming the protesters are harming businesses in downtown Oakland. In response, an activist collective called Occupy the Chamber has posted information about the Chamber's leadership, including a copy of the Justice Department's criminal complaint against Hansen. 

The regional office of Clear Channel Outdoor run by Hansen is at 555 12th Street in Oakland. Hansen was elected to the Oakland Chamber of Commerce Board in February of 2010 to serve through the end of 2011, and according to the Chamber's web site serves as the organization's Chair of Communications. 

Sometime after November 18 the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, in response to this story and Occupy the Chamber's web site, deleted Todd Hansen from its web page listing the organization's board of directors. The Chamber's original web site, which includes Hansen, live until last Friday, can be viewed using the Way Back Machine

Over the past decade Clear Channel Outdoor has inked numerous advertising contracts with various governments and public agencies in the Bay Area, including advertising contracts with the city of Oakland, San Francisco, and various transit authorities. 

Neither the Chamber of Commerce, nor Clear Channel Outdoor responded to emails and phone calls for this story.