Beazer Homes USA — already the subject of a criminal fraud investigation says it’s now the subject of a formal Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry.

Beazer revealed no further details of the investigation, but the Charlotte Observer said the inquiry was opened shortly after the newspaper reported that several customers who bought homes in 2001 were paid for answers on customer satisfaction surveys. The survey results were used in determining bonuses for company executives, the paper said.

Beazer, which first revealed the existence of an informal SEC inquiry on May 3, said in a filing Monday that the company received a formal order of investigation on July 20.

A criminal investigation of Beazer by the FBI, IRS and HUD, also followed reports in the Observer, which in a series of stories published in March alleged that at least 388 of the 2,900 homes built by Beazer in Mecklenburg County, N.C., between 1997 and 2006 have foreclosed. The stories alleged some of the company’s lending practices appeared to have violated federal rules.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina in March issued a grand jury subpoena seeking documents related to the company’s mortgage origination practices.

Former chief accounting officer and senior vice president Michael T. Rand was fired last month for allegedly attempting to destroy documents in violation of company policy.

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