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Accountants Behaving Badly: Discrimination at EY U.K., Jail For Cancer Center Embezzler, Client Scammer Gets Prison Time

Plus, ex-accountant for city of Dunbar, WV, gets one year in prison for embezzlement, and former Suzuki accountant faces a seven-year jail sentence for stealing $1.8 million.

EY deals partners accused of bullying and discrimination [Financial Times]
Current and former staff in the Transaction Advisory Services team at EY U.K. described a culture they claimed protects partners from complaints about their conduct.

Rob Moody

Jennifer Fountain, an associate partner who is transgender, quit last month in response to alleged discriminatory behavior by some partners. One partner allegedly said transitioning from a man to a woman would “hold back her career by two years” as she would have to “prove herself” as Jennifer. Another “outed” her in front of colleagues.

Other incidents of alleged misconduct include:

  • Rob Moody, a partner since 2009, was moved this year from TAS’s U.K. chief innovation officer to its CIO for Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa after complaints were made that allegedly included him setting “unrealistic” performance targets and putting “unsustainable” pressure on directors to get their sales numbers up.
  • Neil Hutt

    Neil Hutt, head of transaction support for the technology sector, allegedly made an offensive sexual remark to a junior female colleague in front of staff on an EY skiing trip this year. Hutt, a partner for 15 years, received a financial penalty from EY and was reported to the profession’s regulator, but has continued in his role.

FT said Moody and Hutt didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Former Santa Clarita accountant gets 1 years in jail for embezzling $93,000 from Girls Scouts, cancer center [KTLA-TV]
Patricia Cascione, a former accountant from Santa Clarita, CA, was sentenced to a year in jail for embezzling more than $93,000 from local Girl Scouts and a cancer center while handling their finances.

Patricia Cascione

Cascione, 53, pleaded no contest on Dec. 18 to a felony count of embezzlement by a public of private officer. Her sentence includes five years of formal probation.

According to prosecutors, from March 1, 2013, to Feb. 13, 2017, Cascione, a volunteer treasurer for two scout chapters and a Girl Scouts service unit, allegedly used funds totaling $58,863 from the Girl Scouts accounts for her personal use. Cascione then diverted $34,500 in donations from Beverly Hills Cancer Center, where she was CFO, to one of her Girl Scouts accounts in order to embezzle the money.

Tax accountant sentenced to 42 months for scamming clients in fraud and money laundering scheme [Justice Department]
Salvatore Arena was sentenced to 42 months in prison on Dec. 13 for defrauding clients who trusted him to prepare and pay their taxes.

Between January 2014 and March 2019, Arena, 47, who pled guilty on Aug. 23, misappropriated more than $780,000 of client money from approximately 170 victims for his own use.

He reportedly offered tax services, including the preparation and payment of taxes, to clients of an accounting firm in Manhattan. Instead of making payments on behalf of those clients, Arena diverted client funds for his own use. He executed this fraudulent scheme in two primary ways: first, by diverting prepayments of taxes to his own tax account and later claiming illegitimate refunds, and second, by misappropriating tax payments clients had wired into a bank account controlled by Arena.

As part of his guilty plea, he agreed to forfeit $789,195.35 and to pay restitution of at least $726,608.42.

Former accountant for city of Dunbar accused of embezzling sentenced [WCHS-TV]
Reneda Welch, a former accountant for the city of Dunbar, WV, was sentenced to one year in jail and five years of probation on Dec. 20 for embezzling $203,000 in city funds.

Reneda Welch

She pleaded guilty on Dec. 16 to two counts of felony embezzlement. Welch was arrested in 2018 after a forensic audit revealed she had taken money between 2014 and 2016.

She has already paid back $50,000 to the city, but she still owes more than $102,000 in restitution.

Ex-Suzuki employee pleads guilty to embezzlement charges []
Bonnie Mullion, a former Suzuki Motor of America Inc. accountant, faces more than seven years in prison for embezzling $1.8 million from her Brea, CA-based employer over a five-year period.

Bonnie Mullion

Mullion, 65, of Yorba Linda, CA, pleaded guilty on Dec. 13 to 89 felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement, and admitted sentencing enhancement allegations for aggravated white-collar crime exceeding $500,000.

Mullion, who is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 28, 2020, accepted a plea deal from Orange County Superior Court Judge Scott Steiner. She is expected to be sentenced to seven years and four months in prison.