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Accountants Behaving Badly: PCAOB Fines CPA, Scammer CPA Pleads Guilty, CPA’s License Suspended

Plus, an accountant from India is accused of spewing hatred, and a Michigan tax preparer allegedly stole more than $400,000 from clients.

PCAOB fines CPA firm owner for not playing by the rules [PCAOB]
Rizwan Ahmed, owner of Ahmed & Associates CPA P.C. in New York, was fined $10,000 by the PCAOB on April 21 and barred for being an associated person for a registered public accounting firm for violating PCAOB rules and standards.

Ahmed and his firm violated PCAOB rules and standards with respect to three audit engagements. Specifically, the firm failed to comply with AS 1220, Engagement Quality Review, with respect to three issuer audit clients.

In addition, the firm failed to disclose certain reportable events to the PCAOB on Form 3 as required by PCAOB rules. Ahmed directly contributed to each of these violations, the PCAOB said.

In November 2015, Ahmed was one of three people arrested by federal agents and charged with operating a highly unusual and “massive” fraud scheme involving billing Medicare and private insurance carriers for prescriptions never filled.

According to the PCAOB, Ahmed pleaded guilty on Aug. 14, 2018, to the charge of theft of government Medicare funds.

Accountant from Silver City, New Mexico pleads guilty to federal wire fraud and identity theft charges [Justice Department]
Thomas Laws pleaded guilty in federal court in Las Cruces, NM, on April 7 to four counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in a scheme to steal more than $1.5 million from his victims.

Thomas Laws

Laws, 62, a CPA and registered investment advisor, engaged in a scheme from 2008 to 2019 to obtain money by false pretenses and fraudulent misrepresentations made to clients, lenders, investors, and others.

According to authorities, Laws lied to two clients to convince them to invest in a real estate development project. He fabricated and forged mortgage documents purporting to show that $650,000 these clients invested in the project was secured by a mortgage. But in reality, Laws had previously mortgaged the property to other lenders, defaulted, and a court had ordered foreclosure and judicial sale of the property. Rather than developing the real estate, Laws channeled the $650,000 to pay part of a settlement with an earlier victim of his scheme.

In addition, Laws scammed two other investors out of $550,000 that he claimed would be used for a mining project. Instead, Laws used the money to pay off earlier victims of his scheme, including partial restitution to a corporation from which he, as the corporation’s CEO, had embezzled more than $1 million.

As part of his fraudulent scheme, Laws made, or caused others to make, several wire transfers of funds. He also used stolen money to pay personal expenses for himself and his family, including credit card debts, travel, communication and media services, firearms, and cash. His scheme caused total financial losses of more than $1.5 million to the victims.

Laws is currently out of custody awaiting sentencing.

North Carolina accountant gets license suspended because of actions against Iredell company [Statesville Record & Landmark]
Leon Little Rives II had his license suspended recently by the North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners after a civil case involving Iredell County company Steel Tube Inc.

In December, a judge and jury awarded Steel Tube more than $2 million in a civil case against Rives. The jury found that Rives had unlawfully used his position as a Steel Tube officer and failed to supply agreed upon accounting services including filing the company’s taxes.

Accountant arrested for spreading communal hatred, cops say [The Indian Express]
Vinod Kakadiya was arrested on April 16 for posting messages of communal hatred on his Facebook profile.

In three separate posts, Kakadiya claimed that China is responsible for the spread of coronavirus across the world, while the Tablighi Jamaat event at Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz is responsible for the spread in India.

Kakadiya made the first post on Facebook on April 3. He claimed around 2,500 people of a particular community—all infected with coronavirus—had gathered at the Delhi Markaz and were sent to different parts of the country to spread coronavirus, police said. Kakadiya had urged people to circulate the message.

In his second post on April 6, Kakadiya mentioned, “Believe it or not, China is responsible for spreading coronavirus across the world. Similarly in India, the cororavirus is spread by Tablighi Jamaat (sic).” The third post on April 10 said pretty much the same thing.

Gladwin County tax preparer accused of stealing $400,000 from clients [WJRT-TV]
Mark Alan Patterson is accused of stealing refunds worth about $400,000 from clients over at least five years.

Patterson, 51, was arraigned on April 23 on federal wire fraud charges in connection with his work at Schuster Tax Service in Beaverton, MI.

Patterson completed tax returns for dozens of clients at the business but allegedly diverted portions of 120 clients’ refunds to his own bank accounts from 2015 to 2020, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.

Authorities say Patterson showed clients fake versions of their tax returns indicating they would get smaller refunds than they were entitled before filing the IRS documents that sent partial refunds to himself.