Accounting News Roundup: Accountant Scapegoats and 20-Year Scams | 05.09.17

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(Re)-Trials

The re-trial of two Dewey & LeBoeuf executives ended yesterday and the jury declared that the Accountant did it, in the Board Room, with the Spreadsheet:

A jury in Manhattan convicted Joel Sanders, the law firm’s former chief financial officer, on three criminal counts arising from what prosecutors said was a scheme to hide the firm’s failing finances from financial backers.

But another former executive on trial, Stephen DiCarmine, was acquitted of the same charges.

“Joel is innocent,” said DiCarmine which isn’t much consolation at this point.

When it comes to white collar crime, more times than not, an accountant will be left holding the bag. It’s just the nature of these things; the guy or gal in charge of the numbers makes for a convenient scapegoat. There isn’t enough money (as in this case) or money goes missing (in lots of other cases) and that’s usually some accountant’s fault.

Accountants behaving badly

If you were embezzling from your employer, how long do you think you could keep it going before you broke out in hives and had to stop? One week? One month? I imagine most people would see that first illicit deposit in their account and they’d panic and secretly put the money back.

Not this guy:

A St. Paul accountant was sentenced to more than three years in prison Friday for a million dollar embezzlement scheme to which he pleaded guilty.

According to his plea and court documents, over a 20 year period beginning in 1995, 65-year-old John Rowan stole more than $1.2 million from his employer by issuing 150 unauthorized checks to himself. Rowan was the company’s accountant and controller.

Twenty years! That’s not some aberration, that’s a successful career! I wonder if he ever got bored or dissatisfied with the stealing? Maybe the stealing was what kept him going? That probably would spice things up nicely, but oh boy, don’t take that as career advice. Most of you aren’t cut out for that much deception.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Marsha Leest wrote about assessing your busy season. In Open Items, someone asked about Big 4 international rotations.

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