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Accounting News Roundup: B-D Auditors’ Bad Batting Average; SEC Wants More Details From Groupon; The Alamo Knows BDO | 08.20.13

Oversight Board Faults Broker-Dealer Audits [DealBook]
Floyd Norris sums it up: "If this were baseball, the combined industry would be batting .036 for the two years combined."

SEC Pushes Groupon to Disclose More Financial Details [Bloomberg]
Groupon Inc. (GRPN) said it will disclose more detail about its financial performance after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked the largest daily-deal website to revise some of its accounting practices. The agency urged the company in May to more clearly define metrics such as gross billings and take rates, and better explain factors that led to declines in coupon sales overseas, according to documents made available today on the SEC’s website.

Prosecutor in Enron Case Expected to Be Named to Justice Dept. Post [DealBook]
The Justice Department is expected to name Leslie R. Caldwell, the former lead prosecutor in the Enron case, as the next head of its criminal division, according to people briefed on the decision. Ms. Caldwell, now a defense lawyer at the firm Morgan Lewis, served as first director of the government’s Enron Task Force, running the criminal investigation of the collapsed energy giant from 2002 to 2004. She took on that role after stints as a federal prosecutor in Manhattan and San Francisco.

Denver ballot question would ask for 3.5% sales tax for pot shops [DP]
The council gave initial approval for a November ballot question for city voters to put a 3.5 percent sales tax on retail marijuana that could be raised as high as 15 percent. Just like every council decision with the coming marijuana industry, the outcome featured a lengthy debate and tight vote. The bill initially would have asked voters to approve a beginning tax of 5 percent that Mayor Michael Hancock supported and that city finance officials said was necessary to pay expected costs. But Councilman Chris Nevitt asked to drop the starting rate to 3.5 percent, a request supported last week by Auditor Dennis Gallagher, who said a 5 percent tax hike could lose in November.

Dallas accounting firm TravisWolff exits San Antonio [DBJ]
Dallas-based accounting firm TravisWolff is exiting the San Antonio market with the sale of its three Alamo City offices to BDO USA LLP. TravisWolff's three San Antonio-based partners and 25 employees will join BDO, effective immediately.

Investment bank intern, 21, on £45,000 worked 'until 6am for three nights in a row' before he was found dead in his London flat [DM]

The body of Moritz Erhardt was discovered on Thursday evening as he neared the end of a seven-week internship with the Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s investment bank division. The 21-year-old – understood to be from Germany – had joined  Merrill Lynch earlier in the summer hoping to forge a career with the firm. Paid interns at the bank normally earn £45,000 a year pro rata – around £2,700 a month. Yesterday it was claimed Mr Erhardt may have suffered a fit or seizure. However internet forum users said he may have been working ‘all-nighters’ during his stay with the company. Many banks are known to encourage their young students to work late into the night and in the past there have been claims those keen to impress have put in long hours with very little sleep. On one site, called, many posters insisted Mr Erhardt regularly worked long hours and added: ‘One of the best interns at BAML – three all-nighters, didn’t turn up, colleagues went to find him.’

Online FATCA registration system launched [JofA]

Cops: Man fills wife's hot tub with manure after being served with divorce papers [TS]

Police said officers caught the man dumping manure, which was piled in the tub and at the house's front door. The man had to be taken down with pepper spray after he took off in a tractor and then resisted arrest when officers caught up with him, police said. Rene Daniel, 64, faces charges of hit and run, assaulting a police officer, obstructing police and mischief over $5,000.


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