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December 3, 2022

Accounting News Roundup: Competitive Poaching, Gambling and Lawsuits | 06.03.16

M&A (with a dash of competitive poaching)

Tucked away in this harmless article about Moss Adams acquiring Fresno-based Morse Wittwer Sampson, is this little nugget:

The Fresno team will be joined by four former Deloitte employees who officially started with Moss Adams on May 1. Director Nada Barrett, along with two senior managers and a senior, will bring the Fresno employee count to 25.

I love stories of accounting firms poaching talent from other firms. There's always an element of secrecy and risk of getting found out. And this particular case has the added twist of a small conspiracy! My imagination tends to run wild, but juggling the coup of snatching a small team from a larger competitor and acquiring another firm sounds fun. Or exhausting.  

Gambling

Gambling, for most people, is entertainment. It's fun! It ceases to be fun when you lose a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, or in Phil Mickelson's case, nearly $1 million.

There are a few people whose luck and skill are so good that gambling becomes their career. I know, it's not fair, but the downside is, these people always seem to be drawing the skeptical eye of authorities. And for good reason! Much like the games they play, gamblers seem to love pushing their luck with the law, including tax law. Here's a good example:  

The US Internal Revenue Service has rejected a claim for a $5.2 million (€4.5 million) tax refund from Limerick businessman JP McManus on gambling winnings from a three-day backgammon match with a billionaire in 2012 on the basis that he was not tax resident in Ireland.

I like playing backgammon, but not for three days and it has never occurred to me to bet on the games. I suppose this is why I'm not a professional gambler. In any case, Mr. McManus wanted that $5.2 million back that was withheld from his $17.4 million  in winnings he took off of "American private equity billionaire Alec Gores." Things aren't really going McManus's way as the IRS rejected his claim to be exempt from the taxes, so again, he's pushing his luck and a recent filing included this fun line of questioning:

In the latest filing, the US government includes questions asked of Mr McManus about the nature of the board game with Mr Gores. The businessman initially objected to the questions saying that it was “irrelevant” to the case but later provided more information.

“[Mr McManus] does not remember the number of games or the amounts wagered per game,” the businessman’s lawyers said in reply to the IRS.

“The wager was on the basis of points and the amounts to be wagered were altered during the competition at the request of the losing party.

“Several people came and went during the game serving food and beverages.[Mr McManus] does not remember their names.”

I think there are a couple of lessons here: 1) If you give money to the IRS, it is really, really hard to get it back; 2) Even good gamblers have to lose once in awhile. 

Elsewhere in gamblers: Phil Mickelson's former bookie Billy Walters pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to insider trading charges and is out on bond. Part of his agreement to be released includes "giv[ing] up his use of medical marijuana."

Lawsuits

Awhile back, we told you about a lawsuit against EY filed by Christopher Cotter. He claimed that the firm had discriminated against him based on his age and medical history. According to the SE TexasRecord, everything has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties:

Court records show an agreed motion to dismiss with prejudice was filed March 13, 2015. On March 27 an agreed order of dismissal with prejudice was entered in the record.

In regards to the lawsuit, Cotter gave the following statement: “After working with his General Practioner, Otolaryngologist and Gastroenterologist over the last two years, Mr. Cotter has made a complete recovery concerning his ‘peptic inflammatory disease and labile hypertension.’ This has been accomplished through medication and therapy.

“Mr. Cotter was awarded a cash Settlement, by Ernst and Young, during the case Arbitration process in January, 2015.”

Previously, on Going Concern…

I wrote about the new "Straight Talk Committee" inside PwC. Megan Lewczyk wrote about SOC report branding. And in Open Items: Suspected Fraud Should Always be Questioned.

In other news:

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