Accounting News Roundup: A Few Good Thieving Accountants; SAC Capital to Settle; Kobe To Be Taxed | 11.04.13

Acting Ed. note: I don't know about you all but I'm missing Colin right about now. Fear not, he returns later this week. Until then, it's just you and me, kiddo. Let's make the most of it. ~AG

Reagan's supply-side guru to address accountants in Indy [Indianapolis Business Journal] The man most despised by big-government, Keynesian disciples for arguing that lower taxes and lower government spending will spur economic growth is coming to Indianapolis next week, with a cautionary tale for the states. Arthur Laffer, President Ronald Reagan’s go-to guy for supply-side economic theory, will address a national gathering of accountants held by Carmel-based newsletter “Inside Public Accounting,” Nov. 4-6 at the downtown Conrad Indianapolis.

Ex-Traffic Court accountant indicted for theft, money laundering [AP via FOX8] A man who served as chief financial officer for New Orleans Traffic Court has been indicted on charges that he overbilled the city and used court funds to pay for personal expenses. Friday's 12-count federal indictment charges 40-year-old Vandale Thomas, of Prairieville, with theft, money laundering and illegally structuring financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements.

Fargo truck stop accountant accused of stealing $190K from store ATMs [Duluth News Tribune] The longtime bookkeeper at a family-owned truck stop in Fargo is accused of skimming more than $190,000 from store ATMs over an eight-year period. Charles John Putney, 42, of West Fargo, appeared Friday in Cass County District Court on a charge of Class B felony theft. Deanne Eisenschenk, operations manager for Petro Stopping Center in Fargo and in Minot, said it’s been a shock for the family-owned company. “We’ve been physically sick,” Eisenschenk said “My dad works here, my mom, my sister-in-law. And then there was Chuck – and he was stealing every day.”

SAC Capital, US to announce $1.2 bln settlement on Monday [Reuters] SAC Capital Advisors, Steven A. Cohen's multibillion-dollar hedge fund, and U.S. prosecutors are expected to announce on Monday a $1.2 billion settlement over criminal charges related to insider trading, media reports said. Reuters reported last month that the deal, which will likely involve some admission of guilt along with a penalty of more than $1 billion, was likely to be announced within days. The settlement does not resolve a separate civil lawsuit that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought against Cohen in July, accusing him of failing to supervise his employees, the New York Times said late on Sunday.

Hooray For Taxes [HuffPo] Joshua Holland of BillMoyers.com offers an important counterpoint to today's slanted political dialogue with his new essay on "the high cost of low taxes." This hidden cost needs to become the center of our public debate. Washington's obsession with tax cuts and deficit reduction is distracting the American people from the slow dismantling of the social contract, and its devastating impact – financial and otherwise – on all but the wealthiest among us. Our political discourse focuses far too much on the cost of taxation, while all but ignoring its benefits. Journalists and politicians rarely discuss the direct or indirect costs Americans often encounter when forced to rely on the private sector for services which might be more efficiently provided through government.

Maryland should hike tobacco taxes again [Washington Post] BOOSTING TAXES on cigarettes is an effective way to cut smoking rates among adults and, even more, among those college-age and younger, along with tobacco-related disease and death. A case in point is Maryland, where the incidence of smoking fell by a third from 1998 to 2010, a period during which the state more than quintupled its cigarette tax. By the same token, states that have allowed cigarette levies to remain low, under the sway of Big Tobacco or anti-tax sentiment, generally suffer from higher smoking rates and the resulting impact on public health. Virginia’s cigarette tax is second-lowest in the nation, after Missouri’s; it is an example of a state that extends its smokers a license to kill — themselves.

Kobe Bryant Reportedly Will Pay $13 Million in Taxes on $24 Million Payment [Bleacher Report] Kobe Bryant may have just cashed in on a $24 million-plus payday this past Friday, but unfortunately for the Los Angeles Lakers superstar, he could lose as much as 55 percent of that to taxes. According to Darren Rovell of ESPN, the Black Mamba may only take home something in the range of $11 million after paying upwards of $13 million to the government via various taxes. Rovell spoke with Robert Raiola—a certified public accountant who works with the sports and entertainment department at FMRTL—who confirmed that Bryant is subject to a top-rate federal tax at 39.6 percent of his earnings, as well as 13.3 percent additional withholdings from the state of California.

Colorado Is Asking Taxpayers for $1 Billion to Help Schools [NYT] In one poor school district in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, students take classes in a bus garage, using plastic sheeting to keep the diesel fumes at bay. In another, there is no more money to tutor young immigrants struggling to read. And just south of Denver, a district where one in four kindergartners is homeless has cut 10 staff positions and is bracing for another cull.

Oh and lastly… [Facebook] I need some victims volunteers to chime in for a magazine piece I'm writing on the CPA exam. Pre-2004 candidates especially, but anyone is welcome and your input is valuable. Basically I'm trying to crowdsource an opinion on which is harder (or easier): today's exam or the "back in the day" exam. The survey only takes a minute and the more responses I get, the better the article. Email me if you want in and thank you!

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