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Accounting News Roundup: Misadventures with FIFA; Bad Fiduciary, Bad Tax Returns | 05.17.17



Last September, FIFA named PwC as its independent auditor. KPMG had resigned as FIFA’s auditor about three months earlier after 16 years of looking the other way while FIFA ran a graft factory masquerading as an international sports organization.

Now that some time has gone by and everyone seems distracted with other matters, it seems like the perfect time for FIFA to get back to the business of being FIFA. Francine McKenna pointed to this Inside World Football article that cites a report by German magazine Der Spiegel that mentions the latest in the misadventures of being FIFA’s auditor:

FIFA secretary general, Fatma Samoura, in the job for barely a year, has been caught paying over CHF28,000 to a cleaning company for the servicing of her own private living quarters.

Samoura was found out after it was highlighted by new FIFA auditor Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC). She secretly paid the money back and PwC covered up the indiscretion by not mentioning it in their 2016 audit.

Apparently, Samoura had hired a cleaning company, SCJ, to tidy up “five times a week for two hours a day” at a price of “CHF 28 an hour, CHF 1,200 francs a month.”

Meh. I doubt PwC’s no-mention of the secretary general reimbursing her employer for cleaning services is quite to the level of corruption that most observers have come to expect out of FIFA, but to be fair, the bar has been set pretty high.

Accountants behaving badly

Here’s a Department of Justice press release about Glenn P. Pearson, a former Whitman, Mass. police sergeant who pleaded guilty to a slew of charges related to embezzling money from eight disabled veterans from 2007 to 2012:

A veteran, who has been awarded VA benefits but is unable to manage his or her funds due to injury, disease, mental incompetence or infirmities of advanced age, can have another individual, referred to as a fiduciary, appointed by the VA to receive funds on the veteran’s behalf and to manage those funds for the benefit of the veteran. Pearson used his position as a fiduciary to misappropriate and embezzle more than $250,000 in VA-issued benefit money from the accounts of several veterans.

Ick. After he was done stealing from some of the most vulnerable people in our society, Pearson followed that up with a fraudulent tax return shop:

From 2012 through 2015, Pearson prepared numerous tax returns that included false credits and fictitious deductions in an effort to get his clients bigger refunds than they were entitled to receive. When Pearson’s clients were audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Pearson took steps to obstruct the IRS—including making false statements to the IRS and preparing false documents for his clients to submit to the IRS during the audits. Pearson admitted to causing a tax loss of more than $1.5 million.

Bad choices all around.

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