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Accounting News Roundup: Options for Tax Reform; Confused CFOs; KPMG Centre Sells at Auction | 06.08.12

Tax writers explore reform options [The Hill]
House tax-writers will continue their long slog through expired or expiring tax provisions on Friday as lawmakers continue to look for ways to spur the economy and pave the way for more far-reaching tax reform. Reps. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), who heads a Ways and Means subcommittee that deals with taxes, have promised a methodical examination of the dozens of so-called tax extenders. Tiberi’s panel is set to hold its second hearing on the matter in recent months, with an official from the Government Accountability Office and think tank officials set to appear. Top Senate Democrats — including Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and Sen. Max Baucus (Mont.), the Finance Committee chairman — have pushed to quickly pass the expired temporary provisions. But with both parties looking for ways to revamp the tax code, Camp and Tiberi have said they are taking a more methodical look at the extenders, which include well-known incentives for research and development and alternative energy.

Accounting Backfired at MF Global [NYT]
Floyd Norris gets back to basics.
Former MF Global CFO under scrutiny over conflicting statements [Reuters]

When Henri Steenkamp, MF Global's chief financial officer, appeared before two congressional panels about the firm's collapse, he said he was in the dark over how some $1.6 billion in customer funds went missing. But a report from the bankruptcy trustee filed this week paints a different picture of an executive closely involved as the firm's liquidity was stretched and it began tapping into customer accounts to help fund operations. Congressional investigators have flagged the discrepancies and said they plan to examine them further. "We're looking closely at all aspects of the MF Global collapse … We'll be paying close attention to any apparent inconsistency in Mr. Steenkamp's testimony," said Republican Representative Randy Neugebauer.
Bear Stearns Accord Turns Another Page [WSJ]

Former top executives at Bear Stearns Cos., including James E. Cayne and Alan "Ace" Greenberg, have agreed to a $275 million settlement of a shareholder lawsuit over the demise of the Wall Street firm four years ago. The deal with investors led by the State of Michigan Retirement Systems puts to an end the last major dispute surrounding the demise of Bear Stearns, whose near-collapse in March 2008 marked the beginning of the worst period of the financial crisis. However, Mr. Cayne, a former CEO, and Mr. Greenberg, who was Mr. Cayne's mentor and predecessor, and the other former top executives named in the lawsuit won't have to pay any of the settlement, according to people close to them. The money will come from a $9 billion fund set aside by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. for litigation and other expenses in 2008, when it bought Bear Stearns in a cut-price deal blessed by the government, these people said.

Olympus to Cut Jobs to Bolster Finances [WSJ]
Olympus Corp. said Friday it will cut its global workforce by some 7% in two years and streamline non-core operations to bolster its finances following a $1.5 billion accounting scandal that has left it with a razor-thin capital cushion. The Japanese maker of cameras and medical-imaging equipment is also considering various measures to raise fresh capital, including equity tie-ups and the issuance of new shares, its president said. "We did not think it would take this long" to decide on a capital-raising plan, Hiroyuki Sasa said at a news conference to announce the company's medium-term business plan.

CFOs: We’re Still Hiring [CFO]
Great news!
Few CFOs Plan to Hire Accountants in Q3 [AT]
Wait, what?
KPMG Centre sells at foreclosure auction for $42M [DBJ]
Lauryn Hill Faces Federal Tax Charges Over $1.6M Income [AP]
Hill earned more than $1.6 million during 2005, 2006 and 2007, the three years that she failed to file returns, federal prosecutors said. Hill's primary source of income is royalties from the recording and film industries, prosecutors said. She also owns and operates four corporations: Creations Music Inc., Boogie Tours Inc., L.H. Productions 2001 Inc. and Studio 22 Inc., according to court papers.
Oakley woman gets 41 months for filing false tax returns [CCT]
Kensetta "Peaches" Johnson, 38, admitted in September 2011 that she had worked with others to file false federal tax returns in 2008 and 2009, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. Johnson said she was warned by her bank that she was committing fraud, but ignored the warning.
Covert agent swam with naked woman, drank 100 beers in Fort Pierce? [TCPalm]

Bradley Martin Pope, 53, was arrested June 3 on a DUI charge after St. Lucie County Sheriff's deputies were called to an address in the 5100 block of Myrtle Drive in Fort Pierce. A naked woman was said to be swimming in a pool there with Pope. Before deputies arrived, the caller said Pope and the woman left in the caller's Dodge pick-up, which the caller wanted to report stolen. A deputy stopped the Dodge, and Pope, whose breath smelled of alcohol, was behind the wheel. Deputies learned Pope moved into the Myrtle Drive address that day. The woman he was with was an uninvited guest. Pope said he works for the C.I.A. and lives in Costa Rica. He related other aspects of his life, saying he was going to be the next president, has a home in luxury hotel in Palm Beach, is a covert agent and is "untraceable." He said he was coming from a bar, and a deputy asked if he had anything to drink. "Of course, I'm not a drunk, I don't get drunk," Pope said. Asked how much he'd imbibed, Pope said, "100 beers."


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