This article has been updated and corrected. See details below.
So here’s the deal. This guy Nathaniel Paredes was disciplined by the California Board of Accountancy, and we get to read all about it in the latest edition of the CBA Update. In case you aren’t aware, the CBA publishes a list of all the bad CPAs and would-be CPAs, sort of like the Daily Mail of accountants. If you’ve taken classes with my former employer Roger Philipp, you know how he enjoys waving around a paper copy of the Update and looking for former students’ names in disciplinary orders. It’s pretty fun actually to read through the moronic shit California CPAs have gotten busted for.
Anyhoo, Nathaniel applied for licensure at the end of 2011. At some point, he made the second stupidest decision of his life.
Prospective California CPAs take the open book ethics exam from CalCPA. Yes, open book. As in, take your time, search for keywords, have the answers right there in the book or online text in front of you (protip: always go for the online version, it’s easier to search for answers). And this clown decided to cheat on the OPEN BOOK ethics exam. Sigh.
The CBA received Mr. Paredes’s completed application for licensure on December 19, 2011. On August 17, 2012, the CBA denied the application. On January 14, 2013, Statement of Issues No. SI-2013-8 was filed containing the following allegations as grounds for denial: On or about May 2, 2012, Mr. Paredes disclosed in a letter to the CBA that he had cheated on the Professional Ethics portion of the licensure exam.
Dude, it’s a little late to get ethical and confess at that point.
In order to get straight with the CBA, Paredes now has to take and pass the ethics exam in the presence of a CPA. Once he does that, he will be issued a CPA license for the sole purpose of getting it revoked. Oh, and he has to do 4 hours of ethics CPE for every year he is on probation with the CBA. Man, oh man, that sucks:
Within 180 days of the effective date of the order, Mr. Paredes shall take and pass the Professional Ethics exam in the presence of a CPA. The CPA selected shall be in good standing with the CBA, and pre-approved by the CBA prior to Mr. Paredes taking the exam. The CPA must agree to monitor Mr. Paredes and provide a statement to the CBA that Mr. Paredes took the exam and only used materials and methods permitted. Upon successful completion of the exam and completion of all licensing requirements, a CPA license will be issued to Mr. Paredes and immediately revoked. However, the revocation will be stayed and Mr. Paredes will be placed on five years’ probation with the following terms and conditions: Mr. Paredes shall complete four hours of continuing education in ethics each year of probation. Mr. Paredes voluntarily agrees to cooperate fully with, and make himself available to, the CBA or its designee, including the Office of the Attorney General, without the necessity of a subpoena, in any investigation of other CBA licensees regarding cheating on the ethics exam, including but not limited to the providing of interviews, statements, affidavits, declarations, and any other documents or other types of information requested, consistent with the requirement of confidentiality or law. Mr. Paredes, if called to do so, shall cooperate with the CBA and shall testify at any subsequent administrative or civil proceedings if asked to do so by the CBA.
As if all that weren’t bad enough, Paredes was also denied for an incident related to the time he got drunk, locked himself in his room, and told the cops he wired the door with explosives, which resulted in a misdemeanor conviction for False Report of a Bomb:
Mr. Paredes’s application is also subject to denial due to conviction of a substantially related crime. On or about July 23, 2003, Mr. Paredes pled nolo contendere to violating Penal Code Section 148.1(b)—False Report of a Bomb, a misdemeanor. The circumstances related to the conviction are that Respondent became intoxicated and barricaded himself in his bedroom of the house he shared with his family. Mr. Paredes told his sister that he had a weapon and intended to commit suicide. When the police arrived, respondent told them he had wired the door with explosives and would blow them up. After approximately two hours of interaction with police, Mr. Paredes exited the room and no weapons or bombs were found.
Uh, yeah, not sure I’d want this guy protecting my capital markets.
UPDATE: Mr. Paredes’ status is currently clear to practice but remains under probation through 2018.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Mr. Paredes failed to disclose his previous conviction. We regret the error.