Ed. note: GC will be off on Monday for Presidents Day. See you back here on Tuesday. MF Global vs. PwC We touched on this story last week, but if you can’t get enough of the pre-game analysis of the pending trial between the bankruptcy trustee of MF Global and PwC, then you’ll enjoy this […]
Tax reform is hard Here’s Richard Rubin of the Wall Street Journal reporting on how Republicans are learning that reforming the tax code is difficult: A linchpin of the House Republicans’ tax plan, an approach called “border adjustment,” has split Republicans and fractured the business world into competing coalitions before a bill has even been […]
Here's a weird one: A New Jersey man has been charged with threatening now-former President Obama's life on Facebook. A report in the Philadelphia Inquirer has the details: Federal prosecutors say William Peterman Jr., 33, of Medford Lakes and Beaufort, S.C., posted two death threats on his Facebook page last week, including one addressed to […]
Mandatory arbitration Alison Frankel of Reuters reports that the question of whether mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts may be soon before the Supreme Court. How big is the issue of whether employers can bar workers from acting as a group to enforce their rights? So big that on Thursday, the accounting firm Ernst & […]
Deloitte's revenue Each year, accounting firms release revenue results and each year I am reminded that it's not really about transparency, rather, it is about marketing. The most meaningful number in Deloitte's press release is the $36.8 billion in global revenue. From there, it's a long list of factoids that the firm wants to tell […]
Non-CPA managing partners Does the managing partner of an accounting firms need to be a CPA? If we assume that a managing partner’s duties include setting the overall vision and running the day-to-day operations of the firm, I think the answer is, “No.” If we also assume that a managing partner is the best business […]
There's probably nothing more agonizing in the world of sports than being a Chicago Cubs fan. Despite more than a century of disappointment, abuse and losing in every way imaginable, Cub fans remain loyal. I mean, what else are they gonna do? Right around the turn of the next century when they finally win another […]
My grandma got wrapped up in an illegal money-making scheme once. She started taping movies off TV, editing out the commercials, hand-labeling the VHS tapes, and selling them for $3 out of a cardboard box on her driveway. When I caught her, I quickly shut her new business venture down. Luckily, it's 2016 and none […]
It's a tale as old as time: some accountants are perverts. Back in 2011, Jr Deputy Accountant wrote about SEC accountants browsing through porn at work. A few weeks ago, Caleb brought you the story of the accounting trainee who sent abusive texts and photos depicting disturbing sex scenes. Etc. Etc. Etc. Today I decided […]
Maybe it's because I read a lot of "accountant embezzled funds" articles, but I'm increasingly disappointed in the spending habits of hapless accountants who help themselves to their employers money. The scheme hatched by your average embezzling accountant isn't often well thought out, so I'd expect them to make equally reckless purchases. Sadly, more often […]
California CPA Donald Gridiron was sentenced to 57 months in prison for stealing more than $4 million from a New Jersey church and another nonprofit where he served as treasurer. Gridiron was also ordered to pay $5.1 in restitution. Apparently this all happened when some friendly bets on the golf course spiraled into something slightly […]
Brad Harris, the founder and owner of Novus Health Care Services in Frisco, Texas, has been accused of some pretty terrible things in a FBI affidavit for a search warrant obtained by a local affiliate. Specifically, Harris allegedly instructed nurses to give hospice patients overdoses of medications like morphine to hasten their deaths: Harris, an […]
Cell phones, you may have noticed, are everywhere. The homeless even have them! You may have also noticed that people use them everywhere, too: while driving, on line at the grocery store, IN THE BATHROOM. It’s insufferable. One place where phones have become increasingly common is on public transit and, to put it mildly, this is an outrage and abomination.
This month in white-collar crime: Will you use your accounting skills for good or for evil? A new money-making scheme for all of usFun fact: in 1925, a scrap-metal dealer bought the Eiffel Tower from an Austro-Hungarian con-man named The Count. Instead of selling international landmarks to unsuspecting scrap dealers –- which I've considered and […]
James Hammes, who spent 6 years on the lam walking the Appalachian Trail, pleaded guilty earlier today to wire fraud. The judge warned him that she could impose a maximum sentence of up to 20 years, although his plea deal should result in less time. Either way, it'll be more than enough time for him […]
If you were a CPA who testified in the trial of two NYPD officers dubbed the "Mafia Cops," no one would doubt you if you said, "I could never ever, I will never ever, be a CPA again." After he was busted for stealing more than $5 million from his clients, New York accountant Stephen […]
During his sentencing for a slew of crimes related to his role in a tax-evasion scheme, accountant William Frio, "lost his footing and hit his head on the defense table." The judge dropped a 5-year prison trip on Frio and ordered him to pay $1.7 million in restitution for his misstep. [Philly.com]
Jack Weichman, CPA has been indicted on 34 criminal charges ranging from bank fraud to money laundering to filing false tax returns, among others. His attorney, for one, is flabbergasted by this situation: In a statement issued Thursday morning, Weichman's attorney, Theodore Poulos, said "we are deeply disappointed and, quite frankly, appalled that the government […]
Boonlomp Soonthornchai handled trustee, executor and accounting services as a partner at Yount, Hyde and Barbour in Middleburg, Virginia. In 2004, he began depositing client funds into his personal accounts, concealing the "the source of the money in his personal ledger." He then admitted to the embezzlement, "[w]hen confronted by firm board members and […]
An accountant in Syracuse was sentenced to 16 weekends in jail and 5 years of probation for stealing $44k from her employer. Syracuse.com reports that Kathleen M. DeFillippo aka Kathleen M. Rogowski will report to Onondage County Jail on Friday at 6 pm and be released on Sunday at 6 pm to serve out the sentence. I […]
Well, this lady is definitely going to have to find some other way to barter for honey buns and baby oil, as she won't be providing important financial services to fellow inmates any time soon: The Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Diego, North County Division, has granted the California Board […]
A Sunset Hills accounting business closed abruptly last week just days before the tax deadline. Its owner was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing $19,869 from a client. Mary Beth Gable, 55, owner of MEG Accounting and Tax Services at 10345 Watson Rd., pleaded guilty to the theft charge in February. Gable, of the […]
Leslie Lebel used to work in the finance department for the City of Bloomington, Illinois. After seven years on the job, during the time between September and December 2011, she allegedly embezzled $21,000 or so. She was arrested last week this allegedly sticky fingering and prosecutors shared the details in court this week: Lebel accessed […]
Why does Colin always assign me these creeper stories? Oh well. I don't know about anyone else but reading this gave me the creeps. Maybe because we had two creepy neighbors trying to mack on me when I was a nubile young middle schooler, though the one who drove a Camaro was pretty cool to […]
Generally speaking, accountants are in demand. So much so, perhaps, that prospective employers might overlook small details when hiring one, such as that accountant still being on probation for stealing from a former employer. That's exactly (allegedly) what happened with 39-year-old Michelle Hice. You see, Michelle was fired from a third-party accounting firm in October […]
In these troubled times, it makes sense to pinch pennies whenever possible. I managed to find an oil change place to regularly give me half off on my $90+ synthetic oil only service just by being charming, personable and – presumably – a chick. Some of us clip coupons. Others haggle (you guys should be […]
There are plenty of professional mentors out there for young accountants to look up to. Men and women of intelligence, integrity, work ethic, nice shoes, all that good stuff. After taking a look at this SEC Administrative Release, you can easily conclude that group does NOT include R. Jeffrey Rooks and another anonymous "accounting partner": […]
Try as you might, this will top everything you've done to be a deplorable member of the accounting brethren: [A]n accountant in Singapore refused to be associated with her mother even after her death all because of the S$2,000 [about $1,600 USD] in funeral expenses. The accountant, in her 30s, did not show up after learning […]
UPDATE: The Fairfield Citizen post now reports that the charges against Mr. Rosenberg have been dropped. The Fairfield Citizen reports that Stuart Rosenberg, 63, got a surprise package back in May: According to police, a package was sent by overnight priority mail to Rosenberg's office from Oregon. However, Rosenberg was away and instructed an employee […]
Shaun Horan is no Rita Crundwell (allegedly!): A former Oak Brook accountant stole nearly $300,000 from his employer by writing checks to himself over a five-year span, prosecutors said Wednesday. Shaun Horan, 31, of the 1600 block of Blackwell Lane in Aurora, appeared in DuPage County bond court on a felony theft charge. Horan is accused of […]
Joseph Traxler was the CFO of Centennial Mortgage and Funding Inc. in Bloomington. He helped run an $8 million fraud by misleading banks that allowed Centennial to obtain more loans. He also hid defaults and double-funded mortgages from lenders, as well as little check kiting in order to keep the business afloat (rather than enrich […]
Omaha accountant, Clarence "Fred" Weber appears to have a problem. First off, he was sending sexts to a 14 year-old and 13 year-old girl, "request[ing] naked photos of the girls, […] pictures of the girls partially clothed, [and] others centered on sexual activities." This, obviously, is disturbing, illegal, and completely unacceptable but secondly good God, […]
As professional capital market servants, you regularly purchase goods and services for business reasons. Airfare. Bic pens. Strippers. They all, at one time or another, have been purchased in the name of commerce. Unfortunately, what constitutes as a "business expense" is subject to wide interpretation. For example, a large elaborate lunch with various co-workers is […]
Tamara Tunie – aka the medical examiner in Law & Order SVU – lost well over $1 million when her business manager and accountant Joseph Cilibrasi stole her money that she earned from a long acting career. Now, I know what you're thinking, "She's on TV, she's got plenty of money." Well, yes, she is […]
Provident Capital Indemnity Ltd’s former outside auditor admitted in federal court this week to participating in a $670 million fraud in the life settlement bond market, according to the Department of Justice.
56-year-old Jorge Castillo pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride in Alexandria, Virginia, said in a call with reporters. He could face up to 20 years in prison.
Castillo admitted to conspiring with PCI president Minor Vargas Calvo to prepare false financial statements that reflected contracts PCI held with other reinsurance companies. Castillo admitted to prosecutors that he never audited PCI’s financial statements and that he was aware PCI did not actually enter into the contracts with other reinsurance companies listed on the company’s financials. PCI paid him about $84,000 from 2004 to 2010.
Castillo will be sentenced in a Richmond, VA federal court on May 22.
It would probably surprise no one that landscaping is hobby that many accountants are fond of. Or maybe it would. Whatever. The meticulousness of making sense of numbers seems to jive well with a finely manicured lawn, trees and bushes that adorn one’s property. Plus, the green thumb matches the eyeshade.
Anyway, putting all that time and energy into natural aesthetics could cause anyone to get a little possessive. If anyone so much as lays a finger on a single tree branch without permission, things could get ugly. To wit:
An accountant who allegedly left a former policeman bleeding and concussed in a brawl over hedge trimming before launching an expensive law suit has defended his response insisting: “It wasn’t just trimmed it was butchered”.
Now if that sounds like a bit of an overreaction, the accountant in question – Anthony Branson – claims that this incident was part of ‘extreme intimidation’ by his neighbors, the Marreros. Intimidation that was ultimately brought to a head:
The next day Mr Marrero, who had been away, sent family to attempt to finish off clipping the hedge, something Mr Branson said further antagonised the situation. He also claims he discovered the gates of the adjoining paddock, where he and his wife Corrinne keep around a dozen alpacas, left open, apparently deliberately.
Trimming a man’s bush without permission could be understandable. But dragging innocent, sometimes overly hairy, camelids into the situation? That just seems uncalled for.
Everybody admires a CPA who is willing to stand up to the IRS for a client. To a point.
A New York CPA went past that point, according to the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility. If the testimony of an IRS agent before an administrative law judge is to be believed, the CPA, George Diehl, is at least guilty of a social faux pas in a conversation with IRS Revenue Officer Miamouna Diakite when she refused to put a 45-day hold on collection of a client account.
From the ALJ opinion:
Diakite stated that Diehl refused to enter into an installment agreement. Diakite testified that he became irate and loud, saying that he had obtained holds on accounts routinely, and asked to speak to Diakite’s supervisor. Diakite told him that, pursuant to IRS procedure, her supervisor would call him within 24 hours. He insisted on talking to her supervisor immediately. Diakite then, also pursuant to protocol, told him that the account was then in “collection status” whereby the IRS “will” levy against Taxpayer 1’s bank account, garnish her salary and obtain liens on her real and personal property.
Diakite testified that Diehl became very upset and said “do you know what I do to people like you. I kill them.” Diakite replied “you don’t mean that, sir” and Diehl replied “I do. I do. I’ll kill you.” Diakite then sat at her desk repeating to herself aloud that Diehl said that he would kill her and he is in New York. She became frightened and then heard a male voice, not Diehl’s, saying “what are you doing?” and the phone was then disconnected.
The opinion never does say who the “male voice” belongs to. Somebody with better manners, perhaps.
The ALJ did believe the agent:
I find that Diehl threatened Diakite. His credibility was shaken by first stating that his words to her was that you are “killing me with your stupidity and then changing that testimony to state that you are “killing me with your bullshit.”
So for all of you aspiring CPAs out there, some lessons:
• Try not to let client tax matters get to a point where you have to argue on a hold for collection.
• Don’t threaten to kill the agents. They don’t like that, and it tends to make it more difficult to get them to help your client.
•Don’t be a pottymouth. That bad language completely blew it with that nice administrative law judge.
It really sucks when tragedy is caused by utter stupidity and that’s exactly what we have in the Chicago ‘burbs. Timothy Salvesen, an accountant from Wheaton, was charged with aggravated street racing and leaving the scene of a fatal crash in relation to an incident that occurred back in January.
Killed in the crash were 32-year-old Joseph Paliokaitis of North Aurora, who prosecutors said appeared to be racing with Salvesen as both drove west on Golf Road at speeds that two witnesses estimated at 80 to 90 mph.
The speed limit on that stretch of four-lane road was 55 mph, Assistant State’s Attorney during Salvesen’s bond hearing Tuesday.
As the two westbound lanes merged into one, Paliokaitis apparently lost control of his 2003 Jaguar and rolled into eastbound traffic, striking a 2001 Hyundai Tiburon head-on.
The crash killed its driver, 62-year-old Migdalia Bloch. of Hoffman Estates, who was on her way home from work, McCarthy said.
Salvesen’s attorney said his client, an accountant who has no prior criminal record, will fight the charges that could send him to prison for up to 15 years.
“It’s an unfortunate situation and Tim maintains his innocence,” defense attorney Henry Samuels said.
After poking around a bit, we found a Tim Salvesen on LinkedIn who is a Senior Audit Manager at KPMG and another Tim Salvesen on Facebook who lives in Barlett, IL (a town next to Wheaton) and lists “KPMG” on his networks but we have not confirmed that the “accountant” charged is the “auditor” we found online.
Messages left with a KPMG spokesman, Mr. Samuels, and Tim Salvesen in KPMG’s Chicago office have not been returned.
UPDATE: A couple more reports give us more details that indicate that Salvesen “accountant” is Salvesen “KPMG auditor.” First, the Tribune reports more details of the crash, saying it was “apparently impromptu […]as the men did not know each other.” It also states that Mr. Salvesen is “an ex-Marine” which matches the profile on LinkedIn.
But the mugshot from ABC7 may be the clincher:
This looks a lot like the guy on LinkedIn but now the photo from the profile no longer appears (it’s not just me, DWB confirmed). Regardless, it’s increasingly appears that Salvesen is Salvesen and since no one likes to return our phone calls, we’ll leave it up to you to decide.
37-year-old Wheaton accountant charged in drag-racing crash that killed two [CST]
Man charged with street-racing months after fatal crash [CT]
Accountant charged in drag racing crash that killed 2 [ABC7]
From the mailbag: “The author is a newly appointed manager and a certified d-bag. His email is serious.”
Hi Guys –
It has come to our attention that there are several people making animal noises around the office. I feel it shouldn’t need to be pointed out that this is not appropriate in the office and can be very uncomfortable/awkward for others. Aside from co-workers, we also have prospects, clients, recruits, etc. walking through the halls on a daily basis. Hearing animal sounds made toward each other does not give a good impression of [a firm who, we are told, is “über-sensitive”] and our abilities to those people. It also does not go unnoticed by partners/senior managers/managers.
Please be mindful of those that could be in your audience. Please see me if you have any concerns or questions.
Okay, team. Lots to discuss here aside from guessing the zoo where these beasts work.
1. I alluded to a noise from a cow, pig, chicken, or maybe even a llama but obviously there is room for other possibilities. Macaws? Beluga whales? Howler monkeys?
2. Are these noises mating calls, expressions of joy, or melancholic song?
3. If our barnyard animals guess is accurate, the firm should ask themselves: why would you hire Goat Boys in the first place?
4. If this some kind of involuntary function, how does one handle this appropriately without running aground of diversity issues?
5. Other thoughts, and obviously guesses to the firm, are welcome at this time.
In aren’t you glad these aren’t your internal controls news, former SDN Communications chief accountant Bradley Whitsell of Sioux Falls, SD pleaded guilty to mail fraud on Monday. The U.S. Attorney’s office states that 46-year-old Whitsell used his various oversight positions to embezzle more than $392,000 over a 10 year period beginning in 2000.
According to court documents, Whitsell used company accounts to pay his credit card bills and pay private school tuition. He also wrote checks to himself, redirected electronic payments to cover his expenses, created company checks on his office printer and requested reimbursement for expenses that already were paid by SDN to pay for various personal expenses, including a large landscaping project at his residence and his country club membership.
Whitsell used access to the company’s accounts payable system to change approved vendors’ names with his own, or with those of companies to which he owed money. He would then print out these checks on his office printer and change the names back to the appropriate vendor in the A/P system.
Whitsell could end up in prison for up to 20 years. He initially pleaded not guilty in June to one count each of Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud, each of which could potentially carry a 20 year sentence and a $250,000 fine. U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson states that Whitsell has agreed to pay back the $392,111.65 and will also cover the $84,000 cost of the audit that uncovered his theft.
SDN CEO Mark Shlanta stated officials started noticing “financial irregularities” connected to Whitsell last year, at which time he was put on administrative leave so the company could conduct a forensic audit and internal investigation. Whitsell resigned before the investigation began (hint: red flag). “It’s been embarrassing for me,” Shlanta said. “I’ve been saddened by the events. Really, I felt betrayed in this past year. Brad was someone I hired and trusted.”
The interesting part of this otherwise droll and useless story is that before the house of cards came crashing down all around him, Whitsell served on the City of Sioux Falls audit committee, not only as a member but as its chair.
Back in June, Sioux Falls Councilor Vernon Brown told one SD blogger that Brad Whitsell received high marks from committee members for his work on the Audit Committee in setting up internal controls for city government. Oh the irony.
Whitsell is currently free on bond and returns to court for sentencing November 7th.
Accounting professors can be a strange lot. This is known. Whether they’re getting ejected from basketball games, taking off their shirts for money or taking their pants for free, there is no shortage of curious behavior.
Then there’s the story of Kemp Shiffer, who was a part-time professor at the University of Nevada-Reno and IRS investigator. Prof Shiffer was arrested on August 3rd when he collected $400 from a 18 year-old prostitute:
The woman told police that before she began prostituting for Kemp Shiffer, he made her “try out” for the job by performing multiple sex acts on him, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Reno Justice Court to support his Aug. 3 arrest.
After Shiffer took the money from the 18-year-old Eureka, Calif., woman at the Peppermill Resort Casino Spa just before 10 p.m. Aug. 3, detectives of the regional Street Enforcement Team arrested him.
“He spontaneously stated ‘I am not a pimp. I didn’t collect her money as her pimp. I collected it to protect her,’” according to the affidavit filed last week against the 58-year-old.
Apparently this isn’t Shiffer’s first attempt at “protection” as the Reno Gazette-Journal also reports that he quit the IRS after an investigation into his attempt to use “his authority and his badge to secure women to work as prostitutes for him.”
The reader who pointed us to the story simply had this to say, “And he was my favorite accounting professor when I was in school… who knew?”
Hopefully none of your female classmates.
58-year-old Charles Shaffer has been ordered to serve two to four years in prison for stealing nearly $400,000 from his employer to fund a nine-year-long coke habit.
According to testimony, Shaffer stole $381,361 from telecommunications consulting firm Icore Inc. between 2001 and 2010 by writing checks to himself from a medical expense reimbursement employee fund.$381,361 over a nine year period really isn’t that bad of a cocaine habit, unless the guy was buying crap $20 grams from club kids. Think about it… if he was snorting up a really good gram a day at $100 a gram that’s $36,500 a year, but doesn’t take into account high-stress, high-use days like holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and yearly internal audits. Oh wait, obviously they didn’t care about that last one.
“He stole money from Icore, put it up his nose and Icore suffered the consequences,” said Lehigh County Judge Robert L. Steinberg in his decision.
The saddest part of this story (besides the part where the cokehead robs his employer for 9 years and no one seemed to notice) is that Shaffer’s actions very nearly caused the small company, which employs about 15, almost went under had they not had insurance and taken out a loan to stay afloat. “We came pretty close to shutting the doors,” said company VP Paul Kutches in testimony. “(Shaffer) was entrusted to make sure the finances were on the right path.” They were on the right path, alright, straight up his nose. “I would just hope this court imposes a sentence that reminds Mr. Shaffer of stabbing his friends in the back every day,” said Kutches when asked what sort of sentence he’d like to see his former employee receive in this case.
Shaffer started with the company in 1997, however company bank records only go back to 2001. Company officials first contacted investigators in June 2010 when they discovered missing money and Shaffer was arrested the following August. At that time, he signed over his $33,634 company retirement plan and forfeited his $80,000 a year salary.
Now that he’s off the powdered sauce, Shaffer is showing signs of regret for his actions. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel remorseful,” he told the judge.
Remember, kids: internal controls are an awesome, awesome thing.
Accountant gets prison for embezzling to buy drugs [Morning Call]
32-year-old Timothy David Rickman – accused of breaking into the home of ex-girlfriend Michelle Deak in January 2009, stabbing her in the head, burning her arm with a cigarette lighter and choking her, as well as hitting her 8-year-old daughter – has accepted a plea bargain in his bizarre case. Rickman will serve 60 days in jail, with 120 days of electronic monitoring after and 5 years of probation.
If Rickman violates his probation, he could serve at least four years in prison and up to six and a half years.
Rickman’s lawyer Bernard Condlin insists that accepting the plea does not translate into an admission of guilt for his client but states that Rickman takes responsibility for the charges and their consequences (er, isn’t that an admission of guilt?).
We were unable to find a record of Rickman in the North Carolina Board of Accountancy’s database, so it can be assumed he just wasn’t cut out to be a CPA. I guess that means the integrity of the profession isn’t at all dented by this little aggro freak show’s actions?
As far as embezzlements go, Gary Williams did all right for himself. As the CFO of Marian Gardens Tree Farm, he allegedly walked away with $15 million or so before he was convicted of tax evasion and mail fraud related to said allegations. He was pretty good at disposing of the money, as the Orlando Sentinel reports, “[he] spent $1,800 at John Craig Clothiers in Winter Park, treated himself to nearly $9,000 in Prada luggage and leather goods, and indulged in $15,000 in services at an exclusive resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.” Obviously this leaves $14 mil or so to throw around and it doesn’t appear that this was a problem:
[Prosecutor Mark] Simpson said Gary Williams, who had blamed cocaine addiction for influencing his behavior, drew a six-figure salary from his employers from 2002 through 2007 while he was embezzling millions, destroying business records and encumbering farm equipment for secret loans for personal use.
He made large withdrawals from company accounts, telling bank officials that it was for “employee bonuses.”
Simpson said Williams, who divorced his wife of 35 years and became estranged from his two children, lavished younger men with jewelry, luxury automobiles, Caribbean vacations and gifts that could not be recovered. “This was not just theft,” Simpson said. “This was financial rape.”
Drugs! Phony bonuses! Hot men in hot cars in hot locations probably having hot sex! This is the stuff that straight-to-DVD movies are made of! But unfortunately the victims in this case aren’t doing as well as they have seen a dime of the money that disappeared:
The Hillary family, which owns the farm and employed Williams for two decades, has yet to receive any restitution from its portly former chief financial officer. According to court documents and interviews with prosecutors, Williams blew hundreds of thousands of dollars at lavish resorts in San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, the Bahamas, Jamaica and the West Indies. He flew friends on chartered jets and helicopters; dined at five-star restaurants; hired a private chef; and partied at marquee nightclubs.
He explained frequent work absences by falsely claiming to have pancreatic cancer. His employers say they thought he was undergoing experimental treatments.
Williams did lose 100 pounds — but from gastric-bypass surgery, a farm executive said.
For whatever reason, the Sentinel felt it necessary to drag Williams’ big-bonededness into this story as it isn’t clear whether or not some of the loot was used to fund the surgery. At the very least, Williams, who is serving 12 years, can hopefully keep his figure in prison.
Jet-setting CFO gets dual terms for embezzling $15M at tree farm [Orlando Sentinel]
A Sydney accountant is set to plead guilty to defrauding her employer of $45 million [USD 47.9 million] before spending the money on several beachside apartments, champagne, diamond jewellery and Michael Jackson memorabilia.
Rajina Rita Subramaniam was working as a senior accountant with the financial group ING Australia in October 2009 when she was arrested for allegedly siphoning tens of millions of dollars from the company into a number of private accounts.
Police allege that a search of ING’s Kent Street office uncovered a cache of luxury items, including 600 pieces of jewellery from Tiffany & Co, Tag Heuer, Bulgari and Paspaley Pearls, 200 perfume and make-up items from Chanel and a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne.
Court told of $45m shopping spree [Sydney Morning Herald]
Where I come from, some of my friends had a saying, “There’s only one way to drive drunk…FAST!” Obviously this is dumb. Forget the fact that drinking and driving is dumb but exceeding the speed limit while drinking and driving is exponentially dumber. Inevitably this type of behavior will get you pulled over, at which point the opportunity for more dumb behavior presents itself. On the one hand you could simply jump out of the car, flee the scene, losing your shirt in the process because it will probably slow you down, only to be tackled, cuffed and babbling the Branded theme song in the back of a police cruiser. Another option would be to literally manifest the phrase “cop-slugging drunk.” And yet another option is to do what Alison Brookes did and opt for a more affectionate approach:
A driver who kissed a cop in a bid to avoid a parking ticket ended up losing her licence – after he smelled booze on her breath. Chartered accountant Alison Brookes, 51, planted the smacker on the police officer’s cheek after he spotted her parked on double yellow lines in Didsbury. But the officer got a whiff of alcohol – and arrested her. Brookes, of Fenwick Drive, Heaton Mersey, admitted drink driving and was banned for 14 months at Manchester Magistrates’ Court. Court chairman Stephen Terry told her: “Perhaps kissing the officer was a bit of a giveaway, but that’s by the by.”
The grand theft auto allegations stuck though.
Dykstra, 48, was charged with 25 misdemeanor and felony counts of grand theft auto, attempted grand theft auto, identity theft and other crimes, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. He faces up to 12 years in state prison if convicted.
His accountant and a friend were charged in connection with the alleged auto theft but not with drug crimes, Robison said.
Prosecutors contend that the three men tried to lease high-end cars from dealers this year by providing phony information and claiming credit through a phony business called Home Free Systems.
Two dealerships rejected the lease applications but a third allowed the men to drive off with three cars, according to a statement from the district attorney’s office.
Timothy Mask worked at Flint Hydrostatics for 25 years calling the company “a true blessing in my life.” Not an extraordinary statement, considering many people have strong feelings for the companies they serve but it’s possible that Mask felt that Flint was such a “blessing” because he spent the last twelve years allegedly “stealing” $1.2 million.
Things started unraveling when Tim up and resigned on May 5th, leaving his boss a Dear John letter of sorts:
“Effective immediately, I resign from Flint Hydrostatics, Inc.,” said the letter Timothy W. Mask left on the president’s desk.
“Flint has been a true blessing in my life,” wrote Mask, 46, of Corinth, Miss. “I will always cherish friendships that I have built and my fellow employees. It has just come time for me to move on to new endeavors.”
You see, Kevin Fienup, Flint’s director of business development and secretary, as well as the son of the company’s president, started looking into Mask’s old endeavors and found a number of checks that were made out to Mask and the company’s janitor. Allegedly, Mask would have his assistant cut checks to the janitor (or Mask if the janitor wasn’t available) who would cash them and then place the cash in a locked drawer in Mask’s office. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Fineup “left his office door open and had documents on his desk about the irregular transactions the night before Mask resigned.” One might conclude that Tim saw said documents, figured the jig was up and sat down to write his heartfelt letter.
As for his “new endeavors” it appears that Mask may have been trying to make a break for it, as the Appeal also reports that he had a “two-week vacation to Hawaii” scheduled to start yesterday, had recently sent mail to a passport processing center and had started transferring $200,000 from his 401k. But instead he got arrested which probably kinda threw a wrench into his plans.
Stephen Siddell’s dishonesty led to 16 people losing their jobs while he and his wife, Louise Siddell, took luxury foreign holidays. They even posted photographs of their stay in a six bedroom villa in Cyprus on Facebook boasting, “because we’re worth it”. Liverpool Crown Court heard the couple had lock-up garage in Bromborough, which was an “Aladdin’s cave” full of their expensive furniture and designer goods. 24-year-old Louise Siddell had also used their ill-gotten gains to pay for jewellery and breast enhancement. [Wirral Globe]
Today in doing a disservice to accountants everywhere, Matthew Benjamin Mundy, a double-entry maven in Australia, was fined $500 for accidentally hitting an off-duty federal police officer with an egg.
Apparently MBM was attempting to hit his friend with the ellipsoidal embryo container, missed, and hit the officer who was sitting at a café. Accidents happen but Mundy’s employer better hope his professional misfires are far less material. [ABC]
Mark Schreiber, a former controller of fitness guru Tony Little’s business empire, has been accused of embezzling nearly $600k by forging Little’s signature. Apparently Schreiber was involved in some “online horse wagering” which must not have gone too well since he ended up…stealing money (allegedly).
According to T. Little’s lawyer, Latour “L.T.” Lafferty, the $600k is pocket change to his client but he’ll be damned if they aren’t going to pursue every means necessary to get every cent back:
“We’re certainly going to pursue any legal avenues to recover every cent that was taken from Mr. Little,” said his attorney, Latour “L.T.” Lafferty. “It doesn’t impact the financial well-being of Mr. Little. But certainly it’s a significant blow and a serious breach of Mr. Schreiber’s place as controller of his business operations.”
Since TL is a man of health and fitness and not of numbers, it’s not surprising that he’s found himself in this conundrum but he did have his suspicions:
Little realized something was amiss last year, according to court records, when he moved to fire Schreiber as a controller overseeing his Pinellas Park companies’ finances. He was dissatisfied with Schreiber, records show. He set up a July 27, 2010, meeting.
But before they could meet, Schreiber sent an e-mail: “I quit.”
After Little’s new accountant had been poking around for awhile, it was pretty obvious things weren’t kosher. They called in a forensic expert who discovered that 152 checks were drawn over 11 months to the sum of $583,379.
Right now the “degenerate gambler” motive seems to be the most plausible scenario, although it’s entirely possible that Mr Schreiber was sick with jealousy over the sexual tension between Little and his infomercial leading lady, Darla Haun. We’ve presented some footage that will likely be introduced into evidence during Schreiber’s trial:
In aren’t-you-glad-this-isn’t-you news, an Oregon accounting director has been indicted on one count of criminally negligent homicide and one count of failure to perform the duties of a driver when a person is killed.
On January 26, Les Schwab Tire Center Director of Accounting Bret Lee Biedscheid, 38, allegedly hit Anthony Martin, 48, around 11 pm while Martin was crossing the street on his bicycle. The grand jury made their determination based on witness testimony and videotape evidence.
Two days after the incident, Biedscheid’s lawyer contacted police and surrendered the 2008 GMC pickup matching the description of the truck involved in the crash.
Bend, Oregon police later served search warrants on Biedscheid’s house and seized computers, cell phones, GPS devices and other items. “I feel like if it had been myself or anyone else, we would have already been arrested just on the evidence that they already had,” said the victim’s sister.
Biedscheid has not been arrested and is scheduled to be arranged Thursday morning.
Slow down out there when you’re heading home from ANO, kids.
Michael Grossbach is taking it out on the help.
Michael Grossbach, 32, surrendered himself to police when he learned of his impending arrest for allegedly assaulting his office assistant on March 5, police said.
“Apparently there was an argument and he lunged at her, grabbing her hand forcefully,” said Sergeant Michael Buck of Irvington Police. “There were injuries, but nothing serious.”
Sergeant Michael Foley arrested the Garrison resident for having illegal physical contact with his 31-year-old employee at his accounting firm at 106 North Broadway. The defendant was charged with assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor. According to police, if convicted he is facing anything from a fine to one year in prison.
Question for the group: what could have been going on in this woman/accountant’s life that caused her to do the following?
An accountant drove into a bin man ‘in a rage’ after his lorry blocked the road, a court heard. Frances Henshaw, 43, was alleged to have snarled ‘like a rabid dog’ when she got stuck behind the wagon. She was hauled before the courts after bin man Craig Kelly claimed he was hit by her car as she forced her way through a tiny gap. Henshaw was found guilty of driving without due care and attention, leaving the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident.
We’ve come across a fair share of accountants that resemble a rabid dog (i.e. crazy eyes, violent biting, uncontrollable drooling) so that description is certainly believable but she does fall back on the passive nature of a many a beancounter:
She said: “They’d done a few clumps of bins and they’d made no effort to let me past. I felt there should have been an occasion where they acknowledged my presence. “I wasn’t shouting. I never shout at anyone. I avoid confrontation as a general rule. I would have stopped if I had hit someone. It’s just not something that’s in my nature to do, it’s incredulous to me.”
Remember this guy?
If you recall, Hector Sanchez swiped $40k from his church to spend in “casinos and restaurants” which is arguably the lamest thing you could do with forty large of a God’s money. What about spending it on a facial to soften that nice bone structure? Yeesh.
Forensic experts have determined the identity of the suicide bomber who killed himself and 36 other people at Domodedovo airport – an accounting student from the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia, Moscow media reports said Friday. The forensic researchers, going by DNA evidence taken from the scene, identified the bomber as a 20-year-old who apparently was ‘pumped full’ of drugs before he carried out the January 24 attack.
For Michelle Lynn Shelton, who is accused of taking $760k of her employer’s money, the answer is “NOT LONG!”
Detectives launched their investigation in December after another accountant, who was filling in while Shelton was away from work, discovered the apparent transfer of a large amount of money between two personal bank accounts, police said. Police said the company conducted an audit and contacted police. Shelton started working for the company in June 2007 and the evidence suggested she began diverting funds two months later, police said.
Everyone, at some point in their life, has suffered the humiliation of making a move only to be rejected with extreme prejudice. As humbling as an experience as this is, being “showered with chappals” may be the greatest humiliation to be suffered by a man in pursuit of a woman we’ve ever heard. And naturally, this dolt was an accountant.
The woman had applied for a grant under the government’s Ashraya plan and she needed a certificate of caste to be submitted to the tahsildar. Initially Shivananda (32), the village accountant of Kavoor, refused to issue it since she originally hailed from Birur in Chikmagalur district. In the meantime, he had obtained her mobile number on the pretext of keeping her informed about the progress of the file.
But soon after, he reportedly started sending her obscene messages and later on started calling her again and again. He promised to get her a 5-cent land in Falnir in the heart of the city, provided she made some ‘adjustment’ with him. Not understanding the purport of ‘adjustment’ she sought clarification. At that point, he is said to have explicitly sought sexual favours from her.
So we envision the scenario this way: Village accountant-cum-idiot goes with, “Hey, this is an easily solvable problem but an adjustment needs to be made with me.” The woman, being completely confused, asks him to elaborate to which replies with the BJ hand gesture, or the old pointer finger through the fist routine. Then:
Declining to make any adjustment, she went home and complained to her husband, who sought help from Dalit organizations, who gathered proof by getting the messages he sent and calls made recorded. They set a trap for him and got the woman to ‘invite’ him home. When he arrived at the appointed time, he was caught hold of by the Dalit activists and handed over to the police.
But before doing that, many of them, men and women, beat him up with chappals several times over. Shivananda told the media that he had only come to check the house to verify and he had been framed. But he had no answer when asked if he had visited any other houses to verify the caste and also as why he was not carrying the relevant file when he came to visit the woman’s home.
As you might expect, it doesn’t have a happy ending.
Police say a Pueblo accountant suspected of setting fire to his ex-wife’s home committed suicide during a brief standoff with authorities outside of Truth or Consequences, N.M.
Pueblo Police Sgt. Mark Duran says 50-year-old Myron Todd Thomas immediately became a suspect in an arson fire early Tuesday at his ex-wife’s home. Police issued an alert to law enforcement in New Mexico and elsewhere.
Sierra County (New Mexico) sheriff’s deputies and New Mexico police contacted Thomas north of Truth or Consequences, about 380 miles south of Pueblo Tuesday afternoon.
The snatch and grab and burn technique isn’t the most sophisticated plan we’ve read about but we are talking about a man who is an accountant first (we’re guessing a very bad one) and an extremely dimwitted criminal second:
An accountant faces seven years in jail after a court convicted him yesterday of deliberately setting fire to Dh250,000 in cash and stealing a similar amount from the taxi company where he worked.
Why this particular accountant-cum-thief decided half the money wasn’t worth his trouble is unclear but what is CRYSTAL is that setting the remainder on fire was the equivalent of writing “I’M EMBEZZLING FUNDS” with a Sharpie™ across the cash ledger.
According to the arraignment sheet, prosecutors said [the accused] deliberately set fire to the money bag which contained Dh500,000. He burned Dh250,000 and stole the rest.
He was also charged with causing intentional damage and financial loss to the company. The company’s Indian manager testified that one of the employees informed him over the phone that the accounting office was on fire.
“I rushed to the company’s premises to check what happened. We had left nearly half a million dirhams in a money bag which we kept inside a wooden cupboard. The money was our drivers’ daily revenues. I discovered that half of the money got stolen and the remaining half was burned,” the manager told prosecutors.
But to be fair to our asshat accountant du jour, “a money bag which we kept inside a wooden cupboard” isn’t the most secure internal control procedure we’ve ever heard of. Let this be a lesson.
Golf is probably the furthest thing from most of your minds right now because a) it’s somewhere between 0 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside or b) you hate golf. For the latter, you can continue reading in so you may engage in laughing and pointing. For the former, despite it being the offseason in most parts of this fair land, a report from the Manchester Evening News should cause you to temper down your love for a
good walk nice spin in a cart spoiled.
A golf fanatic accountant who stole thousands from his employers and then funnelled it into his ailing club has been jailed. David Beech, 59, showed a ‘bizarre misplaced sense of loyalty’, when he siphoned over £70,000 from his bosses into struggling Oldham Golf Club, where he was treasurer.
But Beech, of Holly Grove, Chadderton, was rumbled when a company auditor went through the books. He pleaded guilty straight away and repaid £51,262 of the cash back although £19,300 was still unaccounted for, Sheffield Crown Court heard. At court it also emerged he received an 18-month suspended sentence 23 years ago for stealing from another employer. Defending, Robert Smith said Beech had demonstrated a “bizarre, strange, misplaced sense of loyalty” to the golf club. “It had a negative impact on the club in that they were under a false impression as to their own finances,” he said
Typical reaction of the members:
From John Veihmeyer’s favorite local broadsheet, the South Bend Tribune:
A local certified public accountant has been arraigned in Berrien County Trial Court in St. Joseph in connection with the alleged embezzlement of nearly $100,000 from a trust fund.
As for the how and the why:
Officers said the funds allegedly were taken from the trust fund account of Winifred Lentz around the time of Lentz’s death in 2005. Falsified documents were used to disguise where the money actually went, police said
They said Barnes used the money to carpet his home and purchase Euros during a period when he took a cruise. He also allegedly took more than $45,000 to pay off a personal loan.
Shocking development out of Pakistan as an accountant has died from a heart attack after allegations of corruption were brought against him. Judging by the complete omission of anything to the contrary, a predator drone does not appear to be involved in any way shape or form.
An accountant of a school in Pakistan’s Multan city suffered a heart attack and died after the teaching staff levelled corruption allegations against him and the principal.
Ehsan Ghauri, chief accountant of the Multan Public School, died Monday following a heart attack after the teaching staff, during a protest demonstration, charged him and the principal with corruption, Dawn reported Tuesday.
In the Old Empire, if you’re busted driving over 100 mph, you’re supposed to lose your license. Apparently there is an unwritten exception to this rule that says if you’re soon-to-be married and the bride WILL NOT STAND FOR IT, you get a pass.
Exhibit A: Christopher Bidgood, 32 an accountant from “Martham near Great Yarmouth” was stopped after going 110 and “weaving in and out of traffic.” Not the first time he had a run-in over his lead foot:
Bidgood of Martham near Great Yarmouth had faced a driving ban of up to 56 days after he admitted breaking the 70mph limit at 7.47pm on September 3.
Right, then. Bidgood’s attorney, knowing full well that his client is dumber than a sack of hammers, pulled the only card he thought he could play:
Tim Carey, defending, said Bidgood, had already faced the “displeasure” of his bride Amanda due to the risk of a ban ruining their honeymoon.
Describing his client’s behaviour behind the wheel, Mr Carey told the bench: “Sir, he has been a complete idiot – an idiot of the first order.”
But a “hardworking and honest” idiot, according to his co-workers, which may have helped his case as well.
Wehmhoff “did not set out to commit tax fraud for Tom Petters, but slowly became aware of it, then did nothing to halt it, and eventually was right in the middle of it, preparing and filing returns he knew to be false,” the government attorneys wrote. Prosecutors also called attention to Wehmhoff’s otherwise “unblemished” professional history and “striking” remorse. [MSPBJ]
An accountant for a Jersey City church was arrested today on charges he swindled the house of worship out of more than $40,000 by pocketing tax payments and spending some of the money in casinos and restaurants, officials said.
“A bond of trust has allegedly been broken with these parishioners,” said Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio of the charges against Hector L. Sanchez, 59, of Jersey City.
The accountant for the Fountain of Salvation Christian Church on Communipaw Avenue was arrested in South Orange this morning and charged with theft by failure to make required disposition, DeFazio said.
Wouldn’t think it to look at the guy.
E&Y auditors investigated over Lehman Brothers [Accountancy Age]
“The Accountancy and Actuarial Discipline Board (AADB) has begun an investigation of E&Y in its role in reporting to the FSA on audit client Lehman Brothers International Europe’s compliance with the authority’s client asset rules, which govern the protection of client money.”
And since they were on a roll, the AADB is also investigating PwC for its role in J.P. Morgan’s misuse of client assets.
Study Finds the Mortgage Interest Deduction to be Ineffective at Increasing Owner ef=”http://www.taxfoundation.org/blog/show/26762.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+TaxPolicyBlog+(Tax+Foundation+-+Tax+Foundation’s+%22Tax+Policy+Blog%22)”>Tax Foundation]
“Proponents for the MID often offer the justification that it increases homeownership rates, which they say has positive benefits for society. But most economists seriously question the benefits of MID and many believe homeownership is greatly over-subsidized.”
Visa, MasterCard Antitrust Decision by U.S. Said to Be Near [Bloomberg]
“The U.S. Justice Department may decide as early as this week how to resolve its two-year antitrust probe of merchant restrictions imposed by Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and American Express Co., three people briefed on the matter said.
The department still hasn’t decided whether it can reach a deal with the three biggest U.S. payment networks or challenge their policies in court, one of the people said. The department likely will file a lawsuit, and MasterCard and Visa are expected to settle, people familiar with the matter said.
The talks focus on rules that bar merchants from charging extra to customers who use credit cards and steering them to competing cards, and require retailers to accept every type of card banks issue, said the people, who requested anonymity because the discussions are private. The department is leaning toward allowing the companies to maintain prohibitions against surcharging, two of the people said.”
Will KPMG Ever Wake Up and Finally Learn Its Lesson after Being Duped into Completing Crazy Eddie’s Audits Too Early Twenty Three Years Ago? [White Collar Fraud]
Today’s lesson in duping auditors – Sam Antar explains exactly how he fooled KPMG (then Peat Markwick Main) into signing off on incomplete audits back in the 80s.
PwC takes $26.6bn in global revenues [Accountancy Age]
Thanks to the miracle of rounding, $26.6 billion puts P. Dubs in a tie with Deloitte for largest firm in terms of revenues, who reported the same number last month. This obviously will not stand and we will investigate the matter further to the appropriate number of significant digits to determine who the top dog is.
Citi says CEO, CFO “rebutted” Mayo’s criticisms in meeting [Reuters]
On Friday, banking analyst Mike Mayo met with Citi execs including CEO Vikram Pandit and CFO John Gerspach and they discussed, among other things, why Citi hasn’t been writing down their DTAs. Citi says that successfully rebutted the Mayo Man who is issuing a report today with his thoughts on the sit-down.
Accountant gets year-and-a-day in Petters scam [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
“Harold Katz, the hedge fund accountant who doctored financial statements to hide the Petters Ponzi scheme from investors, was sentenced Friday to 366 days in prison after apologizing to family, friends and investors.
Katz, 43, will be eligible for parole in about 10 1/2 months. He was sentenced for conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
‘I made a colossal error in judgment,’ Katz told U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle. ‘I hope I can use this horrific experience to help others not make the same mistakes as I have.’
Katz created false financial statements at the behest of Gregory Bell, manager of Lancelot Investment Management, a Chicago-area hedge fund, to mislead investors about the stability of Petters Co. Inc., which was defaulting on various promissory notes as its decadelong Ponzi scheme unraveled in 2008. Katz also assisted Bell in making phony banking transactions with Petters Co. Inc. to make it appear the Petters Co. was paying off notes it owed to Lancelot.”
“Wally” Bock isn’t sure what you want from him, MSNBC, New York Post, Daily News et al. He’s trying to run a half billion dollar fortune of a lady who doesn’t want to leave the friendly confines of Beth Israel Hospital.
He can’t be bothered with trivial matters like whether Irving Kamsler pleaded guilty to sending porn to adolescent girls. And besides! It wasn’t even his call.
In his statement to appease the haters, Bock wrote, “I was never in any position to fire Mr. Kamsler; that decision was Ms. Clark’s alone. I did insist that he disclose his conviction to Ms. Clark, which I understood he did.”
How about that for an awkward conversation? It’s not like going door to door in North Hollywood telling everyone you’re a pederast but explaining to a 100+ woman that you sent porn to some teenage girls might make for a few uncomfortable silences. But Bock claims Clark was cool with it, so you best not get all judgey about it.
Plus, he got to keep his CPA. Although the past has show that the New York Office of Professional Discipline isn’t really too concerned with timely action.
It’s September, you guys are wearing my ass out with these 2011 questions and really I haven’t heard from very many of you lately so I guess that means you’ve got your heads buried in FAR. So I’m pretty much done for awhile unless you come up with some pressing issues that you need addressed. If you do, let me know. Otherwise let’s go back to one of my very favorite CPA exam items ever, the Ethical Craiglister.
Rest assured this person posted in 2002 so A) hopefully they’ve brushed up on their ethics, especially if they did end up scoring someone to help and B) the exam is now computerized, locked-down and way more monitored than it was back when this idiot posted on Craigslist for someone to take the ethics exam for him.
I think it’s the “serious replies only” that I really love about it. Like he expected to get flash and comment letters about what a disgrace to the profession he is.
I need someone to take CPA Ethics test for me
Date: 2002-01-03, 10:08PM PST
Local CPA candidate has no time to study; will PAY you to take the ethics exam for me! Serious replies, only. You must have passed test in California within last two years.
Hey, if you see this, please get in touch with me and let me know how that worked out. I’m really fucking curious to see how your life ended up after you were unleashed on public accounting.
Numbers Cop: FASB Staffer a Leading Candidate for Board [WSJ]
“The foundation that oversees the Financial Accounting Standards Board is considering Russell Golden, the board’s technical director, for the board post, these people said, although they cautioned that no final decision has been made. The chairman’s position would remain unfilled, they said, noting that the search process for a new chairman is at an early stage.
A spokesman for FASB declined to comment. Mr. Golden couldn’t be reached to comment.
The foundation has leaned toward an internal candidate because it would allow FASB to largely continue its work uninterrupted ts at the end of the month. Mr. Golden already is involved with the board’s many projects.”
U.S. Companies Added 67,000 Jobs in August [Bloomberg]
“Companies in the U.S. added more jobs than forecast in August, easing concern the economy was falling back into recession.
Private payrolls that exclude government agencies climbed 67,000, after a revised 107,000 increase in July that was more than initially estimated, Labor Department figures in Washington showed today. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a gain of 40,000. Overall employment fell 54,000 for a second month and the unemployment rate rose to 9.6 percent as more people entered the labor force.”
Tax-fraud conviction voided because judge didn’t stop trial to let defendant go to son’s deathbed [Los Angeles Times]
“A federal judge’s refusal to halt a businessman’s tax-fraud trial so he could be at his son’s deathbed was cause to overturn the businessman’s conviction, an appeals court has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer also prejudiced the case against Garth Kloehn by failing to inform the jury that he was absent for the final day of trial because his son had died, the appeals panel said. Fischer told the jury that Kloehn “has a right not to be here,” possibly leaving jurors with the impression he was showing a lack of respect for the court, the judges said.
Kloehn was the sole defense witness in his 2005 trial in downtown Los Angeles on charges of failing to report $1.2 million in income. He left the courtroom after testifying to catch a flight to Las Vegas to see his cancer-stricken son, leaving no one to rebut the prosecution’s final testimony. Kloehn arrived at the Las Vegas hospital one hour before 45-year-old Kevin Kloehn died.”
Transparency and the I.R.S. [NYT]
Someone – namely Christopher Bergin, the publisher of Tax Analysts – isn’t convinced that the IRS is serious about transparency. So much so, he wrote the Times and they seemed impressed so they published his letter.
Europe greenlights US audit inspections [Accountancy Age]
“S audit regulators will be able to inspect European firms after the European Commission cleared the way for access to confidential papers, in a move which could allow Lehman Brothers investigators to follow up leads in London.
The European Commission said it will now share internal working documents with audit watchdogs in the US and Australia. The move breaks an impasse which had emerged between US and EU authorities over the sharing of confidential internal audit inspection papers, retained by regulators when they inspect audit firms.”
Better accounting for small businesses [WaPo]
Another letter to the editor, this time pointing out that small businesses shouldn’t be complaining about issuing 1099s to vendors if they have any semblance of an accounting system.
Accountant arrested for scalping U.S. Open tickets had 339 spots to sell worth $10,000: Prosecutors [NYDN]
For some reason, Marvin Schaffer had 28 parking permits for Jets games.
Tom Boniface Joins PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in New York as Co-Leader of Indirect Tax Practice [PR Newswire]
“PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announced today that Tom Boniface has joined the firm as co-leader of PwC’s Indirect Tax practice, focusing on value added taxes (VAT) and based in the New York office.
Boniface is well versed in the various indirect tax regimes around the world, such as European VAT, Canadian and Australian GST, Brazilian ICMS and Japanese consumption tax. He brings over 15 years of experience serving U.S.-headquartered Fortune 100 and middle-market companies.
Boniface, who most recently led the consumption practice at another major accounting firm, has a B.S. in Accounting from the State University of New York at Oswego. He is a Certified Public Accountant in New York State.”
Tax Profs for the Ground Zero Mosque [TaxProf Blog]
“While the First Amendment is directed at government interference with speech, press and religion, it exists to guard against the danger that an angry and fearful majority will undermine those cherished rights. Thus even in the absence of government interference, it is incumbent upon us to stand with those seeking to exercise those rights in the face of heated public opposition. Unfortunately, with the notable exception of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, there have been few profiles in courage on this issue”
Young Women’s Pay Exceeds Male Peers’ [WSJ]
“The earning power of young single women has surpassed that of their male peers in metropolitan areas around the U.S., a shift that is being driven by the growing ranks of women who attend college and move on to high-earning jobs.
In 2008, single, childless women between ages 22 and 30 were earning more than their male counterparts in most U.S. cities, with incomes that were 8% greater on average, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data released Wednesday by Reach Advisors, a consumer-research firm in Slingerlands, N.Y.
The trend was first identified several years ago in the country’s biggest cities, but has broadened out to smaller locales and across more industries. Beyond major cities such as San Francisco and New York, the income imbalance is pronounced in blue-collar hubs and the fast-growing metro areas that have large immigrant populations.”
Burger King to be bought out at $24/share – CNBC [MarketWatch]
Whopperland’s stock is up 20% on the news that private equity shop 3G will shell out $24 a share.
KB Home says SEC investigation over [Los Angeles Times]
“Shares of Los Angeles-based KB Home soared on Wednesday after the home builder said an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into the company’s accounting and disclosure procedures had concluded and no enforcement action would be taken.
The company said in a statement Wednesday that it had received a letter from the commission closing the investigation, which began in October. Details of the inquiry weren’t disclosed. KB Home closed at $11.45, up $1.14, or 11%.
‘We are glad to share with our investors and employees that the matter is now behind us, as we continue to focus on restoring the sustained profitability of our home building operations and generating future growth’ KB Home Chief Executive Jeffrey Mezger said.”
Heiress’ shady visitor [NYP]
“An accountant being investigated for his handling of 104-year-old Huguette Clark’s vast fortune has visited the hospitalized heiress in the past several days trying to get her to sign legal documents, The Post has learned.
Sources said they did not know if the accountant — convicted sex offender Irving Kamsler — obtained Clark’s signature on the documents after going to see her at Beth Israel Medical Center, but speculated that those files include a last will for the copper heiress.”
Bloomberg Stands By “Cowboy” Remark in State Cigarette Tax Dispute with Seneca Tribe [Tax Foundation]
Hizzoner isn’t apologizing to the Seneca Tribe after suggesting Governor David Paterson get a ‘cowboy hat and a shotgun’ to enforce New York’s cigarette tax. The Seneca Tribe wants an apology. Bloomy says it isn’t happening.
SEC sues ex-Dell accountants over fraud [Reuters]
“The U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission on Friday sued two former top accountants of Dell Inc for manipulating financial statements to meet Wall Street earnings targets between 2001 to 2003.
The regulator said in its suit, filed at the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, that former Chief Accounting Officer Robert Davis, and former Assistant Controller Randall Imhoff had maintained a number of ‘cookie jar’ reserves — an improper accounting method in a bid to cover shortfalls in Dell’s operating results.
The SEC said the improper accounting led to Dell having to restate all its financial statements from 20 g>Mosque big owes 224G tax [NYP]
“Sharif El-Gamal, the leading organizer behind the mosque and community center near Ground Zero, owes $224,270.77 in back property tax on the site, city records show.
El-Gamal’s company, 45 Park Place Partners, failed to pay its half-yearly bills in January and July, according to the city Finance Department.
The delinquency is a possible violation of El-Gamal’s lease with Con Edison, which owns half of the proposed building site on Park Place. El-Gamal owns the other half but must pay taxes on the entire parcel.”
States See Pickup in Tax Revenue [WSJ]
“Overall tax revenue increased 2.2% in 47 states that have reported their receipts for the three months ended June 30, compared with the same period a year ago, according to a report to be released Monday by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York.
This marks the second quarter in a row of recovering tax collections—and follows five quarters of declines in revenue that hammered local-government budgets. The latest figures are still a mixed bag: Some states continue to see declining revenue, but those were offset by states that saw increases.”
KPMG Accounting Malpractice Verdict Affirmed but $38 Million Damage Award Vacated [Law.com]
Is this what you call a lose/win?
Relax! Iowa Is Funding Hollywood Again [Tax Update Blog]
That is a relief. But Joe Kristan reminds us how things went the first time around, “The film program collapsed in scandal last fall, and the film office director and two filmmakers face criminal charges. Iowa is on the hook for $200 million for credits already committed — about $66 per Iowan. ”
An S.B.A. Loan Program Goes Quietly [You’re the Boss/NYT]
The Small Business Administration’s America’s Recovery Capital Loan program (“ARC”) is being shut down just after a year in operation. At the outset, the 10,000 that were going to made available was thought to be too small. As of August 20th, the program had made less than 8,300 loans and it will be lucky if it reaches 9,000 by the time it expires next month.
Starting a new school year [Accounting Professor]
Fans of Professor David Albrecht has started a new blog; this is the first post.
Obama’s Tax Reform Panel: A Missed Opportunity [TaxVox]
“The paper, approved by the panel this afternoon, is filled with lots of useful information about our flawed tax system but leads nowhere. There are no recommendations. No revenue estimates. And no ownership by President Obama, even though he picked the panel’s members and staffed it with White House aides.
As a result, this report is a huge missed opportunity. Obama might have used this exercise to jump-start a debate over fundamental tax reform. Instead, the report does nothing to fill the policy vacuum that is being filled by an argument over what to do about the decade-old Bush tax cuts.”
[caption id="attachment_16785" align="alignright" width="260" caption="He's a pervert, dude"][/caption]
Maybe! That’s what the Manhattan’s DA office would like to know.
In a story that Dick Wolf is certain to get ahold of, an accountant – who is admitted perv – and a lawyer are being “probed” for their management of a wealthy heiress’s fortune.
You see, Irving Kamsler – the accountant – apparently got bored managing multi-millions for copper heiress Huguette Clark and got to poking around on the Internet. He ended up pleading guilty in 2008 and was sentenced to probation, “for engaging in sexual Web chats with detectives whom he believed were girls as young as 13 and sending porn to one of them,” (plot-line twist!).
Presumably Kamsler was out of hobbies and he refocused his energy on managing the money of Ms. Clark.
Kamsler, along with Clark’s attorney, Wallace Bock, have been overlooking the heiress’s fortune for years but now the Manhattan District Attorney’s office was curious why the “elderly eccentric” had spent ‘forever’ (according to one aide) at Beth Israel hospital.
This all came about after MSNBC got to wondering aloud about Huguette’s whereabouts. More or less asking, “Why on Earth is she in a dingy hospital (have you been to Beth Israel?) and not in her 42-room 5th Ave. apartment or sprawling estates in Santa Barbara or Connecticut?”
The DA’s probe into whether Kamsler and Bock were properly managing Clark’s money is ongoing but if you’re going by Kamsler’s looks alone, you can easily conclude that they’ve got every reason to be suspicious.
PwC To Provide Up To $12.5M To JPMorgan For FSA Fine [Dow Jones]
“J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) disclosed in a regulatory filing Friday that PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP agreed to provide up to an aggregate of $12.5 million to the bank related to a fine J.P. Morgan had to pay to the U.K. Financial Services Authority.”
Late Ponzi schemer’s accountant surrenders license [Nashville Business Journal]
This accountant managed to surrender his CPA in just under four months for his role in a Ponzi scheme. Dave Friehling had to be stripped of his license nearly 9 months after pleading guilty. NY DoE should get with Tennessee and see how they do things.
IRS to stay at new Austin site after plane crash [AP]
“An Internal Revenue Service office will not return to the Texas building where a tax protester killed himself by crashing his plane into the structure.
IRS spokeswoman Lea Crusberg said Thursday that the agency has signed a two-year lease on another office space in Austin. She declined to identify the location.”
Senate Democrats Propose Scaling Back IRS Reporting Law [WSJ]
“The Nelson proposal would exempt from the reporting rules firms with fewer than 25 employees. For larger businesses, it would require information returns only in cases where payments to a single vendor exceeded $5,000 in a given year—down from $600 in the health-care law.”
Richtermeyer to Chair Management Accountants [Web CPA]
“The Institute of Management Accountants has named accounting professor Sandra Richtermeyer as the chair of its board of directors for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
Richtermeyer, who also chairs the Department of Accountancy in the Williams College of Business at Xavier University in Cincinnati, is only the fourth woman ever to hold the position of IMA chair since the organization’s inception in 1919.”
BKD looks to grow health care practice with purchase of Grant Thornton team [Wichita Business Journal (partial subscription required)]
According to the message sent from Stephen Chipman, that we reported on at the end of July, this is the final transition that Grant Thornton will be making. What happens from here is anyone’s guess.
Unless you were born blind and deaf, you may have noticed that South Florida has its share of shady characters. We all know that Berns Madoff frequented the area. Plus there’s the obsessively dapper Lew Freeman, who was Miami’s go-to forensic accountant until he thought he’d just keep his client’s money.
Another model citizen/criminal in FLA is Scott Rothstein. His Ponzi Scheme managed to bring in just over $1 billion and he got 50 years for his trouble. But now the fallout from Rothstein’s little stunt is now raining hell on Miami accounting firm Berenfeld Spritzer Schechter & Sheer.
The trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler has accused Berenfeld, et al. of funneling $450 million to Rothstein.
As you can imagine, the crew over at BSS&S aren’t thrilled with the accusations and called the suit, “inaccurate and flawed,” and claim that they “conducted [our] duties professionally, conscientiously and in good faith.”
Well, the trustee obviously doesn’t see things that way and laid out several allegations, specifically, the following:
• Berenfeld improperly adjusted RRA’s income by $20 million in 2007 and by $75 million in 2008.
• Berenfeld withheld information from RRA President Stuart Rosenfeldt (who has claimed he had no knowledge of firm finances and couldn’t read a balance sheet).
• Berenfeld prepared tax returns in a way that did not distinguish between RRA operating cash and client trust funds, giving the misimpression that RRA had more available cash than it actually owned.
• Berenfeld did not pursue information about bookkeeping after RRA staff – including CFO Irene Stay and COO Debra Villegas – denied access to information about bank statements, fee income and trust accounts.
• Berenfeld “knew of wildly inaccurate RRA bookkeeping and inadequate accounting personnel evidenced by the way in which books and records were created and maintained, leading to extraordinary adjustments, tantamount to rewriting the books and records of RRA.”
• Berenfeld provided a “nebulous” letter to Rothstein to help cover up $15 million in suspicious transactions in response to an anti-money laundering compliance inquiry from Gibraltar Bank.
Now, we’ve heard that law firms aren’t the best when it comes to running their businesses, but ‘wildly inaccurate bookkeeping and inadequate accounting personnel’ that leads to ‘extraordinary adjustments, tantamount to rewriting the books,’ takes things to a whole new level. Berenfeld employee
TerryTracy Weintraub gets special attention in the suit, so we can presume he’s the one responsible for knowing – and not being too concerned – about RRA’s exceptionally shitty books. Oops!
In a formality that serves as the proverbial cherry to achieving his “Worst Auditor Ever” status, David Friehling was officially stripped of his CPA by the New York Department of Education.
The Office of Professional Discipline voted on July 19th to take away the most coveted letters in the accounting profession from the convicted “auditor.” LoHud quotes part of the decision issued by the state, “When each opinion was issued (Friehling) knew that no audit or any examination had been conducted of said financial statements.”
Obviously the OPD made the right decision here but it begs the question: what the hell took so long? Call us impatient or simply devoid of tolerance for a slow moving bureaucracy but it’s not like this one was a toss-up. Do these Professional Discipline folks only meet semi-annually? Were the waiting out the possibility of SCOTUS overruling the conviction a la Andersen?
But never mind that. Friehling has to be devastated with this latest setback. All that studying for nothing! He took the written CPA exam, people. Some of you are familiar with that particular bit of torture but for you younger CPAs, believe us when we tell you that it’s no picnic.
Plus, that CPA jail-tattoo he was looking forward to getting on his neck simply won’t have the same meaning.
Not that it’s impossible for an accountant to score a trophy wife – a former Scores Dancer, no less – but observers of accountant/business manager-cum-Ponzi Schemer du jour (allegedly!), Kenneth I. Starr are pretty confident that it was a decent sign of things going in the wrong direction.
Vanity Fair’s article on “not that Ken Starr” gets a lot of perspective from people that knew Starr, including Blackstone co-founder, Pete Peterson, ” Did something in the way of a profound midlife crisis trigger this behavior?”
But of course, there are people that are more forthright:
Like a Greek chorus, his shocked clients pointed as one to the lavishly endowed Diane, for whom, the indictment notes, Starr purchased more than $400,000 of jewelry from bling jeweler to the rap world Jacob Arabo. “When your business manager marries a stripper,” says one rueful client, “that’s a tell.”
All The Best Victims [Vanity Fair]
This is understandable. We know a few people that have been accused of being “angry” when, in fact, they are just being “loud.”
Negros Occidental Provincial Accountant Merly Fortu denied on Sunday that she acted with arrogance and hostility when she met with the elected provincial government officials on July 1.
Fortu, who faced administrative charges for grave misconduct and gross insubordination for allegedly shouting at elected provincial government officials during the meeting, explained that her normal speaking voice was “a little bit louder” than others.
It is similar (albeit the opposite) to having shy/asshole confusion.
Back in fall we mentioned a run-of-the-mill whore-supporting accountant that pleaded guilty to ripping off Toys R Us to the tune £3.7 million. Paul Hopes is described as a ‘Walter Mitty character’ by the Telegraph who can now fantasize about what Oz character he is, now that he’s spending 7 years in prison.
Hopes got more bad news recently as he learned that he has to repay £3.36 million of the £3.68 million from Geoffrey.
If he fails to repay the money, he see his sentence more than doubled with an extra 10 years in prison.
The court heard that Hopes, an “accounts payable manager” at the retailer, diverted regular instalments of £300,000 to an account of a fictitious toy manufacturer which he controlled.
He named the fund Dunbar Associates after a prostitute with whom he had become besotted and to whom he eventually handed a total of more than £1.5 million pounds.
He spent at least £2.4 million of the money he stole on five female escorts in all.
That’s a bitch about the additional 10 years if doesn’t repay. But we’re sure that he placed the remaining £900k into a safe, no-load mutual fund so he’ll be able to at start paying at least part of it back ASAP. The sensible accountant in him had to have made one decision with stolen money.
As for the rest of it, we don’t know how successful Johns are at getting refunds in circumstances such as these but if those girls were 100% satisfaction guaranteed, he’ll have to explore other options.
We don’t mean to crush anyone’s dreams of walk-offs or eating disorders but sometimes when you’re not sure if things are working out in your modeling career, you have to be able to recognize the signs when they appear.
One sure sign that you won’t be America’s Next Top Model (or the person fetching ANTM’s rice crackers) is that you find yourself claiming to have earned $550,000 working for an “environmental group” and then requesting a $200,000 refund for that “work”:
Nyemah Johnson, who models under the name Nyemah Marxx, falsely claimed he made $550,000 working for an environmental group and was entitled to the six-figure refund, prosecutors said.
He was one of five people arrested last week in a $1.1 million tax scheme that prosecutors said was led by Queens accountant Diana Rabin.
The bright side, of course, is that there is no such thing as bad publicity and assuming Mr Marxx has access to something a step above a public defender, he’ll manage to stay out of jail for too long and maybe then he’ll be able to land the “shirtless bro” gig outside the A&F.
Many of you probably consider yourself to be ambitious. You have aspirations of riches and success in the field of accounting that the likes of Arthur Andersen dared not dream of. You’re a game changer. The profession won’t be the same after you’re done with it.
But Yasith Chhun of Long Beach, CA could not be satisfied with simple pleasures like titles such as Partner or CFO and fabulous wealth simply would not be enough. His life goals were far more lofty than a simple title, salary or home with a three-car garage on a golf course. This was about a revolution!
A California accountant was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday in Los Angeles for orchestrating a failed attempt to overthrow the Cambodian government in 2000.
Yasith Chhun, of Long Beach, was found guilty in 2008 of three counts of conspiracy and one count of engaging in a military expedition against a nation with which the United States is at peace.
Chhun is a U.S. citizen of Cambodian descent who helped lead a handful of rebel fighters in an attack of government buildings in the country’s capital of Phnom Penh. Three of the fighters were killed, and several police and military officers were injured.
Prosecutors said Chhun planned the coup over two years, traveled to the region to assemble a rebel force and held fundraisers for the operation.
So unless you’re willing to engage in guerrilla tactics in order to topple an entire nation that’s friendly with the U.S., we don’t ever want to hear about your career path.
Regardless of how easy it is for accountants to steal money (access, signatory responsibilities and such) one would think that if you intended on getting away with it that you might go to a wee bit of trouble to cover your tracks. Shamelessly making photocopies for personal matters is one thing, cutting checks to yourself are entirely another:
Between October 2, 2003 and September 20, 2007, [Todd Newman], a Certified Public Accountant with offices in Yonkers and New York City, was the Secretary/Treasurer and a signatory on the payroll of B. Schoenberg and Company, a recycler of plastics and engineering resins located in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
He stole in excess of $1,900,000.00 (1.9 million dollars) from his employer by writing checks to himself.
Newman also failed to file Personal Income Tax returns with the State of New York for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007, for a total tax liability of $133,158.
Christ man! Set up a phony LLC, open some bank accounts, get a P.O. Box. Something.
We realize that hardly any of you will be able to relate to this story but we’ll present it as a point of reference in case you know of anyone that gets jammed up in the future.
David Innes, 42, was fired from his job at Scottish and Southern Energy after TPTB decided that he was spending a little too much time surfing the web. In their words, a ‘ridiculous amount of time.’ And to get an idea of ridiculous, 27,500 website hits was the magic number.
This is quite a jump over the 16,000 hits that an SEC accountant spent looking at porn. This randy ne’er do well managed to keep his/her job as well as the other porn junkies. If you make the assumption that Innes had a SEC-esque porn habit, that still leaves a lot of surfing to be done.
Regardless, it’s safe to assume that somewhere in between 16,000 and 27,500 hits (presumably in a month) lies the threshold of you being thrown out on your ass.
However, a Glasgow tribunal found that Scottish and Southern didn’t really have a frame of reference for “a ridiculous amount of time” since David Pratt, the man who fired Innes, “made no attempt to obtain advice from the respondent’s IT department. His view was essentially that he was faced with this enormous report and this therefore showed an extraordinary amount of internet usage.”
In other words, a “ridiculous amount of time” is subjective, as is “a lot of time,” “quite a bit of time,” or “a metric ass-ton of time.” And even if you do reach your own perceived level of unacceptable web surfing volume, you still better check with the IT boys to see what their opinion on hella-web surfing is before you go firing people like Steinbrenner.
Meanwhile, for you do-nothings out there, it appears that your time wasted at work surfing the web can easily be defended, although you can safely assume that if you wade into the NSFW waters, your chances of survival are slim.
The Diebold CFO, controller and Director of Corporate Accounting had a fairly standard routine back from 2002 to 2007 – 1) get daily “flash reports” 2) look at BS estimates that analysts came up with 3) cook up some ideas for meeting those estimates 4) make up the numbers.
Pretty standard stuff, especially if you buy the idea that “legally cooking the books is a critical skill for attracting investors.”
The SEC presented the accounting hocus-pocus earlier today:
The SEC alleges that Diebold’s financial management received “flash reports” — sometimes on a daily basis — comparing the company’s actual earnings to analyst earnings forecasts. Diebold’s financial management prepared “opportunity lists” of ways to close the gap between the company’s actual financial results and analyst forecasts. Many of the opportunities on these lists were fraudulent accounting transactions designed to improperly recognize revenue or otherwise inflate Diebold’s financial performance.
Among the fraudulent accounting practices used to inflate earnings and meet forecasts were:
• Improper use of “bill and hold” accounting.
• Recognition of revenue on a lease agreement subject to a side buy-back agreement.
• Manipulating reserves and accruals.
• Improperly delaying and capitalizing expenses.
• Writing up the value of used inventory.
Gotta give yourself some options, amiright? Can’t just simply rely on channel stuffing!
But in all seriousness, if you’re a top financial executive at a company and part of your daily routine is finding ways to increase profitability through accounting manipulation, at some point you’d have to think to yourself, “This is one shitty business we’re running.”
Sure, NYU has produced lots of fancy-pants tax lawyers. And many high-powered big-school tax accountants haunt the cubicles of the Final Four accounting firms. But if driving the IRS to distraction is a mark of tax distinction, an obscure Kansas City attorney/CPA, formerly of Grant Thornton and Coopers and Lybrand, is a true tax all-star.
Or was. A federal judge this week made it inconvenient for GT alum Allen R. Davison to pursue his tax practice by enjoining him from marketing some of his most creative ideas:
Davison is hereby enjoined from organizing, establishing, promoting, selling, offering for sale or helping to organize, establish, promote, se any tax plan, as addressed herein, involving sham parallel C management companies, sham 412(i) plans, sham flock contracts or any other illegal tax scheme, plan, or device, even if not specifically addressed herein. Additionally, Davison shall not organize, establish, promote, sell, offer for sale or assist in any financial or tax related arrangement without submitting in writing to an IRS designee, a detailed plan explaining the financial or tax arrangement and all steps necessary for the arrangement to be legal under the tax code.
That would all be rather inconvenient for a practitioner. Why are the feds so down on Mr. Davison? From the injunction order:
Davison’s numerous, complex, ever-changing, tax-fraud schemes and his deliberate efforts to disguise his true involvement in the promotion of these tax-fraud schemes have required the IRS to expend a “staggering” amount of resources on discovering and combating these schemes. If this outlay of resources continues – and it almost certainly will continue in the absence of an injunction barring Davison from offering tax advice without significant restraint, then these resources will not be available to service honest tax paying Americans. Nor will these resources be available to investigate other promoters of tax-fraud schemes.
What were these “schemes”? Some of them used “management fees” to shift income from taxable businesses to sham S corporations owned by tax-exempt ESOPs or Roth IRAs. Others involved improper pension plans. But good old Midwestern farm ingenuity was behind what may be his most creative plan:
Davison drafts purported flock contracts for his clients. (Tr. 398:21-399:4). He argues that by executing these agreements, his clients become farmers, who are eligible to claim deductions for the cost of purchasing a flock of layer hens during the tax year in which that cost is incurred, pursuant to Revenue Ruling 60-191. (Tr. 412:10-20; PX 165). That revenue ruling provides “that farmers employing the cash method of accounting may deduct the cost of baby chicks and egg laying hens in the year of payment therefor, provided such method is consistently followed and clearly reflects income.”
The judge found that Mr. Davison has an overly-inclusive view of what “farming” means. The judge said that a guy with dirty boots who actually fed and raised chicks might be a farmer, but a “self-employed insurance salesman,” for example, who loaned money to a real farmer, did not.
There are many fascinating threads here, but let’s just hit three for now:
• Mr. Davison began selling many of these ideas while working for Grant Thornton, and according to the court order, marketed them through a network of CPA firms set up by GT alums. Networking pays!
• The elaborate system of preparer registration, testing and continuing education that IRS Commissioner Shulman is ramming through will spend enormous resources making honest and competent preparers jump through hoops; they would have done nothing to stop Mr. Davison. Shulman’s plan will spend money on driving honest preparers crazy with paperwork rather than chasing scammers.
• The cash-basis chicken flock technique that is outrageous for an insurance salesman is hunky-dory when done by a wealthy farmer. Because America Needs Farmers!
When an airport is closed due to inclement weather, most people just shrug and realize that there’s nothing they can do about it. Oh sure, there might be a few lunatics who will yell at the ticket agent because they’ve somehow concluded that they have the ability to ring up the Almighty and put in a rush order of clearing skies but most people have the self control to internalize this.
In the case of Paul Chambers, an accountant in the UK, it wasn’t so much a ticket agent but his Twitter followers who heard his frustration. Chamber was understandably concerned that he wasn’t going to get laid due to Robin Hood Airport being closed this past January after a snowstorm. Chambers claimed that he Tweeted the following…
“C—! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your sh– together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!”
…out of frustration because he was scheduled to fly to Belfast to meet Crazy Colours, whom he had met on Twitter. Prior to the C U Next Tuesday message, he had Tweeted to Crazy Colours, “I was thinking that if it does I’ve decided that I’m going to resort to terrorism,” presumably referring to another snowstorm that could potentially delay is upcoming travels.
Anyhoo, the Tweet was discovered by a Robin Hood Airport employee who was compelled to report the threat to authorities. Naturally this led to seven hours of questioning, the loss of his job, and a ban from the airport for life (later rescinded).
The judge ruled that the Tweet was ”of a menacing nature in the context of the times in which we live.” Chambers was fined approximately $1,500 and naturally, took to the Twittersphere with his thoughts on the matter:
Late on Friday, two men were charged with conspiring to support al-Qaida, including a former senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, according to the AP.
Wesam El-Hanafi a computer engineer, and Sabirhan Hasanoff, the former P. Dub SM, were both in court on Friday after being arrested overseas and returned to the United States from Dubai.
The AP reports that the “vaguely-worded” indictment states that El-Hanafi was instructed by al-Qaida “on operational security measures and directed him to perform tasks for al-Qaida” and that Hasanoff was paid $50,000 by an unnamed co-conspirator and was ordered to perform unspecified tasks for AQ in New York.
The U.S. Attorney was quoted that the two men are accused of helping “to modernize al-Qaida by providing computer systems expertise and other goods and services,” which involved purchasing seven Casio watches (?).
Prosecutors described Hasanoff only as a dual citizen of the United States and Australia who has lived in Brooklyn. Public records show he has a Queens address and is a certified public accountant.
A professional networking site says a Sabir Hasanoff was a senior manager at Pricewaterhouse Coopers who graduated from Baruch College in Manhattan. Pricewaterhouse spokesman Kelly Howard said the accounting firm employed Hasanoff from 2003 to 2006.
This LinkedIn profile shows the details reported by the AP. A call to PwC was not immediately returned.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Hasanoff’s brother and sister-in-law had not spoken to him in 12 years, “No, he was never in trouble. I don’t know what’s happened now. He studied at a private school. Maybe he has changed. I don’t know if he’s a good person or a bad person because we haven’t been connected now for a long time.”
We’re not insinuating that his time at PwC was the reason for his lifestyle change but three years at any Big 4 firm would change anybody. That being said, turning to terrorism is deplorable. Couldn’t he have developed a dependancy problem of some kind instead?
I know, I had to read it twice. First of all, millionaire accountant?! Second of all, the guy was ancient and probably hasn’t calculated depreciation since 1971. Whatever, he was depreciating some hot assets and I guess that’s all that matters.
Here’s the sitch:
Millionaire UK accountant Peter Rust is being sued by both the wife and the mistress as they apparently both share a piece of his £3.2million [$4.86 million US] property portfolio. What kind of firm did this guy work for amassing a portfolio like that?! Patricia Rust (the 58 year old wife who has stood by his side for 40 years, even through jailtime Peter served for money laundering) and Virginia Madden (the 38 year old mistress who claims dibs on some of his property) are both claiming that part of Rust’s assets are theirs and theirs alone.
The problem is that he didn’t exactly tell his estranged wife that he was going to get some property with the new chick. Oops. The Daily Mail has the scoop:
In a statement provided to the court, Mr Rust said that in 2000 he and his wife agreed to start investing in property – using joint funds – even though they had separated.
“Although we were living apart at this time, Pat agreed I could do this providing she had an equal share in the properties,” he said.
But he added: “But I did not tell Pat that I intended to buy these properties in the joint names of myself and Ginny Madden.”
Listen, dude, you need to read a book on keeping mistresses. Property?! Come on, everyone knows you are supposed to rent them a pad or maybe get taxpayers to pay for it or claim nonprofit status to house the hoes at your “church”, whatever, you don’t actually buy property with her.
Anyway, as if it couldn’t get worse, Madden was paid over the years as “stable girl” with investment income from the properties (and, presumably, action from Mr Rust but there is not IASB guidance on how to classify affairs in the books and records) and claims a 50% share on five homes. Mrs. Rust claims 50% rights to her house and 6 others.
Dick Jenkins is a bad, bad tax accountant; the Justice Department says so.
“Given the sheer brazenness of Jenkins’s conduct, he is essentially stealing … from the U.S. Treasury,” said U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball, who entered the civil injuction against him last week. Jenkins was accused of filing $393 million in fraudulent tax refunds, including a single $210 million dollar refund for one customer and $402,920 for himself that he didn’t have coming (I don’t care how good you think you are at deductions, that’s BS).
Jenkins was not barred by the court from doing taxes forever because he screwed his clients (they received $294,292 in fake refunds) but because “Jenkins’s conduct results in irreparable harm to the United States.” You heard right, the Salt Lake Federal Court is pissed because he tried to remove $393 million from the Treasury through tax fraud, who cares about the clients?
Maybe this is what the PCAOB was talking about when they mentioned unusual transactions without giving specifics. I’d say it qualifies.
Since we’ve been out of the number crunching biz on a day to day basis, our reaction to the 16,000 attempts by an SEC accountant to access porn was simply, “Holy shit, that’s a lot.”
Thankfully, we still have plenty of friends that still burn up the 10-key calcs and we got a drop from one of them a little while ago:
I did [a] calc on that accountant that viewed porn sites up to 16,000 in one month. He was averaging 725x per day (including weekends). That is impressive. I don’t think I can hit 725 times in a year (and I don’t even have a girlfriend), let alone one month.
UPDATE: Our stupid friend is obviously rusty on the calc (they’re no longer in public accounting) and we’ve been re-informed by said friend that 725x is based on 22 workdays (i.e. not including weekends).
Even more importantly, how many accountants out there double-checked this pre-update calc and then failed to get all self-righteous about it?
Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, the bar has been raised in the wasting time department. Granted this accountant was wasting everyone’s tax dollars while those of you in public accounting are wasting your clients’ dollars but these porn surfing numbers are no doubt a challenge worth accepting. Go forth.
UBS to Pay $217 Million to Settle HealthSouth Case [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
After the better part of a decade, Ernst & Young has finally settled with the bondholders of inpatient service provider HealthSouth. Bloomberg is reporting that the firm agreed to pay the Company’s bondholders $33.5 million after settling with shareholders last year for $109 million. HealthSouths’ investment bank, UBS settled with shareholders and bondholders for $117 million and $100 million respectively.
The $2.7 billion fraud resulted in guilty pleas from 15 executives, including five former CFOs but an acquittal of CEO Richard Scrushy. Scrushy managed to wind up in prison on bribery charges instead and is currently serving 6 years and 10 months. As is typical in these matters, both UBS and E&Y ponied up yet denied any wrongdoing.
GOP ramps up attacks on SEC over porn surfing [AP]
The official SEC porn report has been leaked and some interesting things that are new include:
• One guy had so much porn on his computer that he had to bring in CDs and DVDs to help expand the collection. He thought it wise to keep these at the office.
• “An accountant” was blocked from accessing sites 16,000 times yet still amassed a “collection of ‘very graphic’ material on his hard drive by using Google images to bypass the SEC’s internal filter.” He refused to ” testify in his defense” and was suspended for fourteen days.
• Seventeen employees were “at a senior level” with the highest salary reported over $222k.
Darrell Issa (R-CA) is not amused by this porn bonanza, saying, “[it is] disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at porn than taking action to help stave off the events that put our nation’s economy on the brink of collapse,” according to the AP. Based on this response, it wouldn’t be surprising to find Issa ensnarled in a porn scandal of his own before this year’s election.
Best accounting rules are not enough [FT]
A reader responded to the epic article published by the Financial Times, raising the notion that “one set of high quality accounting standards” will not solve the world’s problems.
Those who prepare and use accounts very often have a different perspective on accounting questions from accountants as such, whether or not they have had an accounting qualification in the past…
[T]he report on Lehman explicitly did not address the question of accounting arbitrage. This was because Lehman used an accounting rule to disguise from the markets the weaknesses in the balance sheet in a way which, as the examiner reported, was invalid even if the rule itself was completely valid in all jurisdictions.
This points to the fact that the best accounting rules possible are not enough – the financial reporting chain has other links: corporate governance, auditing and regulation.
B-squared alleges that the accountant was arrested for “and pled guilty to crimes related to misappropriating the funds of clients.” The Boz’s claims that his former agent, Gary Wichard, was getting a cut of the earnings from the investments that the accountant, Judd Rothman was putting his Bozness into.
While a couple of business savvy types taking advantage of an athlete is nothing new, this may be the first case that we can remember where we feel it’s totally justified based on past hairstyle mistakes.
• Should the IRS Fill Out Our Tax Returns? [TaxVox]
Some say, YES! At the very least the Service could get the ball rolling, “by filling in your wage income, exemptions, and standard deduction and perhaps even figuring some other deductions and credits. This…could be a huge benefit for those who file Forms 1040A and 1040EZ.” Naturally, the taxpayer has to approve the return prior the actual “filing” of it but this would potentially assist millions of Americans who are otherwise stumped by 1040s of any stripe.
The other side of this argument is that it will delay refunds:
Bob Weinberger, a senior fellow at the Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security and a former top executive at the tax prep firm H&R Block. Bob counters that the “fatal flaw” of such a system is that it could delay refunds for months. For many taxpayers, Bob argues, getting a check from IRS in April is a key to their annual financial planning, and postponing that refund would generate a huge backlash. Bob also said such a system would be a huge drain on IRS resources.
While this likely true, the root of the problem is the “check from the IRS is key to financial planning” part. If these people need the money so bad, they should adjust their withholding so they don’t pay in so much during the year. Perhaps that’s not an easy concept to grasp, so if we say “You’re giving the government an interest-free loan for 12 months,” that will help.
• HK charges KPMG man with bribery [FT]
Leung Sze-chit, a senior manager in the Hong Kong office, has been arrested on corruption charges after offering a co-worker a $12,280 bribe related to a client’s IPO. The FT reports that the firm learned of the situation via its internal hotline, “After investigation, the member of staff in question was suspended by KPMG and a report was then made . . . to the relevant authorities.” So yes, to answer some of you, people do call those internal hotlines.
• CFO Job Options Opening Up [FINS]
After hunkering down for the last couple of years or so, CFOs are starting to see some new job options. FINS reports that “Some felt loyalty to organizations in financial straits, while others hesitated to jump given uncertainty about potential landmines at other companies.” Now that growth is slowly creeping back, “some companies are likely to find they need a different type of executive in the role. And some CFOs may even find themselves in line for positions higher up the corporate ladder.”
In blatant-misuse-of-the-corporate-credit-card news, a former Deloitte “trainee/student” (let’s assume an intern, shall we?) has admitted to racking up over £8,800 in gambling debt on his Deloitte issued credit card.
Umar Qureshi, using his Deloitte laptop no less, managed to lose the money in just a couple of months, October and November of 2008. At that point, Qureshi, rather than admit to being a horrendous gambler, lied about the charges, telling Deloitte that they were fraudulent. Depending on when this particular lie took place, he only managed to keep a straight face, at the most, for two months, as Deloitte terminated his contract in January of ’09.
Which is understandable. Gambling can be nerve-racking on its own but losing your ass on the Corporate Card has got to be a real pant-crapper. This makes for the second Big 4 degenerate loser to make headlines this year in the UK. Back in February, a ex-KPMGer really was rolling, slamming over £25,000 on his expense report.
Accountancy Age reports that the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (“ICAEW”), “ordered that the defendant cease to be a provisional member and be ineligible for re-registration for six months, and that he be severely reprimanded.” As we mentioned in the KPMG case, we’re not sure what a “reprimand” entails but a weeklong diversity training with Barry Salzberg could be a possibility.
Luckily, for Qureshi a relative was kind enough to pay the debt owed to Deloitte, who must have really wanted the money back. It’s just principle.
Former Deloitte student admits £8k bill from online gambling [Accountancy Age]
Let it be known that if you are peddling porn and engaged in online pimping, you do not want the SEC on your back.
WebCPA reports that Stephen Corso of Las Vegas and Brian Rabinovitz of Oak Park, CA got the SEC smack down in a Nevada federal court for filing materially false and misleading financial statements from 1999 – 2002 (that’s quite a backlog) and that audit staff – under the boys’ supervision – omitted important info and violated the sanctity of auditor independence during audits of Exotics.com
While the enforcement doesn’t go into specifics, we’re happy to. Exotics.com bills itself as the world’s premiere source for – wait for it – beautiful female adult entertainers. Not to be outdone, Exotics also boasts a veritable cornucopia of escort options including “BDSM & fetish providers, exotic dancers, strippers, sensual and erotic massage specialists, TSTV and other adult entertainment.” It’s that “other that really scares me. Self-billed as the Quicker Pecker Upper (kid you not), the site headline right around the time the SEC brought the heat was “Better than Wives, Girlfriends, and Porn” – and apparently above performing audits according to GAAS?
So, who wants to wildly speculate as to how audit staff violated auditor independence?
[T]he accountants fraudulently participated in audits of Exotics-Nevada’s year-end financial statements and in a review of its quarterly financial statements and failed to conduct those engagements in accordance with GAAS, as required. The Commission also alleges in its complaint that, among other things, the accountants prepared or created many of Exotics-Nevada’s books and records and then audited the financial statements they created. According to the complaint, they also caused their firms to issue false audit reports which, together with the underlying financial statements, were incorporated in Exotics-Nevada’s public filings with the Commission.
Now listen, little auditors, you don’t shit where you live and you don’t audit your own statements. Audit sampling? I could see how it would be hard to resist in this particular instance.
[caption id="attachment_3471" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Hi. I\'m Sue and I\'m a shopaholic "][/caption]
It’s been nearly three weeks since we last picked up the Koss/Sue Sachdeva beat, when we told you about Michael Koss resigning as the audit committee chair of Strattec Security Corp. At that time, Strattec had also elected to give Grant Thornton the boot as its auditor.
Over the weekend, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posted a lengthy-ish piece on the “relaxed oversight and lax controls” as the opportunity for the chronic shop ’til you dropper Sue Sachdeva to make off with $31 million. These particular issues (i.e. incestuous management and virtually no internal controls) are a matter of record although it’s interesting to note the new details that come to light.
The article mentions how Michael Koss managed to “serve” in five executive roles at the company: vice chairman, chief executive officer, chief operating officer, president and chief financial officer. PLUS, the aforementioned audit committee chairmanship at Strattec.
Now, we’re not entirely sure what the responsibilities would be for each of the positions at Koss but at a regular company, one of these jobs would result in some or possibly all of the following: insomnia, workaholism, a drug problem, an ugly divorce. Throw in the responsibilities of an audit committee chairmanship and one would assume that Michael Koss walked across Lake Michigan to get to work.
Oh, and just so you’re aware, the Journal Sentinel brings up that MK was an anthropology major. You may have some opinions about that.
The JS also spoke to one of the women that was fired along with Suze, Tracy Malone, who “still speaks highly of the company, although it fired her and objected to her claim for unemployment compensation.” Koss fired Malone because they allege that she “she knew of the misappropriation of funds but failed to report it to superiors.” Ms Malone’s attorney has stated these allegations are false.
So hang on a minute. Your lawyer says you were fired under “false allegations”, the company rejects your claim for unemployment comp, and you still speak highly of said company? Yeesh, have some self-respect lady.
Theft at Koss blamed on relaxed attitude, lax oversight [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
A friend of GC recently made mention of the number of people belly aching about busy season in the filterless universe of Facebook. Yes, we realize this is a shock.
Granted, kvetching about your job is a God-given right but at what point is someone just asking to get their ass thrown out? While “experts” are constantly telling you to “be careful about what you post online,” that seems to be overblown because we’re hearing and seeing people hating their jobs out in the open with no discernible repercussions.
God knows there were status updates from E&Y people re: lack of hoops during the Lehman talk.
Case in point, our friend shared this recent status update with us:
“stock options, fraud interviews, preferred equity accounting…my job is sexy.”
Now maybe this isn’t a “get your shit and get the hell out” offense but accountants have proven to be an easily rankled bunch and if the right person were to read this update, there at least might be a frank discussion about this. It’s become obvious that someone at all the major firms is doing nothing but snooping around the Internet, doing nothing but reading employee complaints.
And maybe we’re premature on this issue. Busy season, while winding down, is still going on and warm bodies are still needed, so some gnashing of teeth on FB might be tolerable.
Maybe this is an unwritten rule in the industry that has evolved with the popularity of Facebook. We ignore your rants for all the world to hear, we take pieces of your soul, one busy season at at time.