Determined to steal the crown from public accounting’s reigning fuck-ups (that’s EY for those of you out of the loop), a group of former KPMGers are doing their best to bring shame upon their former firm now that news of their “boys’ night out” shenanigans has reached the unwashed masses. And they have the Australian Financial […]
Greensboro, NC-based Bernard Robinson and Co. holds an annual End of Busy Season party just like many firms do with food, an open bar and even an awards ceremony. With awards like "Longest Internship… Ever" and "Most Likely To Drink Coffee By the Keg" given out at the event, the firm is clearly not taking […]
As you might expect, TMZ has the scoop and it quotes a number of artists who are currently considering tips for strippers as a legit deduction and therefore a serious tax strategy. And who doesn't love creative tax planning? But how might they rationalize this idea? Well, Bizzy Bone considers these young ladies to be […]
In an ongoing battle to prove that taking your clothes off for money is not only a dramatic, artistic performance but one that should not be subject to the state rules of revenue that apply to far less artistic venues like amusement parks, Albany strip club Nite Moves has lost its appeal in New York's […]
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 […]
A tipster clues us in to the wild world of one small oil boomtown in North Dakota that’s going to need some pretty open-minded tax pros in town if things keep up:
Forget Vegas. Strippers are discovering they can make ten times as much dancing in the oil boomtown of Williston, N.D.
Thousands of men have come here seeking high-paying jobs working for the oil companies. And, at the end of the day (or four or five days when they’re working on a rig), many of them are looking for some female companionship at one of the town’s two strip club’s [sic], Whispers or Heartbreakers.
Word has gotten out about just how much money can be made dancing in Williston’s strip clubs. The money is phenomenal, but the competition is stiff.
Whispers has received applications from exotic dancers in Hawaii, Alaska, even the Czech Republic and Germany, said Melissa Slapnicka, the co-owner of the club. She’s been bombarded with so many applications that she only gives each dancer a week to try out. If they don’t work out, they don’t come back, she said.
According to the article, one 36-year-old stripper (uhh…) who has traveled to Williston for dancing work over the last few years now finds herself making $2000 – $3000 in a single night. I don’t expect you guys to know this but that’s a lot of money for a stripper to make in a single evening.
Even on a slow night, Slapnicka says her girls are bringing home $1500.
Assuming her girls are 1099 employees, looks like there might be an opening for a qualified tax professional willing to help these successful strippers ensure their tax house is in order. Especially now that they’ve been featured in a major media outlet, you can rest assured the Shulman Army has been dispatched to keep an eye on their gains.
Paging The Tax Domme!
[T]he Texas Supreme Court on Friday gave state officials the go-ahead to continue collecting a special $5-per-customer tax on strip clubs. The so-called “pole” tax, collected upon entrance to any club that features nude dancing and alcohol consumption, was ruled unconstitutional by a state district judge in Austin and the 3rd Court of Appeals. The law was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2007, and so far about $15 million has been collected. The money has not been disbursed because of the earlier court rulings. [HC via DMWT, Earlier]
Of course not all of your bosses are crooks…or are…nah. But just to be on the safe side, make sure you’re giving the stinkeye to anybody with the following characteristics:
• Volatility and being melodramatic, arrogant and confrontational, threatening or aggressive, when challenged.
• Performance or skills of new employees in their unit do not reflect past experiences detailed on resumes.
• Unreliability and prone to mistakes and poor performance, with a tendency to cut corners and/or bend the rules, but makes attempts to shift blame and responsibility for errors.
• Unhappy, apparently stressed and under pressure, while bullying and intimidating colleagues.
• Being surrounded by “favorites,” or people who do not challenge the fraudster, and micromanaging some employees, while keeping others at arm’s length.
• Vendors/suppliers will only deal with this individual, who also may accept generous gestures that are excessive or contrary to corporate rules.
• Persistent rumors or indications of personal bad habits, addictions or vices, possibly with a lifestyle that seems excessive for their income, or apparently personally over-extended in their finances.
• Self-interested and concerned with their own agenda, and who has opportunities to manipulate personal pay and rewards
But as we all know, the ex-stripper wife is the clincher.
This one is for you, ladies of the night.
A 2005 audit by the New York Division of Taxation found gentlemen’s club Nite Moves owed over $125,000 in sales tax on door admissions and private lap dance sales. The club argued that dances are a performance, not a taxable “service.” We’ll leave that one alone.
A New York State appellate court ruled last Thursday that private lap dances are not a dramatic or musical art performance, despite Nite Moves’ claims to the contrary. It is unclear whether any state taxation authorities partook in said private lap dances to make this determination.
In this case, the burden of proof rested on the club, who did not provide enough evidence to satisfy their claim, according to the five judge panel that made the ruling. “In short, petitioner was denied the requested relief due not to the nature of its business but, rather, because of the inadequacy of its proof,” they said.
The club’s lawyer, Andrew McCullough, plans to appeal the decision. “We brought in the foremost expert in the field,” he said. “She is the one in this country who has made a complete and detailed study of the art of exotic dance and if they are not going to believe her I don’t know who you believe.”
That expert had not actually seen Nite Moves’ dancers but other, similar exotic performances. As any connoisseur of naked gyrating women knows, not all naked gyrating is created equal.
Tax laws in New York State require sales taxes to be collected and paid on admission to or the use of any place of amusement except for dramatic or musical arts performances.
Maybe if the strippers wore historical costumes or mime makeup they’d have a case.
Hey, Nite Moves, you really should have called the Tax Domme, she knows all about this stuff.
Forget Patmore, a former accountancy and finance student is starring this week in what must surely be the employment and tax case of the year.
Lapdancer Nadine Quashie allegedly earned more than £1,000 a night dancing at the Stringfellows (NSFW) club London and is now trying to pursue an unfair dismissal through the Employment Tribunal after being fired in December 2008 following allegations of drug use and dealing.
On behalf of the club, Caspar Glyn argued that the dancer was not entitled to rights under the tribunal as she was self-employed. “To take off your clothes and be paid to do that, it is a curious, unusual situation… which is perhaps in itself unsuited to an employment relationship,” he told the tribunal.
Aiming another blow below the belt, he added that Quashie should be disqualified from having her case heard because she had misrepresented her tax affairs – in spite of having studied accountancy and finance at Thames Valley University for a year.
She took two years off her studies to hold a full-time position as women’s rights officer for the student union, but instead of returning to the course she turned to lapdancing.
She has told the tribunal that conditions at the club effectively meant dancers were employees and she should be entitled to a full tribunal hearing. Like other dancers, she was required to give up 25% in commission, with an additional £85 deducted for nightly fees.
While Stringfellows insisted she was self-employed, Quashie said she did not learn of her self-employed status until another dancer told her of the situation five months after she started working there.
This case has everything for employment and tax advisers, HMRC investigators and retired colonels from Tonbridge. In addition to the lurid claims of private, late night sessions with Peter Stringfellow and his friends, it presents a classic challenge for the badges of employment tests and some messy tax implications for all sides.
Purely hypothectically, how would you advise the participants in such a case? Back at the central London tribunal, meanwhile, judgment in the case has been reserved.
While Wes continues to fight his conviction (sometimes using unorthodox methods) on tax evasion tooth and nail, Ken Starr is ready to get on with it and pleaded guilty today to charges related to his Ponzi to the Stars.
Government sentencing guidelines have Starr looking at 10 to 12.5 years which is long enough to outlast the appeals that Willie Mays Hayes has out there.
Since we’re not at all familiar with how convicts are assigned their prison quarters, our desire for an awkward reunion between Snipes and Starr that includes debating over who gets the top bunk is merely wishful thinking. If it lightning stirkes, we’ll just chalk it up to the gods smiling down on us all.
SO desperate that in addition to appealing his conviction on any possible grounds, that he has hired private dicks (allegedly!) to following Ponzi Schemer du jour (allegedly!) Ken Starr’s wife, Diane Passage.
Passage told the Post, “I was leaving, and I noticed two men trailing behind me. They stood out because they were wearing dark suits on a 90-degree day. They followed me for a block and a half, then I lost them because they were sweating so much. They contacted my doorman and my attorney, and said they wanted information that might help Snipes. He was a client [of Starr] in 2000 but before I met my husband. I have nothing to do with his taxes.”
So, naturally, this is all very confusing, as the connection between the pole dance master’s problems (frozen bank accounts) and Willie Mays Hayes’s problems (looking at 3 years in the joint for tax evasion) is basically nil.
The only that we can come up with is that Wes is reaching the obscurely known “celebrity realizes that they are for real, like really real, going to jail” freak-out stage.
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]
As Congress Mulls SOX Exemption, Survey Suggests Acceptance [Compliance Week]
Just when Sarbanes-Oxley compliance was about to get torpedoed by the financial reform bill, a new study comes out that shows companies are starting to see benefits from the legislation, “In its 2010 Sarbanes-Oxley compliance survey, Protiviti says 70 percent of executives in at least their fourth year of working to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley say they believe the benefits outweigh the costs. That’s a big swing from the first year the firm asked the same question and heard only 39 percen benefits greater than the costs.”
Showdown Over Strippers [WSJ]
Some people in the Show Me State are not interested in living up to that name, “Last month, the Republican-controlled legislature passed one of the nation’s toughest state laws aimed at strip clubs and other adult-entertainment venues. It would ban nude dancing and the serving of alcohol in adult cabarets, force strip clubs to close at midnight and forbid seminude dancers to touch patrons.”
The legislation is currently awaiting sign/veto from MO Governor Jay Nixon.
Opponents argue that the state’s very economic recovery is at stake, “Club owners and dancers say that the venues rarely attract crime, and that the new rules would be so strict that hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in state revenue could be lost at a time when Missouri’s economy is struggling to recover from the recession.”
JP Morgan Names Doug Braunstein CFO in Shake-Up [AP]
“JPMorgan Chase said Tuesday it is shuffling the positions of three executives, including naming a new chief financial officer. The shake up is part of a program JPMorgan Chase has put in place to have executives work across multiple divisions to broaden their experience. Doug Braunstein is taking over as CFO. He was previously head of the bank’s investment banking division in the Americas. Braunstein, 49, replaces Michael Cavanagh, who had served as CFO since 2004. Cavanagh was named head of the bank’s treasury and securities services business.”
Tropical Storm May Pose Threat to BP Spill Cleanup [Bloomberg]
The first storm of the Atlantic hurricane season may enter the Gulf of Mexico as soon as next week, possibly disrupting BP Plc’s efforts to clean up the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
Thunderstorms in the Caribbean may strengthen into a tropical storm this week before heading into the Gulf between Mexico and Cuba, said Jim Rouiller, a senior energy meteorologist at Planalytics Inc. in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.
“The first named tropical storm of the 2010 season appears more likely to form over the northwestern Caribbean late this week and will go on to represent a formidable threat to the Gulf, along with heightening concerns about the oil slick,” Rouiller said in an e-mail yesterday.
Forecasters are predicting this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, may be among the most active on record and hamper the U.K. oil company’s efforts to plug the leaking well. AccuWeather Inc. forecast at least three storms will move through the region affected by the spill.
New Jersey Democrats fail to extend millionaires tax [Reuters]
Garden State millionaires rejoice!
SEC Crazy Talk [Portfolio/Gary Weiss]
Sam Antar recently turned over 37,000 documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission but not because the SEC was getting nostalgic for the Crazy Eddie days.
The SEC wanted documents, emails etc. from both Antar and Fraud Discovery Institute founder Barry Minkow on companies that have been covered by both men. The information relates mostly from information obtained from short-sellers. However, Gary Weiss writes that the SEC also asked for emails that the two exchanged with two reporters and from Antar’s ex-wife.
Gary thinks that this poking around by the Commission is all too familiar, “Well, I think what we may be seeing is a repeat of the [David] Einhorn fiasco, and then some,” referring to the SEC’s investigation into Einhorn’s criticism and short-selling of companies.
Einhorn was eventually vindicated and the companies – most notably Allied Capital – outed for their shady practices. Why the SEC is digging around the very people trying to help them isn’t quite clear but then again the SEC doesn’t have the greatest track record.
When you own a strip club there are certain things that you understand. Things like, knowing that there is large portion of the male species that will pay women to take off their clothes regardless of the fact that sex is not happening. And while this is going on, they’ll imbibe lots of booze. And eventually, they may get hungry and with the last sliver of will power they have left, pull themselves away to pay $5.99 for a prime rib buffet. AND since there’s no windows in the place these men will stay in your strip club and spend money until you throw them out or they’ve spent every last dime. Oh, and poles are imperative.
On the other hand, there are things that strip club owners are less savvy about. One of these things may be tax compliance. Accordingly, many proprietors find a local accountant, they swap services, everyone wins.
However, every once in awhile this traditional arrangement may run awry. Kevin Moury, owner of Kittens (NSFW), is suing his accountant, Michael Walsh, for negligence in preparing his returns that resulted in “criminal charges, penalties, costs, fines, loss of income, medical expenses, loss of life’s enjoyments, emotional distress and mental anguish.”
Okay, before we continue, we have to ask – “loss of life’s enjoyments” and “medical expenses” because of a CPA? Where do we draw the line people? Next thing you know, accountants will be blamed for the collapse of the entire financial system…
Anyhoo, Moury pleaded guilty in October to “federal charges of falsifying tax returns and failing to report substantial cash income.” He spent one night in jail, got nine months of house arrest and had to pay back taxes of $88k, etc. etc.
This all came up because Moury apparently thought it was a-okay to deposit money from various revenue streams like fining dancers for tardiness or bolting early, massages for customers, and Jell-O shots (you know, the usual stuff) and then not report it as income. Obviously the IRS was not cool with this, prosecutors threatened to go after his wife and daughters (all employees at Kittens, btw) and that got him to plead guilty.
As a result of his guilty plea, Moury lost a sweet $90k/year gig as a “superintendent of environmental management” (which sounds a lot like “boss of the garbage collectors” but whatevs) and this resulted in lost future earnings of $1.3 million, allegeth the lawsuit.
Regardless, this shit ain’t fair and the accountant needs to be held responsible (his attorney the allegations or “groundless”) and Moury’s attorney isn’t shying away from the stupidity defense:
The lawsuit claims Moury’s lack of formal education — he didn’t finish high school and has a high school equivalency certificate — led him to rely on Walsh to accurately report his income and prepare his tax returns.
“Mr. Moury gave his accountant anything and everything for his business, his real estate and the salary from his job with Methuen,” Cote said. “He signed the returns, but did he looked at them? No. Is he responsible? Yes.
Strip club owner blames accountant for his tax woes [Eagle-Tribune]
Elie Mystal, the Editor of our sister site Above the Law, did a fair amount of kvetching over the Texas “pole tax” on Friday. He focuses primarily on his distaste for sin taxes, “I can’t avoid sin taxes — and thus I can’t stand them. First of all, they are regressive. Secondly, they’re anti-business. So we literally have a tax regime that freedom-loving progressi conservatives should hate, and yet sin taxes continue to be an acceptable way for the government to shove its morality down our throats.”
We’ll address that statement in a minute but first, we’ll examine the pole tax which supporters have stated, “is an appropriate exercise in state power — promoting public safety by discouraging the ‘combustible combination’ of drinking and live nudity.”
Nude women + alcohol = rape? What kind of sex crazed sociologist came up with that equation? Just because boobs and beer make your sick ass go out and terrorize females doesn’t mean that other males are incapable of telling the difference between fantasy and cold, lonely reality.
And if this is a serious problem — what the f*** is $5 going to do about it? Texas legislators want us to believe that there is an epidemic of sexual assaults occurring because of the “combustible combination” of alcohol and live nude girls, but they also want us to believe that a $5 surcharge is going to make a difference.
We agree with Elie that Texas has come up with a bad — nay — horrendous idea. An extra $5 at the door isn’t going to accomplish a damn thing. Strip clubs are highly “combustible” environments regardless; taxing patrons to get them to think twice before entering doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Where Elie is dead wrong is his notion that “Either [the behavior subject to tax] is a serious societal problem that the government needs to step up and make [it] illegal — or it isn’t. If it’s not that big a deal, then what is a sin tax other than the government trying to get a taste of a lucrative American business?“
We have a problem with the “step up and make it illegal” part. The decriminalization and taxation of certain “sins” is a perfectly good way for states to raise money since taxes on income and property are far more political and thus, not effective.
Alcohol and tobacco both cause a myriad of health problems in humans that can result in high medical treatment costs. Taxes on these items are appropriate in order to supplement the burden that they place on society as a whole. Drugs and prostitution are, for the most part, criminalized. Thousands of people are arrested and jailed yearly for engaging in these behaviors, imposing millions of dollars in costs to taxpayers. Here’s a newsflash: human beings are not — ARE NOT — going to stop engaging in these behaviors. So why not take the “criminal” element out of the equation?
If they were to be made legal, highly regulated and taxed, states could enjoy new revenue streams and citizens can engage in behavior that they choose. That’s something many “freedom loving progressives” can certainly get behind. Plus, if drugs and prostitution are legal, won’t this encourage entrepreneurship and a more competitive marketplace? That sounds like something “money-loving conservatives” would approve of.
So while we’re with Elie railing against Texas’ impotent legislation, sin taxes are useful when implemented intelligently. California is putting legalized marijuana to a vote and DC may not be far behind so maybe we’re beginning to see some common sense for a change.
Today in unaudited stripper expense news, two Ernst & Young auditors have been accused in an SEC enforcement action for not investigating a “tax loan” that was misappropriated by a Chicago investment adviser.
John Orrechio founded AA Capital, Inc. in 2002 and he immediately started wining and dining potential clients (primarily unions) in Detroit and Las Vegas. In August of ’03, Orrechio started dating a Detroit stripper (as these stories often go) and he started spending truckloads of money on her and her family. Shortly thereafter, in 2004, Orrechio started taking money directly from client’s tax accounts to fund said his lifestyle and the lifestyle of said stripper.
Orrechio’s stripper fund must have ran dry at some point and he decided to pursue other methods of financing his
family fun time. Since he probably wasn’t too keen on letting everyone in on his little problem, Orrechio told his CFO, Mary Beth Stevens, that he owed a grip to the IRS because of his ownership in one of the affiliate private equity fund and that E&Y screwed up filing one of his tax returns:
Orecchio told Stevens that he needed to borrow money to pay his taxes. At Orecchio’s direction, Stevens withdrew $602,150 from AA Capital’s client trust accounts and then wired the money to Orecchio’s personal bank account.
Between May and December 2004, Stevens made three additional disbursements to Orecchio to pay his purported tax liability. During 2004, Orecchio received a total of four separate disbursements under the guise of the “tax loan” totaling approximately $1.92 million.
Ms Stevens, probably not wanting upset the boss (i.e. get in the way of a man and his stripper girlfriend), played ball. When the two auditors in question, Gerard Oprins and Wendy McNeely, learned of this tax loan, they are accused of doing, well, not much:
20. After learning about Orecchio’s purported “tax loan,” Oprins and McNeeley failed properly to evaluate the transaction or require other audit team members to do so. The audit team did not obtain any documentation reflecting Orecchio’s tax liability or the terms of the “tax loan.” They did not discuss the “tax loan” with Orecchio. They did not take steps to confirm Stevens’ statements that Orecchio “made a payment to the IRS for $1,921,050” or that the “tax loan” would be repaid by Orecchio or the IRS during 2005. They did not take steps to assess the collectability of the “tax loan.” They also failed to discuss Orecchio’s tax liability with their colleagues in Ernst & Young’s tax department who prepared the tax filings for AA Capital and its affiliated private equity funds.
21. Oprins and McNeeley also failed to scrutinize Orecchio’s “tax loan,” or require other audit team members to do so, in light of several red flags that the audit team encountered related to Orecchio’s spending habits.
This all led to an unqualified opinion issued by Ernst & Young on AA Capital’s and AA Capital Equity Fund’s (the affiliated private equity fund) 2004 financial statements. Because of the undisclosed stripper piggy bank, the actions of the auditors amounted to financial statements that weren’t in accordance with GAAP and an audit that wasn’t performed in accordance with GAAS.
An Ernst & Young spokesperson declined to comment.
The two auditors are accused of “improper professional conduct” which could result in the two not being allowed to appear or practice before the SEC, which, if you were to ask Harry Markopolos, will save you the trouble of working with idiots.
Allegedly of course!
It’s bad enough when even the Iraqis are saying GTFO but that’s exactly what’s happened to about 250 ex-Blackwater employees still lingering around Iraq. “I don’t think the Iraqi government is willing to have any Blackwater member, even if they are working in other companies,” government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told CNN in January.”
But it isn’t just the Iraqis with a Blackwater bone to pick – former Blackwater employees allege the security firm hired strippers, prostitutes, and “incompetent personnel” to defraud authorities while working security details in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in post-Katrina Louisiana.
WTF is going on here? If you’re going to rip off the federal government, I guess it’s good to get your money’s worth, especially if you know their internal controls are for shit.
Melan Davis, who was involved in record-keeping, said Blackwater billed the government for prostitution services in Afghanistan from a Filipino female, whose name was on Blackwater’s payroll roster under a category called “Morale Welfare Recreation.”
She said Blackwater billed the woman’s plane tickets and monthly salary to the United States.
The lawsuit also said a vendor being paid for “cleaning services” in Louisiana was providing strippers.
Blackwater spokespeople (the company is now known as Xe, though we won’t pontificate as to why another rebranding might be appropriate at this time) claim Davis must be trippin’. Strippers? Hookers? Fake receipts? No way!
“The allegations are without merit and the company will vigorously defend against this lawsuit. It is noteworthy that the government has declined to intervene in this action,” Xe told CNN.
This is not the first time Blackwater has been accused of defrauding the government; California’s Henry Waxman (D) accused the contractor of running a tax scheme to avoid paying what his staffers estimated as $15.5 million in Social Security and Medicare taxes, $15.8 million federal income tax withholding and $500,000 in unemployment taxes between May 2006 and March 2007.
So? What’s worse? Not paying taxes or expensing “Morale Welfare Recreation” on Uncle Sam’s dime?
If you’re a resident of the Lone Star State and you happen to frequent the peelers, you’re probably familiar with the $5 charge that you pay to enjoy a little bit of entertainment.
Well good news! The Texas Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case and determine if that $5 violates the First Amendment right to free expression and maybe this travesty can be put to bed once and for all.
The Texas Court of Appeals ruled the law was discriminatory against establishments that served alcohol since as Kay Bell explained then, “a play involving nudity did not trigger the tax…that meant that, had the law stood, the touring company of…Hair could have come to Texas.”
If you simply wanted to go to Treasures in Houston and have a beer and appreciate some artistic impression to Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Def Leppard, etc. then the tax applied. The $12 million that the state collected while the law was in effect is still being held in an account while they sort this out. What’s not clear is if that money will be returned to the patrons or simply given to employees of the clubs where the money was going to end up anyway.
Texas stripper ‘pole tax’ to get review [Don’t Mess With Taxes]