Outside of press releases about the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit busting people for money laundering and reminders that the taxpayer advocate released her latest lengthy report to Congress about how well (and not so well) the IRS is doing, we don’t get a lot of email from everyone’s favorite parody video maker. But buried in […]
We can’t say we’re shocked by this turn of events. From Bloomberg: Paul Manafort’s former accountant was fired from a Virginia firm after she told the court she was aware that Manafort’s tax returns contained false information. Cindy Laporta testified Friday [Aug. 3] in the government’s case against the former Trump campaign chairman, saying she […]
Poor BDO, they never get in the news. But hey, they do today!
Former BDO partner George Mark got off easy this week when U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer said he didn’t deserve to go to jail thanks to his “extraordinary” charitable efforts and remorse for his actions. Mark’s tax evasion was uncovered during an investigation into Pennsylvania beverage company Le-Nature’s, who apparently specialized in nepotism, ass water and fraud.
Mark will instead serve two years of probation and pay a fine of $30,000.
A federal jury recently found Le-Nature’s former president Robert B. Lynn guilty of 10 counts of bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. The jury found him not guilty on 10 additional fraud counts and deadlocked on five others, which left Senior U.S. District Judge Alan Bloch Jr. no other choice than to declare a mistrial on the remaining charges. The company’s CEO Gregory Podlucky and other company officers are facing prison for their part of a $37 million fraud.
While investigating Le-Nature’s ugly mess, the IRS found out that Mark declared fake travel expenses on his 2004, 2005 and 2006 tax returns for about $90,000. The IRS determined that Mark was living the gangsta lifestyle out in the Philly ‘burbs, rented an apartment in NYC, traveled a lot and owned a few luxury cars.
The U.S. attorney’s office had hoped the judge would come down with jail time in order to convince would-be tax cheats that this is serious business but the judge felt Mark’s volunteer efforts for Hope International and other charities was sufficient proof that he wasn’t all that bad of a guy, perhaps just a little misguided.
Back in 2008, 74 investors alleged fraud and negligent misrepresentation against Wachovia Capital Markets, Wachovia Securities and two accounting firms, Ernst & Young and BDO Seidman for their respective parts in the Le-Nature’s scam, in which company officers (mostly CEO Podlucky and his kin) would secure loans for business equipment only to turn around and use that money for things like, oh, sapphires and overpriced watches.
E&Y audited Le-Nature’s until BDO took over. “E&Y was aware that Podlucky could single-handedly influence or manipulate the company’s financial results …” charged the lawsuit. The company basically made up $240 million in revenue and BDO auditors declared the company’s financials were free of material misstatements. FAIL.
Anyway, congratulations to the former partner for, uh, being such a model human being. Or something.
Sound like anyone you know?
While only 15% of Americans surveyed fessed up to fudging their tax returns, 64% of those people were men, according to the survey of consumer attitudes and behavior. Thirty-five percent were single (47% when including people who have been divorced or widowed), and 55% were under the age of 45.
As if cheating on your taxes wasn’t deplorable enough, this person will most likely to pocket money that isn’t theirs, gets a friend to pose as a former boss and would cook up a finger-in-the-chili story:
While 73% of cheaters admitted to working a job under the table, only 20% of non-cheaters did. Self-proclaimed cheaters are also much more likely to keep the wrong change given to them by a cashier, to ask a friend to pretend to be a former boss for a reference check and to lie about their income to qualify for government aid.
Many of them also said they would wear an outfit once and return it, file false insurance claims, keep money they see someone drop on the floor, or lie about finding something inappropriate in their food just to get a free meal.
If you know a scumbag like this, at least you can report your suspicions safely now.
Do you happen to know for an absolute fact that a former co-worker was taking their threadbare clothes to the Salvation Army and claiming them as being in “good condition”? Does your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend exaggerate the expenses they incur from their side business? Does your neighbor’s six-year old underreport their lemonade stand profits? Are you looking for a way to get back at them without the fear of a confrontation? Good news! Taxsqueal.com will let you snitch on them anonymously and you don’t have to deal with any scary IRS forms.
Al Drucker – a former IRS agent – founded Taxsqueal because he thought there was lots of opportunity for Joe or Jane Whistleblower to do their part in closing the tax gap but were maybe hesitant because the idea of being on hold was too much to bear (that and the Big Brother thing):
He said the IRS once manned a toll-free telephone number, but callers to that number now are met with an automated message that directs them to the IRS website. Other potential callers are uneasy about contacting the government and worry they won’t stay anonymous.
Drucker’s idea: Develop a website in which informants can fill out an easy-to-use form written in plain English. TaxSqueal.com then forwards the information to the IRS and erases from its computer system information about the person making the allegation.
The catch is you have to be willing to do it as an act of patriotic duty or hateful spite as opposed to landing a tidy reward for narking out a tax scofflaw:
Whistleblowers would miss their chance to collect. But Drucker figures most people aren’t eligible for a reward anyway, because most of the cases that come into TaxSqueal.com are for less than $2 million.
What’s in it for whistleblowers? Not much. “This site is not designed for people seeking rewards,” Drucker said.
Sweet revenge awaits.
Happy Tax Day! It was a breeze right? Hopefully you tax pros have wrapped everything up and the extensions are out the door so you can enjoy a relatively easy day. And if you’re in DC, don’t forget to get yourself a Blizzard.
Why we cheat on our taxes [MSNBC]
Sorry rich folks but it’s mostly your fault that people cheat on their taxes. Yes, that’s right. Once again, the wealthy need to explain themselves with their richy rich ways. Never mind that the complexity of the Internal Revenue Code that encourages the 1040 malfeasance, it’s the perception that the wealthy are all cheating on their taxes (that’s how they got rich after all) so the little guy needs to do whatever it takes to get his.
While the country’s federal tax code is considered progressive, some people feel that it grants the wealthy many loopholes — something that further perpetuates the resentment among those who believe the tax burden can sometimes fall unjustly on those who are least able to afford it.
“Many wealthy people earn income, such as capital gains, that is taxed at lower levels than regular income,” Callahan said. “So, in some cases, a wealthy guy sitting by his pool, living off his stock portfolio is paying a lower tax rate than the guy cleaning his pool. Tax evasion scams by the wealthy are so often revealed, and so there’s the perception that the rich cheat heavily on their taxes. There’s truth to that perception, which is what keeps it alive.”
While the attempt at the psychology behind cheating is a worthy exercise, the facts remain that the wealthy are paying more than their fair share of taxes. Or just ask them, they’ll tell you.
Something to Like about Sarbox [CFO Blog]
Forget Section 404. A less debatable benefit from SOx is Section 403 which “shortened the time between when officers and directors make a change in their stock holdings and when they report it through a Form 4 filing, from within 10 days at the end of the calendar month to just 2 business days.”
Harvard Professor Francois Brochet reviewed more than 50,000 filings from 1997 to 2006 and argues that, not only does Section 403 allow investors to react to insider trades more quickly (which prevents bigger drops in stock prices on suspected bad news, he argues), it allows smaller companies to trumpet their company’s prowess even if they’re not widely covered by analysts. Oh, and the cost is virtually nil compared to 404 compliance.
A recent survey of CFOs indicates that most companies are in no rush to hire and with layoffs coming and/or your post-busy season burn out raging, you’re probably weighing your options. FINS reports that “Roughly three-quarters of the country’s 44,000 tax businesses are one-person shops, according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). And almost half of tax accountants work in companies with fewer than 10 employees,” so there’s plenty of people already on their own. Plus, there’s no sign of the tax code getting any simpler, so more and more taxpayers will be needing a professional to help them.
Since golf is a sport (?) that some of you engage in, you’ll be interested to know that Søren Hansen, the Danish linkster, may be going to jail for tax fraud.
He’s not banging everything that moves or shilling for an accounting firm, he just hates taxes. Just like you!
Hansen owes the Danes 9.6 million kroner which is about $1.75 million. That puts him a shade below Nas tax trouble.
Denmark is claiming that Hansen is a resident but he says that he kicks it in Monaco 24/7. Apparently he summers up in the motherland so this thing is a toss-up at best. If he’s found guilty of failing to pay the taxes he could wind up paying a fine of 10 million kroner and “an unspecified prison term”.
We don’t have any idea what a Danish prison would be like although we’re sure it’s rotten.
Fraud police ready to jail golfer [Copenhagen Post]