Accountant Shenanigans: Laurence M. Brown and Ronald Mangini

Although, there are not many complimentary things to be said about Bernie Madoff , perhaps his most positive contribution to the investment community has been to increase awareness about ponzi schemes and other investment scams.  Consequently, there has been increased scrutiny of investment companies by the SEC and other financial regulatory bodies, and ensuing prosecution of fraudulent activities. One such fraud relates to two Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), who were charged, on July 22, 2010 with running a ponzi scheme.

Laurence M. Brown and Ronald Mangini, both CPAs from Westchester County N.Y. who run their own accounting firm, Marshall Granger & Co, were charged with selling investments in  what they claimed to be a profitable gas pipeline company in Tennessee, but was atually an inoperative company and had been so for more than a decade.  Some of the more interesting details of the case are as follows:

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Accountant Shenanigans: Paul Beckwith (Hospira, Inc.)

The SEC has filed a complaint against Paul Beckwith, CPA alleging unauthorized transfers and embezzlement of funds from Theradoc, a Utah based medical management systems company, where Beckwith was employed as assistant controller .  The company had been acquired by Hospira, Inc., a company listed on the NYSE, in December, 2009.  Some of the more interesting details from the SEC complaint are as follows:
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Noteworthy - Sept 3, 2010: Richest People of ALL Time,Dogs in the Workplace, Accountant Scalps US Open Tickets,

Includes some of the usual suspects - Warrent Buffett, Sam Walton, Rockefeller, Carnegie.  The list also includes the founder of the first department store , a gold speculator and regent to Richard II. 

Researchers at Central Michigan University found that the presence of dogs in the workplace were likely to lead to colleagues being perceived more positively on measures of trust, intimacy etc.  Also, their presence, made employees less likely to snitch. (The answer to world peace? Dogs!)

  • Accountant arrested for scalping US Open tickets

Martin Scheffer, a long island accountant 339 tickets for the US Open in his possession when he was arrested. Perhaps this was not his first time:

"A search of Schaffer's BMW turned up 20 United States Tennis Association parking permits, as well as 28 permits for New York Jets games."

 

 

Accountant Shenanigans: Derma Wand

For one simple payment of $119.80 plus $14.95 S&H you can purchase the Derma Wand, a pen like device that promises to take years off your face and provide instant rejuvenation.  If one were reading their financial statements it would seem that a large number of people had bought into the hype and purchased their product.  Unfortunately, however, for Derma Wand, it was discovered recently that this was not the case.  In early August, the SEC charged Karl Redekopp, CGA and former CFO of ICTV, with fraudulently inflating sales thereby turning profits into losses. Some of the key details are as follows:
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Accountant Shenanigans: Revenue Canada (employees)

Three Revenue Canada employees have been implicated in a criminal investigation by the RCMP for alleged fraud relating to R&D claims.  The company in question, Delvex Consulting Group, supposedly helped 3 construction companies' to apply for almost $600,000 in credits, most of which were disallowed by Revenue Canada.  Details of the allegation include:
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Accountant Shenanigans: David G. Friehling (Madoff Accountant)

Bernie Madoff accountant, David G. Friehling, was finally stripped of his license after being accused of falsely representing that the financial statement for Bernie Madoff Investment Securities, LLC (BMIS) were audited in accordance with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) and conformed to GAAP. 

Some of the more egregious GAAP and GAAS irregularities included:

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Accountant Shenanigans: Kenneth Starr

Kenneth Starr, accountant (not of Bill Clinton special prosecutor fame) and financial advisor to the stars, was indicted on June 10th for 20 counts of wire fraud and 1 count each of securities fraud, money laundering and fraud by an investment advisor.  He has been accused of stealing $59 million (and counting) from his clients. 

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