Should forensic accountants and expert witnesses provide services to criminal defendants? Tracy Coenen discusses the work that can be done on the criminal defense side, and a few issues that the accountant should consider before accepting such a case.
It has been almost four years since the massive fraud committed by Sujata Sachdeva against her employer, Koss Corp., was uncovered. A year after the discovery, Koss sued Park Bank for failing to find the fraud. The company says that Park Bank should have known that a fraud was occurring when Koss employees with proper authority withdrew funds from the Koss bank account and had Park Bank make out cashier’s checks with the funds. Koss says that Park Bank should have realized that the endorsements on the cashiers checks did not match the payees. (For example, a cashier’s check made out to N.M. was endorsed by Nieman Marcus.)
If you know anything about fraud, you know how absurd these claims are. It is the company’s responsibility to prevent and detect fraud. This is not the first time that the company made silly claims against parties it was suing in order avoid taking responsibility for Michael Koss’s own mismanagement of the company. Mind you, the company was sanctioned for its own part in the fraud, including lack of oversight, inadequate accounting controls, failure to reconcile accounts, and failure of Michael Koss to review figures before certifying the financial statements.
Even with all the publicity surrounding the issue of financial fraud in the last decade, most auditors, investors, and other professionals still do not “get it” when it comes to detecting fraud. Traditional financial statement audits were never designed to detect fraud.
The audit is simply a process by which auditors check the company’s math and application of accounting rules. Auditors examine a very small percentage of transactions. Fraud is rarely detected by financial statement audits because they are not aimed at doing so. However, sometimes fraud is detected by auditors, and they can increase their chances of finding fraud if they are so inclined. There are opportunities during each financial statement audit to find fraud, if only the auditors are diligent. One of the keys to becoming better at detecting fraud is by understanding why auditors so often do not find fraud.
Investors are nearly $2.4 million poorer and Janamjot Singh Sodhi has earned himself an almost 5 year stay at Club Fed, thanks to a Ponzi scheme carried out through a company called Elite Financial Inc. The fraudster also used the names Jimmy Singh or Jimmy Sodhi.
The scheme ran from 2005 through September 2011, Like any typical Ponzi scheme, Sodhi solicited investors with the promise of high rates of return, and used new investor money to pay “returns” to old investors. At the same time, Sodhi siphoned off money for himself.
Here’s where it gets interesting… Sodhi previously had a license to sell investments, but it was revoked in 2005. In 2006, he was permanently debarred by the New York Stock Exchange. And in 2009, Jimmy Sodhi was ordered to cease and desist all investment advisor activity in California.
Crystal Cox has taken several more steps down the road to being laughed out of federal court and declared a vexatious litigant. In addition to multiple federal district courts dismissing Cox’s duplicative and frivolous cases against a myriad of defendants, the District of Nevada has denied a slew of motions filed by Cox and has revoked her electronic filing privileges. (This means that if Crystal L. Cox wishes to file any further motions or other documents in the case of Randazza v. Cox, she will have to print them and send them to the court.)
Between mid-January 2013 and the beginning of May 2013, Cox filed ten motions in this case, all including rantings about identical conspiracies and plots in an incomprehensible and delusional fashion. Here is a summary of Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen’s orders issued yesterday:
Crystal Cox, extortionist and vexatious litigant, has been slapped down by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. On May 13, 2013, Cox filed a complaint in federal court against me, and against a bunch of fine people (WIPO, Peter Michaelson, Marc Randazza, Kashmir Hill, Forbes, Kevin Padrick, David Aman, David Carr, New York Times, Jordan Rushie, Jason Jones, and many others).
The incomprehensible complaint in the case of Crystal Cox v. The Internet alleged defamation, civil rights violations, copyright infringement, civil conspiracy, racketeering (RICO), causation and remoteness, duty of care, negligence tort, tampering with a witness, tortious interference with business, anti-trust laws. Crystal Cox took 124 pages to ramble about vast conspiracies involving trillions of dollars and many bad, bad acts by many bad, bad people.
Most notably, Crystal claims that THE INTERNETS DEFAMED HER when they referred to her as an extortionist. Because who could possibly get the idea that Crystal Cox was extorting people when she flooded the internet with defamatory material about them, and then offered to remove the material (reputation management services, people!) for a nominal fee of $2,500 per month into infinity????
Serial charlatan Kevin Trudeau is up to his old tricks. Despite being caught by regulators violating consumer protection laws many times… despite being fined and sanctioned multiple times…. despite repeated violations of injunctions and orders….. Kevin Trudeau continuously invents new ways to avoid the long arm of the law.
Kevin Trudeau just filed for bankruptcy protection. And wouldn’t you know it, his lawyers say that the bankruptcy filing means the government can’t enforce an order that he pay a $37 million fine and that sanctions for non-payment cannot occur.
Former KPMG audit Partner Scott I. London brought great shame to the accounting profession this week by being charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud through insider trading. After nearly 30 years with KPMG, London went down in flames after being caught passing insider information on audit clients of the Los Angeles office to his “friend,” Bryan Shaw.
Proving once again that there is no honor among thieves, Shaw got caught first, and then sold out his friend Scott to the Feds. He helped them get a gorgeous trail of evidence, including phone calls and photographs of the crime. Both are now charged with insider trading.
In 2008, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged in state court with 8 felonies related to perjury, misconduct in office, and obstruction of justice. In On September 2008,he pleaded guilty to two felonies for obstruction of justice and was sentenced to four months in the Wayne County Jail and ordered to pay $1 million of restitution to the city of Detroit.
The fun didn’t stop there. Kilpatrick has been accused of hiding money that could be used to pay $855,000 restitution owed to the city of Detroit, stemming from the conviction. Despite claiming poverty and an inability to pay the restitution he owes, money has been magically appearing! Money was transferred to his wife, and Kwame himself received $4,000 from a mystery source. None of these funds were disclosed to the state by Kilpatrick, despite being required to do so under the conditions of his probation. It is suspected that Kilpatrick has money hidden, and that is the source of the funds.
Today Brian Willingham of the Diligentia Group has inspired me with his article Do Former Law Enforcement Officers Make Better Private Investigators? While Brian agrees that experience in law enforcement can be helpful to a private investigator, it does not necessarily make that investigator better. The same can be said for forensic accountants and fraud investigators: Law enforcement experience can be helpful, but it is not as important as you might believe.
Brian points us to a video that suggests that: