Tracy Coenen gives a brief overview of some of the most common financial statement fraud schemes.
Sam Antar is a legend in the fraud industry. He was the CFO of Crazy Eddie, an electronics retailer which pulled off (for a time!) a massive fraud in the 1980’s. He was interviewed by CNNMoney while attending the New Jersey securities fraud summit as a keynote speaker.
Antar said during the interview:
“We are in the golden era of white-collar crime. My biggest regret is I should’ve been a criminal today rather than 20 years ago.”
Tracy Coenen teaches a group about some of the most common red flags of financial statement fraud. More information on corporate fraud is available in Tracy’s book, Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
Last week MillerCoors filed suit against 14 individuals and 15 companies, alleging over $10 million was stolen from the company. The claims include civil theft, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy and racketeering. Former MillerCoors executives David Colletti (vice president of on-premise marketing) and Paul Edwards (director of on-premise channel marketing) are accused of masterminding the fraud for a period of at least 13 years.
The alleged fraud is a billing scheme, in which the company made fraudulent disbursements. One component of the fraud was a shell company scheme. The lawsuit claims that David Colletti and Pamela Colletti created a fake company which billed MillerCoors for goods and services never provided. The other component was an overbilling scheme, in which legitimate companies billed MillerCoors for goods and services not received. The participants in the schemes allegedly shared the funds paid by MillerCoors.
My idea of a good time: Digging through boxes of documents for hours on end, looking for that smoking gun that proves an employee was stealing from a business.
An attorney’s idea of a good time: Going to court with the expert witness who proved the employee was stealing, and burying the guilty party with a verdict in favor of the client.
The client’s idea of a good time: Having employees who don’t steal from the business in the first place.
Let’s face it, dealing with employee theft is no picnic. And while I certainly don’t mind making a living busting thieves, it’s always disheartening to see business owners put in a bind because of someone’s sticky fingers.
Sam Antar, former CFO of massive fraud Crazy Eddie, was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
Back in 2008, I wrote several articles about the suspicious activities of Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. Specifically, I questioned the campaign contributions her received from Pre-Paid Legal Services (now Legal Shield), a company that I suggested was a thinly veiled pyramid scheme. I also criticized campaign contributions from Overstock.com. Then there was the whole thing with DigitalBridge.
It took some time, but it appears that the law may have caught up with former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff at last. Mark Shurtleff was arrested this morning along with another former Utah Attorney General, John Swallow.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune:
Habitual criminal Kevin Trudeau is ending up exactly where he belongs…. in prison! Trudeau has a lengthy history of legal problems. He spent 2 years in prison in the 1990s for credit card fraud. In 1996 he settled charges that he was operating an illegal pyramid scheme called Nutrition for Life. In 1998, Trudeau was fined $500,000 for making false claims in infomercials.
Then came Trudeau’s book The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About. The problem was that he misled consumers with his infomercials, making them think his weight loss book would show them an easy weight loss method which allowed them to eat whatever they wanted when they were done. But the diet was not simple. It required colonics performed by a licensed practitioner and injection of a human growth hormone, and it never really ended. Dieters really couldn’t eat whatever they wanted, because the book said they should only eat organic food and avoid brand name foods, fast food, and meals at chain restaurants.
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.