CrackBerry Addict No More?

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So many people are addicted to their BlackBerry wireless devices, that some have begun referring to them as the CrackBerry. Some users type on the mini keyboards so much that they’re developing a tendonitis condition referred to as BlackBerry Thumb.

The Sheraton Chicago hotel is trying to help visitors curb their addiction. They’ve offered to lock up the devices for guests who request it. The hotel’s manager suffered from his own addiction to the device and offers this service to help guests give up their device for a day or two in order to concentrate on their work.

Getting fired for smoking

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Dan Sweet at FRATCAT (Free Resume and Career Toolbox) has posted an interesting little piece on companies firing employees who [tag]smoke[/tag] at any time, whether on the job or not. He mentions a couple of companies that have policies such as these, and offers his commentary. I predict that [tag]anti-smoking[/tag] policies that keep employees from [tag]smoking[/tag] on or off the job will become more prevalent as health insurance costs continue to rise.

Nasdaq Gives Merge a July 7 Deadline

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Nasdaq has given [tag]Merge Technologies[/tag] Inc. until July 7 to make its required federal filings or it will be delisted. [tag]Nasdaq[/tag] first threatened the company with [tag]delisting[/tag] in May because of non-filing of a Form [tag]10-K[/tag] annual report for 2005 and Form [tag]10-Q[/tag] quarterly report for the first quarter of 2006.

Merge has said that the 2005 [tag]earnings[/tag] will be reported by the end of June. The problems arose from the company’s acquisition of [tag]Cedara Software[/tag] Corp in 2005. The acquisition doubled the company’s size, but brought with it significant [tag]financial reporting[/tag] problems.

Enron: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Written by Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, CFF

Wisconsin Law Journal

After a trial that lasted almost four months, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, both former heads of Enron Corp., have been convicted of multiple federal offenses related to the collapse of the company. The guilty verdicts were rendered on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, and securities fraud.

The Enron executives engaged in a broad scheme to inflate the company’s earnings, which in turn increased the company’s stock price. The scheme lasted at least from 1999 through 2001, and was aimed at showing that Enron was steadily growing and meeting analysts’ earnings expectations. In reality, Enron was making bad investments and recognizing non-existent revenue. Continue reading

Japanese investor arrested for insider trading

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Investor Yoshiaki Murakami was arrested today in Japan after admitting to [tag]insider trading[/tag]. He has been known for buying large stakes in companies and attempting to change them in ways that will boost the stock prices. Murakami was known for advocating a more American style of business, where companies would focus on generating value for shareholders and more effective use of capital.

In a televised news conference, Murakami admitted to buying a stake in Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. after he learned that another company was going to take it over. He also resigned from The Murakami Fund, the $3.6 billion investment fund he used to buy his stakes in companies. He was arrested hours later and now faces a maximum penalty of three yeas in prison and a fine of three million yen (US$27,000).

Tyco’s proposed settlement with investors

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A proposed settlement between [tag]Tyco[/tag] and the SEC’s enforcement division is pending before a U.S. District Court. Under the settlement, the [tag]SEC[/tag] will determine how to distribute $50 million paid by Tyco.

The [tag]civil complaint[/tag] filed by the SEC alleges that [tag]accounting fraud[/tag] occurred from 1996 through mid-2002 while former CEO Dennis Kozlowski was trying to turn the company into a global manufacturing and services big-shot. Unfortunately, Kozlowski stole from the company and lied about its financial performance. SEC filings by Tyco alleged failed to disclose some [tag]executive compensation[/tag] as well as large loans to executives (which were later forgiven). The company also allegedly inflated its operating income by $500 million by undervaluing assets of its acquisitions. It inflated [tag]operating income[/tag] by an additional $567 million by improperly deducting certain expenses.

Kozlowski and former CFO Mark Swarts were both convicted of [tag]grand larceny[/tag], [tag]conspiracy[/tag], and [tag]securities fraud[/tag] and falsifying business records in connection with their theft of about $600 million from Tyco.

Woman wins $2.1 million in matchmaker suit

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Anne Majerik, a 60 year-old social worker from Pennsylvania won $2.1 million in a lawsuit against Beverly Hills [tag]matchmaker[/tag] Orly Hadida (who just goes by the name Orly). Majeric alleged that she paid Orly $125,000 to introduce her to wealthy men who wanted monogamous relationships and earned more than $1 million. Majeric says that she only got a few introductions to inappropriate men. Orly [tag]countersued[/tag] and claimed that Majerik enjoyed dates with the men prior to claiming that she had been psychologically damaged and sued for monetary compensation. The jury ruled in favor of Majerik and awarded her $2.1 million. Orly plans to [tag]appeal[/tag].

Dennis Kozlowski Wants More

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Former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski wants more. His first criminal trial ended in a mistrial and cost him almost $18 million in legal fees, while the second trial cost him $8 million. Kozlowski is appealing his conviction and is named as a defendant in many civil suits, and this will add significantly to his legal bills.

Kozlowski has now filed an action in Manhattan Supreme Court to get Tyco’s insurers to pay his legal bills. He was sentenced to 8 to 25 years in prison for his theft of $600 million, and is sitting in prison while he appeals.

This is the same CEO who paid $6,000 of Tyco’s money for a shower curtain and $15,000 for a poodle-shaped umbrella stand.

Website: Anonymous Lawyer

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Jeremy Blachman, a Harvard Law School student, is the infamous author of the blog Anonymous Lawyer, which was a mockery of life at a large law firm. He’s now written a book with teh same title, which will be released July 25. To promote the book, Blachman has created a satrical website for a fictitious law firm. It’s funny! The site includes bios of attorneys, stuff about recruiting to fill billable hours, and hilarious things about the summer program.

BusinessWeek story about Enron’s lawyers

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BusinessWeek has published a very interesting story about the [tag]outside counsel[/tag] for [tag]Enron[/tag], Vinson & Elkins. The firm played in integral role in Enron’s deals, and the [tag]SEC[/tag] is investigating the advice that the firm gave Enron. The question remains whether the law firm was a co-[tag]conspirator[/tag] in the shenanigans, or whether it was just an unknowing part of drafting documents for bad deals.
From the article:

Amid all the carnage that has surrounded Enron’s collapse, one player in the drama has remained remarkably unscathed: Vinson & Elkins, the giant Houston law firm that played a central role advising the company throughout its spectacular rise and fall. Accounting firm [tag]Arthur Andersen[/tag] is dead, JPMorgan Chase has spent $2.2 billion settling a [tag]shareholder fraud[/tag] lawsuit filed in a Houston federal court, a handful of other banks and outside Enron directors have coughed up nearly $5 billion more, and yet V&E has not even had a slap on the wrist. Not a single lawyer at the firm has faced professional [tag]misconduct[/tag] charges by the Texas bar, the firm has yet to pay a penny in [tag]damages[/tag], and Joseph Dilg, the partner who oversaw the Enron account, is now V&E’s managing partner. In 2005, it became the first Texas law firm in which average partner compensation broke $1 million.

Read the whole article here.