Microsoft Vista and Office 2007 banned…


According to InformationWeek, The U.S. Department of Transportation has banned upgrades to Microsoft Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 7 and Office 2007. This ban will be for an indefinite period of time. According to InformationWeek:

The agency has an “indefinite moratorium” on upgrades because “there appears to be no compelling technical or business case for upgrading,” CIO Daniel Mintz says in a Jan. 19 staff memo obtained by InformationWeek. In addition, there are “specific reasons not to upgrade,” he says, referring to compatibility with apps, upgrade costs, and an upcoming move to a new headquarters. The ban applies to 15,000 DOT users who now use Windows XP Professional. The memo indicates that a similar ban is in effect at the Federal Aviation Administration, which has 45,000 desktop users.

A friend of mine who is running Vista on a new laptop computer (because there was no other option when purchasing the machine) has had nothing but trouble. The number of bugs in Microsoft Vista are apparently staggering, and compatibility issues with software packages are out of control. What a nightmare!

Dennis Troha indicted on federal charges


Dennis Troha has been federally indicted on one count of fraud and one count of making a false statement to the FBI. It is alleged that Troha used a business entity called Johnson Houston Partners to give family members over $100,000 to make campaign contributions. These contributions were made in order to receive an Indian gaming compact.

The FBI interviewed Troha on January 12, 2007, and he stated that there was no link between the distributions of money from the Johnson Houston Partnership and campaign contributions made by family members.

Troha recently withdrew from an $808 million tribal casino project after investing millions of dollars and several years of his life. He faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.

Auditors have a duty to correct a false audit report


This information was posted Monday on Blawgletter:

The Second Circuit today held an auditor potentially liable for federal [tag]securities fraud[/tag] if it doesn’t correct a false or misleading report on its [tag]audit[/tag]. The court said:

The precise issue on appeal is whether an auditor may incur primary liability under § 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 when the auditor provides a certified opinion that is false or misleading when issued, subsequently learns or was reckless in not learning that the earlier statement was false or misleading, knows or should know that potential investors are relying on the opinion, yet fails to take reasonable steps to correct or withdraw its opinion and/or the underlying financial statements. We hold that under such circumstances, an auditor becomes primarily liable for securities fraud, assuming all the other elements of a securities fraud claim are present. Since the complaint pleads precisely this theory of liability, we vacate the District Court’s dismissal and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Overton v. Todman & Co., CPAs, P.C., No. 06-2496-cv (2d Cir. Feb. 26, 2007).

I think it is safe to say that this decision will definitely have an impact on the future of independent audits.

Restraining Order Issued Against Michael McGee (Jackson)


Milwaukee alderman Michael McGee (Jackson) has been issued a restraining order for harassing Leon Todd, a man involved in the effort to recall McGee/Jackson and to expose him for the thug and scofflaw that he is. McGee/Jackson is notorious for his criminal behavior, and these threats come as no surprise.

The restraining order is currently temporary, and there will be a hearing on March 13 to determine if it should be made permanent. In December, McGee/Jackson made a statement on his father’s radio show that Todd should be “hung” for his “betrayal of the community.”

Todd has also allegedly receiving harassing phone calls, some with death threats. The restraining order prohibits McGee/Jackson from contacting Todd in any way, or from having any third parties contact him on McGee/Jackson’s behalf. Not that something like this would ever stop McGee/Jackson.

Online steroid ring busted


Two facilities in Florida were raided in a steroid bust, and four people were arrested as a part of it. The raids happened at two Signature Pharmacy stores, and the company officials arrested were charged with criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions, criminal sale of a controlled substance and insurance fraud.

The four officials who are considered the “producers” of the drugs included Stan and Naomi Loomis (owners of Signature Pharmacy in downtown Orlando), Stan’s brother Mike Loomis, and Kirk Calvert (Signature’s marketing director). Also arrested were three “distributors” from a Texas company called Cellular Nucleonic Advantage. More charges are expected.

The steroid investigation was based out of New York. The investigators found that testosterone and “performance enhancing” drugs were being fraudulently prescribed over the internet to professional althletes, college athletes, high school coaches, and a couple of bodybuilders.

While no customer names were given by the investigators, a secret source revealed that Angels outfielder Garry Matthews Jr. was one of them. The investigators have spoken with Richard Rydze, a team doctor for the Pittsburgh Steelers who allegedly used a personal credit card to purchase $150,000 in testosterone and human growth hormone in 2006.

McAfee’s former general counsel indicted


Kent Roberts, the former general counsel at McAfee Inc. (fka Network Associates) was charged with seven criminal counts of fraud, nine months after being fired for improper handling of stock options. The charges include manipulating the value of his own stock options to increase his profits and then falsifying records to cover up this misconduct. Roberts faces up to 20 years in prison and as much as a $5 million fine.

Roberts was allegedly part of an ethics committee formed by McAfee in 2002, related to some of the prior accounting problems at the company.

At one point, Roberts was granted 20,000 stock options which carried an exercise price of $29.62. In late 2000, Roberts allegedly altered the exercise price to $19.75. In a 2002 internal investigation, Roberts allegedly recommended that the controller who helped in this alteration be removed from the finance department. It is further alleged that in the same year, Roberts helped to backdate 420,000 stock options owned by George Samenuk, the former chairman and CEO.

It is estimated that McAfee will have to incur a non-cash charge of about $100 million to $150 million to correct this problem.

Starting a Business — And Not a Legal Battle


How to quit your job, compete with your old boss, and not get sued
By Geoff Williams

Some bridges are merely burned. Others are scorched.

Elaine Browne and her business partners, Federico Lupo and Dario Arias, knew the latter applied to them shortly after opening their New York City hair salon, Trillium. “We found out we were being sued during our second week when the affidavit came,” says Browne. “We were shocked.”

The reason for the lawsuit? Browne, Lupo and Arias, sensitive types who will only cop to being in their 30s and 40s, worked together for years at a hair salon known as the John Sahag Workshop before collectively quitting and creating a new company–effectively competing with their former salon.

It’s a common gripe among many business owners. You hire employees, teach them everything you know and groom them for a long future at your business. Then one day, they’re out the door, starting their own business with an indirect mission: to compete with you. Continue reading

Blog fraud?


Yes, you read that correctly. There’s fraud happening all over the internet, and blogs are no different. Recently I became aware of the fact that a blog post was published entitled “Great Mortgage Fraud Info THANK YOU Tracy Coenen.” I thought that was odd, as I don’t write about mortgage fraud.

I went and took a peek and verified that I’ve never seen this information before, much less written about it. I assumed that the blog was one of those slimy little types that plagiarizes posts from other blogs. Usually the motive is Google ad revenue (the blogs are geared specifically toward getting search engine traffic there and hoping people will click on your ads).

Then the article started popping up on other blogs with the same title, and I just knew that it was the work of more slimy blog stealer types. But what could I do? They didn’t steal my words, just my name. I assumed they were trying to get some of the “fraud” Google mojo associated with my name.

And then this blog post showed up…. “They say that the best form of flattery is being copied. However, I wonder if you might call it flattery or Plagiarism?”

Gena Riede is the real author of the mortgage fraud article. She exchanged several emails with the owner of the original blog (Mortgage Fraud Blog) who posted Gena’s article (word for word, in its entirety) with my name. Their response was priceless: “Thank you very much for contacting us regarding your article. My sincerest apologies as we obtain information from countless sources and are unable to verify the origins of them all. Please refer to our blog for our corrections.”

So the Mortgage Fraud Blog is apparently copying lots of articles from lots of different sources, without any permission, and without taking care to make sure that they’re actually citing the right sources. How low can you go?

Sanyo being investigated for possible accounting fraud


Japanese authorities are looking into the accounting practices of Sanyo Electric Co. The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Committee is investigating the company for allegedly misrepresenting losses in its results for the fiscal year ended March 2004. Sanyo had ?190 billion ($1.56 billion) in losses to book, but only booked ?50 billion of losses for that year. The unbooked losses would have left Sanyo with a net loss for the year.

This is having an impact on investors, particularly Goldman Sachs, which invested over $1 billion and was reportedly planning on selling soon at a big profit. The stock was down 21% in Tokyo. The company also faces possible delisting on the stock exchange.