Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Securities Fraud Litigation

gmcr green mountain coffee roastersWay back in 2011, a class action suit was filed against Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR)… you know, the Keurig coffee maker guys. The gist of the suit was that the company was misrepresenting its inventory and revenues. The company was facing a ton of criticism over its financial statements. David Einhorn criticized the company heavily in a presentation he called “GAAP-uccino” at the Value Investing Conference.

Lo and behold, on November 9, 2011, Green Mountain announced earnings that were below expectations, and the stock price tumbled. In step the class action lawyers.

The case was finally settled in 2018, with Green Mountain agreeing to pay $36.5 million into a settlement fund. Sounds lovely, right? Except if you’re one of the investors who lost money during the relevant time period. All together, more than 25,000 claims were received by Epiq, the company in charge of claims administration.

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Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth Divorce: No Spousal Support

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth were married in December 2018, and filed for divorce less than a year later. They had dated on and off for ten years before getting married, and the reasons for their split are in dispute.

It was widely reported a couple of days ago that the divorce was final, but actually the divorce doesn’t become final until six months after the filing date. That means Miley and Liam will be officially divorced in February.

Miley and Liam worked out a divorce settlement in December, and it involves neither of them receiving spousal support from the other. Why is no one receiving alimony? Two reasons may be in play here. First, it has been reported that there was prenuptial agreement, and it likely says that no one receives spousal support.

Second, even if there was not a prenup dictating these terms, it is likely that neither would receive spousal support because they each make plenty of money independently. In other words, neither Liam nor Miley needs money from the other person to maintain their lifestyle.

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Business Lifestyle Analysis

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Closely held businesses present special challenges in the family law setting. Typically, only one spouse is actively involved in the business. Therefore, not only does the spouse control the family’s finances, he or she also controls all of the records of the business. When a spouse is attempting to quantify the income from the business or the value of the business, the spouse who works actively in the business can purposely (and often very effectively) obstruct attempts to get accurate and complete data.

Certain types of businesses, such as restaurants and retail stores, can be prone to manipulation because they have so many cash transactions. Construction companies, real estate ventures, and auto dealerships are notorious for “creative” bookkeeping. Professional service providers, such as doctors, dentists, and attorneys are at risk for financial maneuvering because it is so difficult to verify the amount of professional services actually provided to patients or clients.

Any business that is closely held and has finances that are easily manipulated by the owner is at risk. If this happens, the “out” spouse is left looking for alternatives to get to the bottom of the finances. Techniques used in a personal lifestyle analysis can also be applied to businesses to ferret out the truth about the money.

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Who Has FIVE Foreclosures?

Jennifer McKinney, that’s who!

Years ago I delighted in writing about mommy bloggers who earned gobs of money at the expense of their readers (and the advertisers who wanted to get in front of them), but were dishonest in one way or another. I’ve written about the shenanigans of Dooce, but we spent a lot of time on Jennifer McKinney, known as MckMama. She frauded her way through bankruptcy court and went on to shill for MLM company Xyngular.

McKinney is currently one of the top producers for Xyngular, and has been recognized as a “million dollar earner.” She started with Xyngular in 2012, and by mid-2014 she made $500,000. (Made… means commissions paid to her plus the value of trips and prizes given to her.) In late 2015 she was up to $1 million cumulative. Then $2 million cumulative by the middle of 2017. It was $3 million cumulative by mid-2018. She has likely surpassed $4 million cumulative by now… which is an average of $500,000 per year for the last 8 years.

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Deposition Questions for Financial Expert Witnesses

The second edition of Lifestyle Analysis in Divorce Cases: Investigating Spending and Finding Hidden Income and Assets has more than 25% new material. I’ve updated the book for tax law changes, I have added material that clarifies topics covered the first time around, and there is brand new material.

One of the new parts of the book relates to the direct examination of financial expert witnesses, especially during depositions. The deposition is the time for the attorney to dig into the background and qualifications of the forensic accountant. It is also the time to ask probing questions about the work done, the the choices made with respect to the financial analysis, and the opinions expressed in the report (or maybe opinions they have but didn’t enumerate in the report).

I have a Direct Examination Checklist in the book that I think attorneys will find invaluable. I can’t replicate the entire list of questions here, but I’m going to give you some snippets of the list of general lines of questioning that you can use with a financial expert witness:

Background and qualifications

  • Educational background—Include both formal education and continuing professional education.
  • Credentials obtained—When were they obtained? How?
  • Credentials not obtained—Why not? Is the expert not qualified for them or did the expert simply choose to not get them?

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Do-It-Yourself Divorce?

divorce financial analysisWho gets rich in divorce? They say only the attorneys and experts.

I’ve seen firsthand the high cost of divorce. I typically work on divorces for higher income individuals. They’ve got more complicated financial situations, and that’s my specialty. With the complications comes a lot of arguing, it seems. And even when the parties are fairly friendly, there is just a lot of stuff that has to be sorted out, and there is a cost to the attorneys and experts.

Fancy divorce attorney Laura Wasser is often  hired by celebrities to sort out their situations. She says a “typical” divorce (that’s one for the likes of you and me) will cost $20,000. Ouch. So she created a site to help people have do-it-yourself divorces.

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Is January Really Divorce Month?

You’ve probably heard people talking on social media that January is “divorce month.” In other words, more divorces are filed in January than any other month.

Is it true?

MarketWatch says it is.  But their evidence was only anecdotal. They talked to some divorce lawyers who put a number to the divorce cases that come into their practices… They say new cases are 25% to 30% higher than other months.

That’s hardly scientific. But let’s accept it as true for the moment. Why might it be? Some say it’s because many couples want to have one last family holiday season before telling their children they’re getting a divorce. Others say the stress of the holidays pushes some couples over the edge. Still others say that “new year, new you” also applies to married life for some. And in some cases it’s financial: the spouses are waiting for a year-end bonus or other year-end financial event.

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Dooce Will Sleep With Your Husband

From time-to-time, I used to talk about mommy bloggers here. Primarily the fraud that is Jennifer McKinney (MckMama), but occasionally I would mention others. One such person was Dooce (Heather B. Armstrong), the “original” mommy blogger.

Dooce made a mint off her blog when it was in its prime, which led to her buy a 9 bedroom, 9 bath house in Salt Lake City. But following her divorce, her income sources dried up and she was forced to sell. (That led to blog posts about living in a small house, waaaaahhhhh!) By all appearances, Heather had all sorts of opportunities for sponsorships, television shows, speaking engagements, and other lucrative gigs… but her bad attitude, inconsistency, and failure to follow through led to those revenue sources evaporating.

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Dennis Quaid Child Support: Reasonable Needs

When child support or spousal support is calculated for a “normal” person, we often use a percentage of income. It’s simple. It’s often fair. And it’s a way to standardize things.

When someone makes a ton of money, calculating support based on a percentage of income isn’t necessarily so fair. If someone is making $75,000 per year and the ex-spouse is not employed, paying 25% of the income ($18,750 per year) in child support might seem reasonable. (There are lots of factors involved… I’m using the simplest possible scenario here.

But if someone makes $5,000,000 per year and has an ex-spouse who is not working, is the same 25% ($1,250,000 per year) fair. Many times the answer is no.

In the case of actor Dennis Quaid, the divorce agreement with his ex-wife Kimberly specified $13,750 per month of child support ($165,000 per year). However, if he made more than $1.3 million in a given year, the amount was to be increased. In a recent court filing reported on by TMZ, Quaid admitted to earning approximately $550,000 per month in 2019 (or $6.6 million for the year).

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