Anyone who is being honest will tell you that financial statement audits don’t find fraud. On the rare occasion they do, but by and large audits are not designed to detect fraud and the auditors don’t have enough fraud detection training.
One solution to this problem is the engagement of forensic accountants to look for fraud. But companies don’t seem to interested in going the extra step.
Colonial Bank went under thanks to a fraud by Taylor Bean & Whittaker Mortgage Corp., its largest mortgage banking customer. Executives at Taylor Bean & Whitaker cooked up a scheme whereby they sold $400 million in worthless mortgages to Colonial Bank. The mortgages were worthless because they either did not exist, or had already been sold to other investors.Continue reading
Sam Antar has often referred to Overstock.com and CEO Patrick Byrne as the gifts that keep on giving. And he sure is right! There is never a dull moment when it comes to wacky conspiracy theories and accounting woes that never end.
“Consistent with Congress’ intent, we are committed to transparency and oversight in all aspects of the program and have already taken several important steps in this area…”
Yet I have to wonder how transparent he really wants things to be when large contracts related to oversight and administration are being released to the public with redacted information. How is that transparent, if we can’t even see who is involved with overseeing the bailout and what they’re being paid?Continue reading
It should come as no shock to anyone that lots of fingers are being pointed related to Wall Street’s meltdown, and specifically related to the banking industry. And auditors are likely to find themselves the targets of lawsuits. Auditor malpractice is often hard to prove, but in this case, I think there will be several victories against the auditors.Continue reading
Sam Antar has a great article today on Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) continuing to overstate EBITDA. Specifically, Sam says:
In Overstock.com’s Q1 2008 earnings release and 10-Q report the company continued to improperly remove from its EBITDA calculation, certain stock-based expenses in violation of Regulation G. As a result, Overstock.com’s reported Q1 2008 EBITDA of $3.524 million was materially overstated by $1.339 million or about 61%.
And of course, that overstatement is in addition to the overstatement that results from Overstock.com calculating EBITDA by starting with operating income, instead of net income, as required by the SEC rules. Some people erroneously believe it’s okay to start with a different figure when calculating EBITDA. That’s not true.
Class action suits against auditing firms PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte & Touche are raising questions about future lawsuits. Auditors are suing PwC because they say they were denied overtime pay and benefits, and the suit covers all associates and senior associates of PwC in California.
The firm is saying that the auditors were properly classified as exempt employees under California law, and therefore they were not entitled to overtime pay.Continue reading
USNAannounced Wednesday that PricewaterhouseCoopers has been hired as the company’s new independent auditor. We are encouraged by this news as we view PwC’s new role as a sign of Usana’s financial legitimacy; however, we are still wary of Usana’s management team. PwC will immediately begin reviewing Usana’s second-quarter results, which were filed but never reviewed by an independent auditor, thereby making the company delinquent in its regulatory filings. Usana did not disclose the fees it will pay PwC but will provide further details in an 8-K, which management expects to file soon. While we don’t anticipate any major changes to our fair value estimate from either the 8-K or amended 10-Q, we will review both filings carefully and adjust our projections accordingly.Continue reading