Dennis Troha’s fools

Dennis Troha has to be laughing at all the idiots involved in his schemes. Troha is the wealthy businessman who was a financial backer for a Menominee Indian casino project through his entity, Kenesah Gaming Development.

He was indicted in early 2007 for illegally giving Governor Jim Doyle $100,000 via his company Johnson Houston Partners and through his children, and lying to the FBI about it. On charges of fraud and making a materially false statement to investigators, he could have gotten up to 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. He actually ended up getting 6 months of probation under a plea deal.

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Anatomy of a Fraud Investigation Gone Wrong

Written by Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, CFF

White-Collar Crime Fighter

The following is all true – from a case that I worked on. Everything this company did is very common. However, this case is especially instructive by virtue of the incredible degree to which the company messed up the investigation – from day one…

Company: Small manufacturer.
Financials: Thin profit margins. Trying to rebuild after some hard times. Things look promising.
Suspect: Accounting manager.
Fraud: Garden variety theft of funds from the company.
Why the fraud happened: The accounting manager had complete autonomy over the accounting process,and was the sole keeper of the corporate bank account. No surprise there.

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Body Worlds Exhibit Controversy

This week, I finally went to see the Body Worlds exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum. The exhibit has been here since January, but I procrastinated. This is the last weekend it’s running, and the museum is staying open 24 hours a day to accommodate the last-minute visitors.

I saw a similar show in Las Vegas last year, called Bodies.. The Exhibition. Both of these exhibits feature a similar concept: Bodies of cadavers preserved with a process called plastination. Fluids are extracted from the dead body and replaced with this plastic-like substance that both preserves the tissue and allows it to be molded and hardened.The preservation and dissection of the cadavers is done in factories in China.

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Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com Is a Crook, According to Himself

According to a transcript of an interview that Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) CEO Patrick Byrne did with CNBC in 2004, he is a crook. Here’s the relevant portion: Interview: Patrick Byrne, chairman and CEO of Overstock.com, discusses the company’s revenues and earnings 23 April 2004 CNBC: Kudlow & Cramer Mr. BYRNE: Well, first of all, I’m all … Read more Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com Is a Crook, According to Himself

Four Key Pieces to an Effective Corporate Fraud Investigation

There are four critical pieces to a corporate investigative puzzle. With the proliferation of stories of corporate fraud, managers and executives would be wise to familiarize themselves with the workings of a corporate fraud investigation.

A corporate investigative policy is necessary because it is important to have guidelines in place for the start of an investigation. What should management do when fraud is suspected? How are fraud allegations to be evaluated? When and why does the company initiate a full-blown investigation?

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More Interesting Mark Shurtleff News

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff keeps providing interesting material for bloggers. Two weeks ago I wrote about the campaign contributions Shurtleff receives from multi-level marketing companies (MLMs) like Usana Health Sciences (NASDAQ:USNA) and Pre-Paid Legal (NYSE:PPD), and his support for weakening laws against pyramid schemes in Utah. This is important because it is my contention that most MLMs are pyramid schemes in disguise, and that the government can and should enforce anti-pyramiding laws against them.

And of course, there was the whole situation in which Shurtleff lied about Sam Antar. Sam’s a convicted felon who travels around the country (on his own dime) educating accountants, investigators, and lawyers about corporate fraud from the perspective of a reformed criminal. He does this simply as a public service.

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Overstock.com Materially Overstates EBITDA

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.

The SEC does not permit companies to do that because of the confusion it could cause:

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Milwaukee Mayor Wants to Raise Property Taxes 26%

Milwaukee politicians are crying “woe is me” like they do every year. This year rising fuel costs probably pay a big part in budget difficulties, but I’m immune to their crying. Every year they keep raising property taxes, and every year I’m left feeling that they’re wasting my money.

Read moreMilwaukee Mayor Wants to Raise Property Taxes 26%