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.Continue reading
In December 2017, Cohodes offered Roddy 5,000 shares of Overstock.com stock, and Roddy took it and sold it for $329,000. Marc was buying Roddy’s silence on Overstock, and both of them knew it, whether or not it was explicitly stated between them.
A decade ago, I was really into blogging about companies that were perpetrating frauds on consumers and investors. Nobody paid much attention to me, but I enjoyed digging into company financials and exposing the actions of dishonest executives. It fit nicely with my fraud investigation work.
There’s only so much you can write about a company repeatedly manipulating its financials and the SEC inquiries that follow. I stopped writing about them in early 2010, until things got interesting again in 2017.
Harry Markopolos, the whistleblower in the Madoff case (who was telling people for NINE years that a fraud was in progress), just released a report on General Electric (GE) saying that it is a bigger fraud than Enron.
Have you ever wanted or needed to do a background check on an owner or executive of a company? If you’re considering investing in a public or private company, you may want to find out information on the people who started the company, those who currently own it, and those who currently run it. Tracy talks about the types of information you may be able to find.
Personal information you may want to review:
Personal history, such as family members, marital status, etc.
Ownership and affiliation with other companies (both past and present)
Other interesting things that can tell you something about the people you’re looking into:Continue reading
TheStreetSweeper, a site investigates and reports on public companies, released a report last week on Overstock.com. The article, called “Under Surveillance,” said that the company’s stock is massively overvalued. The stock price shot up when Overstock jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon:
Overstock’s crypto-fueled stock surge began in August, after the online retailer began allowing shoppers to pay with bitcoin and other digital tokens.
In September, the company announced plans for an exchange to trade tokens.
In October, the CEO announced a subsidiary, tZero, intends to hold an ICO – initial coin offering – from Nov. 15 until Dec. 31. Rather than shares of stock, digital tokens would be issued in the private placement.
This week an article in the Wall Street Journal explored whether there might be some changes coming for Sarbanes Oxley. With President Trump talking about rolling back regulations, business groups that want Sarbanes Oxley softened may get their way.
Sarbanes Oxley requires management to assess the internal controls over financial reporting (those things which are supposed to help prevent errors and fraud). Section 404(b) requires the auditors to evaluate that assessment and provide an opinion on it.
Some say the rule is too costly for smaller companies, while those in support of it say that it has helped ensure financial reporting integrity. Companies with a market cap under $75 million have never had to comply with Section 404(b). Possibly legislation could raise that threshold to $250 million or even $500 million.Continue reading
One of the key parts of Sarbanes-Oxley, the legislation created to address the problem of massive financial statement fraud at public companies like Enron and WorldCom, was the increased prison sentences for executives participating in fraud.
Supporters of the legislation cheered harsher potential punishment for executives as one of the keys that would help prevent fraud.
Others weren’t so sure that longer prison sentences would really do anything to deter executives who want to commit fraud. If you’ve studied corporate fraud for any length of time, you have seen that fraud by executives is often fueled by feelings of arrogance and entitlement. These are important pieces of the fraud puzzle for executives, and they are part of the reason why executives may be unphased by penalties for committing fraud.Continue reading