December 10, 2019

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Sue Sachdeva Was Needlessly Paranoid About Grant Thornton’s Fraud Detecting Abilities

About a year ago at this time, we just started learning about Sue Sachdeva, the convicted embezzler extraordinaire of headphone cobbler Koss. It took a little less than a year for everything to get sorted out including quite the inventory of luxury loot, her emerging talent for stealing money, lawsuits, a guilty plea and a sentence of 11 years.

Since all that’s settled it’s on to the lawsuits and Suze was recently deposed in Koss’s lawsuit against Grant Thornton where she testified about many interesting things, including being a nervous nelly from the get-go:

Former Koss Corp. executive Sujata “Sue” Sachdeva worried each day that she would be caught embezzling money that eventually totaled $34 million.

“Fear was one thing. I thought it was imminent,” she said in a recent court deposition. “Their auditors, every time they walked in, I’d say, ‘This is it. They’re going to catch me.’ 

Turns out, S-squared was paranoid for no good reason because – as we all know – GT had no clue that she was lifting millions every year to pay off her AMEX, partly, she says, because they were throwing green auditors at the company every year:

Sachdeva said in the deposition that Grant Thornton considered Koss to be a well-run company and a good training ground for its new auditors.

“Every year, we’d have at least one or two new auditors come through, and I know Michael (Koss) and I both objected to that – getting kids right out of college and had to explain the business to them every time,” Sachdeva said.

Sachdeva said she never held back documents from the auditors. They didn’t question the amounts of money flowing in and out of the company, nor did they question the internal controls, she said. The lack of inquiries surprised her, she said.

Then there were the allegations that she was having regular three-vodka-shot lunches, according to an October article in Milwaukee Magazine:

Retailers who lunched with Sachdeva say she downed vodka shots at the North Shore Bistro with Julie and Tracy. “Then they all went back to work bombed,” says one shop owner.

One consignment shop owner recalls picking up Sachdeva and taking her to Harvey’s restaurant in Mequon. “Sue told the waiter she wanted her ‘juice.’ They knew that meant vodka,” says the shop owner, who was surprised by how much Sachdeva drank.

Well, it all kinda makes sense now doesn’t it? She was either paranoid because she drank or drank because she was paranoid. OR the amateur auditors drove her so batty and she had no choice but to get a little loaded. Anyway you slice it, the auditors seem to be ones to blame, which seems like a trend these days.

Koss embezzler feared discovery from start [MJS]
The Diva [Milwaukee Magazine]

Sue Sachdeva’s Defense Team Provides Hysterical Argument for a Lighter Prison Sentence

Koss embezzlement mastermind Sue Sachdeva will receive her prison sentence tomorrow for ripping the headphone cobbler off to the tune of $34 million. Yesterday, the government’s sentencing memorandum (full document after the jump) was released and the prosecution and defense each made their arguments for a heavier/lighter prison sentence.

Naturally, the prosecution is seeking the maximum sentence, as is Koss CEO Michael Koss, who wrote a letter to the court with his thoughts:

“She stole from the hardworking employees of the company and their families, and ultimately the stockholders of the company,” Koss wrote. “They are the true victims of her crimes.”

Yes! The shareholders! Including the Koss family members who 67% owned of the stock ! Especially the ones who held five executive positions at once!

But never mind that for two. Tracy Coenen breaks down the defense’s argument for S-squared to receive a lighter sentence and it’s a hoot:

They argued that Sue Sachdeva should get a lighter sentence because:

a. she’s been a law-abiding citizen until now

b. the fraud was “simple”

c. and poor, poor Sue has a “compulsive shopping disorder”

Jump over to Tracy’s post for more analysis but our take on these three reasons are as follows:

A. “Until now,” as in “right up to the moment she pleaded guilty”? If so, that sorta ignores a scam that went on for over a decade.

B. Again, so simple that it went on for over ten years? You’re really making the Koss management look like a bunch of idiots…Wait, maybe they’re on to something here.

C. Please. Show us someone who wasn’t addicted to shopping in the 90s and 00s.

Sentencing Memo

Ernst & Young Employee Shared Sue Sachdeva’s Taste in Loot, Lacked Her Fraudulent Self-control

If you work for a partner who likes shamelessly showing off their money, it’s likely that you will think to yourself one of two things: 1) “What a flashy douchebag.” OR 2) “How do I get to be that flashy douchebag?”

For Lily Aspillera, her thinking was more along the lines of the latter, as she made off with $1.7 million from 2002 to 2008 by writing checks to herself that drew on an account of an E&Y client. She used the cash to buy your run-of-the-mill embezzler items: German cars, jewels, vacations, a nice home, etc.

An executive assistant at the giant accounting firm Ernst & Young has been sentenced to more than two years in federal prison for a $1.7 million embezzlement scheme that helped finance a posh San Francisco home, two BMWs, jewelry and stays at luxury resorts, authorities said Wednesday.

Lily Aspillera, 65, of San Francisco was ordered Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston to serve 30 months behind bars for mail fraud and tax evasion.

Impressive. Not necessarily by Sue Sachdeva’s standards but impressive nonetheless. However, Lil’s little scam only last a measly 6 years compared to Sachdeva’s twelve year scam because yes, her own greed got the best of her:

“Like so many who commit fraud, over time she increased the amount of money she embezzled, apparently emboldened by not getting caught,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Sprague wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Defense attorney Donald Bergerson wrote in court papers that his client “has been punished by her own conscience as much as she can be punished by any term of imprisonment.”

The personal guilt over getting caught – after managing to steal money for only six years – would be pretty overwhelming.

Ernst & Young employee gets prison in embezzlement [SFC]

Koss Demands Sue Sachdeva’s Help Winning Their Civil Case Against Sue Sachdeva

The least convicted embezzler-cum-recovering shopaholic Sue Sachdeva could do is help out the company that she ripped off to the tune of $34 million.

Despite how Suz feels about it, her lawyers do not want her to be deposed in Koss’s civil case against her and Grant Thornton until after she is sentenced to prison for the rest of her worthwhile shopping days. Doing so would jeopardize putting her back at Nordstrom’s sooner than they would like:

Sachdeva anticipates receiving a two-level decrease in the federal court sentencing guidelines by accepting responsibility for her actions, her Madison attorney Jack Williams said in court documents filed last month. She reached a plea agreement on the charges in July.

“Submitting to a deposition could jeopardize Mrs. Sachdeva’s opportunity to receive that decrease,” Williams argued.

Koss Corp. vehemently opposes Sachdeva’s motion on the grounds that she needs to cooperate not only with prosecutors in her criminal case, but also with her former employer in its efforts to win a civil judgment against her and former Koss auditor Grant Thornton LLP.

Sachdeva tries to delay her deposition in Koss suit [The Business Journal of Milwaukee (partial subscription required)]

Sue Sachdeva Guarantees That She’ll Be Able to Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown a Free Woman

And the World Series too!

Maybe we’re unfairly assuming that Suze is a fan of the Peanuts gang or baseball but what else is going on in between October and November 18th? A few Badger football games?

Koss Corp. embezzler Sujata “Sue” Sachdeva will get a one-month reprieve on her sentencing after requesting, and receiving, an order from U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman.

Adelman said in a brief order that federal prosecutors did not oppose Sachdeva’s request to adjourn the sentencing to Nov. 18 from the previously scheduled Oct. 18.

Koss’ Sachdeva gets sentencing reprieve [Business Journal of Milwaukee]

Sue Sachdeva Pleads Guilty, Shopaholism Still a Possible Motive

Well gang, the Sue Sachdeva circus has come to an unspectacular end. S-squared pleaded guilty yesterday to the $30-odd million embezzlement at headphone factory Koss. No trial, no media circus (the type we envisioned anyway) and no spectacular cross-examination that could have resulted in a great Law & Order Brewtown spinoff.

Nope. Just a guilty plea, some regret from Suz and the distinct possibility that something might not be right upstairs. Although the MJS reports, “when asked whether she had any mental health issues. [Her attorney, Michael] Hart answered for her, saying there were no issues of mental health that prevented her from understanding the government’s case or the plea agreement,” her statement alludes to some “issues” that led to the thieving:


Sachdeva Release

So while the Sachdeva portion of this program is more or less over (sentencing is October 22), we still have the Koss v. Grant Thornton blamestorming to look forward to. Which will be a for more nerdy exchange but could result in some fun finger-pointing, nonetheless.

Sachdeva pleads guilty, says she regrets fraud [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Accounting News Roundup: Sue Sachdeva to Plead Guilty for Koss Embezzlement; AIG Settles Accounting Fraud with Ohio for $725 Mil; Some PwCers Are Hanging Out the Shingle | 07.19.10

Sachdeva to plead guilty to six felonies in Koss case [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
Late on Friday, it was reported that Sue Sachdeva will plead guilty to six felon embezzlement case that was discovered at the end of last year.

The agreement with prosecutors brought some new things to light including that the scam began in 1997 and she issue over 500 cashiers cheques, including $10 million to American Express but also to charitable groups.

Also: “From February 2008 to December 2009, she authorized 206 wire transfers totaling $16 million from Koss accounts to American Express to cover items she bought with the credit card.

From February 2008 to December 2009, she authorized 206 wire transfers totaling $16 million from Koss accounts to American Express to cover items she bought with the credit card.

•?Koss employees worked “in concert with Sachdeva or at her direction” to make fraudulent entries to the company’s books to conceal the embezzlement. “These entries would falsely overstate assets, understate liabilities, understate sales, overstate cost of sales, and overstate expenses,” the agreement said. The agreement notes that the false entries “concealed the actual receipts and profitability of Koss,” allowing the scheme to continue.

•?To keep auditors off her track, Sachdeva did not fraudulently take money from Koss accounts at Park Bank during the month of June, because transactions during that month were reviewed by outside accountants.”

A.I.G. to Pay $725 Million in Ohio Case [NYT]
“The American International Group, once the nation’s largest insurance group before it nearly collapsed in 2008, has agreed to pay $725 million to three Ohio pension funds to settle six-year-old claims of accounting fraud, stock manipulation and bid-rigging.

Taken together with earlier settlements, A.I.G. will ladle out more than $1 billion to Ohio investors, money that will go to firefighters, teachers, librarians and other pensioners. The state’s attorney general, Richard Cordray, said Friday, that it was the 10th largest securities class-action settlement in United States history.”


Goldman’s Grand Delusions Finally Hit Reality [Jonathan Weil/Bloomberg]
“Here’s the real beauty of the SEC’s settlement agreement [last week] with Goldman Sachs. The next time Goldman Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein goes on television and is asked by some reporter if Goldman committed securities fraud, as the SEC alleged, he won’t be allowed to say no.

He won’t be able to repeat any of the factually improbable denials Goldman issued just three months ago after the SEC sued it for ripping off a hapless German bank named IKB as part of a bond deal called Abacus 2007-AC1. He’ll just have to suck it up and take the hit. It’s “the right outcome for our firm, our shareholders and our clients,” as Goldman said in a press release after the settlement was disclosed.

More incredibly, the SEC even got Goldman to admit it made “a mistake,” which might be the strangest thing ever to happen on Wall Street. Next thing you know, Blankfein will grow wings for his trip to the heavens, and Goldman will surrender its charter as a bank-holding company to become a nonprofit center for religious studies.”

IMF Pulls Out of Hungary Loan Talks [WSJ]
“Negotiators for the International Monetary Fund and European Union walked away from talks with Hungary over the weekend, saying Budapest needs to do more to shrink its budget deficit before it can get any more bailout money.

The move is likely to alarm markets already suspicious of the new populist government’s pledges to cut spending.

After nearly two weeks of meetings with senior Hungarian officials, the IMF and EU teams on Saturday called an abrupt halt to the discussions. They said Hungary couldn’t have access—for now, at least—to the remaining funds in a 20 billion euro ($25.9 billion) loan package secured in late 2008 to rescue the country from a financial meltdown.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants split to form new firm [Salt Lake City Tribune]
Three PwC “accountants” (presumably partners/directors), Gil Miller, David Bateman and John Curtis have left the Salt Lake City office to form their own firm, Rock Mountain Advisory, LLC. The newly formed company will specialize in ” bankruptcy/restructuring, dispute analysis/receiverships, forensic accounting/due diligence, turnaround and business valuation.”

According to the Mr Miller, the trio formed their own business primarily because so many clients were being turned away from PwC due to “conflicts of interest.”

Our Hopes for Sue Sachdeva’s Trial to Be a Circus Are Slowly Fading

The latest out of Brew Town is that a plea deal is in the works for alleged headphone bandit Sue Sachdeva. Rich Kirchen of the Milwaukee Business Journal reports that the U.S. Attorney confirmed that prosecutors were working with S-squared’s defense attorneys on a deal.


As far as all that loot is concerned, Kircher writes that the proceeds from the auction of said loot will go back to Koss.

We would humbly suggest that they get moving on this auction thing ASAP since Koss seems to be running short on time to get their restatements out. They’ve got 13 days and counting before the Nasdaq delists them like Lehman. Get an army of temps to whip that shit out so you can get back to running a ginormous, nepotistic headphone manufacturer.

More Sue Sachdeva Fallout: Koss Resigns as Strattec Audit Committee Chair; Grant Thornton Dismissed as Auditor

The Sue Sachdeva wrecking ball continues to do damage as we learn today that Michael Koss has resigned as the audit committee chair of Strattec Security Corp. Oh, and Strattec also dismissed Grant Thornton from its audit duties for the Company, saying that “[it] decided to consolidate all of its outside accounting/auditing work with Deloitte”.

And yesssss, Michael Koss resigned, at least in part, due to the uesay achdevasay tealinsay oneymay:

David Zimmer, Strattec’s new audit committee chairman, said the problems at Koss Corp. played a role in Michael Koss’ decision to step down as the committee chair at Strattec. He said audit committee chair is a demanding and time-consuming job. “Everyone has to evaluate how much time they have to spend on things,” Zimmer said.

So in other words, you’re saying that Mr Koss, who by all accounts wasn’t spending any time keeping an eye on his own company, can’t be expected to serve as the audit committee chair of this company since it’s kinda sorta an important position. We get that.

As for GT, Pat Hansen, Strattec’s CFO said that this was something the Company was ‘mulling’ over anyway and that the Koss fiasco and the timing of this dismissal were ‘more coincidental’. Okay but it the made the decision a helluva lot easier, didn’t it?

And the Sue trainwreck rumbles on…

Koss resigns as audit committee chair at Strattec [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
Recent Koss/Sue Sachdeva News:
Koss Sues AMEX for Sachdeva Spending Spree
Koss: Financial Results Will Be Better Now That the Whole Fraud Thing Is Over

Koss VP Sue Sachdeva: Shopping Addict or Burgeoning Retail Queen?

It’s been a few days since we had read anything on embezzler of the year 2009, Sue Sachdeva. We figured the whole thing was on the fast track to getting resolved since her attorney started claiming that the woman has an addiction. Well today, we checked in over at Fraud Files Blog where Tracy Coenen has come up with a theory that blows the whole shop until you die argument out of the water

Since Sue had 461 different pairs of shoes that ranged from sizes 8 to 14 (!) and 34 fur coats, Tracy is thinking that S-squared didn’t have a shopping problem; she was simply working on achieving an entrepreneurial dream:

She couldn’t have worn that range of sizes, but that range would have been perfect for someone retailing the merchandise. I bet we’re going to hear soon that Sachdeva was selling this merchandise to domestic and overseas retailers at a fraction of their wholesale value.

It’s already a matter of record that SS was having garage sales at her desk, so Tracy’s logic makes sense. We’re now convinced Sue had bigger plans.

Obviously enamored with the idea of a Sachdeva Goodman’s, Suze may have gotten a little ahead of herself as Tracy notes, “[I]n late 2009 (which is fiscal 2010 for Koss) she got greedy and stole much more in a six month period than she ever had in one year.”

The indictment lists six wire transfers (total of nearly $3 mil) from Koss accounts directly to her personal AMEX accountant, so girl was definitely burning up the plastic. That’s not an addiction; that’s inventory. Besides, isn’t a shopping addiction a faux-addiction? The real tragedy here is that a dream was not reached and an accounting firm was fired. Neither makes us feel very good.

Accounting News Roundup: Koss Sues AMEX for Sachdeva Spending Spree; IRS Worker’s Widow Sues Stack’s Widow; Twitter Feeds for Tax Pros | 02.24.10

Koss sues American Express over Sachdeva purchases [MJS]
Headphone factory Koss is suing American Express (the whistleblower!) for not reporting alleged embezzler extraordinaire Sue Sachdeva sooner.

Koss alleges that AMEX knew about Suze paying her credit card with Koss funds in February 2008 but then did nothing about it until August 2009; a month when SS spent $3.5 million on high end threads.

Sue Sach was finally exposed last December after allegedly making off with $31 million. So more or less, Koss is suing AMEX for $20 million because Koss’ management was far too busy to pay attention to their own company. The good news is that a whistleblower that happens to be corporation gets about as much gratitude as a human whistleblower. Consistency!


IRS worker’s widow sues Texas suicide pilot’s wife [AP via NYDN]
The widow of IRS employee Vernon Hunter is suing Sheryl Stack, widow of Joseph Stack, in order to determine if JS had a life insurance policy or other assets. The suit alleges that Mrs. Stack should have “should have warned others about her husband,” apparently because someone bitching about the IRS regularly flies a plane into a building.

Four Twitter Feeds for Tax Pros [FINS]
FINS put together their top four Twitter feeds for tax professionals yesterday and lo and behold, we ended up on the list! Thanks to FINS for including us but a special thanks goes to people like Terry “Dozer” and wives that shoot at their greedy husbands. They make our jobs easier.

Accounting New Roundup: Chinese Clean-tech Firm Admits to Accounting Fraud; COSO Moves to Modernize Framework; Sachdeva’s ‘Remorse’ Is Funny | 11.19.10

Bernanke Takes Aim at China [WSJ]
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke fired back amid criticism at home and abroad of the Fed’s easy-money policies, arguing that China and others are causing global problems by preventing their currencies from strengthening as their economies boom.

Rino Int’l admits to accounting fraud – auditors [Reuters]
Chinese clean-technology firm Rino International Corp (RINO.O) admitted to accounting malpractice, according to a letter from its auditors filed with U.S. securities regulators, a week after research firm Muddy Waters first made the allegations.

According to the letter, Rino’s Chief Executive Zou Dejunas said the company did not enter two of the six Rino customer contracts discussed in the Muddy Waters report, while a third was “explainable.”

When asked about the company’s other contracts, CEO Zou said “there might be problems with 20-40 percent of them,” according to the letter from auditors Frazer Frost LLP that was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

KeyCorp Says Mooney to Be First Woman Chief Exeutive at a Top 20 U.S. Bank [Bloomberg]
KeyCorp, Ohio’s second-largest bank, said Beth Mooney will take over as chairman and chief executive officer when Henry L. Meyer retires in May, making her the first woman to lead one of the 20 biggest U.S. banks.

Mooney, 55, vice chairman of the bank and head of community banking, was named president and chief operating officer effective immediately, the Cleveland-based lender said yesterday in a statement. She was named a member of the board and takes over as CEO on May 1.

COSO Launches Project To Modernize 1992 Internal Control Framework [FEI Blog]
From Edith Orenstein, “the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) announced it has launched a project to moderize its landmark Internal Control-Integrated Framework.

The framework, first published in 1992, has been supplemented by various publications since that time, including publications geared toward small public companies, and on monitoring of internal controls.”


Reid, Senate Dems go hardball on taxes [OTM/The Hill]
After the election of course, “Reid will force a vote on extending tax cuts for families earning below $250,000 and individuals below $200,000 that would allow tax rates on the wealthy to expire. But it’s not clear whether that vote will be on a permanent or temporary extension because of a split in the Democratic caucus, a notable change since the election.”

Genuine remorse from Sachdeva? Laughable. [Fraud Files]
Tracy Coenen is not impressed with the judge’s reasoning behind Sue’s 11 year sentence, “How remorseful can she be when almost her entire 25 page sentencing memo is full of excuses for why she shouldn’t be held (as) responsible?”

GAO: Compliance Costs of ObamaCare’s 1099 Reporting Requirement Are Low [TaxProf Blog]
So any talk of the financial burden on small businesses is just political rhetoric? Get out!

(UPDATE) Sachdeva Defense Team Throws a Hail Mary

With a sentence coming down circa any minute, the Koss embezzlement queen is probably starting to freak just a tad.

Accordingly, her attorneys are pulling out all the stops. The defense is now claiming that Sue’s assistant, Julie Mulvaney was “an enabler” and kept SS from having a nervous breakdown when things got dicey around the scam:

•In May of each year — a few weeks prior to scheduled visits from Koss outside auditors — Sachdeva would review the cash in the company’s ledgers, compare it with the cash in the company’s bank accounts and then determine the difference between the two. Sachdeva would presume the shortfall was equal to her theft of company funds.

“She would then call Julie Mulvaney into her office in a panic, and tell Mulvaney that cash was ‘off’ by a certain amount,” the memo states. “Mulvaney would respond by saying ‘let me look at everything and get back to you and don’t worry.’”

Mulvaney would then alter figures in the ledgers, the memo states.

•Sachdeva’s attorneys contend Mulvaney worked independently and without direct supervision “and only minimally shared her methods with Sachdeva.”

“Sachdeva, who was preoccupied with the fear of being discovered and too emotionally distraught to manage the fraudulent entries, would constantly ask Mulvaney at work if everything had been ‘fixed,’ and would frantically call Mulvaney at home, sometimes late at night, to see if the cash had been reconciled,” the memo states.

Sue was so emotionally distraught throughout the ordeal that she wandered into Valentina Boutique on a number of occasions and spent $1.4 million. Yeah, that makes sense.

UPDATE, circa 5:30 pm: From Milwaukee public radio, Suz gets 11 years.

Accounting News Roundup: More Tax Cuts for Small Business?; Scenes from a SaaS Meltdown; SEC Files Charges Against Sachdeva | 09.01.10

No Charges for Moody’s in Ratings Violation [NYT]
“The Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that it had declined to charge Moody’s Investors Service for violating securities laws by failing to comply with its own procedures for rating complex derivative sece decision followed an S.E.C. investigation, and the commission used the opportunity to warn all of the national credit rating agencies that it would use new powers under the Dodd-Frank banking law to take action against similar conduct, even if it occurred outside the United States, as the Moody’s case did.

The S.E.C. said it had declined to pursue a fraud enforcement action in the case because of jurisdictional issues. The securities in question originated in and were rated and sold in Europe, the S.E.C. said.”

Tax Cuts Weighed to Spur Economy [WSJ]
“The Obama administration is considering a range of new measures to boost economic growth, including tax cuts and a new nationwide infrastructure program, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The president’s economic team has met frequently in recent days to list ways to bolster the struggling recovery, according to government officials.

On the list of possible actions: additional tax cuts for small businesses beyond those included in a $30 billion small-business lending bill before the Senate. It’s not clear what those tax breaks would target or how much they might cost in lost revenue to the government.

Also in the mix: a possible payroll tax cut for businesses and individuals, as well as other business tax breaks, according to people familiar with the discussions. Currently, income taxes are scheduled to rise with the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts at the end of this year.”

Lessons from ClearBooks failure [AccMan]
What happens when a SaaS provider has a blow-up? Well, it depends.


“Non-Combat” Troops Remaining in Iraq Will Still Receive “Combat Zone” Tax Treatment [Tax Foundation]
The troops that remain in Iraq will still receive combat zone treatment (i.e. ‘designated hostile fire or imminent danger pay areas’).

Brainiest Cities [The Daily Beast]
Boulder #1; DC #3; Boston #4. Austin comes in at a paltry #16 behind Ames, IA. What’s up with that?

Former Rothstein CFO Stay Gives Up Boat [SFBJ]
Convicted Ponzi Schemer Scott Rothstein’s CFO had to give up her 28-foot 2008 Southport boat in order to settle a claim against her for the $154k loan she received from the firm to buy said boat.

SEC Charges Two Accounting Professionals at Milwaukee-Based Company with Fraud [SEC]
The SEC got around to filing civil charges against Sue Sachdeva. The Commission also charged Senior Accountant Julie Mulvaney with helping S-square conceal the fraud through bogus journal entries.

Koss Sues Grant Thornton, Blames Firm’s Assignment of Newbie Auditors

Well! You might have thought that Koss would just handle this Sue Sachdeva situation like gentlemen headphonesmiths but you would have thought wrong!

Koss is suing S-squared and Grant Thornton for their respective roles in the alleged embezzlement of $31 million from the Brew Town company.

While it sounds like , that won’t protect her or Chipman & Co. from the wrath of Koss. But one thing is for sure, despite the lawsuits and whatnot, this is not the company’s fault. Just ask Koss’ attorney Michael Avenatti, “I’m confident the company will be exonerated.”


Why? Because
Grant Thornton threw a few young associates on the engagement, that’s why!

Koss hired one of the best accounting firms in the world, Grant Thornton, and should have been able to rely on Thornton’s audits to uncover wrongdoing, Avenatti said. The suit against the auditing firm says auditors assigned to Koss were not properly trained.

The lawsuit lists hundreds of checks that Sachdeva ordered drawn on company accounts to pay for her personal expenses. She disguised the recipients — upscale retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Marshall Fields — by using just the initials. But the suit says Grant Thornton could have ascertained the true identity of the recipients by inspecting the reverse side of the checks, which showed the full name.

Forget the fact that the CEO was also vice chairman, chief operating officer, president and chief financial officer. Oh, and he sat on the audit committee at another company. Apparently Koss wanted GT partners auditing those cash accounts rather than implement anything that even closely resembles an internal control system.

Grant Thornton, meanwhile, is still sticking to the boilerplate statement as reported in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “We remain confident that we have met all of our professional obligations and that our work complied with professional standards.”

Sigh. Of course no one wants to be responsible, so let’s decide for them. Let’s get a show of hands:

It’s worth mentioning that the lawsuit comes just a few short days before Koss’ tardy restated financials are due. If the company doesn’t cough them up, the Nasdaq will banish them like they’ve got lice.

Koss sues former executive, auditor over alleged embezzlement [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]

Grant Thornton Dodges the Koss Bullet, Is Dismissed From Shareholder Lawsuit

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman has dismissed Grant Thornton as a defendant in a class-action shareholder lawsuit against GT, Koss Corp. and CEO Michael J. Koss, filed in January 2010 on behalf of plaintiff David Puskala and other Koss shareholders.

In his ruling, Adelman stated that the plaintiffs failed to make a case for GT’s epic failure to detect former Koss executive Sue Sachdeva’s $34 million embezzlement/hoarding scheme. Reasonable, considering GT auditors scared the crap out of old Sue, even though they were sticking newbies on the gig.  “Fear was one thing. I thought it was imminent,” she said in a court deposition last year. “Their auditors, every time they walked in, I’d say, ‘This is it. They’re going to catch me.’” Shareholders’ issue – we assume – is that they didn’t. Year after year after year after year until 2009 rolled around and the whole house of cards came tumbling down.

The judge also dismissed claims of willful or reckless behavior against Michael Koss, saying “I conclude that the innocent explanations are more compelling than the inference of recklessness.” Meaning Mike couldn’t possibly have known Sue had been siphoning off millions in company money over a six year period, absent hanging out at her house and noticing all the fancy new shit she had strewn everywhere. And stashed in closets. And bursting out of her garage.

As for Grant Thornton, the judge wrote that the occurrence of fraud and failure to detect it doesn’t imply recklessness on the part of the accounting firm, but rather that the firm was negligent. While it is clear that Sachdeva used her position with Koss to bypass the company’s not-rock-solid internal controls, it is also believed that the controls were sufficient so as not to be obviously unreliable to a reasonable person (or auditor fresh out of accounting school). We’re looking forward to hearing how audit professors use this decision to emphasize the cavernous depth between “negligence” and “recklessness” on the part of auditors.

Sachdeva is still a defendant in the Puskala lawsuit and is currently serving 11 years for the fraud.

Grant Thornton dismissed from Koss shareholder lawsuit [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]

Australian Accountant’s List of Items to Spend Stolen Money on Pretty Typical with the Exception of Sequined Gloves, Autographed Thriller Albums

Rajina Rita Subramaniam seemed to be Down Under version of Sue Sachdeva until I got to “Michael Jackson memorabilia.”

A Sydney accountant is set to plead guilty to defrauding her employer of $45 million [USD 47.9 million] before spending the money on several beachside apartments, champagne, diamond jewellery and Michael Jackson memorabilia.

Rajina Rita Subramaniam was working as a senior accountant with the financial group ING Australia in October 2009 when she was arrested for allegedly siphoning tens of millions of dollars from the company into a number of private accounts.

Police allege that a search of ING’s Kent Street office uncovered a cache of luxury items, including 600 pieces of jewellery from Tiffany & Co, Tag Heuer, Bulgari and Paspaley Pearls, 200 perfume and make-up items from Chanel and a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne.

Court told of $45m shopping spree [Sydney Morning Herald]

Accounting News Roundup: GM’s Lutz: Numbers Aren’t All Bad; Backpack Blowup Outside IRS; Barry Minkow’s Stripes | 06.15.11

Bob Lutz: I’m Not an Anti-Finance Guy [CFO Journal]
The former General Motors vice chairman has got a knack for numbers, and claims he even put a brake on unnecessary costs occasionally. But he’s got a beef with executives who focus solely on budgets and spreadsheets, instead of focusing on the product and on consumers. And he thinks that’s the biggest cause of Detroit’s downfall – and that Detroit is now back on the right track.

Pandora Prices Its I.P.O. at $16 a Share [DealBook]
Pandora Media on Tuesday priced its initial public offering at $16 a share, above its recently raised target range. The company, whose shares will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday under the ticker “P,” has raised $234.9 million, valuing the business at $2.6 billion.

Firms Squeezed on Tax Bills [WSJ]
During the financial crisis, hosts of small companies fell behind on their taxes for the first time, accountants and lawyers say. Their timing couldn’t have been worse.

Detroit bomb squad detonates suspicious package left outside IRS building [NYP]
Bomb squad officers in Detroit blew up a suspicious package early Wednesday outside a building that houses the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and other federal offices. A black backpack that was found on the steps of the building around 4:30 am was blown up by bomb squad agents outside the building at around 6:45am after an X-ray unit showed it contained a power source.

What Happened to Barry Minkow? [Grumpy Old Accountants]
Zebra. Stripes. Or is it a tiger?

Happy Flag Day! 14 States Exempt Flags from Their Sales Taxes [Tax Foundation]
FYI for next year.

Crooked accountant rips off £450,000 from Coatbridge firm in just four months [Daily Record]
Sue Sachdeva is not impressed.

Holiday Weekend Accounting News: KPMG Bolts Iran; Financial Statement Reader App for iPad?; IRS Job Creation; Another Koss Fraud Theory; Toni Braxton Tax Trubs; Illegals Bilk IRS for $13 mil; Job of the Day | 04.02.10

See you Monday, capital market servants. It’s okay, tax warriors – Just think, two weeks from today and you’ll be sleeping in.

KPMG severs Iran ties [FT]
T Fly and Co. has pulled the plug on Iran after big pressure from the UANI, “Tom Wethered, KPMG International’s general counsel, wrote to UANI on Thursday that the accountancy network had terminated the membership of Bayat Rayan, one of Iran’s biggest accountants.” The FT reports that the firm cited “serious and escalating concerns,” about the country’s government.

Imagine: iPad App l Statements [XBRL Business Information Exchange via CPA Trendlines]
Someone make this happen ASAP. “Imagine it. Everyone connected by the Web, not the current Web but the Semantic Web. iPads, iPods, iPhones, Androids, Smartphones; maybe a few PCs will still be around. IFRS used globally. Financial information in XBRL making it dynamic like a pivot table, rather than static like the legacy paper statements.”


Is Hiring More IRS Employees ‘Job Creation’? [The Atlantic]
There’s a lot of hysteria over the 16,000-some odd new IRS agents that will be running around the country trying to steal your freedom. Those are real jobs though.

Koss Fraud: Unrecorded revenue? [Fraud Files Blog]
Tracy Coenen kicks around another theory of how alleged shopaholic Sue Sachdeva hid her embezzlement from Grant Thornton, “I’ve heard from a few sources who I consider to be very reliable that Sachdeva hid her theft by not recording revenue. This would mean that Koss’s revenue was understated by $31 million during the time she was committing her theft.” Tracy points out that this method would be “messy” but “There is almost no chance that the auditors will discover the theft and the cover-up. The bulk of the auditors’ work is spent on the balance sheet. So long as transactions related to the theft don’t show up in the ending balances of the balance sheet accounts, she’s pretty safe there.”

Singer Toni Braxton bobbles tax bill [Tax Watchdog]
Toni Braxton really needs help. She now owes the IRS nearly $400k after a $71k tab from last summer. We’ll say it again – Get Ludacris on the phone.

10 illegal aliens in S.C. admit to bilking IRS out of $13 million [Greenville Online]
Who do the teabaggers get mad at for this one? Don’t they hate the IRS and illegal aliens equally? We can only hope that this will cause their heads to explode. Oh, and because it’s in South Carolina we can probably expect a lynching of everyone involved.

Job of the Day: Fannie Mae Needs a Experienced Accountant [GC Career Center]
Four to six years experience, CPA required. Responsibilities include: Compile, review, analyze, and record financial information to the general ledger. Complete monthly closings. Prepare balance sheet and profit and loss statements, consolidated financial statements, and other accounting schedules and reports. Located in DC Metro. You!

Koss Fraud May Have Been Due, in No Small Part, to Michael Koss Holding Five Executive Positions

[caption id="attachment_3471" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Hi. I\'m Sue and I\'m a shopaholic "][/caption]

It’s been nearly three weeks since we last picked up the Koss/Sue Sachdeva beat, when we told you about Michael Koss resigning as the audit committee chair of Strattec Security Corp. At that time, Strattec had also elected to give Grant Thornton the boot as its auditor.

Over the weekend, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posted a lengthy-ish piece on the “relaxed oversight and lax controls” as the opportunity for the chronic shop ’til you dropper Sue Sachdeva to make off with $31 million. These particular issues (i.e. incestuous management and virtually no internal controls) are a matter of record although it’s interesting to note the new details that come to light.


The article mentions how Michael Koss managed to “serve” in five executive roles at the company: vice chairman, chief executive officer, chief operating officer, president and chief financial officer. PLUS, the aforementioned audit committee chairmanship at Strattec.

Now, we’re not entirely sure what the responsibilities would be for each of the positions at Koss but at a regular company, one of these jobs would result in some or possibly all of the following: insomnia, workaholism, a drug problem, an ugly divorce. Throw in the responsibilities of an audit committee chairmanship and one would assume that Michael Koss walked across Lake Michigan to get to work.

Oh, and just so you’re aware, the Journal Sentinel brings up that MK was an anthropology major. You may have some opinions about that.

The JS also spoke to one of the women that was fired along with Suze, Tracy Malone, who “still speaks highly of the company, although it fired her and objected to her claim for unemployment compensation.” Koss fired Malone because they allege that she “she knew of the misappropriation of funds but failed to report it to superiors.” Ms Malone’s attorney has stated these allegations are false.

So hang on a minute. Your lawyer says you were fired under “false allegations”, the company rejects your claim for unemployment comp, and you still speak highly of said company? Yeesh, have some self-respect lady.

Theft at Koss blamed on relaxed attitude, lax oversight [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Five Questions with Tracy Coenen

If you’re currently engaged in fraudulent activity at your company, eventually you’re going to find yourself in Tracy Coenen’s Fraud Files Blog. She has published two books on the subject, Expert Fraud Investigation: A Step-by-Step Guide and Essentials of Corporate Fraud and more than a 100 articles in industry publications.

When she’s not writing about all things fraud, Tracy runs Sequence, Inc., providing forensic accounting and fraud examination services. The Sue Sachdeva/Koss fiasco happened in her backyard of Milwaukee and she’s been all over it, providing fine quotes on the matter.


Why do you blog?
Somebody has to expose the frauds and scams!

Why should you accountants read your blog?
Because I have interesting insights and I’m not afraid to state my very strong opinions.

Who is your favorite blogger?
Mike Masnick at Techdirt

Best thing about blogging for accountants?
There is a wide open market for accounting bloggers to be thought leaders (and to market themselves) because so few accounting and finance professionals are blogging about their profession.

The biggest issue facing accountants today is…
Truly understanding how fraud happens and how to find and prevent it.

Former Pastor Figures Eighth Commandment Is Overrated, Steals from Nonprofit

It takes a certain kind of person to defraud a non-profit organization. In a word: scumbag. Now consider the idea of a pastor of a church defrauding a non-profit organization. A non-profit organization that is tasked with providing cash and food for those in dire need. This person would be David Croyle, the former pastor of Stahl Mennonite Church in Johnstown, PA.

Croyle embezzled around $18,000 from St. Francis Sharing and Caring Inc. from 2005 to 2008. We figure he Either came to the conclusion that doing the Good Lord’s work was incredibly overrated or that he just plain needed the money. Seriously though, $18k? Did he really want a slightly used Honda Civic or something?


Regardless of the motive, Croyle has been charged with “56 counts each of theft by deception, failure to make required disposition of funds, theft and receiving stolen property,” according to the Daily American.

Part of Croyle’s duties at St. Francis was to determine eligible individuals, so he created C&A Management Services. Magically this company was “eligible” and then he requested checks payable to the company. Eventually someone found this a little fishy and hired Wessel & Co. a local accounting firm who discovered the embezzlement.

Somewhere God is shaking his head and somewhere else entirely, Sue Sachdeva is thinking, “Was this guy even trying?”

Police: pastor swindled nonprofit [Daily American]

Koss: Financial Results Will Be Better Now That the Whole Fraud Thing Is Over

Hopefully! Headphone master Michael Koss officially announced that things are back to business as usual at casa de Koss now that Sue Sachdeva’s sticky fingers aren’t around.

“The company has continued to operate in the normal course of business despite the disruption resulting from the discovery of the unauthorized transactions,” Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Koss said in a statement. “We believe that the elimination of these unauthorized transactions will enhance our future operating results.”


What a relief! No mention of how the pending lawsuits against Koss will affect operating results, however. We understand that it could be a sensitive issue at the moment.

The Company filed its 10-Q yesterday and an 8-K today that explains that those restated, not-so-good results that you’re expecting will be done pronto. Don’t expect to see anything before April but not past June, swear.

After that, watch out everybody, Koss will be on fire, blowing those analyst estimates out of the water. In the meantime things are moving along and those internal controls, yeah, they’re working on them but they reminded everyone in the 10-Q that even if they designed the best internal control systems on Earth, it still wouldn’t guarantee that bad stuff won’t happen:

A control system, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met. It is possible for even the best control system to be circumvented by those with the intent, knowledge and opportunity to do so.

Not to put to fine a point on it but a half-assed control system would have detected this fraud, never mind the “well conceived and operated” part.

With fraud claims exposed, Koss expects better financial results [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]

Koss Investors Lining Up for Litigation; Will Grant Thornton Join the Party?

Investors in Koss Corporation are lining up in the pending litigation against the company and a press release from law firm Carney Williams, announced this morning that those interested in as lead plaintiff have until March 12th to make their desires known.

Form the press release, “The Company and certain key executives are alleged to have violated federal securities laws by issuing false financial statements and failing to maintain adequate internal and financial controls.”

Many, like Tracy Coenen, have argued that the internal controls are management’s responsibility and Grant Thornton was not engaged to audit these controls but does that mean that GT will dodge these investor lawsuits?


We spoke with Randy Pulliam, a partner at Carney Williams on the case if he expected Grant Thornton to be named in the litigation, “the lead plaintff will ultimately decide as to who will be named in the litigation, including the accountants.”

There’s nearly a month until the deadline so it’s far too early to tell who will decide whether Grant Thornton needs to be included but we’ll go on record saying that we’d be shocked(!) if GT manages to get forgotten in this whole matter. Regardless of your feelings on the firm’s responsibility (i.e. GT should have discovered the fraud or not) the fact that Sue Sachdeva is accused of embezzling $31 million over a period of five years while Grant Thornton was auditing Koss will not be lost on the investors or their attorneys.

“This is a five year class period so many investors are eligible to participate,” Mr. Pulliam told us. Plenty of investors out there would like to see someone make things right. Grant Thornton seems like a decent candidate especially since their pockets are far deeper than Koss’. So if you asked us to put a wild-ass guess on the odds of Grant Thornton being named in the lawsuit, we’d put it somewhere in the nabe of 10-1. Not Mine that Bird territory but not Secretariat either.

We left a message at Koss and dropped an email to Grant Thornton seeking comment and neither have gotten back to us at this time. We’ll continue to update you on the developments, shopping addictions and otherwise.

Stephen Chipman Is Slightly Annoyed by the Non-Grant Thornton People Reading His Blog

We didn’t get the third installment of Stephen Chipman’s blog until late last week and apparently while the Grant Thornton CEO seems to be keeping up his promise to come at you once a week, he’s going to be a bit more reserved going forward.

Last week SC shared a few insights from his readers, however we warned that he wouldn’t be sharing the most intimate details (e.g. ragers in Atlanta):

Because large portions of my blog are finding their way to external Web sites, I will answer some sensitive or strategic questions via internal e-mail and send my responses directly to the person who posed them.


Well, shucks. We’re not sure what “external websites” SC is referring to but as far as our humble posts are concerned, we merely provide snapshots that certainly don’t qualify as “large portions”. If you guys are aware of someone reposting the posts in full, get in touch with us and we’ll let them know at GTHQ.

We’re also curious as to what will qualify as “sensitive or strategic questions”. Is SC getting prodded with nosy questions about Sue Sachdeva? If so, he could at least give us a diagnosis on her supposed shopaholic tendencies. That doesn’t seem too sensitive. It’s most certainly not strategic.

We’d also like to hear his thoughts on Grant Thornton being vindicated in the Overstock.com circus. Patrick Bryne said some pretty nasty things about Steve’s beloved firm. This is the perfect opportunity for Steve-o to throw it in Patsy’s face via an all-out blog-off. Does he take it? So far, no. Sensitive? Absolutely not. This is justice. Strategic? Not really. Chip must get enough satisfaction knowing that the firm clear of the whole thing and doesn’t see the need for gloating. We’ve got two words for that: MISSED. OPPORTUNITY.

Because of this new cautious approach, we don’t have any parties or white whales to share this week but SC did mention that he got a little face time with SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker. And don’t think that just anyone was invited to this little sit-down, “I was honored to be included in this very small group, which also included the CEOs of two large competitors.”

Well! We’re assuming Chip is referring to two B-I-G-F-O-U-R competitors and only since only two of them were there, this is pretty H-U-G-E opportunity for Steve. SC won’t turn down a little glad-handing with the Chief Accountant, no sir. Unfortch, he didn’t really get into what was said at the meeting but we’re sure it was a stimulating convo: Olympic fever. St. Val’s gifts for the wives. Maybe some talk about the nonexistent SEC roadmap on IFRS? Here’s to hoping that he’ll open up more this week.

Accounting Has Finally Broken into the Hitler Meme

Since the Times ran a story on this cultural trend in fall of 2008, and the following video was posted in December ’09, you might say that accountants are again, late to the party but whatevs. And of course it’s an IFRS spin.


While somewhat humorous, it’s still based on a Canadian company and there’s no mention of Sir David Tweedie, which we think is an unforgivable oversight. That being said, it is encouraging that there is at least one Downfall remake out there that encompasses accounting. Personally, we’d like to see some of the following topics addressed using the clip:

• Patrick Byrne getting the news that Overstock has to restate their financial statements, again.

• Tim Flynn learning that the KPMG Salt Lake City office actually accepted the Overstock audit engagement.

• Stephen Chipman receiving word that Grant Thornton was fired from the Koss engagement because VP Sue Sachdeva made off with $31 million and it was discovered by American Express.

• Barry Salzberg finding out that Deloitte only ranked 70th in the Fortune 100 (behind E&Y and P&M) after being #1 on the BusinessWeek list.

We’re sure there are other possibilities. We encourage you to get to work on this ASAP.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Stephen Chipman’s Blog is Live

As promised, Stephen Chipman has started his blog with the first post going up today.

I am excited to provide this interactive Blog designed to foster thoughtful dialogue and information sharing between you and me. My Blog enables me to share with each of you my personal thoughts about our business and other important matters. I hope you find this Blog informative as well as useful. Please check back every Wednesday for a new post.


Unfortunately for you non-GTers out there, the blog is not public like Jeremy Newman’s so not just anyone can help him with his grammar (which we’re sure is impeccable) or spelling.

Despite being the blog being for GT eyes only, he’s still excited about spreading the good word through this new medium:

I’m delighted to be writing my first blog. One of the aspects of our modern culture is the ease of informal communication. As I noted in the announcement, I have no pre-planned features or stories, I’m just going to blog the way others do — in the moment.

It’s disappointing that Chip didn’t start the blog a little earlier, say, when he got the news about Sue Sachdeva’s shopping sprees. Catching him in the moment of that particular bit of news would have made for a good post, no? Plus, since he’s so close to Milwaukee, he might have run up their to see some of this loot himself in order to tell us what he thought of Suze’s taste in clothes, jewels, etc.

Our one beef with Steve-o’s first post is that it has too much of a journal feeling to it. Personally, we’d prefer he got on his soapbox about how the Big 4 isn’t all that, or why he thinks Davos is overrated. We realize that he’s new at this so we’ll give him a little time to get it together. In the meantime, be sure to inform us about his words of wisdom going forward.

(UPDATE) Fooling Auditors Is So Easy, a Caveman Could Do It

Thumbnail image for sachdeva_sue.jpgIn the spirit of O.J. Simpson, Tracy Coenen explains today, that if Sue Sachdeva stole $31 million and spent most of it on some high-end threads and then sold the crap she didn’t want, it would’ve been a snap.
We’re not talking Enron type stuff here, just making off with cash:

All it takes are three steps to make this fraud nearly undetectable in a company in which the other members of the executive team aren’t paying attention. (And don’t worry, dear readers, that I may be giving away any secrets to committing fraud and covering it up. Any serious fraudster already knows these three things.)
1. Keep the fraud off the balance sheet.
2. Keep all transactions below the scope of testing by the auditors.
3. Don’t commit fraud during the last month of the fiscal year and the first month of the following fiscal year.
Can it really be this simple?


Here’s the quick and dirty:
Point 1 – Tracy notes that 80% of audit procedures focus on the balance sheet so if Suze was slamming all the bogus transactions amongst 4 or 5 income statement expense lines, no one would get wise to it.
Point 2If she did it, Suze probably knew what GT’s scope was (it’s supposed to be super-secret). She could plan the amount of her transactions to fall under this scope every time.
Point 3 – Auditors probably spent most of their time looking at bank statements for the last month of the fiscal year and the first month of the subsequent fiscal year. The rest of them don’t get much attention.
So there you have it. Throw in the incestuous management team, auditors that may be trying to get on each other and you’ve got a slam dunk.
UPDATE 7:38 pm: We got to wondering if Tracy’s statement “Any serious fraudster already knows these three things” were true, so we asked one. Crazy Eddie CFO, Sam Antar indulged us:

[Tracy] is correct. The fraudster always has the initiative because they are judgment oriented in their approach to crime, while auditors are process oriented in their approach to audits. In other words, fraudsters know how to think out of the box to solve problems and achieve their goals, while auditors rely too much on process and procedure to accomplish their missions. In the criminal’s world, judgment is more powerful than process.

We’ll leave it there (that’s right CNN).
Koss Corp.: Commit the fraud and cover it up [Fraud Files Blog]

Quote of the Day | 01.19.10

“Audits are of limited usefulness – the scope of work is so small and is done in such a compressed time, usually at the end of the year. And the work that auditors do is predictable.”
~ Tracy Coenen, of Fraud Files Blog, in regards to the how Sue Sachdeva allegedly pulled off a $31 million embezzlement at Koss under the nose of Grant Thornton (Steve Chipman may need a pair of these to drown out the attorneys). [Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin Business News]

More Grant Thornton Details: Declining Revenues, Raises in 2010, and Stephen Chipman Will Be Blogging

stephen chipman.jpgWe stumbled across the playback of the all-personnel call that went out to Grant Thornton professionals last Friday and we decided to give it a listen. It was about as snoozerific as we expected but we did come away with some additional information to share with you
Stephen Chipman, GT’s new CEO in the States spent about 40 minutes explaining the good the bad and the ugly at G to the T and here are some highlights:

• 81% of those survey and Grant Thornton are proud to work there. High? Low? Completely made up? Does this consider the Sue Sachdeva effect?

• Chip is going to be focusing on various new forms of communication including his own blog. This makes him the second CEO to do so, following Newman over at BDO. We hope, for your sake, that Chip won’t moderate the comments. We insist that you notify us of this as soon as it goes live.


• The new CEO got pretty somber when he described the prospects for GT’s revenue in FY 2010, stating revenues for core services were declining 11% year over year. Global Six…slipping…away.

• Because of this decline, it was decided that layoffs at the senior manager and partner level would occur (many have been notified already) along with those in the “internal client services function”.

• Despite the bad news, Steve-o did his best Bob Moritz, and made it clear: “We will be giving pay raises this summer.” He did qualify that this would be based on 1) the performance of the firm and 2) individual performance.

So that’s the long/short. Like we said, dude went on for 40 minutes and we didn’t have the thing transcribed to give it to you verbatim. If you happened to be one of the unfortunate senior managers, partners or support professionals that aren’t making the “next stage of the journey” get in touch with us about your experience.

For those that remain on team GT, discuss the big guy’s big promise of raises, the blog, revenue issues, etc.

Report: Accountants Responsible for Two-thirds of Embezzlements

Sue_Sachdeva.pngOkay auditors. No more excuses. You should already be giving everyone the stink-eye the second you walk in the door but now we’ve got a REPORT about embezzlement in the US of A that gives you all kinds of hints on who you should suspect — provable or not — of being the next Sue Sachdeva.
The Marquet Report on Embezzlement is an annual report put out by Marquet International, Ltd., a “an independent investigative, litigation support and security consulting firm” according to the company’s website.


Here are some of the key findings in the report:

• Women are more likely to embezzle than men.
• Men embezzle significantly more than women.
• Perpetrators typically begin their embezzlement schemes in their early 40s.
• By a significant margin, embezzlers are most likely to be individuals who hold
financial positions within organizations.
• The two broad industry categories that have the highest risk for a major
embezzlement are Financial Services and Government Agencies/Municipalities.
• The Financial Services industry suffers the greatest losses from major
embezzlements.
• On average, major embezzlement schemes last about 4½ years.
• California and Florida are consistently the states that experience the greatest
losses from major embezzlements.
• The vast majority of major embezzlements are caused by sole perpetrators
• Gambling is a clear motivating factor in driving some major embezzlements.
• Fewer than 10 percent of embezzlers have a criminal record – less than expected, but enough to suggest that pre-employment screening has merit.

Some takeaways: 1) Immediately suspect anyone that gambles. Even if it’s bingo games in the church basement; 2) If you’re in California or Florida you’ve got your work cut out for you; 3) By “a significant margin” they mean accounting/finance personnel were responsible in 67% of the cases. Executives were second, in 13% of the cases.
Annnnd since we know you’re wondering: the largest embezzlement case in 2009 was none other than our Suz. Based on the criteria above, it appears that she should have been under suspicion from day one but you can’t fault Grant Thornton too much. This is only the second report that Marquet has issued so chances are she still would have made off with $20 million. Oh well, you’ll get ’em next time!
The top ten from 2009:
Picture 2.png
Report On Major Embezzlements 2009.pdf

Koss VP Got Busted Just When She Was Getting Really Good at Stealing Money

Sue Sachdeva had this stealing money thing down so cold that she continually outdid herself, stealing greater sums of money every year until she was caught last month (thanks AMEX!).

If you need more evidence that everyone near this company (we’re looking straight at you Koss Family and Grant Thornton) was completely clueless, this should satisfy you.

Here’s the run down for the last six fiscal years ending June 30:

2005 – $2,195,477

2006 – $2,227,669

2007 – $3,160,310

2008 – $5,040,968

2009 – $8,485,937

Q1 and Q2 of 2010 – $10,243,310

Jesus, she was really getting good those last six months. Girl couldn’t spend it fast enough.

We’d really like to hear from GTers from the Milwaukee/Chicago offices to let us know how TPTB are handling everything. Maybe it’s NBD to them but we just want to know. We thought this story would stop getting ridiculous but so far it continues to impress.

Koss: Unauthorized transactions increased over years [The Business Journal of Milwaukee]

Was Koss Fraud Made Possible by Incestuous Management?

Thumbnail image for sachdeva_sue.jpgMaybe! If you figure an incestuous management team is a clueless management team, the argument can certainly be made. How else could Sue Sachdeva hold garage sales at her desk without anyone noticing? This went on for five years:

How is it that nobody noticed $5 million missing each year when the company’s net income is about $5 million? I mean, the business of “stereo headsets” isn’t really a complex business model. There’s revenue, cost of sales, and expenses. How do you somehow manage to hide $5 million when expenses are only $10 million … and cost of sales is $25 million?
The answer becomes clear when you look at the company’s management team. Michael Koss is the company’s CEO. He’s also the company’s vice chairman, president, COO, and CFO. The company’s VP of sales is, that’s right, John Koss. Together they own 65 percent of the company’s stock. Another Koss, John Jr., owns 8 percent of the company’s stock. Who knows how many other Kosses there are scattered about the place. No checks and balances there. No hands on the wheel, either.

Sooo, the question becomes: Should Grant Thornton have noticed this sleepy management oversight? Did Michael Koss just give them the “I involved in every aspect of the business so there’s nothing to worry about” story and GT just bought it? Discuss.
The Problem with Incestuous Management [The Corner Office/Steve Tobak]

Unfounded Rumor of the Day: Fired Koss VP Had Garage Sales at Her Desk

Or something like that. Guest 28 put it out there that Sue Sachdeva was flipping those designer threads to fellow employees for low low prices.
On the one hand, maybe the two employees on leave that worked for Suze were the bargain shoppers. On the other, how hard up for extra money was this woman? Maybe she just wore it out once with the tags on and said “I don’t love it”? Can anyone in the Milwaukee area that hasn’t already gone to happy hour confirm this? Get on the horn.

This Is How You Spend Stolen Money

So you’ve been embezzling money from your employer for awhile and what’s a girl to do? Well you could spend it on your wedding but if you’re already hitched then it’s has to get blown elsewhere. Besides, the £470,000 that Joanne Kent stole is chump change compared to what Sue Sachdeva had on her hands:

• $225,000 at Karat 22 Jewelers.

• $1.4 million at Valentina Boutique a high-end joint in Mequon, WI.


• $20 million on artwork.

• $649,000 at Zita Bridal Salon, even though she was already married. Probably just wants to wear a gown to slob around in.

• $670,000 at Au Corant a Milwaukee-based fashion retailer.

• $4.5 million on credit card bills.

A decent haul although the new GT leadership can’t be thrilled to have this shopping spree land in their laps.

Btw, congrats to Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, the new auditors, on the pickup. We’re sure it’ll be a breeze from here on out.

City of Detroit’s Finance Department Makes Case for Most Hysterically Pitiful Internal Control System in Recent Memory

There are plenty of examples of internal control systems that are, shall we say, miserably deficient. Koss is one example. Dixon, Illinois is another. Churches are victims, too. And there are many, many others. Let it be known that the City of Detroit shall be included as having one of the most contemptible control systems […]

The Dixon, Illinois Fraud Is the Latest Example of Why Reasonable Assurance Is Bullshit

As you know, the former CFO of DIxon, Illinois, Rita Crundwell, has been accused of misappropriating $30,236,503 and 51¢ from Ronald Reagan's boyhood home. It's a haul of Sue Sachdeva proportions, although it appears that obsessive shopping wasn't so much the motive as it was a My Little Pony fascination for a grown woman. ANYWAY, […]

This Is Your Last Chance to Own (or Gift!) a Piece of Koss Embezzlement History

As you know, convicted embezzling-mother-of-all-hoarders, Sue Sachdeva, had a bit of a shopping problem. She did her damnedest to spend all of $30+ million that she stole from headphone cobbler Koss, but now that she's resting comfortably in Danbury, all that loot needs a home. Back in December, we were tipped to an auction that […]

Koss (Man and Company) Settles with SEC for Four Years Worth of Trainwreck Financial Statements

One-man C-suite Michael Koss and the company that bears his name settled with the SEC today, according to a Commission litigation release. This all stems from the dodgy financial statements the company put out from 2005 to 2009 that were carefully orchestrated by shopper-'til-you-stopped-her Sue Sachdeva. As for the punishment, well, it's kinda meh: The […]

Imagine, If You Can, Someone Taking Advantage of a Lack of Oversight at a Roman Catholic Archdiocese

Hard to believe, right?! Well, a "quiet unassuming woman" named Anita Collins spent the last eight years stealing $1 million from the Archdiocese of New York. Funny story! Ms. Collins has been known to have sticky fingers in the past, pleading guilty to grand larceny in 1999 and a misdemeanor charge in 1986. How did […]

Get Yourself a Piece of Koss Embezzlement History

Remember the good ol' Koss fraud? It's been quite some time since we were on the Milwaukee beat but this morning we received an email informing us that a little auction is being held by Gaston & Sheehan that has several lots (97 to be exact) under "US Marshal Service Assets." Our tipster informed us […]

Accounting News Roundup: More Auditor Changes Expected in UK; Koss Corp.’s Recovery Efforts; The Uncashed $1 Million Check | 08.12.13

Companies spurn UK over taxation, says Deloitte boss [Telegraph]David Sproul, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte UK, said that a number of companies the firm had been advising about a move to the UK have put their plans on hold as a result of the mixed messages on tax. He said that there was a […]

Accounting News Roundup: Koss Settles with Grant Thornton; Deloitte’s Summer Shopping; Max & Dave Start Their Road Trip | 07.08.13

Koss settles claims against former auditor Grant Thornton [MJS]Koss Corp. collected $8.5 million from Grant Thornton, the accounting firm that audited Koss' books during a portion of the time that Sujata "Sue" Sachdeva was stealing millions from the company. […] "I don't think it is possible to look at the size of the settlement and conclude […]

Accounting News Roundup: Koss’ Suit Against Grant Thornton Will Proceed; Number of Women CFOs Doesn’t Budge; Senators Ask IRS to Clarify Rules for Same-sex Couples | 06.23.11

Koss suit against former auditor to proceed [MJS]
Koss Corp.’s lawsuit against the company’s former auditor, Grant Thornton, will move forward in Cook County, Ill., according to a ruling from a judge in Chicago this week. Koss accuses Grant Thornton of gross negligence for not uncovering the $34 million embezzlement by its former vice president of finance. Sujata “Sue” Sachdeva is serving an 11-year sentence in federal prison for the crime, which came to light in December 2009 when American Express notified Koss of the fraud.

New York’s Schumer Gives ‘Newfound Life’ to Tax Holiday Sought by Apple [Bloomberg]
The lobbying campaign by Apple Inc. (AAPL), Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Duke Energy Corp. (DUK) to allow companies to bring overseas profits to the U.S. at a low tax rate gained new traction after Senator Charles Schumer of New York signaled that Democrats might back the idea. The Senate’s No. 3 Democrat said yesterday that his caucus is exploring the potential of using the short-term revenue a repatriation holiday would generate to fund an infrastructure bank. The focus on infrastructure, he said, would “guarantee” job creation and address a key line of Democratic opposition.

Women CFOs: Still at 9% [CFO]
As of June 1, there were 45 female finance chiefs in the Fortune 500. That’s just one more than in 2010 and 2009, for a percentage of 9%.

Challenges in Chasing Fraud [WSJ]
Some legal experts said the SEC’s struggles reflect the difficulty of going after specific individuals and companies when so many more made decisions that backfired into catastrophic losses during the financial crisis. Corporate executives argue that the crisis was caused by good-faith moves that went sour rather than by the desire to short-change investors. Some lawyers say that the agency’s enforcement lawyers haven’t done enough to prove that high-ranking executives bore the ultimate responsibility for the most controversial mortgage-bond deals.

CFOs Say Corporate Cash Levels Are Appropriate [CFOJ]
“People have cash because there is a strategy,” said Suresh Senapaty, CFO at Wipro. He added that CFOs know cash has one of the lowest returns on investment for shareholders. “There are good reasons why they have it — otherwise they’re not doing their job as CFOs,” he said during a group discussion at The Wall Street Journal’s annual CFO forum held in Washington, D.C. Tuesday.

Senators call on IRS to clear up rules for same-sex couples [MSNBC]
This week, eight Democratic U.S. senators sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, calling on the IRS to clear up confusion for same-sex couples who encounter problems trying to file accurate tax returns. […] In the letter, the senators noted that some state tax laws recognize same-sex marriages or domestic partnerships, even though the federal government does not. That’s creating confusion for couples who want to file accurate returns but are classified differently by state and federal tax regulators, they said. They asked the IRS to offer guidance.

The IRS’s Charity Purge [WSJ]
The Internal Revenue Service announced this month that 275,000 nonprofit groups—around 18% of the country’s tax-exempt organizations—have lost their federal exemptions because they failed to file Form 990s. The announcement was a long time in the making, but it’ll take even longer for the IRS to dig itself out of the administrative and policy mess that it represents.

Hong Kong’s Li Says Exchange Will Avoid Worst of China Accounting Scandals [Bloomberg]
The MSCI China Index of 147 stocks available to foreign investors is down 10 percent since reaching a five-month high on April 21. That compares with a 28 percent plunge by Chinese companies that went public through U.S. reverse mergers, in which a closely held company buys a publicly traded shell and retains the U.S. listing. While bearish bets on the MSCI China have climbed to a record, Li says companies listed in Hong Kong are subject to too much scrutiny to deceive the market for long.

Accounting News Roundup: Di Piazza Joins Citi; Salzberg Has Job Marriage Advice; Koss Settles Suit Against Directors | 05.23.11

Lagarde is Front-Runner to Head IMF [Bloomberg]
Support mounted for French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde to head the International Monetary Fund as Mexico offered its central bank governor as an emerging- market candidate, challenging Europe’s 65-year hold on the job. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said in a May 21 statement his nation will back Lagarde to become the first woman to head the Washington-based lender. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said consensus was emerging in Europe for her to get the post, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported two days ago.

Citi Hiresmuel Di Piazza As Senior Banker [Dow Jones]
Samuel Di Piazza Jr., the former Chief Executive of PricewaterhouseCoopers International LLP, joined the growing group of rainmakers Di Piazza, who left PwC in 2009, joined Citi as vice chairman of the bank’s “institutional clients group,” the bank’s name for its investment banking division, and as a member of the senior strategic advisory group. He is one of several prominent executives and politicians hired to help Citi get and maintain a seat at the table when multinational corporations and governments seek strategic advice for deals and issue securities.

The Right Job? It’s Much Like the Right Spouse [NYT]
Barry Salzberg’s interview with the Times features a lot of the same anecdotes as his speech at Wharton and he throws in a marriage metaphor for good measure.

House Arrest Starts for Strauss-Kahn [WSJ]
Dominique Strauss-Kahn is out of jail, but the experience of others who have faced house-arrest arrangements as tight as his suggests the former International Monetary Fund chief faces a trying time. Mr. Strauss-Kahn, accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid earlier this month, will be forbidden to leave a New York City apartment for all but a few situations. The arrangement calls for at least one armed guard to keep him under close surveillance 24 hours a day, seven-days a week—all at Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s expense.

Sears CFO Departs, Company Taps Controller Phelan [WSJ]
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) said Chief Financial Officer Michael D. Collins resigned Friday and appointed William K. Phelan, a senior vice president and controller at the department-store operator, as his temporary replacement. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sears said Collins resigned “to pursue another opportunity,” but said he would remain at the company until June 10 to ensure a smooth transition.

Koss settles suit against directors in embezzlement case [MJS]
Koss Corp. has reached an agreement to settle a shareholder lawsuit filed against the Milwaukee stereophone manufacturer last year in connection with the $34 million embezzlement by a former executive. The company said Friday that the agreement in Milwaukee County Circuit Court calls for the dismissal with prejudice of claims against individual Koss directors. Claims against former Koss auditors Grant Thornton and Sujata Sachdeva, Koss’ former executive vice president of finance, would be dismissed without prejudice, meaning they could be refiled.

SEC Asks Wipro to Prove KPMG Independence [WSJ]
Wipro Ltd. said it has received a notice from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, asking the company to prove the independence of its financial auditor, KPMG India Pvt. Ltd., failing which the software exporter will have to appoint a new auditor. In an SEC filing dated April 20, Wipro said it is cooperating with the U.S. regulator’s request and that the outcome of the SEC’s review on the matter is uncertain.

One Ernst & Young Tax Associate’s Resolution Is to Find Out If She’s Underpaid

Welcome to the good-riddance-2010-hello-busy-season edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, an E&Y tax associate is considering a move to another Big 4 firm but wants to know if she’s pulling down fair scratch after “an irrevocable slip up.”

Need ideas for 2011 resolutions? Wondering how to best present strange and morbid experience on your LinkedIn profile? Looking for ideas on how to handle a client who will be less than grateful for all the hours you’ll be putting in this year? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and we’ll have everyone kissing your feet in no time.

Back to our New Year job hunter:

Hi, I’m currently working at EY FSO NY in Tax and considering going to one of the other big 4 firms but am wondering how much the going rate is these days for hires with the MST in my market. When I initially signed on here I was offered 70k with the MST but due to a huge irrevocable slip up I’m not being paid that. Understandably if I’m going to be slaving away through a 9 month busy season with these financial clients I want to at least get paid the going-rate hence the reason I’m exploring my options. Btw, I’m a staff 2 now.


Naturally, we had to ask about this “irrevocable slip up” because we pictured something along the lines of DUI, an inappropriate email or something even more serious but unfortunately it was just a college credits issue.

ANYWAY, this problem you have – ordinarily, we’d think that you’re shopping the job scene simply because you think you’re underpaid but since your situation is special, we’ll make an exception. We asked around and 70k is right in the wheelhouse of where you should be so at the very least, it wouldn’t hurt to ask some recruiters what openings the other firms have. On the other hand, if you like working at E&Y, it wouldn’t be presumptuous to explain your situation to a performance counselor or partner, the idea being that you’re happy but because of mix-up, you’re down the pay scale compared to your peers. Do this after speaking to recruiters so you can substantiate your claim.

Keep in mind that the downside is that tax associates with a MST and FS experience are a dime a dozen in New York, so we advise moving sooner (i.e. now) rather than later (i.e. April) when all your burned out colleagues are calling recruiters. If you wait a couple of weeks, before you know it, you’re swamped with work and missing for a couple of hours in the middle of the day will look pret-tay, pret-tay suspicious. Good luck.

Accounting News Roundup: Holiday Edition | 12.24.10

~ Happy Holidays! Here’s some reading to keep you occupied this weekend whether you’re celebrating someone’s birthday, enjoying Chinese food or doing nothing at all.

IRS says tax changes will cause some filing delays [AP]
The Internal Revenue Service says some taxpayers will have to wait until mid- to lat- February to file their returns dulaw approved by Congress in its lame-duck session. The changes apply to tax breaks on college tuition, state and local property taxes and out-of-pocket expenses for teachers. The IRS said Thursday the delays would be minimal for people who itemize deductions, because they normally must wait for financial documents before filing their returns.

Accountants, Texas board still at odds over Enron [Bloomberg]
To many in the accounting world, Carl Bass is a hero. Long before Enron became a worldwide symbol of scandal, Bass told his supervisors at Arthur Andersen LLP that something was amiss with the Houston energy giant. But the Texas state board that licenses accountants sees Bass differently — as unfit to continue in his profession. Nearly a decade after Enron collapsed and took Arthur Andersen with it, the work of Bass and another former Andersen partner, Thomas Bauer, as Enron auditors is still being debated in a highly contentious and costly proceeding.

Can You Break the Law by Complying With It? [DealBook]
The state claims Lehman’s auditors aided in a fraud, using Repo 105 transactions to make the books look healthier than they actually were. Ernst & Young proclaimed it did nothing wrong because its work complied with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP. Both may well be right — although that won’t necessarily preclude a claim against Ernst & Young.

TLP: No Animals Were Harmed … [JDA]
Reindeer like boomies!

The 12 gadgets of Christmas: Top tech toys of 2010 [Business Zone]
There’s still time.

Accountant Accused of Swindling Actress [WSJ]
A New York City man who did accounting work for entertainers was accused of swindling a “Law & Order” actress out of more than $1 million Thursday. The man, 50-year-old Joseph Cilibrasi of Manhattan, pleaded not guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court, where nine charges were levied against him and his company, Cilibrasi & Associates. Mr. Cilibrasi, who faces up to 25 years in prison on the top charge, was held on $100,000 bond or cash.

Blame game: Accountant denies claims in Koss case [TBJGM]
Julie Mulvaney, Sujata Sachdeva’s alleged accomplice at Koss Corp., claims she did nothing wrong and simply followed orders from Sachdeva, who Mulvaney described as a “powerful, insistent, imperious, overbearing superior.”

Deloitte plans to move offices to Midtown [NYP]
Deloitte has decided to consolidate its offices in Midtown, putting the kibosh on a long expected downtown deal for the accounting giant to move from 2 World Financial Center into 400,000 square feet at 4 World Financial Center owned by Brookfield Properties. Instead, Deloitte, which was also going to lease an additional 100,000 square feet at 30 Rockefeller Center in Midtown, may consolidate in that tower and lease even more space — if it can find the elbow room, The Post has learned.


Best of 2010: Accounting [CFO]
In the realm of accounting, no one moved more rapidly this year than the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board. The two standard-setting bodies set forth an aggressive agenda that called for a dozen or so new rules to be issued by 2011.

Congress Resolves Many Tax Issues During Lame-Duck Session [JofA]
Congress adjourned its year-end lame-duck session on Wednesday after passing legislative fixes for several pending tax issues, including the estate tax, the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, an alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch, and extensions of many expired provisions. However, it failed to repeal the expanded Form 1099 reporting requirements that were enacted as part of this spring’s health care reform legislation. The tax changes made during the lame-duck session were enacted as part of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Tax Relief Act of 2010, PL 111-312), which Congress passed on Dec. 16, and President Barack Obama signed into law the next day.

All Those Frazer Frost Christmas Cards Will Go to Waste Now

Last Friday, we linked to a Reuters article that told the story of Chinese clean-tech firm Rino International Corp. admitting that their books weren’t exactly in tip-top shape.

In fact, Rino has some hella-fraud going on, as the CEO is quoted, “[T]here might be problems with 20-40 percent of [customer contracts],” according to a letter from the company’s auditor Frazer Frost. As is the natural progression of these matters, an 8-K was filed informing anyone who cares to know that restatements are happening and that previously issued numbers are more or less worthless.


Then came the news from Financial Investigator’s Roddy Boyd, that Frazer Frost – the offspring of a merger between Moore Stephens Wurth Frazer and Torbet and Frost PLLC – was not really Frazer Frost:

One day shy of the one year anniversary date, the accountancy is scrapping a “trial merger” and is splitting back into Frost LLP of Little Rock, Ark. and Raleigh, N.C. and Moore Stephens, which is headquartered in Brea, Ca.

“Trial merger” kinda sounds like a two accounting/finance types hooking up for the first time. It’s nothing major, just testing the motion in the ocean. But if you go by the Accounting Today article from last year, there doesn’t appear to be anything “trial” about it.

Anyway, Boyd reports that Frost managing partner Dan Peregrin told him that a ‘culture clash’ led to the break up and that, “There is a lot of [issues] right now in [Chinese reverse mortgage] practice area and we just felt it would be smarter to wish them luck and stick to our practice areas.”

Right. The old, “it’s not you, it’s me” routine. But there’s more! Over at Citron Research, it’s not entirely clear just what is going on:

If you call Frost today in Arkansas, they answer “Frost & Co” and say they’re no longer associated with Frazer. Citron spoke to managing partner Dan Peregrin and twice he told us that the two firms have gone their own way. ….but if you call Frazer, they answer “Frazer Frost” and in a brief conversation with Susan Woo, the RINO auditor, she told Citron that Frazer Frost is still an operating entity.

Really? If you go to the Frazer Frost website, you see a homepage with no content in the about us section.

Which is quite true. This is all very strange/sad/pathetic because everyone else seems to be aware of the situation. It’s like Frazer doesn’t know they’ve been dumped and are just going along like everything is find and dandy.

Could someone let them down gently?

News From Auditorville [Financial Investigator/Roddy Boyd]
Dude! Where’s My Auditor?? The Curious Case of Frazer Frost [Citro Research]

Senior Manager Needs Help Enforcing the Short Skirt Policy

Welcome to the one-more-week-until-a-half-day edition of “I’m an accountant and I need you to fix my problem.” In today’s edition, a senior manager has a new associate who is bouncing between firm-approved and firm-unapproved skirts. The extra skin has gotten some attention and the SM has already given the associate a vague warning. What’s next?

Caughte at work? Need advice on how to behave around a monarch? Looking at some jail time and need some ideas on how to spend your final days outside? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and we’ll make sure you’ll behavior is acceptable/memorable for your respective situation.

All right then, enough skirting the issue:

I am a Senior Audit Manger. “Danica” is a newly hired audit staff. I am not “Danica’s” mentor. Technically “Danica” is about average. Unfortunately, “Danica” wears skirts six to seven inches above the knee. The firm dress code is three inches above the knee.

When she interviewed and for her first two weeks her presentation was excellent, nicely tailored three inches above the knee or a pants suit, nice hair and make-up. I know this a not lack of knowledge or a lack of funds to purchase a work wardrobe. In week three, when the short skirts first appeared, I called her into my office explained that accounting was a conservative profession and regardless of what our clients wore they expected us to be dressed professionally. I also explained that it was just as important she dress conservatively in the office as she could be sent to a client at anytime and the partners form an opinion of her when she is in the office. I did not explicitly mention the length or her skirts. The following two weeks she dressed correctly again and I patted myself on the back for effectively counseling a nice young staff member.

Two weeks later the short skirts were back again. Since that time one client made a negative comment as “Danica” walked past the conference room. Two other staff have asked me if new staff received copies of the dress code.

We spent a lot of money putting her through training. I would like to salvage “Danica’s” career if I can. I personally like her. I don’t think it is too late. In a few months people would chalk it up to poor judgment by a new staff member; not much worse than posting drunken photos on their facebook page. If she corrected her dress between now and the end of Decmber, then I could staff her on my jobs during busy season. However, I don’t want to open the firm up to a discrimination lawsuit if she takes this the wrong way.

What if anything do I do next?

Dear Fashion Police,

Being a proponent of fantastic gams, this particular issue may cause our thoughts to drift but we understand that you have a problem and we’ll do our best to stay objective here.

Judging by the timing (short skirts are appearing every two weeks) it’s possible that the young lady’s wardrobe is of the size that the shorter hems are simply appearing in their usual spot of the attire rotation. Your sit-down in week three sounds a little ambiguous and it appears the associate’s did not get the point of your little chat.

The fact that others have noticed is cause for concern (unless the associate is campaigning) and it may be time for another chat. This time reference your firm’s dress code rather than explain that accountants are expected to “dress professionally.” Ask the associate if has questions and allow them to communicate their feelings on the situation. You need to avoid any confusion on situation, otherwise you’re just compounding the problem.

The risk of a discrimination lawsuit is minimal** based on the fact that you have an explicit policy that all employees must follow. Danica is a new associate and this is a blip on her career so nip this issue in the bud and everyone will move on quickly.

**DISCLAIMER: I’m not a lawyer but, come on. There’s a policy!

A Wisconsin Non-Profit Learns an Important Lesson in Internal Controls

Presented by Serenic Software. Download our free whitepaper – “5 Key Reasons Why Great Financial Management is So Important for Your Nonprofit Now”

What is in the water up in America’s Dairyland? We’ve been going on and on about the internal control failures at Koss in Milwaukee but now there’s more of it at a non-profit organization just up the road. Let’s hope everyone at UW Madison is taking notes.

The latest tale of non-profit fraud stars 56 year-old Leonard V. Lauth of Beaver Dam.

Wings Over Wisconsin bills itself as a conservation organization dedicated to natural resource preservation and education through youth and community involvement. Spelling errors and obvious lack of updates since 2006 on its website aside, WOW manages nearly 1,300 acres of land and provides mostly young hunter education to the future gun-toting blue-stater babes in Wisconsin.


While it prides preservation of Wisconsin’s precious wetlands, internal controls do not appear to be high on WOW’s priority list. Hopefully this changes that.

It’s a textbook fraud case, starting with the mounting medical bills and the poor internal controls that allowed its Treasurer to lift $16,875 since 2005. Lauth’s advanced methods of fraud include writing checks to himself labeled “office supplies” in the books and taking home banquet funds after the event insisting he’d deposit them at the bank in the morning.

While typically WOW practice to require two signatures, Lauth had been with the organization for 24 years, leaving the “trust” issue totally taken care of. Opportunity, motive, what else do we need?

Rationalization, of course! Lauth told Beaver Dam Police Lt. Joel Kiesow he thought he’d taken $788 from the organization in the four year period in which he executed his fraud. When informed it was more like $17,000, Lauth was shocked. I guess he didn’t realize how expensive “office supplies” can be these days.

“Maybe I was robbing Peter to pay Paul on different things,” said Lauth in regards to using WOW funds to pay off family medical bills. Actually, he was robbing the little Dustins and Bobbys with their baby shotguns and wildlife of Wisconsin who counted on the funds to which he so sloppily helped himself. Shame shame.

Let this be a lesson to all you non-profits: cash management and financial literacy (including fraud prevention measures) are not only best practices for public companies and private industry. If anything, non-profits need sharper internal controls – without shareholders to answer to, money can easily slip into the fraud vacuum undetected for years, as in the case of Mr Lauth and WOW.

Calls to WOW left after business hours were not returned.

Man accused of taking funds from non profit [Beaver Dam Daily Citizen]

Is Stephen Chipman Preparing to Embrace Twitter?

We hope! Our speculation is fueled by a line from SC’s most recent post:

“Because I’ve heard it said that brevity is not my strong suit, I will try to explain it in 50 words.”

Whether Steve-o realizes it or not, at 50 words, he still needs to improve his brevity. But it’s a start and we’re hoping that he’ll get eventually embrace Twitter. We’re envisioning pithy Tweets followed by clever hashtags like #GTrocks or #Big4sucks or #isecretlyheartsuesachdeva.


The fact the whole brevity topic came up makes us curious. We only made mention of it once, ages ago, so we’re certain that he isn’t referring to our commentary (which we’re sure he reads religiously).

Anyhoo, Even-Stephen was referring to the difference between the Grant Thornton Senior Leadership Team and the Partnership Board. Disappointing everyone, he ended up using 51 words and 258 characters:

The SLT is the equivalent of executive management, and the Partnership Board is the governing body of the firm. The SLT is appointed by the CEO and approved by the PB. The CEO is appointed by the PB. The SLT reports to the CEO, and the CEO reports to the PB.

That’s followed up by Stephen getting back to his windy ways, describing what every member of the SLT does (you can get the gist from their titles).

So while we’re encouraged by Chip’s effort at getting to the point, he still has some work to do. Just sign up and go for it man. Plus we’d be interested to know who Steve-o would follow. Going Concern is a given but does he go intellectual and follow Taleb and Roubini? Or slum it with the rubes and follow Kim Kardashian, Courtney Love and Kanye?

Stephen, just get on Twitter.

Quote of the Day: Is Michael Koss a Sad or Happy Clown? | 03.04.10

“Michael Koss is a clown. He does not belong on the board of directors of any company. He needs to be minding his own company, and until he can clean things up there, he should not be allowed to go outside and play.”

~ Tracy Coenen, on Mr Koss’ resignation as the Audit Committee Chairman of Strattec Security Corp.