Accountants Behaving Badly: Strangling Wife, Stealing Money From a Band, Shopping Spree on Company’s Dime

A look at the best of the worst accountant malfeasance around the globe over the past month or so.

CA throttles wife to death, tries to pass it off as suicide, arrested [Times of India]
Here is a disturbing story out of India: Jaiveer Singh, a 52-year-old chartered accountant, was arrested on May 1 for allegedly strangling his 47-year-old wife to death in their apartment in Greater Noida City, India, on April 15.

Authorities said an autopsy revealed the cause of death of Singh’s wife, Kusum, was strangulation, not suicide, as Singh had told police. Reports say that Singh called in his 24-year-old son and 20-year-old daughter into the bedroom the morning of April 15 to show Kusum hanging from a ceiling fan.

BUT …

“In fact, it was Kusum’s brother Mahaveer Rausa who had informed us on April 16, a day after the crime, that the accused was on his way to Bulandshahr to cremate the body,” said Arvind Pathak, SHO of the Knowledge Park police station.

“We had immediately contacted the local police, stopped the cremation and sent the body for post-mortem,” Pathak added.

Rausa told the Times of India that there’s no way his sister would have hanged herself in that bedroom because, “My sister used to sleep separately with her daughter.”

Director of Deep Purple royalty management firms jailed for stealing £2.2million from company accounts [SurreyLive]
Dipak Shanker Rao, the longtime accountant for ’70s rock band Deep Purple, was sentenced to six years and four months in prison on April 30 for stealing £2.2 million from two companies that managed the royalties for the band, best known for their stoner anthem “Smoke on the Water.”

Rao, 71, transferred large sums of money from the accounts of Deep Purple Overseas Ltd. and HEC Enterprises Ltd. into his own. He then invested the money into a number of money-making schemes, all of which turned out to be scams and resulted in Rao losing the money.

Prosecutors said Rao’s thieving began in 2008 and lasted until 2014 when the children of Deep Purple’s former manager Tony Edwards voiced concerns about the companies’ accounts after inheriting parts upon their father’s death in 2010.

Rao pleaded guilty to two offences—fraud by abuse of position and transferring criminal property—on March 29.

Accountant buys $6-million in Apple iPhones and iPads on company credit cards and nobody notices for five years [National Post]
Just in case you missed this story out of Canada last month: Nadia Minetto, who was the accounting manager for Wescom Solutions in Mississauga, Ontario, charged 5,321 iPads and 4,942 iPhones, worth more than $6 million, to her company American Express card over a two-and-a-half-year period and sold them to a guy who would resell them either through his electronics store in a mall north of Toronto or to Hong Kong companies or to wholesalers. It wasn’t until a consultant was hired in 2014 that the company discovered Minetto’s wild spending sprees.

Former Cascade County Sheriff’s Office accountant sentenced to prison for theft [KRTV]
An accountant-gone-bad incident in Montana:

A former Cascade County Sheriff’s Office accountant has been sentenced for taking money from the Sheriff’s Office while employed there.

Michele Levesey Woods, also known as Michele Levesey Saubak, was sentenced to three months in federal prison. She is required to pay back over $31,614.37.

Woods stole the money over a two-year period to feed her gambling addiction, according to court documents.

She has since started a 12-step program and paid back $5,000.

Accountant stole over $73,000 from Syracuse company, district attorney’s office says [Syracuse.com]
Deborah Sabotka, a former accountant of Syracuse Signal Systems in New York, was accused of stealing more than $73,000 from the traffic signal company.

Sabotka, 60, was charged in late March with second-degree grand larceny, a felony, Onondaga County First Chief Assistant District Attorney Rick Trunfio said in April.

She is accused of stealing $73,432.73 between Aug. 22, 2017 and Oct. 26, 2018. She allegedly deposited the funds into her personal Discover account on several different dates, times, and amounts, according to court documents.

The theft was discovered by the current controller of Syracuse Signal Systems as well as an outside accounting company that conducted a forensic accountant report.

Lansing accountant pleads guilty to bankruptcy and mail fraud [The Ithaca Voice]
Andrew LaVigne, an accountant in Lansing, N.Y., pleaded guilty in federal court in late March to bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering.

Authorities said LaVigne used his CPA practice to conceal millions in assets:

When he filed for bankruptcy [in 2004], he owed about $7.6 million to more than 80 unsecured creditors after what the U.S. Attorney’s Office said was “a failed scheme to use their money to purchase sports and entertainment memorabilia and resell it for a profit.” During his bankruptcy, he reportedly claimed his home as his only asset and did not pay back the 80 investors he owed. With his guilty plea Wednesday, he admitted to using his CPA practice’s bank accounts to conceal between $3.5 and $9.5 million in assets from the United States Bankruptcy Court and the Office of the United States Trust, which he laundered by depositing funds unrelated to his CPA practice into his business accounts. He then used that money for his own benefit, including to buy sports memorabilia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

And in a separate mail fraud scheme, LaVigne admitted to defrauding a senior-citizen client of more than $1 million.

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