Accounting News Roundup: Long Prison Sentences and Short Sandwiches | 08.30.17

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Accountants behaving badly

If this section of ANR has taught you anything, it should be that embezzling money from your employer is a horrible idea. If you still aren’t convinced, let this story from the heartland serve as another reminder:

The former finance director of the Substance Abuse Treatment Unit of Central Iowa headquartered in Marshalltown was sentenced to 25 years in prison Monday for embezzling nearly $83,000 from the not-for-profit organization.

Amy Lee Howell helped herself to that $83k from October 1, 2014 through July 31, 2016. She faced sixteen original charges and pleaded guilty to two — one count of ongoing criminal conduct and one count of unauthorized use of a credit card up to $1,000. And the sentence is 25 years? For $83,000? Man. I’m no expert on sentencing guidelines, but that seems like a long stretch for a relatively small amount of money.

With this in mind, let’s all agree that the first step for anyone planning an elaborate — or not so elaborate — embezzlement scheme is to review the sentencing guidelines for the crimes you could potentially face.

Lunch

Litigation over the Subway’s footlong sandwiches falling short of expectations has come to an end after the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled “that the only beneficiaries were the lawyers.” Subway had agreed to a settlement “which Subway promised to maintain practices to ensure more uniformity in its bread.” The attorneys for the class action — yes this was a class action — were to receive $520k.

Enter Theodore Frank, who directs the Center for Class Action Fairness at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He objected to the settlement on grounds that while the lawyers were “handsomely compensated” the class received “negligible to no relief.”

So the Seventh Circuit threw out the settlement. Which is fine, I guess, although I would’ve been more pleased if the court had accepted the settlement but required the attorneys to spend the entire $520k on Subway sandwiches. That would’ve been enough to get them to think twice before suing over shrinking bread again.

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Previously, on Going Concern…

I mentioned the latest twist in the saga of AmTrust Financial: mysterious people approaching the company’s critics, including one who laughed a little too hard at accounting jokes. In Open Items, someone is wondering about moving from a small firm to a corporate position.

In other news:

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