Accounting News Roundup: Insurance Fraud and Tax Reform Gets Harder | 11.16.17

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Accountants behaving badly

Here’s an interesting diversion in the ABB section from the usual “Accountant Embezzles Funds” story: insurance fraud! An Atlanta-area CPA, Earle Turner Sr., allegedly took out 19 life insurance policies on his clients, naming himself as the beneficiary:

Mutual of Omaha notified Georgia officials of suspected fraudulent activity by Turner after finding him as the beneficiary of three policies. The three victims said they hadn’t given Turner, who runs an office on Covington Highway, permission to take out the policies.

The investigation eventually found all 19 policies, each of which bore the name of one of Turner’s customers. Five of them died while he allegedly had policies in their names, but only one policy of $10,000 fully paid out.

You know, if this guy had just played his cards right, and really endeared himself to these clients, maybe they would’ve legitimately made him the beneficiary. But that is not legal advice. Any CPA wanting to develop a death niche would be better off trying to offer undertaker advisory services.

If you prefer a classic tale of ABB, you’ll enjoy the story of Greg Takesian, a Miami CPA who was convicted earlier this week of filing false tax returns and attempting to obstruct and impede the IRS.

Over four days, the jury heard about Takesian’s lavish lifestyle and how he spent nearly a million dollars taken from Takesian & Company, a tax consulting firm owned by his father, on his wife and girlfriend. While Takesian ran the day-to-day business, he did not have an ownership stake in the company

In total, according to the IRS, Takesian gave his wife more than $500,000 from the company bank account, and his girlfriend more than $200,000 of company funds. He also spent money on Caribbean cruises, expensive clothing and nightclubs.

Takesian also handed out corporate credit cards like candy, “allow[ing] his wife and others to use to make more than $50,000 in purchases for non-business expenses such as cruises, jewelry, intimate women’s apparel, makeup, iTunes, and Home Shopping Network items.”

How’s tax reform coming along?

The House of Representatives will be voting on H.R. 1, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, today, two weeks after it was introduced. This Washington Post summary of the bill hits the high points, but even if the bill passes (it’s close right now) anyone who managed to stay awake in their high school civics class knows that it’s of little consequence. A major development this week in the Senate might railroad the whole thing:

The House is voting on a tax bill only. The Senate bill includes a provision to scrap the legal requirement that almost all Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty. The House isn’t touching that, which may lead to a showdown between the two chambers if they have to reconcile their very different versions of the bill.

“I know! Let’s make this hard thing even harder by inserting an unrelated political hot-button issue!” This the logic of some in the U.S. Senate, my friends.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Greg Kyte’s Exposure Drafts cartoon shows why anyone billing by the hour can never relax. In Open Items, someone is wondering if they should risk having a conversation about expressing interest in programming. Another user asks, “Is [it] too late to get into audit?”

In other news:

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