July 17, 2018

Report: Court Documents Name KPMG Audit Clients Caught Up in PCAOB Leak Fiasco

MarketWatch reporter and friend of Going Concern’s, Francine McKenna, wrote an outstanding article today after digging through court documents obtained by MarketWatch that name the audit clients caught up in the KPMG audit inspection conspiracy. And there are some pretty big names.

The Justice Department in January brought criminal charges against five former KPMG executives and one former employee of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board for their roles in the scandal, in which confidential PCAOB audit inspection details were leaked ahead of time to the firm.

McKenna wrote:

Court filings made June 8 by lawyers for two of the KPMG partner defendants spells out the audit clients caught up in the scandal. They’re mostly financial companies: Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Banc of California, BBVA, Ambac, Phoenix Life, and NewStar Financial as well as industrial companies Air Products & Chemical and C&J Energy Services.

Neither the Justice Department nor the Securities and Exchange Commission, who filed similar charges in a civil cases, have ever identified the KPMG clients.

But McKenna stressed that “there’s no indication that any of these banks or companies were aware of the tip off, and typically, they would have little to no involvement in auditor inspections. None of the issuers have announced a restatement of financials since the Jan. 6 indictment. KPMG, the auditor, has not been accused of wrongdoing.”

The banks and companies named in the court documents either declined to comment or did not respond to an email request for comment, McKenna wrote.

The new court filing also reveals that KPMG employees would have received financial bonuses if their engagements received no comments from PCAOB inspectors, according to McKenna.

[MW]

Image: iStock/justhavealook

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SHOCKER: Doesn’t Appear that Stanford Auditors were Doing Any Auditing

allen-stanford_1018295c.jpgLast week’s indictment of Allen Stanford has brought up the always popular question when fraud, occurs: “Who are the auditors that were asleep at the wheel of this disaster?”
Well, in this case, the auditors were a local UK two-person shop, CAS Hewlett, which must be Queen’s English for Friehling & Horowitz.
It doesn’t appear that CAS Hewlett has a website, but they’ve been doing the Stanford “audits” for at least 10 years, so obv they’re legit. PwC and KPMG both have offices on Antigua but Stanford preferred to stay with its “trusted firm”. Totally understandable.
And the best part? The founder of the firm, Charlesworth “Shelly” Hewlett died in January, approximately a month before the story broke on the Ponz de Stanford.
This all adds up to who-the-fuck-knows if audits were even occurring and for us to speculate if Shelly needed to get got because Stan knew that the poo and fan were coming together. Just sayin’.

PCAOB: The Rodney Dangerfield of Bureaucracies

pcaob.gif It’s tough being part of a bureaucracy, especially if you’re doing something as glamarous as babysitting auditors. The CIA, FBI, NSA have got it easy. You get to catch bad guys, use guns, and Hollywood makes movies about you. Aside from the warrantless wiretaps and otherwise general big brotherishness, it’s cool.
The PCAOB doesn’t get that luxury. They get to poke around auditors’ work and then tell them how much they suck at it. Not so fun for anybody. They also get to write auditing standards. Take the watchdog aspect, multiply it times infinity, and that’s about the amount fun we’re talking about for writing rules on auditing.
But now people are saying they’re too slow in writing these I-already-want-to-kill-myself boring rules? Yep:

“Given how little they’ve accomplished in the standards-setting area, they don’t get a passing grade,” says Lynn Turner, a former chief accountant for the SEC.
Turner says he and a group of investor advocates wrote to the PCAOB in 2004, asking it to improve fraud standards. But the work remains undone, he says.
Bill Gradison, the board member whose term expires in October, calls the criticism fair. “We’ve been much slower than other standards writers,” he says.
By comparison, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, which sets international auditing standards, among other duties, finished revising its own standards in March. The process, which included 37 standards, took about five years

Man, now comparisons to the Europeans. They’re looking for some new blood at the PCAOB though, since Mark Olson is retiring as Chairman and another board member’s term is expiring.
But don’t you go calling them lazy! “the PCAOB is taken seriously by the auditing community and deserves credit for trying. ‘Anyone who says it isn’t is off the wall,'”
What a ringing endorsement.

COMPLIANCE WATCH: Oversight Board Sets Sluggish Pace
[WSJ]