Poor BDO, they never get in the news. But hey, they do today!
Former BDO partner George Mark got off easy this week when U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer said he didn’t deserve to go to jail thanks to his “extraordinary” charitable efforts and remorse for his actions. Mark’s tax evasion was uncovered during an investigation into Pennsylvania beverage company Le-Nature’s, who apparently specialized in nepotism, ass water and fraud.
Mark will instead serve two years of probation and pay a fine of $30,000.
A federal jury recently found Le-Nature’s former president Robert B. Lynn guilty of 10 counts of bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. The jury found him not guilty on 10 additional fraud counts and deadlocked on five others, which left Senior U.S. District Judge Alan Bloch Jr. no other choice than to declare a mistrial on the remaining charges. The company’s CEO Gregory Podlucky and other company officers are facing prison for their part of a $37 million fraud.
While investigating Le-Nature’s ugly mess, the IRS found out that Mark declared fake travel expenses on his 2004, 2005 and 2006 tax returns for about $90,000. The IRS determined that Mark was living the gangsta lifestyle out in the Philly ‘burbs, rented an apartment in NYC, traveled a lot and owned a few luxury cars.
The U.S. attorney’s office had hoped the judge would come down with jail time in order to convince would-be tax cheats that this is serious business but the judge felt Mark’s volunteer efforts for Hope International and other charities was sufficient proof that he wasn’t all that bad of a guy, perhaps just a little misguided.
Back in 2008, 74 investors alleged fraud and negligent misrepresentation against Wachovia Capital Markets, Wachovia Securities and two accounting firms, Ernst & Young and BDO Seidman for their respective parts in the Le-Nature’s scam, in which company officers (mostly CEO Podlucky and his kin) would secure loans for business equipment only to turn around and use that money for things like, oh, sapphires and overpriced watches.
E&Y audited Le-Nature’s until BDO took over. “E&Y was aware that Podlucky could single-handedly influence or manipulate the company’s financial results …” charged the lawsuit. The company basically made up $240 million in revenue and BDO auditors declared the company’s financials were free of material misstatements. FAIL.
Anyway, congratulations to the former partner for, uh, being such a model human being. Or something.
When we saw the BDO rebranding story this week we were perplexed because we told you about this new effort to popularize the Global 6 in OCTOBER.
Come to find out that 2010 will mark the 100th birthday of BDO Seidman so there was no rush to change the name back on October 1 with the less-special firms because A) all the firm’s clients were already calling them ‘BDO’ and the change wasn’t really ness, and B) they couldn’t cancel all the festivities they had planned:
“The adoption of the single ‘BDO’ brand name reinforces our commitment to the BDO international network, even as we celebrate our firm’s centennial here in the United States,” said BDO (U.S.) CEO Jack Weisbaum in a statement. He acknowledged that many of the firm’s clients have been referring to the firm as BDO for years anyway.
BDO plans to conduct a year-long celebration of the firm’s founding by Maximillian L. Seidman in 1910, including historical podcasts on the firm’s intranet, a centennial video tracking the firm’s progress over the past century, and celebrations at the BDO Biennial and BDO Partner Meetings in November.
Gosh that does sound fun. We totally get it now.
Plus, the American firm still has to figure out how to pay $521 million to Banco Espirito. Going out at an even 100 years would put a nice cap on things.
BDO Seidman Rebrands as ‘BDO’ [Web CPA]
UPDATE, 10:37 am: A BDO spokesperson got back to us and everything seems to be fine over at 41st and Park with no evacuated BDOers. Our bad. Still probably a case of the Mondays regardless.