Cheaters

This Guy Cheated on the Open Book Ethics Exam, Ratted Himself Out (UPDATE/CORRECTION)

This article has been updated and corrected. See details below. So here’s the deal. This guy Nathaniel Paredes was disciplined by the California Board of Accountancy, and we get to read all about it in the latest edition of the CBA Update. In case you aren’t aware, the CBA publishes a list of all the […]

Fraudsters Get High on Fraud, Auditors Get High on… Not Committing Fraud?

This groundbreaking idea brought to you by the AICPA Insights blog: According to a recent blog entry on the New York Times’ website, researchers have found that people who cheated, and got away with it, experienced a thrill, self-satisfaction and a sense of superiority. While that sensation was not as strong as the high that […]

Illinois Candidate Caught Cheating on the CPA Exam

We have better things to do than comb through the minutes of each accountancy board’s meetings, so thanks to the tipster who obviously doesn’t and sent in the following tip from the January 25, 2011 minutes of the Illinois Board of Accountancy:

b. Mr. [Richard] York led a discussion regarding a recent candidate caught cheating by Prometric. The Committee agreed with the Executive Director’s recommendation to void the candidate’s scores for that examination. It was agreed by the Board to implement a prohibition of testing privilege for 2-5 years as provided by Administrative Rule for future candidates caught cheating.

It’s common knowledge that if you are caught cheating on the CPA exam you should expect for your scores to be thrown out and will likely receive some sort of administrative penalty (such as being barred from taking the exam again for a certain number of years) but this is the first reference I have seen to an actual candidate getting busted.

How does one go about cheating on the CPA exam anyway? With countless questions completely locked down by the AICPA, how could a candidate cheat? Sharpie notes on the palm of his hand? Smuggled in snot rags?

The official line on cheating from the AICPA, NASBA and Prometric goes something like this:

The Boards of Accountancy, NASBA and the AICPA take candidate misconduct, including cheating on the Uniform CPA Examination, very seriously. If a Board of Accountancy determines that a candidate is culpable of misconduct or has cheated, the candidate will be subject to a variety of penalties including, but not limited to, invalidation of grades, disqualification from subsequent examination administrations, and civil and criminal penalties. In cases where candidate misconduct or cheating is discovered after a candidate has obtained a CPA license or certificate, a Board of Accountancy may rescind the license or certificate.

If the test center staff suspects misconduct, a warning will be given to the candidate for any of the following situations:
· Communicating, orally or otherwise, with another candidate or person
· Copying from or looking at another candidate’s materials or workstation
· Allowing another candidate to copy from or look at materials or workstation
· Giving or receiving assistance in answering examination questions or problems
· Reading examination questions or simulations aloud
· Engaging in conduct that interferes with the administration of the examination or unnecessarily
disturbing staff or other candidates

Grounds for confiscation of a prohibited item and warning the candidate include:
· Possession of any prohibited item (whether or not in use) inside, or while entering or exiting the testing room
· Use of any prohibited item during a break in a manner that could result in cheating or the removal of examination questions or simulations

Inquiring minds are dying to know what went down.

The scariest part is that in 2 – 5 years, this candidate can head back into Prometric and give it another shot. Looks like it’s payroll clerking it in the meantime.

Doing Penance for John Edwards’ Sins: Provision Could Hit “Skilled” S Corp Owners

Long before John Edwards became known as a well-coiffed skirt-chasing weasel, he was a well-coiffed successful trial lawyer. He was successful enough to afford good tax advice, so he conducted his law practice in an S corporation.

Back in the old days, professional practices were conducted as sole proprietorships or general partnerships, reportable as self-employment income, subject to the 15.3% self-employment tax up to the FICA base (currently $106,800), and to the 2.9% Medicare portion of the tax to infinity.


When state laws allowed professionals to incorporate, attorneys and accountants quickly noticed that income on S corporation K-1s is not subject to self-employment tax. This makes S corporations a popular way to run a professional practice. The professionals take a “reasonable” salary out of the business (subject to employer and employee FICA and Medicare tax) – enough to not raise IRS eyebrows – and take the rest out as S corporation distributions with no employment tax.

John Edwards did well by this. His law practice generated millions dollars of K-1 earnings in excess of his salary, saving him hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll and self-employment tax.

Now that he has been reduced to a wealthy target of mockery, Congress is ready to crack down on the John Edwards S corporation tax shelter. The annual “extenders” bill has a provision – almost as absurd as Edwards love life – that will hit professional S corporation K-1 income with self-employment tax. The SE tax will apply when the “principal asset” of the S corporation is the “reputation and skill” of three or fewer professionals – defined for this purpose as “services in the fields of health, law, lobbying, engineering, architecture, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting, athletics, investment advice or management, or brokerage services.”

Congress doesn’t muss its hair worrying about how taxpayers in multi-owner S corporations are supposed to figure out whether its “principal asset” is the “reputation and skill” of three or fewer owners. However it works, this provision is too late to hurt John Edwards — his reputation isn’t much of an asset anymore.

Joe Kristan is a shareholder of Roth & Company, P.C. in Des Moines, Iowa, author of the Tax Update Blog and Going Concern contributor. You can see all of his posts for GC here.

Tiger Woods Mistress: Candidate for IRS Audit?

Maybe! Our imagination tends to run wild so if you’ve got reason to believe that hush money paid to Tiger’s mistresses is of no interest to the IRS, please advise.

TMZ is reporting, based on “sources — and they are good” that Tigger paid Rachel Uchitel $10 million to keep her mouth shut regarding their affair.


Or maybe we’re not giving either of them enough credit. Maybe Rachel has a tremendous business acumen that we’re not aware of and she requested a 1099 from T. Dubs.

Plus, Tiger employs more people than Alaska, so someone on his team may have been looking out for this girl. TW, on the other hand, there’s NFW he considered the problems this could possibly create. Considering the fact that he has trouble communicating, we’re guessing the financial ramifications for his F-buddies slipped his mind.

10 Million Reasons Tiger Was Afraid of Rachel [TMZ]

A Tax Lien Is a Much More Manageable Problem Than Say, Apologizing to Your Oscar Winning Wife

Since Jesse James’ tax lien is relatively small — $3,918 — you can probably chalk this up to a mistake. However, since the taxes are related to 2007, could it be that it was an oversight? A mistake? Poor judgment?

Poor judgment akin to say, inviting a tattoo model/stripper/rumored white supremacist into your bike shop to cheat on your wife? Is that sort of the same thing?

Tax debt adds to sex scandal for Sandra Bullock beau [Tax Watchdog]