Apparently criminals in the Bourne, Mass. area are not getting the service they need from the local CPAs in a crucial time of year. Any crook worth his salt knows that taxes are to be taken seriously. If they can nail Capone with with tax evasion, they can nail anyone. Luckily, one police department recognizes […]
Insider trading: the classic white collar money-making scheme. Do it right, and you’ll amass a fortune. Screw it up, and you’ll wind up stamping out license plates and teaching ethics CPE from behind bars with Scott London. We're here today to tell you how NOT to get caught because who knows, some day you may […]
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58-year-old Charles Shaffer has been ordered to serve two to four years in prison for stealing nearly $400,000 from his employer to fund a nine-year-long coke habit.
According to testimony, Shaffer stole $381,361 from telecommunications consulting firm Icore Inc. between 2001 and 2010 by writing checks to himself from a medical expense reimbursement employee fund.$381,361 over a nine year period really isn’t that bad of a cocaine habit, unless the guy was buying crap $20 grams from club kids. Think about it… if he was snorting up a really good gram a day at $100 a gram that’s $36,500 a year, but doesn’t take into account high-stress, high-use days like holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and yearly internal audits. Oh wait, obviously they didn’t care about that last one.
“He stole money from Icore, put it up his nose and Icore suffered the consequences,” said Lehigh County Judge Robert L. Steinberg in his decision.
The saddest part of this story (besides the part where the cokehead robs his employer for 9 years and no one seemed to notice) is that Shaffer’s actions very nearly caused the small company, which employs about 15, almost went under had they not had insurance and taken out a loan to stay afloat. “We came pretty close to shutting the doors,” said company VP Paul Kutches in testimony. “(Shaffer) was entrusted to make sure the finances were on the right path.” They were on the right path, alright, straight up his nose. “I would just hope this court imposes a sentence that reminds Mr. Shaffer of stabbing his friends in the back every day,” said Kutches when asked what sort of sentence he’d like to see his former employee receive in this case.
Shaffer started with the company in 1997, however company bank records only go back to 2001. Company officials first contacted investigators in June 2010 when they discovered missing money and Shaffer was arrested the following August. At that time, he signed over his $33,634 company retirement plan and forfeited his $80,000 a year salary.
Now that he’s off the powdered sauce, Shaffer is showing signs of regret for his actions. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel remorseful,” he told the judge.
Remember, kids: internal controls are an awesome, awesome thing.
Accountant gets prison for embezzling to buy drugs [Morning Call]
Welcome to the bracketastic edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a future tax associate is losing sleep over his offer with a Big 4 firm that could be at risk because of two past convictions. Will his past indiscretions torpedo his job prospects before things get rolling?
Need some semi-reasonable career advice? Do you avoid confrontation as a general rule? Looking for some ideas on how to carry on an imaginary conversation? Email us at email@example.com and we’ll get you prepared for an elevator ride.
Back to our tax troublemaker:
To whom it may (going) concern,
I recently accepted an offer to join the Tax Department at a local Big 4 office. Although quite ecstatic to receive an offer from my top choice, I am worried that a past arrest may jeopardize my prospects with the firm. The case consisted of two convictions, unlawful open container and trespassing. I am in the process of getting the convictions expunged, however, I don’t know if they will be off my record by the time background checks are performed.
What will the firm make of this? They seem pretty minor on the continuum of things to be arrested for, but I didn’t know if any arrest is seen as a warning signal. If it’s something I should worry about, when and who should I contact with this information.
Any help is welcomed, because after pre first-round interview dreams and pre-second round interview dreams, the last thing I want is to have dreams regarding my background check for the next seven months.
Dear Open Trespasser,
Lucky for you, I have experience in this regard, as I had my share of minor offenses prior to starting my career. The details of which are inconsequential but let’s just say I had a run of bad luck prior to reaching the age of 21. In your case, I’m pretty confident that you have little to worry with regard to your two convictions, mostly because they are minor, non-violent offenses. If you had taken the open container, cracked it over someone’s skull (the trespassee, let’s say), which then resulted in a circus of a trial that tarnished your entire school’s/fraternity’s/family’s reputation, then you might have a valid concern.
Having said that, it’s not impossible that a firm wouldn’t, all of sudden, decide to make an example out of someone but it seems pretty unlikely. Everybody makes mistakes and if your tax group really was excited about bring ing you on board, a couple of slip-ups like this aren’t going to change their mind about you.
You’re doing the right thing by requesting the convictions to be expunged and I believe they would do so after a number of years, even if you chose not to do so. Good luck with the new gig and try to keep your nose clean. But, breaking the law while an employee of a Big 4 firm is definitely not a great way to keep a job.