Cruising around el Twittero this morning, we came across something interesting shared by Francine McKenna: Which auditor has most China fraud problems? Deloitte by a landslide. RT @chinajinrong: @retheauditors tradingfloor.com/posts/china-fi… — Francine McKenna (@retheauditors) May 29, 2013 This post by Fredrik Oqvist, founder of China RAI, has a table that shows which audit firms have had […]
Last month we told you about the break up of Frazer Frost, a firm that was born out of the combination of Moore Stephens Wurth Frazer Torbet, LLP and Frost, PLLC. Turns out, the announcement made in November 2009 left out the part that it was just a ‘trial merger’ and after a year, they scrapped it for various reasons that included a) a ‘culture clash’ b) ‘issues in the Chinese reverse mortgage practice’ and c) well, those first two are pretty bad.
While it’s unfortunate when these things don’t work out, it would be assumed that everyone working at the firm would be acutely aware of the situation. A merger doesn’t exactly qualify as a “minor administrative issue” that gets overlooked. Nevertheless, a tipster sent us the following picture that appeared on page 48 of the December issue of Celebrate Arkansas.
Judging by this ad, you might get the impression that Frazer Frost was in fact still a firm and if one visits www.frazerfrost.com that’s when it gets hella-confusing:
Moore Stephens Wurth Frazer Torbet, LLP and Frost, PLLC are moving to resume operations as separate entities, as existed prior to their combination in January 2010. The combined firm, Frazer Frost, LLP, will continue to exist as a legal entity until the separation has been completed. It continues to be the policy of both firms not to comment publicly on client, personnel, or other internal matters.
Maybe we’re a little slow but if the two firms are “moving to resume operations as separate entities” but “The combined firm, Frazer Frost, LLP, will continue to exist as a legal entity until the separation has been completed,” we interpret that as “Frazer Frost is still technically a firm but in reality, it’s only a matter of time until we’re not.” It’s seems like a bad breakup where two people continue living together in a tense, awkward environment where way uglier shit gets said than during the actual break-up but they’re both stuck in this god-awful situation until somebody finds a new apartment.
Regardless, placing an ad in a periodical could be construed as misleading but that’s just us. If someone at the firm can explain it to us, we’ll be here. While we wait, if you’ve got thoughts on whether this ad is perfectly hunky dory or a little dubious, share below.
In fact, Rino has some hella-fraud going on, as the CEO is quoted, “[T]here might be problems with 20-40 percent of [customer contracts],” according to a letter from the company’s auditor Frazer Frost. As is the natural progression of these matters, an 8-K was filed informing anyone who cares to know that restatements are happening and that previously issued numbers are more or less worthless.
Then came the news from Financial Investigator’s Roddy Boyd, that Frazer Frost – the offspring of a merger between Moore Stephens Wurth Frazer and Torbet and Frost PLLC – was not really Frazer Frost:
One day shy of the one year anniversary date, the accountancy is scrapping a “trial merger” and is splitting back into Frost LLP of Little Rock, Ark. and Raleigh, N.C. and Moore Stephens, which is headquartered in Brea, Ca.
“Trial merger” kinda sounds like a two accounting/finance types hooking up for the first time. It’s nothing major, just testing the motion in the ocean. But if you go by the Accounting Today article from last year, there doesn’t appear to be anything “trial” about it.
Anyway, Boyd reports that Frost managing partner Dan Peregrin told him that a ‘culture clash’ led to the break up and that, “There is a lot of [issues] right now in [Chinese reverse mortgage] practice area and we just felt it would be smarter to wish them luck and stick to our practice areas.”
Right. The old, “it’s not you, it’s me” routine. But there’s more! Over at Citron Research, it’s not entirely clear just what is going on:
If you call Frost today in Arkansas, they answer “Frost & Co” and say they’re no longer associated with Frazer. Citron spoke to managing partner Dan Peregrin and twice he told us that the two firms have gone their own way. ….but if you call Frazer, they answer “Frazer Frost” and in a brief conversation with Susan Woo, the RINO auditor, she told Citron that Frazer Frost is still an operating entity.
Really? If you go to the Frazer Frost website, you see a homepage with no content in the about us section.
Which is quite true. This is all very strange/sad/pathetic because everyone else seems to be aware of the situation. It’s like Frazer doesn’t know they’ve been dumped and are just going along like everything is find and dandy.
Could someone let them down gently?
News From Auditorville [Financial Investigator/Roddy Boyd]
Dude! Where’s My Auditor?? The Curious Case of Frazer Frost [Citro Research]