September 15, 2019

Gambling

The New Jersey Society of CPAs Is Taking Super Bowl Bets Because Of Course They Are

We're going to resist playing into New Jersey stereotypes and present this (mostly) without comment:   Post by New Jersey Society of CPAs. Now, we don't have a horse in this race but if we did, we'd like to see the Seahawks slaughter the Patriots. So let's say… 121-0. After all, we heard Tom Brady […]

Old Lady Convicted of $190,000 Fraud and Doesn’t Even Have to Miss Christmas

The ACFE says 7 percent of frauds are detected by accident and only 3 percent are discovered by the external auditor, proving that fraudsters are 4 percentage points dumber than auditors are smart. That’s pretty much what happened with poor, dumb Alice Riley, the 61-year-old former clerk for the City of Auburn, Kansas, who was […]

Ex-Deloitte Chief Risk Officer Learns Not to Gamble with Independence the Hard Way

As everyone who is anyone knows, it's important to maintain independence in both fact and appearance. James T. Adams — once Chief Risk Officer at Deloitte's San Francisco office — was reminded of that part of CPA Ethics 101 today when the Securities and Exchange Commission charged him for causing violations of the auditor independence […]

Gambling, Florida, and Worthless Green Bay Packers Stock: A Sports Fan’s Guide to Taxes

Ed. note: With less than a week until the tax filing deadline, Deadspin asked me to delve into tax wonkery for sports fans. The post appears here with permission. Those of you who are not Darryl Strawberry will be spending the next few days on your tax returns. Here are a few practical things–and a number […]

Can We Get a Show of Hands From People Who Plan to Declare Their Super Bowl Gambling Winnings?

You may have heard about or even watched a sporting event known as the Super Bowl that was played last night. This particular mother of all bowls saw the Green Bay Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25, paying a tidy sum for anyone that picked them last spring. Which brings me to my next point: while the Super Bowl is a grand occasion that involves athletes at the top of their game, expensive ads and shitty, over-hyped halftime shows, it’s also means an epic amount of wagering. Everything from the coin flip to last year’s odds on Reggies Bush’s total yardage versus Kim Kardashian’s measurements are popular ways to earn yourself some free money (or, if you’re on the losing side, a broken tibia).


And believe it or not, most gamblers appear to be a honest lot with over $27 billion declared gambling winnings in 2008 (the most recent data available). However, because avoiding taxes is as American as, well, the Super Bowl you can bet that a lot of the winnings don’t ever see a 1040. The exact amount of unreported winnings is, like that the secret ingredient in that dip you were inhaling last night, a mystery. Kay Bell reports:

As for how many taxpayers didn’t completely ‘fess up on 2008 returns about their gambling income, the IRS won’t even venture a guess. Or as an IRS spokesman once told me, “We can’t tell you what we don’t know.”

But guesstimating that a whole heck of a lot of gambling income never gets taxed is a very safe bet.

But don’t worry if you missed some sweet, tax-free action on last night’s game. March Madness isn’t far off.

By the Numbers: $27.197 billion [DWMT]

Nun-cum-former CFO, Who May Have a Gambling Problem, Allegedly Made Off with Some Iona College Cash

We’re a few days late to this story so save the indignation, it’s still worth mentioning.

Sister Marie E. Thornton (aka Sister Susie) was doing the Lord’s work as the CFO at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY and it appears that she was embezzling around $80k a year for nearly 10 years to fund a wee bit of a gambling problem. She surrendered to authorities last week over said embezzlement of ‘more than $850,000,’ according to Talk of the Sound, a New Rochelle blog, that quotes a DOJ press release.


The school fired Sister Suz last year, along with another employee, in relation to the embezzlement and the DOJ got around to charging her last week.

The story got picked up by several outlets, including Fox News who reported that Sister Suz had been blowing the money on trips to Atlantic City:

As chief financial officer at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. from 1999 to 2009, Sister Marie Thornton, 62, bet her six-figure income and school money away during frequent trips to Atlantic City, federal prosecutors said.

Thornton was arrested Thursday and pleaded not guilty in federal court in Manhattan. She was released without posting bail. Sources confirmed to MyFoxNY that a former Iona basketball coach has said that Sister Marie definitely had a gambling problem.

Now why the former coach, Jeff Ruland (who was fired from his job, according to the Post), felt obligated to dish on the gambling issue is not clear, although it does provide a motive for Sister Susie’s (alleged!) stealing, which would have probably come out of the investigation. Odd revenge theories aside, the good news is that Sister Suz had seen the error of her ways and has been “cloistered at the Sisters for St. Joseph Order, near Philadelphia,” according to the Fox News report.

However, that is a lot closer to AC, so maybe we’re jumping the gun on repentance.

BREAKING: Sister Susie Arrested, U.S. Attorney Charges Former Iona College VP of Finance in $1.2 Million Embezzlement [Talk of the Sound]
Nun Accused of Embezzling $850,000 From College, Then Gambling It Away in Atlantic City [Fox News]
Nun charged with embezzling $1.2M from Iona [NYP]

Accounting News Roundup: EisnerAmper Partner: GM Balance Sheet ‘Stronger’ Ahead of IPO; KPMG Moves on From New Century, Countrywide; No Bookie Needed for Betting on Grades | 08.19.10

GM’s balance sheet draws praise ahead of IPO [MarketWatch]
“Peter Bible, partner-in-charge at accounting firm EisnerAmper LLP, said General Motors is now carrying a much stronger balance sheet than its predecessor, based on the company’s initial public offering filed late Wednesday. ‘Their debt-to-equity ratio looks handsome,’ Bible said in an interview. ‘This thing has gotten restructured quite a bit. GM’s health care liabilities have fallen significantly. As I look at the balance sheet, it is much healthier.’ ”

Move to converge just exported crisis [Re: The Auditors]
KPMG has put two major lawsuits behind them – Countrywide and New Century. One major difference between these two cases was that New Century had a bankruptcy examiner’s report while Countrywide did not.


Judge Denies Online Religious Group’s Bid for Church Status [WSJ]
A virtual “church” gets denied the whole “church” thing.

For the rich, ’tis better to give than wait [Reuters]
“With U.S. taxes almost guaranteed to rise next year, the rich have a rare opportunity to distribute some wealth and preserve their fortunes.

A weak economy has led to razor-thin interest rates and beaten-down valuations, which make giving less costly for and potentially more rewarding to heirs. Moreover, the U.S. government is widely expected to rein in a popular tax-avoidance scheme.

‘This is a golden era for shifting estates and giving assets away,’ said Bill Fleming, a financial planner for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Hartford, Connecticut. ‘If you have an estate plan, keep going: Uncle Sam soon will be back in your pocket.’ ”

Wager 101: Students Bet on Their Grades [WSJ]
“The website attracted wagers by 600 students from two colleges last year, said Mr. Gelbart and co-founder Steven Wolf, graduates of Queens College. This month, the site expanded to let students on 36 campuses—including Harvard, Stanford and Brigham Young University—place bets. More than 1,000 new bettors have signed on.

Lisa Lapin, a Stanford University spokeswoman, said school officials were ‘appalled’ when they learned Stanford students could place bets on their grades, adding, ‘the concept of betting on academic performance is contrary to academic development.’

Lance Miller, a finance major at the University of Pennsylvania, says the criticism misses the mark. Mr. Miller, with a GPA of 3.6, won about $80 on two $40 bets that he would earn A’s in business courses.

‘We’re acing classes to make money—isn’t that what they call a win-win?’ said Mr. Miller, 20.”

Facebook’s Places Feature Lets Users Share Their Whereabouts With Friends [Bloomberg]
“Services that help Web users share their whereabouts and find nearby friends could generate as much as $4.1 billion in annual ad sales by 2015, according to Borrell Associates. The features can help marketers more easily target customers — say, by reaching shoppers when they’re close to making a purchase.”

Tax Court Rules That Feng Shui-Inspired Business Plan Made Couple Professional Gamblers

There are plenty of businesses out there that simply don’t have a plan. They may have a sign in the window, products on their shelves and a room full of “keepers” but not much else.

Trieu Le and Baymone Thongtheposmphou, on the other hand, had a plan. When Le’s company moved to Costa Rica in 2005, he opted to turn his focus towards professional gambling.

Sure, there are plenty of people out there that claim to be professional gamblers that would probably be better described as “degenerates” but not Le and Thongtheposmphou. They would use the principles of Feng Shui to focus their wagering efforts on their “lucky days,” increasing their wagering, foregoing sleep and possibly unnecessary food or bathroom breaks in order to maximize their luckiness.


Things were going on swimmingly for the couple until, at some point in 2007, they realized they were 200k in debt, having “withdrawn money from their retirement funds and borrowed against various assets to finance their attempt to make a profit.” These two were obviously committed to their idea and their plan.

TL and BT filed their losses (not to the exceed their winnings, of course) on a Schedule C to be included on the 1040. Unfortch, the IRS wasn’t buying the notion of this “professional gambling” and called bullshit:

Respondent treated petitioner’s winnings as not being from a business (i.e., that petitioner was not in the business of gambling) and accordingly determined that his losses should have been reported on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, as an itemized deduction rather than a business deduction. The income tax deficiency respondent determined arose from the inclusion of the gambling winnings in income and the resulting increase of the limitations on miscellaneous itemized deductions claimed on Schedule A.

The tax court decided to boil this down to the facts. That being, these two people had a plan – to gamble based on Feng Shui principles. Was this a bad business plan? Certainly not the best but far from the worst. Was it harebrained? Maybe. But was the tax treatment correct? The tax court says yes!

We find that petitioner’s gambling activity was a trade or business that was pursued in good faith, with regularity, and for the production of income, and that it was not merely recreation or a hobby.

[…]

Respondent also argues that petitioners’ approach was not businesslike and that it was irrational. The standard, however, requires only that the profit objective be actual and honest. It would be difficult to find on the record before the Court that petitioner’s approach to making a profit was irrational. For example, if someone’s investment in a stock or a business were based on Feng Shui or some other cultural judgment, that would not per se be “irrational”. Petitioners used their best judgment and successfully tested their business approach. Ultimately, the fact that their approach was unsuccessful does not make it irrational.

So take heed degenerate gamblers with crackpot business plans! As long as you’re using your best judgment and have some semblance of an “business approach” you too can take on the IRS (these two were pro sese, no less). Good luck!

[h/t TaxProf]

Accounting News Roundup: FASB, IASB May Be Overachieving on Convergence; PwC Wants Your Fat; Who’s Betting on Legal Internet Gambling? | 05.19.10

FEI Implores FASB, IASB to Slow Down [Compliance Week]
Financial Executives International is concerned that the FASB and IASB have gotten a little too ambitious in their convergence efforts and has written a letter to the Boards’ respective Chairmen that basically says, “Easy, tiger.”

Everyone knows that those knowitalls at the G-20 were insisting the accounting rule mavens to make convergence happen by next summer but FEI is trying to take pragmatic approach to this:

Arnold Hanish, chairman of FEI’s Committee on Corporate Reporting, said in his letter to the two boards the group is concerned about the “unprecedented volume as well as the complexity of proposed standards” that the two boards are developing. The committee fears the vast scope and aggressive timeline for the proposals will not allow adequate analysis of how the rules will work, which will lead to implementation problems and amendments further down the line.

In other words, this isn’t quantum mechanics, but it’s not Fisher Price either. Mr Hanish did his best to remind Bob Herz and Sir David Tweedie just how overambitious this little project is:

Our member companies are extremely concerned with the 10+ Exposure Drafts (EDs) that are in final stages and will be released for public comment through the third quarter of 2010. During any single period in time in its 38-year history, the FASB has had no more than 3 or 4 significant EDs out for public comment.

FEI doesn’t seem convinced that this unprecedented overachieving by Herz and Tweeds is going to result in the “one set of high quality standards.” They would prefer that hte Boards get this right the first time so they don’t have to slap the proverbial duct tape all over the efforts later.

Cabbies, Accountants Look to Chip-Fat Fuel on Cost, Environment [Bloomberg]
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ London office is trying to do its best for the environment by using local chip-fat converted into biodiesel to supplement its energy needs:

PwC is seeking local sources for 45,000 liters of biodiesel to meet one quarter of its monthly office fuel needs, said Jon Barnes, head of building and facilities services at the firm.

“I’m trying to locally source used chip fat from restaurants,” he said. “It’s a pretty pointless exercise of using biofuel if it’s been all round the world on a ship.”

Sounds like a bang-up idea but P. Dubs is always looking for an angle, “Having a renewable source for some of PwC’s office’s energy needs could help the company sell its services to clients wanting to do the same.”

House Holds Hearing Today on Tax and Internet Gambling [TaxProf Blog]
The House Ways & Means Committee is holding a hearing today to kick around the possibility of legalizing Internet gambling here in the US of A (and taxing it, of course). It kicks off at 9:30 am ET and with any luck, you’ll be legally losing your mortgage payments for the 2010 football season.

Former Deloitte Intern Not So Good at Gambling on Corporate Card, Lying About It

In blatant-misuse-of-the-corporate-credit-card news, a former Deloitte “trainee/student” (let’s assume an intern, shall we?) has admitted to racking up over £8,800 in gambling debt on his Deloitte issued credit card.


Umar Qureshi, using his Deloitte laptop no less, managed to lose the money in just a couple of months, October and November of 2008. At that point, Qureshi, rather than admit to being a horrendous gambler, lied about the charges, telling Deloitte that they were fraudulent. Depending on when this particular lie took place, he only managed to keep a straight face, at the most, for two months, as Deloitte terminated his contract in January of ’09.

Which is understandable. Gambling can be nerve-racking on its own but losing your ass on the Corporate Card has got to be a real pant-crapper. This makes for the second Big 4 degenerate loser to make headlines this year in the UK. Back in February, a ex-KPMGer really was rolling, slamming over £25,000 on his expense report.

Accountancy Age reports that the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (“ICAEW”), “ordered that the defendant cease to be a provisional member and be ineligible for re-registration for six months, and that he be severely reprimanded.” As we mentioned in the KPMG case, we’re not sure what a “reprimand” entails but a weeklong diversity training with Barry Salzberg could be a possibility.

Luckily, for Qureshi a relative was kind enough to pay the debt owed to Deloitte, who must have really wanted the money back. It’s just principle.

Former Deloitte student admits £8k bill from online gambling [Accountancy Age]

Ex-KPMG Associate Sets New Bar for Expense Reimbursement Abuse

We meant to get to this on Friday but as you recall, our plans we’re slightly derailed by forces beyond our control. We’re sharing it now because there are lessons here for all the newbies out there. Pay attention, this could one of you.

During busy season the temptation to get a little aggressive with the expense reimbursement comes naturally to just about everyone. If you deny this particular bit of weakness then you are either A) lying through your coffee-stained teeth or B) in the wrong profession; join the clergy.


It should be noted that the abuse of reimbursement policy has relative levels of ridiculousness. Partners can rationalize and get away with more extravagant abuse than a mere associate so keep that in mind here.

So maybe every once in awhile you and some team members slip out for a three martini lunch that falls on the expensive side and you ram it through on your expense report because you figure you deserve it. Totally natch.

It gets overboard when you have the tendency to place some wagers and because you’re a degenerate loser, you start submitting expenses to fund this little gambling hobby.

Vikas Gupta was employed by KPMG until he couldn’t pass his “accountancy exams” aaaaannnnddd it was discovered that he claimed expenses of £25,000 to fund his gambling and to pay off debt. Gupta claims that he hit “various internal charge codes” to charge the expenses; which, we hear, is a typical methodology.

Gupta also claims that he suffered from depression (losing streaks will do that), is now in Gamblers Anonymous and is employed by a new firm, so he’s back on the straight and narrow.

This didn’t impress a tribunal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (the AICPA of E&W), who has recommended that Gupta be banned from having provisional membership for 12 months and to be “severely reprimanded.” Since he has no means to pay fines (he entered an individual voluntary agreement), one can assume that the reprimand will consist of 30 lashes, a marathon of technical accounting trainings, or both.

Ex-KPMG trainee admits £25,000 expenses fraud [Accountancy Age]

Reminder: Your Super Bowl Gambling Winnings Are Taxable

So it’s the Monday after the Super Bowl and most of you are suffering from some kind of hangover. Whether it was caused by food, booze or you’re simply wallowing in a lack of a Peyton Manning comeback, this day should really be a national holiday (even non-football fans can agree on that notion).

Melancholy, indigestion and cocktail flues aside, the other certainty that comes with the SB is gambling. And we’re not talking friendly-poker-game gambling, we’re talking recklessly wagering on every single aspect of the biggest spectacle in sports gambling.


Two of the most creative wagers we’ve seen so far was the betting on rating for the Focus on the Family (featuring Tim Tebow and Mamma Tebow!) ad and the betting the spread between Kim Kardashian’s measurements and Reggie Bush’s rushing and receiving production. Both of which are completely ridiculous, yet sheer genius.

Regardless of where you put your money yesterday (we took the overs on Archie Manning appearances and lost), there are plenty of big winners from yesterday’s game. And now that we have a government who is feverishly trying to close a deficit gap, the question remains: will the IRS more aggressively pursue taxpayers for their unreported gambling winnings?

If you’re a degenerate loser than this obviously doesn’t apply to you but if you’re lucky enough to find some extra scratch in your pocket, you’re legally obligated to report that income next year.

Our government is looking for solutions anywhere possible, so it’s entirely possible that you could find yourself on the wrong end of an IRS-issued shotgun if you’re leaving your winnings off next year’s 1040. Look, it’s not that crazy and the pols need all the ideas they can get. You’ve been warned.