September 17, 2019

Koss

This Is Your Last Chance to Own (or Gift!) a Piece of Koss Embezzlement History

As you know, convicted embezzling-mother-of-all-hoarders, Sue Sachdeva, had a bit of a shopping problem. She did her damnedest to spend all of $30+ million that she stole from headphone cobbler Koss, but now that she's resting comfortably in Danbury, all that loot needs a home. Back in December, we were tipped to an auction that […]

Koss (Man and Company) Settles with SEC for Four Years Worth of Trainwreck Financial Statements

One-man C-suite Michael Koss and the company that bears his name settled with the SEC today, according to a Commission litigation release. This all stems from the dodgy financial statements the company put out from 2005 to 2009 that were carefully orchestrated by shopper-'til-you-stopped-her Sue Sachdeva. As for the punishment, well, it's kinda meh: The […]

Get Yourself a Piece of Koss Embezzlement History

Remember the good ol' Koss fraud? It's been quite some time since we were on the Milwaukee beat but this morning we received an email informing us that a little auction is being held by Gaston & Sheehan that has several lots (97 to be exact) under "US Marshal Service Assets." Our tipster informed us […]

Grant Thornton Dodges the Koss Bullet, Is Dismissed From Shareholder Lawsuit

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman has dismissed Grant Thornton as a defendant in a class-action shareholder lawsuit against GT, Koss Corp. and CEO Michael J. Koss, filed in January 2010 on behalf of plaintiff David Puskala and other Koss shareholders.

In his ruling, Adelman stated that the plaintiffs failed to make a case for GT’s epic failure to detect former Koss executive Sue Sachdeva’s $34 million embezzlement/hoarding scheme. Reasonable, considering GT auditors scared the crap out of old Sue, even though they were sticking newbies on the gig.  “Fear was one thing. I thought it was imminent,” she said in a court deposition last year. “Their auditors, every time they walked in, I’d say, ‘This is it. They’re going to catch me.’” Shareholders’ issue – we assume – is that they didn’t. Year after year after year after year until 2009 rolled around and the whole house of cards came tumbling down.

The judge also dismissed claims of willful or reckless behavior against Michael Koss, saying “I conclude that the innocent explanations are more compelling than the inference of recklessness.” Meaning Mike couldn’t possibly have known Sue had been siphoning off millions in company money over a six year period, absent hanging out at her house and noticing all the fancy new shit she had strewn everywhere. And stashed in closets. And bursting out of her garage.

As for Grant Thornton, the judge wrote that the occurrence of fraud and failure to detect it doesn’t imply recklessness on the part of the accounting firm, but rather that the firm was negligent. While it is clear that Sachdeva used her position with Koss to bypass the company’s not-rock-solid internal controls, it is also believed that the controls were sufficient so as not to be obviously unreliable to a reasonable person (or auditor fresh out of accounting school). We’re looking forward to hearing how audit professors use this decision to emphasize the cavernous depth between “negligence” and “recklessness” on the part of auditors.

Sachdeva is still a defendant in the Puskala lawsuit and is currently serving 11 years for the fraud.

Grant Thornton dismissed from Koss shareholder lawsuit [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]

(UPDATE) Sachdeva Defense Team Throws a Hail Mary

With a sentence coming down circa any minute, the Koss embezzlement queen is probably starting to freak just a tad.

Accordingly, her attorneys are pulling out all the stops. The defense is now claiming that Sue’s assistant, Julie Mulvaney was “an enabler” and kept SS from having a nervous breakdown when things got dicey around the scam:

•In May of each year — a few weeks prior to scheduled visits from Koss outside auditors — Sachdeva would review the cash in the company’s ledgers, compare it with the cash in the company’s bank accounts and then determine the difference between the two. Sachdeva would presume the shortfall was equal to her theft of company funds.

“She would then call Julie Mulvaney into her office in a panic, and tell Mulvaney that cash was ‘off’ by a certain amount,” the memo states. “Mulvaney would respond by saying ‘let me look at everything and get back to you and don’t worry.’”

Mulvaney would then alter figures in the ledgers, the memo states.

•Sachdeva’s attorneys contend Mulvaney worked independently and without direct supervision “and only minimally shared her methods with Sachdeva.”

“Sachdeva, who was preoccupied with the fear of being discovered and too emotionally distraught to manage the fraudulent entries, would constantly ask Mulvaney at work if everything had been ‘fixed,’ and would frantically call Mulvaney at home, sometimes late at night, to see if the cash had been reconciled,” the memo states.

Sue was so emotionally distraught throughout the ordeal that she wandered into Valentina Boutique on a number of occasions and spent $1.4 million. Yeah, that makes sense.

UPDATE, circa 5:30 pm: From Milwaukee public radio, Suz gets 11 years.

Sue Sachdeva’s Defense Team Provides Hysterical Argument for a Lighter Prison Sentence

Koss embezzlement mastermind Sue Sachdeva will receive her prison sentence tomorrow for ripping the headphone cobbler off to the tune of $34 million. Yesterday, the government’s sentencing memorandum (full document after the jump) was released and the prosecution and defense each made their arguments for a heavier/lighter prison sentence.

Naturally, the prosecution is seeking the maximum sentence, as is Koss CEO Michael Koss, who wrote a letter to the court with his thoughts:

“She stole from the hardworking employees of the company and their families, and ultimately the stockholders of the company,” Koss wrote. “They are the true victims of her crimes.”

Yes! The shareholders! Including the Koss family members who 67% owned of the stock ! Especially the ones who held five executive positions at once!

But never mind that for two. Tracy Coenen breaks down the defense’s argument for S-squared to receive a lighter sentence and it’s a hoot:

They argued that Sue Sachdeva should get a lighter sentence because:

a. she’s been a law-abiding citizen until now

b. the fraud was “simple”

c. and poor, poor Sue has a “compulsive shopping disorder”

Jump over to Tracy’s post for more analysis but our take on these three reasons are as follows:

A. “Until now,” as in “right up to the moment she pleaded guilty”? If so, that sorta ignores a scam that went on for over a decade.

B. Again, so simple that it went on for over ten years? You’re really making the Koss management look like a bunch of idiots…Wait, maybe they’re on to something here.

C. Please. Show us someone who wasn’t addicted to shopping in the 90s and 00s.

Sentencing Memo

Koss Demands Sue Sachdeva’s Help Winning Their Civil Case Against Sue Sachdeva

The least convicted embezzler-cum-recovering shopaholic Sue Sachdeva could do is help out the company that she ripped off to the tune of $34 million.

Despite how Suz feels about it, her lawyers do not want her to be deposed in Koss’s civil case against her and Grant Thornton until after she is sentenced to prison for the rest of her worthwhile shopping days. Doing so would jeopardize putting her back at Nordstrom’s sooner than they would like:

Sachdeva anticipates receiving a two-level decrease in the federal court sentencing guidelines by accepting responsibility for her actions, her Madison attorney Jack Williams said in court documents filed last month. She reached a plea agreement on the charges in July.

“Submitting to a deposition could jeopardize Mrs. Sachdeva’s opportunity to receive that decrease,” Williams argued.

Koss Corp. vehemently opposes Sachdeva’s motion on the grounds that she needs to cooperate not only with prosecutors in her criminal case, but also with her former employer in its efforts to win a civil judgment against her and former Koss auditor Grant Thornton LLP.

Sachdeva tries to delay her deposition in Koss suit [The Business Journal of Milwaukee (partial subscription required)]

Accounting News Roundup: More Tax Cuts for Small Business?; Scenes from a SaaS Meltdown; SEC Files Charges Against Sachdeva | 09.01.10

No Charges for Moody’s in Ratings Violation [NYT]
“The Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that it had declined to charge Moody’s Investors Service for violating securities laws by failing to comply with its own procedures for rating complex derivative sece decision followed an S.E.C. investigation, and the commission used the opportunity to warn all of the national credit rating agencies that it would use new powers under the Dodd-Frank banking law to take action against similar conduct, even if it occurred outside the United States, as the Moody’s case did.

The S.E.C. said it had declined to pursue a fraud enforcement action in the case because of jurisdictional issues. The securities in question originated in and were rated and sold in Europe, the S.E.C. said.”

Tax Cuts Weighed to Spur Economy [WSJ]
“The Obama administration is considering a range of new measures to boost economic growth, including tax cuts and a new nationwide infrastructure program, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The president’s economic team has met frequently in recent days to list ways to bolster the struggling recovery, according to government officials.

On the list of possible actions: additional tax cuts for small businesses beyond those included in a $30 billion small-business lending bill before the Senate. It’s not clear what those tax breaks would target or how much they might cost in lost revenue to the government.

Also in the mix: a possible payroll tax cut for businesses and individuals, as well as other business tax breaks, according to people familiar with the discussions. Currently, income taxes are scheduled to rise with the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts at the end of this year.”

Lessons from ClearBooks failure [AccMan]
What happens when a SaaS provider has a blow-up? Well, it depends.


“Non-Combat” Troops Remaining in Iraq Will Still Receive “Combat Zone” Tax Treatment [Tax Foundation]
The troops that remain in Iraq will still receive combat zone treatment (i.e. ‘designated hostile fire or imminent danger pay areas’).

Brainiest Cities [The Daily Beast]
Boulder #1; DC #3; Boston #4. Austin comes in at a paltry #16 behind Ames, IA. What’s up with that?

Former Rothstein CFO Stay Gives Up Boat [SFBJ]
Convicted Ponzi Schemer Scott Rothstein’s CFO had to give up her 28-foot 2008 Southport boat in order to settle a claim against her for the $154k loan she received from the firm to buy said boat.

SEC Charges Two Accounting Professionals at Milwaukee-Based Company with Fraud [SEC]
The SEC got around to filing civil charges against Sue Sachdeva. The Commission also charged Senior Accountant Julie Mulvaney with helping S-square conceal the fraud through bogus journal entries.

Sue Sachdeva Guarantees That She’ll Be Able to Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown a Free Woman

And the World Series too!

Maybe we’re unfairly assuming that Suze is a fan of the Peanuts gang or baseball but what else is going on in between October and November 18th? A few Badger football games?

Koss Corp. embezzler Sujata “Sue” Sachdeva will get a one-month reprieve on her sentencing after requesting, and receiving, an order from U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman.

Adelman said in a brief order that federal prosecutors did not oppose Sachdeva’s request to adjourn the sentencing to Nov. 18 from the previously scheduled Oct. 18.

Koss’ Sachdeva gets sentencing reprieve [Business Journal of Milwaukee]

Accounting News Roundup: GM Still Lacks Effective Internal Control System; The Ten Highest State Income Tax Rates; How to Know When Your Boss Is Lying | 08.20.10

GM filing warns on reporting [Detroit Free Press]
This may come as a shock but General Motors, despite filing paperwork for its IPO, admits that they still don’t have effective internal controls.

“[I]n regulatory filings about its upcoming initial public offering, GM warned potential investors that ‘our internal controls of financial reporting are currently not effective.’

Experts are divided on whether the warning — one of about 30 risk factors identified by GM in a document describing a planned sale of shares — is just an obscure accounting matter or a red flag that taints GM’s financial reporting

The 10 Highest State Income Tax Rates For 2010 [Forbes]
If you’re single and make $200k or $400k and married in Hawaii, you get dinged for 11%, the highest ranking state on the list. Dark horse Iowa comes in at #5 gets 8.98% of taxable income over $64,261. That’s above New Jersey and New York tied at #6.

Transocean accuses BP of withholding data on Deepwater Horizon and oil spill [WaPo]
Just when you thought the ugliness was slowing down (at least in the media coverage), ” Even as they work together to kill the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil giant BP and the deep-water drilling rig company Transocean are in an increasingly bitter battle over what went wrong on April 20 to trigger America’s worst oil spill.

The conflict flared Thursday when Transocean fired off a scathing letter accusing BP of hoarding information and test results related to the Deepwater Horizon blowout that killed 11 people, including nine Transocean employees. Signed by Transocean’s acting co-general counsel, Steven L. Roberts, the letter says that Transocean’s internal investigation of what went wrong has been hampered by BP’s refusal to deliver ‘even the most basic information’ about the event.

‘[I]t appears that BP is withholding evidence in an attempt to prevent any entity other than BP from investigating the cause of the April 20th incident and the resulting spill,’ the letter states, and it demands a long list of technical documents and lab tests.”


How to tell when your boss is lying [The Economist]
Apparently cursing is a good sign.

Koss reports smaller quarterly loss on 14% sales decline [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
The company lost $423,450 for the six months ended June 30th. They spent $1.12 million on legal fees related to Suzy Sachdeva.

Sue Sachdeva Pleads Guilty, Shopaholism Still a Possible Motive

Well gang, the Sue Sachdeva circus has come to an unspectacular end. S-squared pleaded guilty yesterday to the $30-odd million embezzlement at headphone factory Koss. No trial, no media circus (the type we envisioned anyway) and no spectacular cross-examination that could have resulted in a great Law & Order Brewtown spinoff.

Nope. Just a guilty plea, some regret from Suz and the distinct possibility that something might not be right upstairs. Although the MJS reports, “when asked whether she had any mental health issues. [Her attorney, Michael] Hart answered for her, saying there were no issues of mental health that prevented her from understanding the government’s case or the plea agreement,” her statement alludes to some “issues” that led to the thieving:


Sachdeva Release

So while the Sachdeva portion of this program is more or less over (sentencing is October 22), we still have the Koss v. Grant Thornton blamestorming to look forward to. Which will be a for more nerdy exchange but could result in some fun finger-pointing, nonetheless.

Sachdeva pleads guilty, says she regrets fraud [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Accounting News Roundup: Bush Tax Cuts May Still Have Life; FASB’s ‘Religious War’ Rages; Facebook Might Do an IPO Someday | 07.22.10

Bush Tax Cuts Roil Democrats [WSJ]
“Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) said in an interview Wednesday that Congress shouldn’t allow taxes on the wealthy to rise until the economy is on a sounder footing.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) said through a spokesman that he also supported extending all the expiring tax cuts for now, adding that he wanted to offset the impact on federal deficits as much as possible.

They are the second and third Senate Democrats to come out publicly in recent days in favor of extending all the tax breaks for the time being. Sen. Evan Bayh (D., Ind.) made similar comments last week.”

Madoff’s Ghost Still Haunts SEC [Washington Wire/WSJ]
In testimony earlier in the week, SEC Chair Mary Schapiro told a congressional committee that many of the people that investigated Bernie Madoff – 15 of 20 enforcement attorneys and 19 of 36 examination staffers – have left the Commission. However, that isn’t good enough for Rep. Bill Posey (R – FL).

“Republican Rep. Bill Posey of Florida –- home to many Madoff victims -– said he wants to know if those SEC employees ended up at other regulatory agencies, working for companies they were supposed to regulate, or retired with government pensions.

‘There’s a necessity to know where they went,; said Posey. ‘It’s like letting a pedophile slink out the door or change neighborhoods. We’re dealing with the same type of problem here.’

Schapiro strongly disagreed. ‘These aren’t bad people. In some cases they were people who were very junior and not adequately trained or supervised.’ In other cases, she said, they were pulled from one project to another.”

Despite the proclivities of some SEC employees, we haven’t seen anything warrant that particular label.


FASB in “religious war” to bring in fair value [Accountancy Age]
Lawrence Smith believes in fair value, you might say, in a fanatical sense. The FASB Member was quoted in AA, “Some people have advised us that we shouldn’t say this, but I’ll say it – fair value, to some of us, is almost like a religious war out there and we are trying to deal with that as best we can.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard a FASB member drop the relidge war rhetoric. Marc Siegel used similar language last summer, so there seems to be at least a smidge of seriousness behind .

Plus, at the rate things are going, the debate will soon reach Israel/Palestinian ignorability (word?) levels later this year.

Facebook IPO “when makes sense”, Zuckerberg tells ABC [Reuters]
That is, never.

Trust, but verify [MJS]
Starting now!

Accounting News Roundup: Sue Sachdeva to Plead Guilty for Koss Embezzlement; AIG Settles Accounting Fraud with Ohio for $725 Mil; Some PwCers Are Hanging Out the Shingle | 07.19.10

Sachdeva to plead guilty to six felonies in Koss case [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
Late on Friday, it was reported that Sue Sachdeva will plead guilty to six felon embezzlement case that was discovered at the end of last year.

The agreement with prosecutors brought some new things to light including that the scam began in 1997 and she issue over 500 cashiers cheques, including $10 million to American Express but also to charitable groups.

Also: “From February 2008 to December 2009, she authorized 206 wire transfers totaling $16 million from Koss accounts to American Express to cover items she bought with the credit card.

From February 2008 to December 2009, she authorized 206 wire transfers totaling $16 million from Koss accounts to American Express to cover items she bought with the credit card.

•?Koss employees worked “in concert with Sachdeva or at her direction” to make fraudulent entries to the company’s books to conceal the embezzlement. “These entries would falsely overstate assets, understate liabilities, understate sales, overstate cost of sales, and overstate expenses,” the agreement said. The agreement notes that the false entries “concealed the actual receipts and profitability of Koss,” allowing the scheme to continue.

•?To keep auditors off her track, Sachdeva did not fraudulently take money from Koss accounts at Park Bank during the month of June, because transactions during that month were reviewed by outside accountants.”

A.I.G. to Pay $725 Million in Ohio Case [NYT]
“The American International Group, once the nation’s largest insurance group before it nearly collapsed in 2008, has agreed to pay $725 million to three Ohio pension funds to settle six-year-old claims of accounting fraud, stock manipulation and bid-rigging.

Taken together with earlier settlements, A.I.G. will ladle out more than $1 billion to Ohio investors, money that will go to firefighters, teachers, librarians and other pensioners. The state’s attorney general, Richard Cordray, said Friday, that it was the 10th largest securities class-action settlement in United States history.”


Goldman’s Grand Delusions Finally Hit Reality [Jonathan Weil/Bloomberg]
“Here’s the real beauty of the SEC’s settlement agreement [last week] with Goldman Sachs. The next time Goldman Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein goes on television and is asked by some reporter if Goldman committed securities fraud, as the SEC alleged, he won’t be allowed to say no.

He won’t be able to repeat any of the factually improbable denials Goldman issued just three months ago after the SEC sued it for ripping off a hapless German bank named IKB as part of a bond deal called Abacus 2007-AC1. He’ll just have to suck it up and take the hit. It’s “the right outcome for our firm, our shareholders and our clients,” as Goldman said in a press release after the settlement was disclosed.

More incredibly, the SEC even got Goldman to admit it made “a mistake,” which might be the strangest thing ever to happen on Wall Street. Next thing you know, Blankfein will grow wings for his trip to the heavens, and Goldman will surrender its charter as a bank-holding company to become a nonprofit center for religious studies.”

IMF Pulls Out of Hungary Loan Talks [WSJ]
“Negotiators for the International Monetary Fund and European Union walked away from talks with Hungary over the weekend, saying Budapest needs to do more to shrink its budget deficit before it can get any more bailout money.

The move is likely to alarm markets already suspicious of the new populist government’s pledges to cut spending.

After nearly two weeks of meetings with senior Hungarian officials, the IMF and EU teams on Saturday called an abrupt halt to the discussions. They said Hungary couldn’t have access—for now, at least—to the remaining funds in a 20 billion euro ($25.9 billion) loan package secured in late 2008 to rescue the country from a financial meltdown.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants split to form new firm [Salt Lake City Tribune]
Three PwC “accountants” (presumably partners/directors), Gil Miller, David Bateman and John Curtis have left the Salt Lake City office to form their own firm, Rock Mountain Advisory, LLC. The newly formed company will specialize in ” bankruptcy/restructuring, dispute analysis/receiverships, forensic accounting/due diligence, turnaround and business valuation.”

According to the Mr Miller, the trio formed their own business primarily because so many clients were being turned away from PwC due to “conflicts of interest.”

Accounting News Roundup: BP in Talks to Sell Assets, Including Alaska Ops; Koss Lawsuit Details Embezzlement ‘Spurts’; The Estate Planing Debacle | 07.12.10

BP Mulls Selling Off Billions in Assets [WSJ]
“BP PLC is in talks with U.S. independent oil and gas pron a deal worth as much as $10 billion that could include stakes in BP’s vast Alaska operations, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal, which would go a long way to helping BP cope with the financial stress of paying for the clean-up of the Gulf oil spill, could be reached in the coming weeks, though there is no guarantee it will succeed, one of these people said.”

Bank Profits Depend on Debt-Writedown `Abomination’ [Bloomberg]
This abomination has an official name, SFAS 159, The Fair Value Option for Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities

“Bank of America Corp. and Wall Street firms that notched perfect trading records in the first quarter are now depending on an accounting benefit last used in the depths of the credit crisis to prop up their results.

Bank of America, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, may record a $1 billion second-quarter gain from writing down its debts to their market value, Citigroup Inc. analyst Keith Horowitz estimated in a June 23 report. The boost to earnings, stemming from an accounting rule that allows banks to book profits when the value of their own bonds falls, probably represented a fifth of pretax income, Horowitz wrote.”

Koss embezzlement ran in spurts, lawsuit says [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]
The most impressive “spurt?” $478,375 over three days in 2006. According to Koss’ lawsuit against S-squared and Grant Thornton, $145,000 also disappeared from the petty cash fund over the years, amongst other “unauthorized transactions.”


Bias At Work: To Sue or Not to Sue? [FINS]
Harassed? Discriminated against based on age, sexual orientation, race et al.? Of course suing your employer is an option. This is America after all, where the opportunity to slap someone with a lawsuit is your god-given right. But is it always the right move?

Bolt running from the taxman – Usain snub for British meeting [Daily Mail]
The fastest man in the world would prefer to keep a little money for himself, “Under present tax rules, if Bolt competes once in Britain and only five races elsewhere, the British taxman will demand one-sixth of everything he earns, whether in Britain or not. His taxable earnings would not only include his considerable appearance fees but also his hefty endorsement contracts.”

The Big Four’s UK Firms Pick Up Non-Executive Directors — And Then …? [Re:Balance]
Jim Peterson expands on his thoughts about the Big 4 non-executive directors in the UK, “Not only can good governance not be inflicted or imposed, in other words, because resistant leaders will find ways to disturb or subvert the purpose, but a virtuous culture will display its legitimacy without the need for pietistic overlays.”

Too Rich to Live? [WSJ]
The estate tax debate has gotten even more morbid than it would ordinarily be, ” ‘You don’t know whether to commit suicide or just go on living and working,’ says Eugene Sukup, an outspoken critic of the estate tax and the founder of Sukup Manufacturing, a maker of grain bins that employs 450 people in Sheffield, Iowa. Born in Nebraska during the Dust Bowl, the 81-year-old Mr. Sukup is a National Guard veteran and high school graduate who founded his firm, which now owns more than 70 patents, with $15,000 in 1963. He says his estate taxes, which would be zero this year, could be more that $15 million if he were to die next year.”

Koss Files Restated Financial Statements, Just in the Nick of Time

As you may recall, restated financial statements for headphonesmith company Koss were due yesterday and they used all the time they were allowed.

According to our friends aty filed its restated 10-K for June 30, 2009, and 10-Qs for September 30, 2009, December 31, 2009 and March 31, 2010 5 pm, 5:06, 5:11, 5:16 and 5:17 respectively.

Oh and they topped everything off with an 8-K at 5:27 that explains the barrage (not that we need it but, you know, securities law and stuff):

On June 30, 2010, Koss Corporation (“Koss”) released restated consolidated financial statements for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2009 and 2008, and the quarter ended September 30, 2009. Koss filed amendments to its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009 and its Quarterly Report for the three months ended September 30, 2009 containing the restated consolidated financial statements for the applicable periods. The restatements were required as a result of previously disclosed unauthorized transactions by Sujata Sachdeva, Koss’s former Vice President of Finance and Principal Accounting Officer.

Koss also amended its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the three months ended December 31, 2009 and March 31, 2010 to include financial statements, which were omitted from the Company’s reports when previously filed. The release of these financial statements was delayed due to the restatement of Koss’s financials statements required by the unauthorized transactions. With the filings of these amended Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Koss understands that it will regain compliance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5250(c)(1), which requires the timely filing of periodic financial statements.

That about covers it, doesn’t it? Oh right, the actual numbers. We checked in with forensic sleuth and GC friend Tracy Coenen on these and she gave us some perspective on the restated numbers:

So I’ve taken a run through the restated numbers for 6/30/09 and 6/30/08. Very interesting.

2009 – Revenue was understated by $3.5 million to conceal the fraud, while COGS was overstated by $1.7 million. Overall there is now a loss for 2009, thanks to $8.5 million of theft, but without that, the company would have had profits of $8.2 million, or 19.6% on net sales. Wow!

2008 – Revenue was understated by $2.1 million to conceal the fraud, while COGS was overstated by $1 million. Overall there is now a loss of 2008 of $1.3 million thanks to $5.1 million of theft, but without that, the company would have had profits of $10.7 million or 21.9% of sales.

Pretty impressive stuff. Maybe the company was right when they said everything would be hunky-dory once they got this little mishap out of the way. Chief headphone inheritor Michael Koss explains in the company’s press release, “Given that certain unauthorized transactions were concealed in the Company’s sales and cost of sales accounts, our sales were higher and our cost of sales was lower than previously reported in both 2009 and 2008. This correction has revealed an increase in gross margins for our Company. From this perspective, the Company’s performance was actually stronger than originally reported.”

Tracy continues:

What you see is that 65%-75% of the theft on an annual basis was concealed on the P&L, and the remainder was dumped into the balance sheet, via inflated A/R, Inventory, and fixed assets, and understated liabilities. The adjustments on the balance sheet are large by 2009 because those irregularities were cumulative.

So the bottom line is that the company is very profitable, if shareholders could actually count on them to watch over the money and see to it that the profits aren’t all being stolen. My original theory was that Sachdeva was expensing her theft, and that’s true to some extent, but failure to record sales was presented to me later as part of her her scheme, and she also involved the balance sheet which created a cumulative (and messy) problem.

Oh right! Watching the money. Should probably write that one down. Hopefully we’ve all learned a valuable lesson.

Accounting News Roundup: G-20 to ‘Stabilize’ Debt by 2016; Auditors May Be Forced into Whistleblower Role on Banks; Yes, Taxes Are Historically Low | 06.28.10

G-20 Agrees to Cut Debt [WSJ]
“The wealthiest of the Group of 20 countries said they would halve their government deficits by the year 2013 and ‘stabilize’ their debt loads by 2016, a signal to international markets and domestic political audiences they are taking seriously the need to wean themselves from stimulus spending.”

Once you catch your breath from laughing, the President also cited the tax code specifically and his threatening to put some (i.e. Congress) in a tight spot:

“They might have to make deeper cuts in deficits to comply with its pledge. A White House statement said that government debt in the fiscal year15, would be at an “acceptable level.” President Obama said that next year he would present “very difficult choices” to the country in an effort to meet deficit goals.

The president cited his disappointment with the U.S. tax code. ‘Next year, when I start presenting some very difficult choices to the country, I hope some of these folks who are hollering about deficits and debt step up, ’cause I’m calling their bluff,’ Mr. Obama said.”

Bank auditors eyed for whistleblower role [FT]
A paper from the UK’s Financial Services Authority puts forth the discussion of requiring auditors to work more closely with regulators on irregularities found during the bank’s audit engagement.

“Experts say bank executives are nervous about the prospect of increased bilateral discussions between regulators and auditors. Auditors have been fearful the paper could thrust the profession into a regulatory spotlight it has so far avoided.”

Koss Fraud: We didn’t bother to look at the endorsements on our own checks, but Grant Thornton should have! [Fraud Files Blog]
Fraud sage Tracy Coenen presents her latest view on the Koss fraud mish-mash and how Koss management has managed to make themselves “look like absolute morons.”


BP Loses $22 Billion in Legacy of Share Buybacks [Bloomberg]
“The sum represents the hole after the 52 percent plunge in BP shares since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank, resulting in the worst oil spill in U.S. history. BP bought back more than $37 billion of its stock in a bid to return money to investors between 2005 and 2008. Those shares are now worth $15 billion, excluding dividends.”

Martin Ginsburg, Noted Tax Lawyer and Husband of Justice Ginsburg, R.I.P. [ATL]
Mr Ginsburg was a tax law professor at Georgetown for many years and was known for his great sense of humor, as evidenced by his faculty bio, noted by our sister site, Above the Law:

Professor Ginsburg is co-author, with Jack S. Levin of Chicago, of Mergers, Acquisitions, and Buyouts, a semi-annually updated treatise which addresses tax and other aspects of this exciting subject. The portions of the treatise written by Professor Ginsburg are, he is certain, easily identified and quite superb.

Open Letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission Part 9: Overstock.com’s Excuses Simply Don’t Add Up [White Collar Fraud]
It appears Sam Antar has caught Overstock.com in another disclosure snafu but this time it isn’t really clear whether the company gave the wrong excuse, lied to the SEC or simply doesn’t know what they’re doing, “Overstock.com’s 2008 10-K report claimed that a reportable “gain contingency” existed as of November 7, 2008. However, the company contradicted itself and claimed to the SEC reviewers that reportable reportable ‘gain contingency’ did not exist on November 7, 2008.

If Overstock.com’s 10-K disclosure is true, the company’s explanation to the SEC Division of Corporation Finance can’t be true. Likewise, if Overstock.com’s explanation to the SEC Division of Corporation Finance is true, the company’s 2008 10-K disclosure can’t be true.”

Accounts bodies revise workplan [FT]
Convergence 2.0.

Today’s taxes aren’t too bad [Don’t Mess with Taxes/Kay Bell]
Kay Bell provides some perspective on tax rates over the last century. The following graphic should help clear up any confusion.


Koss Sues Grant Thornton, Blames Firm’s Assignment of Newbie Auditors

Well! You might have thought that Koss would just handle this Sue Sachdeva situation like gentlemen headphonesmiths but you would have thought wrong!

Koss is suing S-squared and Grant Thornton for their respective roles in the alleged embezzlement of $31 million from the Brew Town company.

While it sounds like , that won’t protect her or Chipman & Co. from the wrath of Koss. But one thing is for sure, despite the lawsuits and whatnot, this is not the company’s fault. Just ask Koss’ attorney Michael Avenatti, “I’m confident the company will be exonerated.”


Why? Because
Grant Thornton threw a few young associates on the engagement, that’s why!

Koss hired one of the best accounting firms in the world, Grant Thornton, and should have been able to rely on Thornton’s audits to uncover wrongdoing, Avenatti said. The suit against the auditing firm says auditors assigned to Koss were not properly trained.

The lawsuit lists hundreds of checks that Sachdeva ordered drawn on company accounts to pay for her personal expenses. She disguised the recipients — upscale retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Marshall Fields — by using just the initials. But the suit says Grant Thornton could have ascertained the true identity of the recipients by inspecting the reverse side of the checks, which showed the full name.

Forget the fact that the CEO was also vice chairman, chief operating officer, president and chief financial officer. Oh, and he sat on the audit committee at another company. Apparently Koss wanted GT partners auditing those cash accounts rather than implement anything that even closely resembles an internal control system.

Grant Thornton, meanwhile, is still sticking to the boilerplate statement as reported in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “We remain confident that we have met all of our professional obligations and that our work complied with professional standards.”

Sigh. Of course no one wants to be responsible, so let’s decide for them. Let’s get a show of hands:

It’s worth mentioning that the lawsuit comes just a few short days before Koss’ tardy restated financials are due. If the company doesn’t cough them up, the Nasdaq will banish them like they’ve got lice.

Koss sues former executive, auditor over alleged embezzlement [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]

Our Hopes for Sue Sachdeva’s Trial to Be a Circus Are Slowly Fading

The latest out of Brew Town is that a plea deal is in the works for alleged headphone bandit Sue Sachdeva. Rich Kirchen of the Milwaukee Business Journal reports that the U.S. Attorney confirmed that prosecutors were working with S-squared’s defense attorneys on a deal.


As far as all that loot is concerned, Kircher writes that the proceeds from the auction of said loot will go back to Koss.

We would humbly suggest that they get moving on this auction thing ASAP since Koss seems to be running short on time to get their restatements out. They’ve got 13 days and counting before the Nasdaq delists them like Lehman. Get an army of temps to whip that shit out so you can get back to running a ginormous, nepotistic headphone manufacturer.

The Nasdaq Would Like to Know When Koss Is Going to Get Around to Submitting Some Financial Statements

Remember last month when Koss decided to file their 10-Q without financial statements? At the time the company said it was “due to delays relating to certain previously disclosed unauthorized transactions.”

In other words, we got ripped off so bad that we’re restating financial statements for half a decade and it isn’t exactly something you can whip up like a batch of maui wowie brownies.


The Nasdaq has taken note of the slight delay and has said if you don’t get us numbers by June 30, you’ll be on the pink sheets with the likes of Lehman Brothers.

CEO Michael Koss has assured everyone that it won’t come to this but obviously we’ll have to wait until the SEC posts the filing. If that doesn’t happen, you’ll be able to add “Koss Delisted by Nasdaq” to Suz’s list of destructive accomplishments.

Koss gets warning from Nasdaq [Milwaukee Business Journal]

Koss Files 10-Q Sans Financial Statements, Declares Dividend

Somehow this got overlooked earlier in the week but we can’t literally be all-knowing, all-seeing, all the time. Plus, haven’t you missed this mug?

Headphone cobbler Koss filed it’s first quarter 10-Q earlier this week, which ordinarily would be a non-event except for a small matter of missing financial statements.

The Milwaukee Business Journal reports that the company cited the missing financial statements “due to delays relating to certain previously disclosed unauthorized transactions.”


Yes, that’s PR-speak for ueSay achdevaSay.

Koss executives intend to amend the Form 10-Q to include the quarterly unaudited financial statements as soon as possible after Koss Corp. completes restating statements from previous quarters in fiscal 2008, fiscal 2009 and the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2009, the company said. The company said it expects to file amended financial reports with the SEC no later than June 30.

But there’s nothing to be worried about because the company declared a dividend and secured an $8 million credit facility with JP Morgan. Progress!

Koss declares dividend, but yet to report results [Milwaukee Business Journal]
10-Q [SEC.gov]
8-K [SEC.gov]

Holiday Weekend Accounting News: KPMG Bolts Iran; Financial Statement Reader App for iPad?; IRS Job Creation; Another Koss Fraud Theory; Toni Braxton Tax Trubs; Illegals Bilk IRS for $13 mil; Job of the Day | 04.02.10

See you Monday, capital market servants. It’s okay, tax warriors – Just think, two weeks from today and you’ll be sleeping in.

KPMG severs Iran ties [FT]
T Fly and Co. has pulled the plug on Iran after big pressure from the UANI, “Tom Wethered, KPMG International’s general counsel, wrote to UANI on Thursday that the accountancy network had terminated the membership of Bayat Rayan, one of Iran’s biggest accountants.” The FT reports that the firm cited “serious and escalating concerns,” about the country’s government.

Imagine: iPad App l Statements [XBRL Business Information Exchange via CPA Trendlines]
Someone make this happen ASAP. “Imagine it. Everyone connected by the Web, not the current Web but the Semantic Web. iPads, iPods, iPhones, Androids, Smartphones; maybe a few PCs will still be around. IFRS used globally. Financial information in XBRL making it dynamic like a pivot table, rather than static like the legacy paper statements.”


Is Hiring More IRS Employees ‘Job Creation’? [The Atlantic]
There’s a lot of hysteria over the 16,000-some odd new IRS agents that will be running around the country trying to steal your freedom. Those are real jobs though.

Koss Fraud: Unrecorded revenue? [Fraud Files Blog]
Tracy Coenen kicks around another theory of how alleged shopaholic Sue Sachdeva hid her embezzlement from Grant Thornton, “I’ve heard from a few sources who I consider to be very reliable that Sachdeva hid her theft by not recording revenue. This would mean that Koss’s revenue was understated by $31 million during the time she was committing her theft.” Tracy points out that this method would be “messy” but “There is almost no chance that the auditors will discover the theft and the cover-up. The bulk of the auditors’ work is spent on the balance sheet. So long as transactions related to the theft don’t show up in the ending balances of the balance sheet accounts, she’s pretty safe there.”

Singer Toni Braxton bobbles tax bill [Tax Watchdog]
Toni Braxton really needs help. She now owes the IRS nearly $400k after a $71k tab from last summer. We’ll say it again – Get Ludacris on the phone.

10 illegal aliens in S.C. admit to bilking IRS out of $13 million [Greenville Online]
Who do the teabaggers get mad at for this one? Don’t they hate the IRS and illegal aliens equally? We can only hope that this will cause their heads to explode. Oh, and because it’s in South Carolina we can probably expect a lynching of everyone involved.

Job of the Day: Fannie Mae Needs a Experienced Accountant [GC Career Center]
Four to six years experience, CPA required. Responsibilities include: Compile, review, analyze, and record financial information to the general ledger. Complete monthly closings. Prepare balance sheet and profit and loss statements, consolidated financial statements, and other accounting schedules and reports. Located in DC Metro. You!

Koss Fraud May Have Been Due, in No Small Part, to Michael Koss Holding Five Executive Positions

[caption id="attachment_3471" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Hi. I\'m Sue and I\'m a shopaholic "][/caption]

It’s been nearly three weeks since we last picked up the Koss/Sue Sachdeva beat, when we told you about Michael Koss resigning as the audit committee chair of Strattec Security Corp. At that time, Strattec had also elected to give Grant Thornton the boot as its auditor.

Over the weekend, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posted a lengthy-ish piece on the “relaxed oversight and lax controls” as the opportunity for the chronic shop ’til you dropper Sue Sachdeva to make off with $31 million. These particular issues (i.e. incestuous management and virtually no internal controls) are a matter of record although it’s interesting to note the new details that come to light.


The article mentions how Michael Koss managed to “serve” in five executive roles at the company: vice chairman, chief executive officer, chief operating officer, president and chief financial officer. PLUS, the aforementioned audit committee chairmanship at Strattec.

Now, we’re not entirely sure what the responsibilities would be for each of the positions at Koss but at a regular company, one of these jobs would result in some or possibly all of the following: insomnia, workaholism, a drug problem, an ugly divorce. Throw in the responsibilities of an audit committee chairmanship and one would assume that Michael Koss walked across Lake Michigan to get to work.

Oh, and just so you’re aware, the Journal Sentinel brings up that MK was an anthropology major. You may have some opinions about that.

The JS also spoke to one of the women that was fired along with Suze, Tracy Malone, who “still speaks highly of the company, although it fired her and objected to her claim for unemployment compensation.” Koss fired Malone because they allege that she “she knew of the misappropriation of funds but failed to report it to superiors.” Ms Malone’s attorney has stated these allegations are false.

So hang on a minute. Your lawyer says you were fired under “false allegations”, the company rejects your claim for unemployment comp, and you still speak highly of said company? Yeesh, have some self-respect lady.

Theft at Koss blamed on relaxed attitude, lax oversight [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Quote of the Day: Is Michael Koss a Sad or Happy Clown? | 03.04.10

“Michael Koss is a clown. He does not belong on the board of directors of any company. He needs to be minding his own company, and until he can clean things up there, he should not be allowed to go outside and play.”

~ Tracy Coenen, on Mr Koss’ resignation as the Audit Committee Chairman of Strattec Security Corp.

More Sue Sachdeva Fallout: Koss Resigns as Strattec Audit Committee Chair; Grant Thornton Dismissed as Auditor

The Sue Sachdeva wrecking ball continues to do damage as we learn today that Michael Koss has resigned as the audit committee chair of Strattec Security Corp. Oh, and Strattec also dismissed Grant Thornton from its audit duties for the Company, saying that “[it] decided to consolidate all of its outside accounting/auditing work with Deloitte”.

And yesssss, Michael Koss resigned, at least in part, due to the uesay achdevasay tealinsay oneymay:

David Zimmer, Strattec’s new audit committee chairman, said the problems at Koss Corp. played a role in Michael Koss’ decision to step down as the committee chair at Strattec. He said audit committee chair is a demanding and time-consuming job. “Everyone has to evaluate how much time they have to spend on things,” Zimmer said.

So in other words, you’re saying that Mr Koss, who by all accounts wasn’t spending any time keeping an eye on his own company, can’t be expected to serve as the audit committee chair of this company since it’s kinda sorta an important position. We get that.

As for GT, Pat Hansen, Strattec’s CFO said that this was something the Company was ‘mulling’ over anyway and that the Koss fiasco and the timing of this dismissal were ‘more coincidental’. Okay but it the made the decision a helluva lot easier, didn’t it?

And the Sue trainwreck rumbles on…

Koss resigns as audit committee chair at Strattec [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
Recent Koss/Sue Sachdeva News:
Koss Sues AMEX for Sachdeva Spending Spree
Koss: Financial Results Will Be Better Now That the Whole Fraud Thing Is Over

Accounting News Roundup: Koss Sues AMEX for Sachdeva Spending Spree; IRS Worker’s Widow Sues Stack’s Widow; Twitter Feeds for Tax Pros | 02.24.10

Koss sues American Express over Sachdeva purchases [MJS]
Headphone factory Koss is suing American Express (the whistleblower!) for not reporting alleged embezzler extraordinaire Sue Sachdeva sooner.

Koss alleges that AMEX knew about Suze paying her credit card with Koss funds in February 2008 but then did nothing about it until August 2009; a month when SS spent $3.5 million on high end threads.

Sue Sach was finally exposed last December after allegedly making off with $31 million. So more or less, Koss is suing AMEX for $20 million because Koss’ management was far too busy to pay attention to their own company. The good news is that a whistleblower that happens to be corporation gets about as much gratitude as a human whistleblower. Consistency!


IRS worker’s widow sues Texas suicide pilot’s wife [AP via NYDN]
The widow of IRS employee Vernon Hunter is suing Sheryl Stack, widow of Joseph Stack, in order to determine if JS had a life insurance policy or other assets. The suit alleges that Mrs. Stack should have “should have warned others about her husband,” apparently because someone bitching about the IRS regularly flies a plane into a building.

Four Twitter Feeds for Tax Pros [FINS]
FINS put together their top four Twitter feeds for tax professionals yesterday and lo and behold, we ended up on the list! Thanks to FINS for including us but a special thanks goes to people like Terry “Dozer” and wives that shoot at their greedy husbands. They make our jobs easier.

Koss: Financial Results Will Be Better Now That the Whole Fraud Thing Is Over

Hopefully! Headphone master Michael Koss officially announced that things are back to business as usual at casa de Koss now that Sue Sachdeva’s sticky fingers aren’t around.

“The company has continued to operate in the normal course of business despite the disruption resulting from the discovery of the unauthorized transactions,” Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Koss said in a statement. “We believe that the elimination of these unauthorized transactions will enhance our future operating results.”


What a relief! No mention of how the pending lawsuits against Koss will affect operating results, however. We understand that it could be a sensitive issue at the moment.

The Company filed its 10-Q yesterday and an 8-K today that explains that those restated, not-so-good results that you’re expecting will be done pronto. Don’t expect to see anything before April but not past June, swear.

After that, watch out everybody, Koss will be on fire, blowing those analyst estimates out of the water. In the meantime things are moving along and those internal controls, yeah, they’re working on them but they reminded everyone in the 10-Q that even if they designed the best internal control systems on Earth, it still wouldn’t guarantee that bad stuff won’t happen:

A control system, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met. It is possible for even the best control system to be circumvented by those with the intent, knowledge and opportunity to do so.

Not to put to fine a point on it but a half-assed control system would have detected this fraud, never mind the “well conceived and operated” part.

With fraud claims exposed, Koss expects better financial results [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]

Koss Investors Lining Up for Litigation; Will Grant Thornton Join the Party?

Investors in Koss Corporation are lining up in the pending litigation against the company and a press release from law firm Carney Williams, announced this morning that those interested in as lead plaintiff have until March 12th to make their desires known.

Form the press release, “The Company and certain key executives are alleged to have violated federal securities laws by issuing false financial statements and failing to maintain adequate internal and financial controls.”

Many, like Tracy Coenen, have argued that the internal controls are management’s responsibility and Grant Thornton was not engaged to audit these controls but does that mean that GT will dodge these investor lawsuits?


We spoke with Randy Pulliam, a partner at Carney Williams on the case if he expected Grant Thornton to be named in the litigation, “the lead plaintff will ultimately decide as to who will be named in the litigation, including the accountants.”

There’s nearly a month until the deadline so it’s far too early to tell who will decide whether Grant Thornton needs to be included but we’ll go on record saying that we’d be shocked(!) if GT manages to get forgotten in this whole matter. Regardless of your feelings on the firm’s responsibility (i.e. GT should have discovered the fraud or not) the fact that Sue Sachdeva is accused of embezzling $31 million over a period of five years while Grant Thornton was auditing Koss will not be lost on the investors or their attorneys.

“This is a five year class period so many investors are eligible to participate,” Mr. Pulliam told us. Plenty of investors out there would like to see someone make things right. Grant Thornton seems like a decent candidate especially since their pockets are far deeper than Koss’. So if you asked us to put a wild-ass guess on the odds of Grant Thornton being named in the lawsuit, we’d put it somewhere in the nabe of 10-1. Not Mine that Bird territory but not Secretariat either.

We left a message at Koss and dropped an email to Grant Thornton seeking comment and neither have gotten back to us at this time. We’ll continue to update you on the developments, shopping addictions and otherwise.

Koss VP Sue Sachdeva: Shopping Addict or Burgeoning Retail Queen?

It’s been a few days since we had read anything on embezzler of the year 2009, Sue Sachdeva. We figured the whole thing was on the fast track to getting resolved since her attorney started claiming that the woman has an addiction. Well today, we checked in over at Fraud Files Blog where Tracy Coenen has come up with a theory that blows the whole shop until you die argument out of the water

Since Sue had 461 different pairs of shoes that ranged from sizes 8 to 14 (!) and 34 fur coats, Tracy is thinking that S-squared didn’t have a shopping problem; she was simply working on achieving an entrepreneurial dream:

She couldn’t have worn that range of sizes, but that range would have been perfect for someone retailing the merchandise. I bet we’re going to hear soon that Sachdeva was selling this merchandise to domestic and overseas retailers at a fraction of their wholesale value.

It’s already a matter of record that SS was having garage sales at her desk, so Tracy’s logic makes sense. We’re now convinced Sue had bigger plans.

Obviously enamored with the idea of a Sachdeva Goodman’s, Suze may have gotten a little ahead of herself as Tracy notes, “[I]n late 2009 (which is fiscal 2010 for Koss) she got greedy and stole much more in a six month period than she ever had in one year.”

The indictment lists six wire transfers (total of nearly $3 mil) from Koss accounts directly to her personal AMEX accountant, so girl was definitely burning up the plastic. That’s not an addiction; that’s inventory. Besides, isn’t a shopping addiction a faux-addiction? The real tragedy here is that a dream was not reached and an accounting firm was fired. Neither makes us feel very good.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Stephen Chipman’s Blog is Live

As promised, Stephen Chipman has started his blog with the first post going up today.

I am excited to provide this interactive Blog designed to foster thoughtful dialogue and information sharing between you and me. My Blog enables me to share with each of you my personal thoughts about our business and other important matters. I hope you find this Blog informative as well as useful. Please check back every Wednesday for a new post.


Unfortunately for you non-GTers out there, the blog is not public like Jeremy Newman’s so not just anyone can help him with his grammar (which we’re sure is impeccable) or spelling.

Despite being the blog being for GT eyes only, he’s still excited about spreading the good word through this new medium:

I’m delighted to be writing my first blog. One of the aspects of our modern culture is the ease of informal communication. As I noted in the announcement, I have no pre-planned features or stories, I’m just going to blog the way others do — in the moment.

It’s disappointing that Chip didn’t start the blog a little earlier, say, when he got the news about Sue Sachdeva’s shopping sprees. Catching him in the moment of that particular bit of news would have made for a good post, no? Plus, since he’s so close to Milwaukee, he might have run up their to see some of this loot himself in order to tell us what he thought of Suze’s taste in clothes, jewels, etc.

Our one beef with Steve-o’s first post is that it has too much of a journal feeling to it. Personally, we’d prefer he got on his soapbox about how the Big 4 isn’t all that, or why he thinks Davos is overrated. We realize that he’s new at this so we’ll give him a little time to get it together. In the meantime, be sure to inform us about his words of wisdom going forward.

(UPDATE) Fooling Auditors Is So Easy, a Caveman Could Do It

Thumbnail image for sachdeva_sue.jpgIn the spirit of O.J. Simpson, Tracy Coenen explains today, that if Sue Sachdeva stole $31 million and spent most of it on some high-end threads and then sold the crap she didn’t want, it would’ve been a snap.
We’re not talking Enron type stuff here, just making off with cash:

All it takes are three steps to make this fraud nearly undetectable in a company in which the other members of the executive team aren’t paying attention. (And don’t worry, dear readers, that I may be giving away any secrets to committing fraud and covering it up. Any serious fraudster already knows these three things.)
1. Keep the fraud off the balance sheet.
2. Keep all transactions below the scope of testing by the auditors.
3. Don’t commit fraud during the last month of the fiscal year and the first month of the following fiscal year.
Can it really be this simple?


Here’s the quick and dirty:
Point 1 – Tracy notes that 80% of audit procedures focus on the balance sheet so if Suze was slamming all the bogus transactions amongst 4 or 5 income statement expense lines, no one would get wise to it.
Point 2If she did it, Suze probably knew what GT’s scope was (it’s supposed to be super-secret). She could plan the amount of her transactions to fall under this scope every time.
Point 3 – Auditors probably spent most of their time looking at bank statements for the last month of the fiscal year and the first month of the subsequent fiscal year. The rest of them don’t get much attention.
So there you have it. Throw in the incestuous management team, auditors that may be trying to get on each other and you’ve got a slam dunk.
UPDATE 7:38 pm: We got to wondering if Tracy’s statement “Any serious fraudster already knows these three things” were true, so we asked one. Crazy Eddie CFO, Sam Antar indulged us:

[Tracy] is correct. The fraudster always has the initiative because they are judgment oriented in their approach to crime, while auditors are process oriented in their approach to audits. In other words, fraudsters know how to think out of the box to solve problems and achieve their goals, while auditors rely too much on process and procedure to accomplish their missions. In the criminal’s world, judgment is more powerful than process.

We’ll leave it there (that’s right CNN).
Koss Corp.: Commit the fraud and cover it up [Fraud Files Blog]

Quote of the Day | 01.19.10

“Audits are of limited usefulness – the scope of work is so small and is done in such a compressed time, usually at the end of the year. And the work that auditors do is predictable.”
~ Tracy Coenen, of Fraud Files Blog, in regards to the how Sue Sachdeva allegedly pulled off a $31 million embezzlement at Koss under the nose of Grant Thornton (Steve Chipman may need a pair of these to drown out the attorneys). [Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin Business News]

Koss VP Got Busted Just When She Was Getting Really Good at Stealing Money

Sue Sachdeva had this stealing money thing down so cold that she continually outdid herself, stealing greater sums of money every year until she was caught last month (thanks AMEX!).

If you need more evidence that everyone near this company (we’re looking straight at you Koss Family and Grant Thornton) was completely clueless, this should satisfy you.

Here’s the run down for the last six fiscal years ending June 30:

2005 – $2,195,477

2006 – $2,227,669

2007 – $3,160,310

2008 – $5,040,968

2009 – $8,485,937

Q1 and Q2 of 2010 – $10,243,310

Jesus, she was really getting good those last six months. Girl couldn’t spend it fast enough.

We’d really like to hear from GTers from the Milwaukee/Chicago offices to let us know how TPTB are handling everything. Maybe it’s NBD to them but we just want to know. We thought this story would stop getting ridiculous but so far it continues to impress.

Koss: Unauthorized transactions increased over years [The Business Journal of Milwaukee]

Was Koss Fraud Made Possible by Incestuous Management?

Thumbnail image for sachdeva_sue.jpgMaybe! If you figure an incestuous management team is a clueless management team, the argument can certainly be made. How else could Sue Sachdeva hold garage sales at her desk without anyone noticing? This went on for five years:

How is it that nobody noticed $5 million missing each year when the company’s net income is about $5 million? I mean, the business of “stereo headsets” isn’t really a complex business model. There’s revenue, cost of sales, and expenses. How do you somehow manage to hide $5 million when expenses are only $10 million … and cost of sales is $25 million?
The answer becomes clear when you look at the company’s management team. Michael Koss is the company’s CEO. He’s also the company’s vice chairman, president, COO, and CFO. The company’s VP of sales is, that’s right, John Koss. Together they own 65 percent of the company’s stock. Another Koss, John Jr., owns 8 percent of the company’s stock. Who knows how many other Kosses there are scattered about the place. No checks and balances there. No hands on the wheel, either.

Sooo, the question becomes: Should Grant Thornton have noticed this sleepy management oversight? Did Michael Koss just give them the “I involved in every aspect of the business so there’s nothing to worry about” story and GT just bought it? Discuss.
The Problem with Incestuous Management [The Corner Office/Steve Tobak]

Unfounded Rumor of the Day: Fired Koss VP Had Garage Sales at Her Desk

Or something like that. Guest 28 put it out there that Sue Sachdeva was flipping those designer threads to fellow employees for low low prices.
On the one hand, maybe the two employees on leave that worked for Suze were the bargain shoppers. On the other, how hard up for extra money was this woman? Maybe she just wore it out once with the tags on and said “I don’t love it”? Can anyone in the Milwaukee area that hasn’t already gone to happy hour confirm this? Get on the horn.

Grant Thornton Loses Its Fire in Letter to the SEC

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Grant-thornton-logo.JPGDespite getting all bent out of shape in their earlier statement:

“The fraud was apparently conducted by a longtime, trusted senior financial executive who was hired and supervised by senior management,” a Grant Thornton spokeswoman said Tuesday. “The company (Koss) did not engage Grant Thornton LLP to conduct an audit or evaluation of internal controls over financial reporting. Establishing and maintaining effective internal control is management’s and the board’s responsibility.”

Grant Thornton is less enthused in their letter to the SEC:

We have read Item 4.01 of Form 8-K of Koss Corporation dated January 4, 2010, and agree with the statements concerning our Firm contained therein. We have no basis to agree or disagree with the statements and conclusions in Item 4.02(a), some of which were not disclosed to Grant Thornton LLP prior to receipt of this filing.

The only thing we read here that might be a dig at Koss is “some of which were not disclosed to Grant Thornton LLP prior to receipt of this filing.” If this is intended to be the firm’s version of the finger — straight up, at you Koss — the passive-aggressiveness is at a level that even impresses us.
At least in the Overstock letter the firm flat out called Pat Byrne and his company liars. This latest opportunity to lay the smackdown on a client in a regulatory filing seems to have been squandered.

This Is How You Spend Stolen Money

So you’ve been embezzling money from your employer for awhile and what’s a girl to do? Well you could spend it on your wedding but if you’re already hitched then it’s has to get blown elsewhere. Besides, the £470,000 that Joanne Kent stole is chump change compared to what Sue Sachdeva had on her hands:

• $225,000 at Karat 22 Jewelers.

• $1.4 million at Valentina Boutique a high-end joint in Mequon, WI.


• $20 million on artwork.

• $649,000 at Zita Bridal Salon, even though she was already married. Probably just wants to wear a gown to slob around in.

• $670,000 at Au Corant a Milwaukee-based fashion retailer.

• $4.5 million on credit card bills.

A decent haul although the new GT leadership can’t be thrilled to have this shopping spree land in their laps.

Btw, congrats to Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, the new auditors, on the pickup. We’re sure it’ll be a breeze from here on out.

Grant Thornton Gets Fired (Again)

Grant Thornton is having a helluva time keeping audit clients happy. After getting axed by Overstock.com in November, GT has now been fired by headphone maker Koss after it was discovered — by AMEX — that the company’s former VP of Finance had been embezzling millions of dollars since 2005.

In an 8-K filed yesterday, the Company stated that its financial statements from the past three years should not be relied on:

The Company has now concluded that its previously issued financial statements on Forms 10-K for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2005 through 2009 and on Form 10-Q for the three months ended September 30, 2009 should no longer be relied upon due to the unauthorized financial transactions.

A couple of commenters were debating this particular SNAFU over the Holiday break and while GT may not be responsible for discovering embezzlement, this is a perfect example of why small companies should not be exempt from Sarbanes-Oxley. As Guest 2 notes:

it looks like Koss will become the poster child for internal controls. The company clearly had to have deficient internal controls if the VP of Finance could use millions of dollars in company funds to pay her personal credit cards. We’re talking over $400,000 a month on average (if the $20 million figure is accurate) and that amount is clearly material to the company (i.e. that amount should not have gone unnoticed). My guess is that this will force all other small public companies to become full-pledged into 404 like the majority of public companies are.

We’d love to agree with Guest 2 but the simple fact of the matter is that Congress doesn’t give a rat’s ass about small companies complying with SOx. Most of the members have never even heard of Koss, especially since the company has a budget of around $0 for campaign contributions. Right now the only thing keeping the small company exemption at bay is the inability of Congress to move on financial regulatory reform, which is kinda sorta needed.

Headphone maker Koss fires auditor after firing VP [Reuters]

Preliminary Analytics | 12.29.09

Thumbnail image for PettersSmile.jpgAP: Ponzi collapses nearly quadrupled in ’09 – Thimble-dick Bernie, Allen Stanford, Tom “Cocker Spaniel” Petters, all did their part. [via HuffPo]
The First Annual Jr Deputy Accountant Year in Review Awards (or some h*t) – Somehow we ended up on this list and somehow JDA managed to make it a backhanded compliment (we think). [JDA]
Koss financial records will get more scrutiny in 2010 – With comments from Tracy Coenen at Fraud Files. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
The Man Who Wired Silicon Valley – How Raj got the world by the short and curlies. [WSJ]
GM Plans Pontiac Fire Sale – “GM sent letters to dealers Dec. 23 saying it would pay them $7,000 for every new Saturn or Pontiac on their lot that is moved to rental-vehicle or service-vehicle fleets operated by the dealers.” So yes, they’ll seem extra pushy. [WSJ]
The Big Zero – As in the decade we’re finishing up. Prof. Krugman also quotes Diet Coke fiend Larry Summers stating that GAAP was the most important innovation in history and that it allows investors to make good decisions. According to PK, also a big zero. [Paul Krugman/NYT]
Spurious academic study of the day, Tiger Woods edition – Ball-parking investors’ losses due to TW’s cheating ways is not so easy, nay, ridiculous. [Felix Salmon/Reuters]