September 24, 2018

Toshiba Seems to Have Escaped SEC Penalty After Accounting Probe Ends

It was reported in March 2016 that the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department were investigating the “accounting problems” at Toshiba Corp.’s business units in the United States. Well, according to Reuters, the SEC has completed the investigation, and Toshiba is likely breathing a sigh of relief.

“We understand that all SEC investigations regarding our accounting have been completed,” a [Toshiba] spokesman told Reuters, adding that there was no penalty or censure.

Reuters could not reach the SEC for comment.

If true, that’s good news for Toshiba, because when it comes to its accounting and finances, there hasn’t been much good news the past three years.

Three former Toshiba presidents resigned in late 2015 after it was found that the electronics company overstated operating profits by more than $1.2 billion dating back to 2008, resulting in Toshiba revamping its board and increasing the number of outside directors.

In addition, the accounting scandal led the company to recognize huge cost overruns at its now-bankrupt U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse and forced Toshiba to sell its prized memory chip unit for $18 billion, according to Reuters.

Toshiba was under investigation by the SEC and the Justice Department over allegations that it hid $1.3 billion in losses at its Westinghouse unit, Bloomberg News reported.

[Reuters]

Image: iStock/tbradford

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Madoff Feeders Getting Some Unwanted Attention

The SEC, feeling confident these days, has filed a complaint against Cohmad Securities Corporation and its Chairman, Chief Operating Officer, and one of the brokers, saying they “actively marketed Madoff investments while ‘knowingly or recklessly disregarding facts indicating that Madoff was operating a fraud.'”
Call us Captain Obv but that sounds like they were either dumb or in on the scam. Either way, they can’t be too psyched about it.
An additional complaint has been filed by the SEC against Stanley Chais, an investment adviser who put all of the assets he oversaw into casa de Madoff.
Irving Picard, who might have the most thankless job in America, also sued both Cohmad and Chais, because, you know, a few people want their money back. The trustee’s complaint against Cohmad spells it out:

The trustee’s lawsuit asserted that fees paid to Cohmad by Mr. Madoff were based on records showing the actual cash status of customer accounts — the amounts invested and withdrawn — without including the fictional profits shown in the statements provided to customers. When a customer’s withdrawals exceeded the cash invested, Cohmad’s employees no longer earned fees from that account — even though the customer’s statements still showed a substantial balance, according to the lawsuit.

This arrangement indicated that Cohmad and its representatives knew about the Ponzi scheme and knew that the profits investors were allegedly earning were bogus, according to the trustee’s complaint.

Good luck explaining that.

Brokerage Firm and 4 Others Sued in Madoff Case
[New York Times]

SEC Rule Would Crack Down on Celebrity Board Members

oj-simpson-mugshot.jpgNow that the SEC has got this Ponzi thing under control, it can focus on more important matters like getting famous people off companies’ board of directors because, you know, they don’t really know shit about the companies they serve.
Perfect example: Tommy Franks, former commander of forces in Iraq, who resigned his seat on Bank of America’s board last week, was on the audit committee. The AUDIT COMMITTEE.
That’s actually not even the best example. According to Bloomberg, everyone’s favorite acquitted killer, O.J. Simpson was on the audit committee of Infinity Broadcasting Corporation before he was charged with murder in 1994. O.J. Simpson. Audit committee. Yes.
We could go on to tell you about Lance Armstrong missing 11 board meetings but still getting paid over $70,000 by Morgans Hotel Group or Gerald Ford sitting on the Board of Traveler’s Insurance (owned by Citi) until he was 85 years old but you get the picture.
This is your SEC, citizens of America, getting their shit together since 1934.

Armstrong, ‘Celebrity’ Directors Targeted in SEC Rule
[Bloomberg]