Tag Archives: Montclair State University

Jail for Landlord – Tax Fraud

Posted by Abdullah Almohammadi.

51-year-old Steven Croman is a landlord with more than 141 apartment buildings in Manhattan. In 2016, was arrested for the allegations of obtaining loans fraudulently and committing tax fraud. Croman pleaded guilty for giving false business records, grand larceny, and criminal tax fraud. He was sentenced to one year jail and a five million fine.

The case came from the investigation of the allegations that Mr. Croman was harassing his tenants. He was alleged that he pushed rent-regulated out of their apartments. He also withheld the state payroll taxes to earn a bonus for forcing the rent-regulated tenants.

He was taken to court on Tuesday but declined to address the court. Justice Jill made a judgment stating that he was given time in jail to think about the people he has harmed. As he left the court in handcuffs heading to prison, an elderly tenant, Carol, stated that his apartment was in bad condition since Mr. Croman had refused to clean the apartment. Another elderly tenant by the name Cynthia suggested that the public ought to be protected from such a person as Croman forever. This indicated that Mr. Croman should have life jail term. On the other hand, Mr. Croman lawyer believes that Mr. Croman will behave appropriately in jail which will make him be released after eight months instead of one year.

Abdullah is a graduate accounting student at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University.

Source:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/10/03/nyc-landlord-sentenced-to-year-in-fraud-case.html

 

Issues Facing Forensic Accountants

Posted by Muhammad Azeem.

 

Playing the role of a forensic accountant can be a fundamental one as it will influence various individuals whether in a business valuation or in a fraudulence sense. This article talks about how forensic accountant can play an indispensable part in perceiving issues and working up new tradition proceeding, irrespective of facing issues during the trial.

When in doubt, forensic accountants will join money related and legal capacities in choosing the proximity of a wrongdoing. Also, they can use their skills and expertise in recognizing those factors that should be considered in a business valuation. The arranging of using a forensic accountant could in like manner ask for quick and excellent results that oblige relationship with existing clients.

Whether it is for the inspirations driving business valuation or diverse examination of data, an accountant can be a fundamental part in recognizing issues. Observation is one of the biggest issues that forensic accountants face. If you are estimating a business or attempting to choose something that requires examination of a huge amount of data, an expert accountant might be the individual you require at the end.

Muhammad is an undergraduate student in accounting at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University.

Article Link: http://ezinearticles.com/?What-Are-the-Biggest-Issues-Facing-Forensic-Accountants&id=9240899

 

Forensic Accountants Assist in Fraud Prevention

Posted by Abdullah Aldahmash.

As the article begins, “to survive in this age of austerity and fraud,” there is a requirement for a more quick-witted and more refined arrangement of accountants, prepared to offer experiences and answers for all methods of business. This incorporates not just representing legitimate direct of business and reinforcing inbuilt process controls, yet in addition techniques for the discovery and avoidance of extortion and unfortunate behavior. In the beginning of the financial downturn, the accounting profession had experienced radical changes because of accounting catastrophes, e.g. Enron and WorldCom. Forensic accounting is an integration of accounting, auditing, and investigative skills. There is interest for it as general society is compelled to manage financial downfalls, and an ascent in desk violations and misquotation of money related data. Financial misstatement is one of the highest constituents of fraud today. It is the “deliberate misrepresentation of the financial condition of an enterprise, accomplished through purposeful misstatement or oversight of amounts or disclosures in the financial statements to fool users.”

According to the article, corruption, asset misappropriation, and fraudulent financial statements are the main reasons for the financial misstatement. Corruption includes fraudulent situations in the nature of conflict of interest, bribery, illegal gratuities and “economic extortion.” Asset misappropriation includes “skimming and larceny of cash, fraudulent billing, payroll and reimbursements, and misuse and larceny of assets.” Finally, fraudulent financial statements includes inappropriate representation of liabilities and expenses, inappropriate disclosures in financial statements, inappropriate valuation of assets and inventory, inappropriate realisation of revenue, and “timing differences.”

To prevent fraud in the future, a forensic accountant should keep in mind many key rules that absolutely will help them to be more efficient regarding handling the fraud. These keys are:

Improper composition of the Board of Directors or Audit Committee; improper oversight or other neglectful behavior by the Board of Directors or audit committee; weak or non-existent internal controls or process controls, including an ineffective internal audit function and improper conduct of external audits; unusual  or extensively complex transactions; financial  statements requiring significant subjective judgment by the management; rapid growth or unusual profitability, especially when compared with industry peers; recurring negative cash flows or inability to generate positive cash flows; significantly high transactions with related entities not in the ordinary course of business; inappropriate disclosure of related-party transactions; uncommon changes in the relationship between fixed assets and depreciation; uncommon increase in gross margin or profitability compared with industry peers; immoral standards: recurring  attempts by the management to justify marginal or inappropriate accounting on the basis of materiality; sophisticated organisation structure involving uncommon legal entities or managerial lines of authority; central administration; significant operations in places considered tax havens, with no clear business justification.

Abdullah is a graduate accounting student at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University, Class of 2017.

References:

Anand, D. Elementary, my dear retail investor. The Hindu BussinessLine. Retrieved from: –

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/education/elementary-my-dear-retail-investor/article4960231.ece

 

Nick’s Roast Beef Sandwich Shop Scandal

Posted by Chelsea Macchione.

Earlier this year in Beverly Massachusetts, Nick’s Roast Beef, a family owned sandwich shop, was found guilty to tax evasion during the years of operation, 2009 to 2013. The sandwich shop, at this time, was an all-cash business and would understate their income by splitting up excess cash between the two owners, Nichols Kaudanis and Nicholas Markos. By understating their income, Nicks Roast Beef got away with paying taxes on not even half of their actual income during those 5 years. The company found a way to manipulate their receipts so that it reflected only the cash that had been reported on and not any of the other cash that was earned and distributed to the partners. Between the years of 2009 to 2013 the investigating auditors claim the company got away with not paying around $1,000,000 dollars in taxes.

 

Tax evasion can happen within any type of business. If there is a way to manipulate income, there is a company out there is doing it to try to get away with paying fewer taxes for one reason or another. In this example, it was very easy for the business to get away with type of fraud because at the time they were strictly cash based. Cash is hard to audit and keep track of within a business, like the sandwich shop, because the only form of evidence there is are receipts from cash register transactions or customers. It is not difficult in a situation like this to either not record cash collected or generate fake receipts to report. Nicks Roast Beef took full advantage of this type of fraud and then suffered the consequences of jail time served by all of the owners and parties involved within the sandwich shop.

In my opinion, this type of fraud is probably existent within many different types of businesses due to similar circumstances in this case. Cash plays a huge factor with understating income because, like stated before, its very hard to keep track of it. Any type of business that can get away with cash transactions for goods or services that are usually paid for on account, can easily get away with not reporting it with no questions asked. Nicks Roast Beef was also a family operated business, which is sometimes what fuels fraud to occur within a business, having trust in everyone involved to not report the illegal activity. In circumstances like this, I believe it will always be a challenge as an auditor to know if the business is stating their cash income correctly. More evidence and questioning should be exercised in cases where family owned businesses are in charge of reporting their income and more of a consistent monitoring of the business finances should be put into place.

Chelsea is a MS accounting student at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University. 

Embezzlement: Could it Happen to You?

Posted Layla Alzahrani.

Embezzlement is money stolen by an unethical person. According to the article, 40 percent of small businesses in the United States will be targeted for average loss of $ 140,000,00.00, but embezzlement is only reported two percent of the time. Most of the embezzlers are trusted and long-term employees or family friends, or relatives. Victims’ trust usually is shattered after embezzlement happened, especially if embezzlers are their friends or relatives. According to forensic psychologists, victims have lack of judgment to discover the perpetrators before embezzlement happens.

It is difficult to discover employees who follow no pattern and offer no outward signs. Embezzlement sometimes is committed by people who do not have previous criminal records and and may have reputations beyond reproach. There are warning signs, however, that can show as evidence of employees’ behavior before the theft is uncovered, such as: enthusiastic employees who ask questions about business processes and procedures; employees who have excessive debt because of divorce or drug abuse; and employees who refuse to take time of their job, and who want to work when no one is around. Usually embezzlers have a hostile attitude if they get questioned about financial transaction.

Moreover, there are three factors must be present before a person can commit fraud; they are need, opportunity, and rationalization. Some examples of need are addiction to drugs, alcohol, and gambling. Rationalization appears when an employee believes that his/her illegal action fits within a personal code of conduct or ethic, which means that an embezzler steals because they see that as situational fraud. However, embezzlement can be discovered if accountants find amounts of expenses that are not consistent with historical norms or budget, documents are missing or incomplete, problems of bank reconciliations, and documents are adjusted without adequate support.

Preventing embezzlement can be difficult because there is no sure-fire method that can prevent it. Some examples that make it difficult to prevent fraud are issuing fictitious checks, invoking products that a company does not need it, issuing cashing checks for return products that not actually returned, forging checks and destroying them, and charging patients more than a duplicate invoice. There are some precautions that clients can take to prevent fraud such as doing an extensive background check before hiring an employee, tracking a person’s checks and verifying them, making bank deposits nightly, reconciling the bank and credit card statements, and requiring vacations. Those handing funds must be closely and routinely monitored in a company to insure that all profit within the practice and not in someone’s pocket.

Layla is a graduate accounting student with a concentration in forensic accounting at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University.

Source:

Tranyor, Robert M. (2016) Embezzlement Could it Really Happen to You?, Audiology Today, Vol. 28. No. 4.

 

McDonald’s’ Lawsuit

Posted by Nick Farkas.

A McDonald’s’ franchise in California has repeatedly gotten into legal trouble throughout the past few years because they were not paying and recording the overtime of their employees correctly. The Smith family owns the franchise and have around 800 employees working for them. They initially settled the claims for $700,000 but did not learn from their mistakes.

McDonald’s is not entirely liable because it is a specific franchise involved; however, they are going to pay the $1.75 million in damages and $2 million in legal fees to protect the brand. McDonald’s has also agreed to train the Smith family on the use of corporate software designed to ensure compliance with California’s distinctively strict employment laws.

This is not the end of McDonald’s’ lawsuits and it is certainly not the beginning. Earlier this month, a union-backed group filed sexual harassment complaints on behalf of workers. McDonald’s has to decide which cases are worth fighting, and which cases they should automatically plead guilty. These decisions are based on risk and image.

Nick is an accounting major at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University.

Naked Juice is Not as ‘Naked’ as it Claims

Posted by Navjoat Aulakh.

PepsiCo’s famous ‘healthy’ beverage line, Naked Juice, is being stripped down and exposed for it’s misleading marketing tactics.  The line of beverages features images of various fruits and vegetables, and claims to be ‘all natural’.  The CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) has argued that “a single 15.2-ounce container (the smallest option) contains 61 grams of sugar, about 50% more sugar than a 12-ounce can of Pepsi”.  The American Heart Association’s suggested sugar intake is 37.5 grams a day, PepsiCo’s Naked Juice almost doubles this suggested amount.

Although the lawsuit is less than two months old, it is expected to make impact in due time.  CSPI is asking that the company be more transparent in the ingredients of the drink, and to compensate monetary damages to customers.  Although the compensation of damages is not likely, PepsiCo will most likely have to change it’s marketing tactics.  The CSPI has a strong history of exposing the misleading marketing of products, and has even caused changes in rival companies such as Coca-Cola.

Navjoat is an accounting major at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University, Class of 2019.

Ex-Executive at NY Bank Gets 4 years in Prison in $38M Fraud

Posted by Johanna Ortiz.

An ex-executive Andrew Caspersen at New York investment bank was declared guilty to securities and wire fraud. He admitted defrauding investors of more than $38 million, and the judge gave him four years in prison because the defendant’s attorney asked him for leniency for gambling addiction.

Caspersen was a good worker. He graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Unfortunately, for his addictions, he defrauded investors’ money including his family and friends. “I lost their money” he said “I abused their friendship. I destroyed my family’s name” (news.findlaw.com).

He used to go to an organization which helped him with his alcohol and gambling addictions; however, he never finished his treatment. He always quit. His attorney used this as an excuse to let the judge know that he is not under control and he is unable to think or act as a normal person. The judge declared him with a very real gambling disorder and for that reason he gave him short-term prison sentence. He said to the judge that he learned from this and he is going to retake the treatment.

His defense attorney said his client was very ill with his addictions that he did not care about money, and he just wanted to play. At the end of the day, he lost over $100 million. He had hope that no matter how many times he lost, he would win and take the money back.

In my opinion, Caspersen acted without values, morals, and respect to investors. He knew his addictions and he was irresponsible and quit the treatments. All his irresponsibility were not investors’ fault and he had to pay for his mistakes.

Johanna is an accounting major at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University.

 

New Contract for Costco

Posted by Rafaela Andrade.

Costco wholesale store is now using new Visa credit cards and no longer American Express after fifteen years.  Under a new contract, Citigroup, Inc. will now be the issuer for their credit cards along with Visa, Inc. Early this year, Costco reported that their earnings were not met and the stock price had dropped. The reason why the wholesale store left and would not renew the contract with American Express is due to economic reasons. When the news of this broke to the public, the “credit- card company’s stock fell 6.4%.”

Costco only accepted American Express for the past fifteen years. The wholesale store represented around $80 billion of their business and just on interest it was about $14 billion. This was clearly a major hit for American Express. AmEx is also limited in certain retail stores. It is said that even though AmEx offers great rewards it is costly for the merchants, costing the retailer about 3.5% where Visa and MasterCard have a cost around 2-3% or less. Costco members will have rewards and allowing them to use their new Visa cards where they are accepted.

American Express provided deals to the members such as 3% cash back on gas, 2% cash back on restaurants and even when traveling, 1% on Costco purchases and other purchases. Visa offers 4% cash back on gas, 3% cash back on restaurant and eligible travel purchases, 2% cash back on purchases from Costco, and 1% on all other purchases. This deal is great way to get extra cash and there is no annual fee for the credit card. Many Customers are happy with the results while others are not as happy. Costco had to do what is best for the company (enter a new contract) in order to keep generating business.

Rafaela is an accounting major at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University, Class of 2018.

Sources:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-costco-visa-20150302-story.html

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-things-to-know-about-the-costco-and-amex-breakup-2016-02-11

Lawsuit Filed Against Christopher Kimball

Posted by Francesca Mecionis.

The owners of America’s Test Kitchen filed a 39-page lawsuit against Christopher Kimball, and some of his other associates, on November 3. According to the suit, Kimball and his accomplices “conspired to literally and conceptually rip off” the Boston TV show. The reason for his actions were said to be for his personal benefit in order to help launch his new brand, Milk Street. There are accusations of “stolen customer lists and trade secrets, sneaky tactics to secure a radio deal, and new office space.” Kimball had a fiduciary responsibility to the show. However, the owners believed he had stolen their entire business model, “right down to how recipes are written,” and also had worked on his own project while still being employed by America’s Test Kitchen.

Kimball, in response to the suit, claims it is “absurd” and “was meant to generate publicity and to shore up the America’s Test Kitchen brand.” Yet, there is proof of his actions in writing. There was a forensic search of his emails, which showed “Kimball’s scrambling to set up his new business before he left the old one, securing copies of his work contacts and packing up his belongings.” In another email, Kimball wrote to his assistant, “Want to get ahead of the partners!” in regards to using the America’s Test Kitchen name to find a new office space for his business.

The lawsuit was issued in the Superior Court of Suffolk County of Massachusetts. The owners are hunting for “unspecified monetary damages, repayment of some of the compensation that America’s Test Kitchen paid Kimball and the people who left with him, and asks the court to prevent him and his new company “from exploiting information, assets and opportunities stolen from America’s Test Kitchen.” Lawyers are arguing that Kimball’s motivation to steal secrets from the show stemmed from when the board and investors pushed him out. In 2013, America’s Test Kitchen’s rating decreased dramatically, and the show responded by hiring a new set of employees. By 2015, a new CE whom outranked Kimball had taken over, and eventually he stopped showing up to work, telling his coworkers “he had been fired.” “Kimball, in an interview Wednesday, cautioned not to read too much into the allegations, saying most were false or twisted interpretations.” His legal team is preparing to go against these accusations, within this month. Hopefully, the truth will be revealed and both parties receive what they deserve.

Francesca is an accounting major at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University.