Accountant paying city $75K for failure to uncover embezzlement

settlement

October 22, 2014

Accounting firm will pay city in North Carolina $75,000 for failing to discover over $500,000 in embezzlements.

Darrell Keller CPA of Kings Mountain, North Carolina has agreed to pay the town of Cherryville $75,000 in a settlement stemming from Keller’s failure to discover the embezzlement of over $500,000 by two former city employees. City finance director Bonny Alexander was convicted of stealing $435,000 over a six year period. Utility director Jennifer Hoyle has been accused of taking $92,000 in cash utility payments made by customers over four years. Keller has stated that the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing and just not as expensive as taking the case to trial.

Source: The Times Picayune

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Account embezzled $540,000 from U.S. Navy subcontractor

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia/Avjoska)

October 17, 2014

Accountant for a Louisiana based U.S. Navy subcontractor admits to embezzling $540,000 and could faces up to 50 years in prison and over $1M in fines.

Kim Parish of Picayune Mississippi pled guilty to multiple charges of bank fraud and wire fraud on Wednesday after she admitted to stealing over $540,000 from her employer. Ms. Parish forged signatures on hundreds of checks over a four year period and mislead the company’s payroll processing firm into writing her checks for false paid time off.

Parish’s employer, NOLA Computer Services, is a technology company and military subcontractor based in New Orleans. Because of the relationship, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and Naval Criminal Investigative Service played roles in prosecuting her case. Parish faces up to 30 years in prison and $1M in fines for the charges of bank fraud, and up to 20 years and $250,000 in fines for wire fraud.

Source: The Times Picayune

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Extension Filing Deadline Oct. 15 — Last-Second Reminders

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October 9, 2014

It will be six months since the traditional filing deadline on October 15th, and anyone who filed an extension must file their taxes before then. Here are a few things to remember.

Beware of scammers: It’s never safe to let your guard down when receiving any emails or phone calls from anyone who claims for be from the IRS. Tax scams occur year-round.

Major life changes: You might be eligible for new credits and deductions if major events have occurred in your life since 2013. Becoming a parent or getting married or divorced could reduce your tax obligation.

Get receipts organized: Organizing your receipts will to claim deductions on your tax return more easily. Many small business owners are eligible for deductions from the costs of running their business: meals deduction, home office, vehicles, etc.

New simplified home office deduction: Since 2013, a new way to deduct costs incurred while working from home simplifies what can sometimes be an arduous task. Instead of providing all of the documents and paperwork to deduct each and every home office expense (phone, internet, electricity, etc.), you can simply deduct $5 per square foot for up to $1,500.

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‘The Accountant’ – Ben Affleck to star in new action-thriller

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October 3, 2014

Ben Affleck is set to star as the accountant who’s secret second job is as an assassin.

Warner Bros. announced yesterday that actor and director Ben Affleck is now in negotiations to act the leading role in an upcoming action-thriller called “The Accountant.” The starring role which portrays a secretive CPA who works is an accountant by day and an assassin by night and was at one point lined up for actor Will Smith. The original script, written by Bill DuBuque, has been passed around to numerous Hollywood studios for some time now, with directors Mel Gibson and the Coen Brothers both at one time being involved. Mr. Affleck has also been in entertainment news lately for his current roles as a suspected murderer Nick Dunne in “Gone Girl” and as the dark knight in “Batman v Superman.”

Source: LA Times

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Amazon begins collecting sales tax in Maryland and Minnesota tomorrow

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September 30, 2014

When Amazon collects sales tax, local distribution centers usually follow, vastly improving shipping times.

Folks who shop with online retailer Amazon are enjoying the last few hours with no sales tax. Amazon.com begins collecting state sales tax in Maryland and Minnesota after today and will charge 6% and 6.875% tax, respectively.

Experts believe the move is prompted by Amazon’s never ending effort to offer better services — mainly delivery times. Without a physical presence, online retailers do not need to charge sales tax in Maryland and Minnesota. Amazon has already announced plans to open a major distribution center in Southeast Baltimore next year, and a similar facility is very likely to also pop up in Minnesota.

In the short term, the added sales tax will benefit brick and mortar stores like Target by balancing out prices. In the long run, however, as ever more consumers are projected shop for everyday items online, more local distribution centers will surely augment the convenience of shopping with Amazon. After tuesday, the number of states where sales tax is still exempt will go down to just 27.

Sources: NBC St. Paul, Baltimore Sun

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Michigan flood victims to receive federal disaster tax relief

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September 26, 2014

Many Michigan residents might receive IRS disaster tax relief after several counties are declared federal disaster areas.

The President declared several storm stuck counties in Michigan as federal disaster areas yesterday, allowing the IRS to provide special disaster tax relief to victims of the storms and floods during Auguster. All residents and businesses in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties may qualify for the postponement of certain filing deadlines. Many other affected taxpayers will additionally be given the opportunity to claim disaster related casualty losses on federal income tax returns for either last year or this year.

All those affected who wish to claim disaster losses should input the Disaster Designation “Michigan/Severe Storms and Flooding” on the top of Form 4684. Affected residents or businesses located outside of the designated disaster area should contact the IRS disaster helpline to submit a request relief: 866-562-5227. As always, taxpayers should be advised to review any filings related to casualty losses with a tax professional.

Source: Detroit Free Press

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Tax Preparer Age 86 Convicted of Embezzling $400,000

Law

September 22, 2014

Bay State octogenarian gets 3 years probation and must pay back almost $500,000 in tax fraud scheme.

Massachusetts tax preparer James Hansmann has been ordered to pay over $400,000 in restitution to his former client and over $86,000 to the IRS. The 86-year-old from Agawam was convicted of embezzling over $400,000 in IRS tax payments meant to be paid on behalf of a client. The former client, who employed Hansmann from 2007 to 2011, has now been left with a large unpaid tax bill. Hansmann was sentenced to 3 years of probation and is forever banned from preparing tax returns in the future. The stolen funds were deposited into his personal bank accounts and used to pay for personal expenses.

Source: Boston Herald

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Tax Implications of Scottish Independence

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September 17, 2014

From issues of currency and defense to trade and the monarchy – taxes could become a primary factor in determining the outcome of Scotland’s impending vote on whether to secede from the UK.

The slogan “No taxation without representation” popularized one of the major grievances for the British colonists who would eventually participate in a political upheaval now known as the American Revolution. On the eve of the Scottish independence referendum, voters on both sides of the debate could also act to leverage the matter of taxes when deciding the future of their country’s sovereignty.

The Better Together campaign, which aims to preserve the United Kingdom’s current makeup, argues that an independent Scotland could face up to a £6 billion budget deficit if a subsequent sharp tax increase is not enacted. Other no-vote supporters have alternatively proposed changes in Westminster legislation that could increase the Scottish Government’s control over income tax, capital gains tax and the air passenger duty (APD) – an excise duty charged to all passengers who fly out of UK airports.

The counterargument from Yes Scotland — the campaign in support of independence — is that the Scottish Government could actually increase tax revenue by simplifying the current tax code and closing loopholes. Dennis Canavan, chairman for Yes Scotland, has also subtly expressed interest in a system in which the wealthy pay higher tax rates than lower income taxpayers. A proposed 3% cut to corporate tax rates might also draw new companies to Scotland, along with more jobs. Yes-vote supporters also believe that cutting back their air passenger duty could encourage more travel, spurring local commerce and transforming large Scottish airports into major international hubs.

Whatever the outcome of tomorrow’s vote, it will certainly be fascinating to witness how divisive the issue of taxation could be in determining the future of the United Kingdom.

Source: Belfast Telegraph

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USA TODAY – Top 10 Colleges for Accounting Degrees

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September 4, 2014

USA TODAY ranked the top 10 colleges for an accounting major based on research conducted by College Factual.

The majority of schools that made this year’s list are prestigious universities with established business schools. The list only considers undergraduate programs and students who only have a bachelor’s degree.

10. SUNY Binghamton — Vestal, New York
9.   Villanova University — Villanova, Pennsylvania
8.   New York University — New York, New York
7.   CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College — New York, New York
6.   Boston College — Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
5.   University of Southern California — Los Angeles, California
4.   University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign — Champaign, Illinois
3.   Bryant University — Smithfield, Rhode Island
2.   University of Notre Dame — Notre Dame, Indiana
1.   Bently University — Waltham, Massachusetts

Source: USA TODAY

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PwC Fined $25M For Concealing Client’s Sanctions Violations

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August 22, 2014

Global accounting and audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers got slapped with fines and suspensions this week for improperly making edits in a report sent to New York’s top banking regulators on behalf of a foreign client.

International accounting and audit titan PricewaterhouseCoopers received a $25 million dollar fine from the New York Department of Financial Services earlier this week after being found guilty of inappropriately altering the language in a report submitted on the behalf of an international client. The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi had initially revealed the occurrence of wire transfers conducted with countries currently under U.S. economic sanctions, including Iran. After being pressured by the Japanese client, PwC edited language in their initial report so that the sanctions violations would be less noticeable to banking regulators.

“We are continuing to find examples of improper influence and misconduct in the bank consulting industry,” said Benjamin Lawsky, New York’s Superintendent of Financial Services, regarding the department’s ruling. PwC was also suspended from doing any consulting work for banks that are regulated by the department for a full two years.

In defense of his firm’s actions, PwC’s Miles Everson asserted that the report in question had both been “detailed” and “disclosed the relevant facts.” Everson also added that “PwC is proud of its long history of contributing to the safety and soundness of the financial system by serving as subject matter experts in banking regulatory and compliance matters and the firm is committed to improving continuously and meeting changes in regulatory expectations. This resolution reinforces that commitment.”

Source: USA Today Money

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