Watchdog

Tax

Cell Phones: Convenience and Compromise

Cell phones have become a part of modern life. Children in elementary school carry them. So do business people. Even seniors, who are often labeled a techno-phobic group, carry them.
Tax

SEC Takes Emergency Action to Stop Ongoing Fraud Against Seniors

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an emergency enforcement action to halt an ongoing fraudulent offering of stock in a company called One Wall Street, Inc., in which five defendants have obtained and misappropriated more than $1.6 million from at least 64 investors, most of them senior citizens.Advertisement
Tax

Mellon Bank & IRS Settle for 2001 Crime

Mellon Bank has agreed to reimburse the federal government $30,000 as a result of an April 2001 incident at the Pittsburgh Internal Revenue Service (IRS) processing unit at the bank’s Client Service Center when the unit’s employees destroyed federal tax returns, according to MarketWatch.
Tax

E-Passports Now Being Issued to Americans

The U.S. State Department has begun issuing e-passports. These passports have radio frequency identification (RFID) chips embedded in the rear cover of the document. AFP reports that all previously issued passports will remain valid until they expire.
Tax

Vishing & Other Personal Security Threats

We might be familiar with “phishing” or the obtaining of your personal information using an e-mail containing a hyperlink. The verbiage in the e-mail leads you to click the link in order to harvest your personal details via a false web site, according to MSNBC.com.
Tax

Prosecutors: Former Media Baron Lying about Finances

Indicted newspaper publisher Conrad Black enjoys a “free flow of millions of dollars," from his wife's private company, say federal prosecutors, who want Barbara Amiel-Black to reveal her finances under oath.Advertisement
Tax

Auditors Limited In Responding to Criminal Acts

Auditors sometimes find evidence of criminal or questionable acts in the course of their work.
Tax

Indianapolis Accounting Staffer Embezzled $350,000, City Claims

A former employee of the Indianapolis Parks Department is facing charges that she directed $350,000 in public money to her personal bank accounts.The accounting staffer, who was fired after allegedly admitting her crime to investigators, steered fake credit and debt card refunds to her own accounts, according to charging papers. Questionable transactions went back to 2000. The employee, Kenya Miles, faces charges of official misconduct, theft and fraud against a financial institution.
Tax

Is There a Problem Here? Privacy and Data Security in the Mobile CPA Firm

Look around your firm today. It seems like everyone is using a notebook computer, right? Not just audit teams, but partners, consultants, and accountants from all departments of the firm are carrying their computers with them as they travel out and about. With decreasing prices and increasing capabilities, today’s notebooks are in many cases the equal of most desktop machines. Included in that increased capacity are huge hard drives capable of storing enormous amounts of data.
Tax

Judge Approves $36M Settlement Balance in PNC Scandal

A federal judge in Pittsburgh has approved the last part of a settlement involving more than 73,000 shareholders who lost money in a PNC Financial Services Group Inc. accounting scandal.The shareholders are ready to receive about $2,600 each, for a total of $36.6 million, based on the $193 million settlement and interest. That amounts to 68 cents per share, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. It's not clear when settlement money will be distributed, and the final amount will be reduced by attorneys' fees.The last remaining portion of the class-action lawsuit was approved by U.S.
Technology

IRS Warns Phishing Scams Increasing

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reminding taxpayers to be on the lookout for bogus e-mails claiming to be from the tax agency, on the heels of a recent increase in scam e-mails.In recent weeks the IRS has experienced an increase in complaints about e-mails designed to trick the recipients into disclosing personal and financial information that could be used to steal the recipient’s identity and financial assets. Since November, 99 different scams have been identified.
Tax

Finance and Accounting Outsourcing Lags; New Technology May Spur Growth

On shore shared-service centers have taken the lead in performing finance and accounting processes, according to a recent study published by the Hackett Group, a strategic advisory firm, with 58 percent of the companies surveyed using the shared services model, globalservicesmedia.com reports. Only seven percent of companies relied on offshore shared-services centers. Twenty-seven percent of financial processes are still performed in-house or in some decentralized manner, according to the study.
Tax

Information Technology Audits Are Priority for Small Business Owners

Small businesses, whether public companies gearing up for Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) compliance, or privately held companies responding to customers’ demands for secure storage of personal data, are hiring internal Information Technology (IT) auditors in record numbers, according to networkworld.com. Also, internal and external auditors and IT personnel focused on security are working together to meet their goals.
Tax

White Collar Crime Prosecutions Down; ID Theft Crimes Up

A case-by-case analysis released by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonpartisan research organization, shows that prosecution of white collar crime cases by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in U.S. District Courts has declined by 31.3 percent from levels reported in 2001.
Technology

Companies Face Daunting Task of Managing E-mail

Many of the demands that Sarbanes-Oxley compliance has placed on accounting firms have developed into commercial opportunities for other industries.
Tax

Has Enron Made Companies More Ethical?

There has been a dramatic five-year increase in how employees perceive their company’s ethics, according to a new national business ethics survey from global employee research and consulting firm ISR.Advertisement
Tax

Accounting Anomalies Continue for Computer Associates

Computer Associates (CA) will delay its fourth quarter and full year financial results, according to their announcement this week. CA was expected to post 2 cents per share earnings for their fourth quarter, according to the Register.
Tax

Guilty Verdicts for Ex-Enron Execs Spark Little Sympathy

A Texas jury on Thursday declared former Enron executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling guilty of fraud and conspiracy.
Tax

Prosecution, Defense Wrap in Enron Trial; Case Goes to the Jury

Enron Task Force prosecutor Kathryn Ruemmler wrapped up the government’s case against Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, former chief executives of the bankrupt company, in a four-hour presentation on Monday in Houston, asking the jury to hold both men accountable for the choices they made and the lies they told. Defense attorneys, who presented their arguments on Tuesday, admitted bad business judgment on the part of their clients but emphatically denied criminal intent or conduct that would support the government’s charges of conspiracy and securities fraud against the two men.
Tax

AICPA Offers Credit Monitoring After Loss of Computer Hard Drive

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has told members that a computer hard drive containing names, addresses and Social Security numbers has been lost.Advertisement

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