Watchdog

Technology

Identity Theft More Prevalent Offline than Online

The 2005 Identity Fraud Survey Report - released by the Better Business Bureau and Javelin Strategy & Research as an update of the Federal Trade Commission's 2003 Identity Theft Survey Report and Javelin's 2003 Identity Theft Report - shows that despite growing fears about identity theft and online fraud, of the victims that know the identity and method used by the criminal, these crimes are more frequently committed offline than online. Internet-related fraud problems are actually less severe, less costly and not as widespread as previously thought.
Tax

AL Preparers Falsified Information To Increase Earned Income Tax Credit

The Justice Department announced late last week that it has asked a federal court in Montgomery, Alabama to bar Larry Baxter, his tax-return-preparation company, and a former employee from preparing federal income tax returns. According to the government’s complaint, Baxter, his company Baxter and Associates Office of Accountancy, P.C., and former employee Anita Dawkins claim inflated earned income tax credits on customers’ tax returns.
Tax

Get Ready, Get Set, Start Shredding

If fears of identity theft haven't sent you to the nearest office supply store to buy a shredder, a new law may be just the push you need.A law that goes into effect June 1 says that you must “destroy” personal information — shred it, burn it or pulverize it — of all people you employ, even if it's just one person and it's the gardener, USA Today reported.
Community News

Financial Services Sector Increasingly Targeted by Phishing Attacks

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) this week reported that the financial services sector peaked at 85% of all reported phishing attacks during December, a deepening concentration of a sector that ran usually between 70-80% of all reporting phishing attacks.
Tax

AICPA Addresses Fraud in Audit Committee Guidance

As part of its ongoing fraud-prevention program, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants today issued guidance to help U.S.
Tax

'Accounting Fraud' Penthouse Uncovered

Penthouse International Inc.
Tax

IRS Issues Guidance on New Penalties on Abusive Transactions

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today issued interim guidance on two new penalty provisions enacted as part of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.The American Jobs Creation Act creates a new penalty for the failure to disclose information about “reportable transactions,” which are transactions that the Treasury Department and IRS have determined to be potentially abusive.
Tax

Justice Dept. Bars TN Woman From Preparing Tax Returns, Demands Client List

The Justice Department announced this week that a federal court has permanently barred Linda Hendrieth, of Memphis, Tennessee, from preparing income tax returns or claims for refunds. The final judgment, requires Hendrieth to notify her customers of the judgment and to provide to the government the names, addresses, and taxpayer identification numbers of her customers. "People who prepare false or fraudulent tax returns cheat their customers and unfairly shift the tax burden to honest American taxpayers," said Eileen J.
Tax

New McAfee Tool Helps Companies Spot Their Leaks

McAfee, Inc., announced this week that its leading security services group, Foundstone Professional Services, a division of McAfee, has released SiteDigger 2.0, a security tool designed to help companies identify information that has been made available on the Web.
Tax

Beware of Altered IRS Forms Used for Identity Theft

The use of fictitious Internal Revenue Service (IRS) correspondence has become a common means to trick individuals into disclosing personal and financial information. Unscrupulous individuals collect personal information for purposes such as raiding bank accounts, opening charge cards, acquiring cell phones, and unethically harming unsuspecting individuals. They become victims of identity fraud.
Tax

The Year Ahead, Revenue Growth and Managing Costs Top List of Concerns

What keeps financial executives up at night? Making sure their businesses are in the black. In a new nationwide survey, 34 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said their company’s top priority for 2005 is growing revenue. Nearly half (45 percent) of respondents said they anticipate employee healthcare plans to be the biggest cost increase over the next 12 months.The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S.
Tax

Enron Directors Agree to Pay Part of $168M Settlement

Ten ex-directors of Enron Corp. have agreed to pay $13 million of their own money as part of a $168 million settlement of a lawsuit filed by shareholders who lost their investments after Enron's 2001 implosion, according to the Wall Street Journal.The agreement, announced Friday, is similar to one reached by former directors of WorldCom Inc.
Tax

SEC Charges TV Azteca and Its Chairman Ricardo Salinas Pliego with Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission this week filed civil fraud charges against TV Azteca S.A. de C.V. (TV Azteca or the company), a Mexican issuer whose American depository receipts trade on the NYSE, its parent company, Azteca Holdings, S.A., de C.V. (Azteca Holdings), and three current and former TV Azteca officers and directors, Ricardo Salinas Pliego, Pedro Padilla Longoria, and Luis Echarte Fernandez.
Tax

Class Action Securities Fraud Lawsuits up in 2004

While the number of federal securities fraud class actions filed in 2004 increased only moderately from 2003 levels, rising to 212 companies sued from 181, the decline in stock market capitalization corresponding to these actions increased dramatically, according to a report released today by the Stanford Law School Securities Class Action Clearinghouse in cooperation with Cornerstone Research.
Technology

Charitable Donations, Give Wisely: Tips to Avoid Fraudulent Scams

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) is encouraging the general public to contribute to tsunami relief efforts, but urged donors to use caution when giving to avoid potential scams.
Tax

Ex-WorldCom Directors Agree to Pay from Own Pockets

In an unprecedented legal move that could send shock waves through board rooms around the country, 10 ex-directors of the former WorldCom Inc.
Tax

Six Convicted in Far Reaching International Tax Fraud Case

Eileen J. O’Connor, Assistant Attorney General, United States Justice Department, Tax Division, John McKay, United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington, and Mark W. Everson, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner, announced last week that after seven weeks of trial, six persons associated with Anderson’s Ark and Associates (AAA), were convicted in connection with one of the most far ranging fraudulent tax schemes ever prosecuted. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on four other defendants.
Tax

PCAOB Slashes 2005 Budget, Reports Recruitment Shortfall

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board last week approved a revised budget for calendar year 2005 reducing the Board’s 2005 accounting support fee from $152.5 million to $136.1 million.
Tax

New Study Sheds Light on Corporate Tax Shelters

A study by researchers from Duke University and Pace University found that use of corporate tax shelters not only allows organizations to avoid billions of dollars in annual tax payments, it may also help companies artificially enhance their attractiveness to investors by reducing levels of debt.
Tax

IRS Warns Business Against Abuses Involving ESOPs and S Corporations

The Internal Revenue Service has issued letters to approximately 1,700 businesses and retirement plan sponsors alerting them to new income and excise taxes applicable to S corporation employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and warning of the consequences of participating in abusive schemes involving ESOPs and S corporations. The letters are being mailed to S corporation ESOPs reporting 10 or fewer participants.

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