Saturday, February 9, 2008

D&T and Snipes

"A federal jury returned a mixed verdict against the actor Wesley Snipes on Friday, acquitting him of the most serious tax charges he faced, but convicting him on three of six lesser charges. ... The case was the most prominent tax prosecution since the billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley was convicted of tax fraud in 1989. ... It was the fourth major case in with the Justice Department failed to win convictions in cases against prominent tax deniers. The verdict drew whoops of joy outside the federal courthouse here from fellow tax deniers who immediately proclaimed it another victory that would draw more people to their cause. ... Instead of prosecuting all offenders, the Justice Department brings cases against well-known individuals, hoping that widespread news coverage will encourage compliance, a policy known as general deterrence. The Snipes prosecution, like the three earlier cases that resulted in full acquittals, appears to have backfired",, 2 February 2008.

"Deloitte & Touche, one of the Big Four accounting firms, agreed yesterday to pay $1 million to settle accusations that it had botched an audit of a pharmaceutical company by entrusting it to a partner it new to be a poor auditor. ... The wholesalers had the right to return unsold drugs to Ligand, which could report sales on its financial statement only after reducing them to reflect estimated returns. The board said Deloitte had not challenged those estimates despite evidence that returns were running at a much higher rate", Floyd Norris (FN) at, 11 December 2007.

Consider how differently the (In)Justice Department (DOJ) treats well-known tax protestors versus its apparent failure to prosecute well-known Wall Street figures. Why couldn't Snipes hire say, Mary Jo White and pay her a fee to show his contrition and investigate his tax situation. Why not? The DOJ permits this to corporations? Should an individual have fewer rights?

I previously mentioned James Fazio's case on 12 December 2007. It illustrates the critical area of accounting estimates. There is no reason banks can't estimate their losses from loan reconsiderations.

No comments: