The Pittsburgh Post Gazette yesterday reported that former BDO Seidman partner George Mark, 51, was sentenced to probation and fined $30,000 for cheating on his taxes. According to the paper, Mark claimed $90,000 in bogus travel expenses.
Mark’s crime came to light as a by-product of an investigation into a $37 million fraud at Le-Nature’s, a Pennsylvania company. A conviction for bogus tax deductions is often called low-hanging fruit.
I’m guessing he was a suspect in the Le-Nature’s fraud, and so far they can only hang tax evasion on him. It is natural to suspect him because if he would commit fraud for himself, it is reasonable to suspect that he would commit fraud for others if they paid him a lot of money.
Mark avoided jail time because of his record of charitable giving. Baloney! Fraudsters frequently make charitable donations, just in case they get caught.
Auditors, it is said, should be held to a higher standard because they serve the public interest and have a fiduciary responsibility. Why does the profession attract so many who hold themselves to a lower standard?
In related news, on August 1, the PCAOB fined and banned former E&Y auditor for falsifying audit work papers. From PCAOB Release No. 105-2011-005:
By this Order, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“Board” or “PCAOB”) is (1) barring Peter C. O’Toole, CPA (“O’Toole” or “Respondent”) from being an associated person of a registered public accounting firm, and (2) imposing a civil money penalty in the amount of $50,000 against him. The Board is imposing these sanctions on the basis of its findings concerning Respondent’s violations of PCAOB rules and auditing standards in connection with the improper creation, addition, and backdating of audit documentation prior to a Board inspection.
We need some sort of public humiliation for guys like these.
Debit and credit – – David Albrecht