“Too Big to Audit” is no defense

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) again reported that it cannot render an opinion on the 2010 consolidated financial statements of the federal government, because of widespread material internal control weakness, significant uncertainties, and other limitations.” This has occurred for years. Although each year the federal government states improvements are being made, the bottom line answer …

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The Answer is in the Questions

Rasmussen Reports released a poll on the Wisconsin public employees standoff that seems more intended to generate a predetermined result than real insight.  The headline poll result was 48% Back GOP Governor in Wisconsin Spat, 38% Side With Unions But as always, it it best to look at the actual questions.  Rasmussen asks five questions: 1* How closely …

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Whistleblower activity will fuel increased litigation in 2011.

Since the advent of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, public companies have been required to provide a means for employees to communicate inappropriate financial and accounting control activity to the Audit Committee in a confidential manner.  The Dodd-Frank Act expanded the use of whistleblower systems in an effort to avoid the SEC’s own whistleblower setup.  Whistleblower systems …

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Federal health care fraud enforcement efforts recover record amounts

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a required annual Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program report.  The report showed that the government’s health care fraud prevention and enforcement efforts recovered more than $4 billion in taxpayer dollars in fiscal year 2010. This is the highest annual amount ever recovered.

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Update on SEC Whistleblower Program under Dodd-Frank

Section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Act contains a whistleblower program sponsored by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This law (i) makes significant changes in the existing whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and (ii) authorizes the SEC to pay between 10 and 30 percent of a recovery over $1 million to anyone …

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Detest Your Boss? Call the Government

As part of the Obama administration’s “Middle Class Task Force Initiative”, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently teamed up with the American Bar Association (ABA) to help plaintiffs obtain legal counsel for claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Under this new …

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Michael Vick and the Duration of Reputational Damage

It wasn’t long ago that Michael Vick was the highest paid player in the NFL and was frequently tapped for high profile endorsement deals with companies such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Kraft and Hasbro.  But when news of his dog fighting activities surfaced, the endorsement deals came to a grinding halt.  A prison sentence and a bankruptcy …

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Bear Stearns’ Defendants and Deloitte Face Significant Exposure

In a nearly 400-page opinion in January, a Manhattan federal judge (Robert Sweet) denied motions to dismiss a securities class action against Bear Stearns, Deloitte & Touche, and seven individual defendants.  As one might imagine from its length, the Court thoroughly addresses the allegations, and rebutted the defendants’ reasons for dismissal.   Here is a background …

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Social Security goes paperless…saves a bunch of trees and a ton of dough.

The Social Security program is undergoing several changes in 2011.  One seemingly benign change is that new recipients will be required to utilize direct deposit or have their payments loaded onto a prepaid Debit MasterCard (existing retirees have until March 2013 to make the switch).  No more paper checks…a fact which will put a smile …

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Steve Jobs’ Key Man Discount

The message boards are abuzz with the news of Steve Jobs’ (possibly) temporary medical leave of absence from Apple.  The obvious question is the impact of this news on Apple’s valuation.  For most large public companies with deep management, this is not an issue.  Relatively speaking, a single person’s importance usually affects only smaller companies, …

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