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Audio Conference—March 3, 2010. The War Against Fraud & Abuse: Are We Winning?. Dave Cotton, CPA, CFE, CGFM Cotton & Company LLP Alexandria, Virginia www.cottoncpa.com. Remember: Four words have preceded EVERY fraud that has ever been committed …. It can’t happen here!.

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Dave Cotton, CPA, CFE, CGFM Cotton & Company LLP Alexandria, Virginia cottoncpa


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    Presentation Transcript
    1. Audio Conference—March 3, 2010 The War Against Fraud & Abuse: Are We Winning? Dave Cotton, CPA, CFE, CGFM Cotton & Company LLP Alexandria, Virginia www.cottoncpa.com

    2. Remember: Four words have preceded EVERY fraud that has ever been committed … It can’t happen here!

    3. Remember: Eight words have followed EVERY fraud that has ever been discovered … We didn’t think it could happen to us!!

    4. Case Study Mother of All Pyramid Schemes

    5. How important is the job we do as auditors? When people make a decision on whether to invest, they do look to see that there was an independent auditor's report and whether or not it was objective and whether or not it basically laid out the strength of the company. --Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe

    6. Who is Zugibe talking about?

    7. Bernard Madoff

    8. David Friehling

    9. Fox News Links: http://www.foxbusiness.com/search-results/m/21705311/what-were-the-red-flags.htm http://www.foxbusiness.com/search-results/m/21717307/madoff-auditor-deadline.htm http://www.foxbusiness.com/video-search/m/22002790/madoff-s-accountant-charged-with-fraud.htm

    10. March 18, 2009 • U.S. says auditor "sold his license" to Madoff • U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan says Friehling "not charged with knowledge of the Madoff Ponzi scheme" but is accused of deceiving investors by falsely certifying he audited Madoff financial documents and helping "foster the illusion" Madoff was a legitimate investor. • SEC says Friehling and his firm "did not perform anything remotely resembling an audit" or try to confirm that stocks Madoff purportedly bought for customers even existed.

    11. March 18, 2009 • Authorities say Friehling failed to conduct independent verification of Madoff operation's assets, review sources of its revenue including commissions or examine a bank account through which billions of dollars of client funds flowed. • Friehling's and his family's personal accounts at Madoff firm had an accumulated balance on November 30, 2008 of more than $14 million, and withdrawals from the largest of these accounts totaled over $5.5 million since 2000, the SEC said.

    12. March 18, 2009 • SEC says Friehling took steps to hide his investments with Madoff, replacing his own name on his account with his wife's name and later renaming it the "Friehling Investment Fund" to try to conceal his conflict of interest. • Friehling and his firm received $186,000 a year in fees for providing the purported auditing work to Madoff firm along with bookkeeping and tax services for the confessed swindler and various Madoff family members, SEC says.

    13. Friehling told the AICPA that his firm did not do any audits—thereby evading any peer review requirements

    14. Friehling told the AICPA that his firm did not do any audits—thereby evading any peer review requirements It sounds like he was telling the truth

    15. Maybe the AICPA should ask a different question Friehling told the AICPA that his firm did not do any audits—thereby evading any peer review requirements It sounds like he was telling the truth

    16. November 4, 2009 Madoff’s Accountant Pleads Guilty in Scheme • … admitted … that he had produced the rubber-stamped audits that allowed Mr. Madoff to conceal his enormous Ponzi scheme … • … pleaded guilty to one count each of securities fraud and investment adviser fraud and four counts of making false filings to the [SEC]. • … also pleaded guilty to three counts of obstructing the administration of the federal tax laws … • … he admitted that he had never adequately audited the Madoff operation and, as an investor in the scheme, had never been a truly independent auditor. • … insisted that he had not known about the Ponzi scheme. He had simply trusted Mr. Madoff, taking whatever figures he was given and plugging them into his supposedly independent audits …

    17. November 3, 2009 Madoff’s Auditor David Friehling Pleads Guilty to Fraud • "In what was the biggest mistake of my life, I put my trust with Bernard Madoff.” • “At no time was I ever aware Bernard Madoff was engaged in a Ponzi scheme.” • … admitted that he took the financial records handed him by Madoff "at face value," failing to independently verify the assets of Madoff's investment company or ensure that his bank account records or charts listing the purchase of securities were accurate.

    18. November 3, 2009 The charges carry a potential prison term of up to 114 years …, though substantial cooperation with prosecutors can result in significant leniency.

    19. How Were Ponzi’s and Madoff’s Frauds Similar

    20. How Were Ponzi’s and Madoff’s Frauds Different?

    21. Winning the War Against Fraud & Abuse • Should auditors be expected to find fraud? • If not auditors, then who? • How about management? • How about “those charged with governance”? • Maybe the government should do it? • How about more standards? • The Answer

    22. Winning the War Against Fraud & Abuse • Should auditors be expected to find fraud? • If not auditors, then who? • How about management? • How about “those charged with governance”? • Maybe the government should do it? • How about more standards? • The Answer

    23. Should auditors be expected to find fraud?

    24. The four possible audit outcomes with respect to fraud … There was no material fraud There was material fraud, and the auditors discover the fraud There was material fraud, and the fraud is discovered through some other means after the audit is completed There was material fraud, and the fraud is never discovered

    25. The four possible audit outcomes with respect to fraud … There was material fraud, and the fraud is discovered through some other means after the audit is completed There was material fraud, and the fraud is never discovered

    26. Financial statement fraud is characterized by … Fraud happens. Should we expect auditors to find it? • Chicanery • Collusion • Concealment • Cover-up • Deceit • Deception • Deliberate distortions • Dishonesty • Evasion • False entries • False exculpatories • False pretenses • Falsification • Guile • Lies • Misdirection • Misrepresentation • Trickery

    27. Finding fraud is not an even contest • Auditors have limited powers, tight schedules, constrained budgets, high visibility, and much to try to examine • Auditors begin their work unaware that a crime has been committed • Perpetrators know that a crime has been committed and how it was committed • Perpetrators will take as much time and exert as much effort as necessary to avoid detection

    28. Finding fraud is not an even contest • Perpetrators know exactly what needs to be concealed • Perpetrators know exactly who is trying to find their fraud and how they plan to go about doing it • Perpetrators will work round-the-clock to avoid detection • In most cases, the perpetrator’s desire to avoid detection far exceeds the auditor’s desire to find fraud

    29. Let’s vote on this … • Raise your hand if you think it is fair to expect that auditors should find material financial statement fraud

    30. Let’s vote on this … • Raise your hand if you think finding all material frauds is an UNreasonable expectation to place on auditors

    31. Here’s what the current standard (SAS 99) requires “the auditor has a responsibility to plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether caused by error or fraud.”

    32. Here’s what the current standard (SAS 99) requires Fraud is a broad legal concept and auditors do not make legal determinations of whether fraud has occurred. Rather, the auditor’s interest specifically relates to acts that result in a material misstatement of the financial statements. The primary factor that distinguishes fraud from error is whether the underlying action that results in the misstatement of the financial statements is intentional or unintentional.

    33. Here’s what the current standard (SAS 99) requires • Management has a unique ability to perpetrate fraud because it frequently is in a position to directly or indirectly manipulate accounting records and present fraudulent financial information. • … management and employees engaged in fraud will take steps to conceal the fraud from the auditors and others within and outside the organization. Fraud may be concealed by withholding evidence or misrepresenting information in response to inquiries or by falsifying documentation.

    34. Here’s what the current standard (SAS 99) requires • Fraud also may be concealed through collusion among management, employees, or third parties. Collusion may cause the auditor who has properly performed the audit to conclude that evidence provided is persuasive when it is, in fact, false. • … fraud usually is concealed and management’s intent is difficult to determine … • … absolute assurance is not attainable and thus even a properly planned and performed audit may not detect a material misstatement resulting from fraud.

    35. Here’s what the yellow book requires Whether an act is, in fact, fraud is a determination to be made through the judicial or other adjudicative system and is beyond auditors’ professional responsibility.[Paragraph 7.30]

    36. So, does it matter to auditors if a misstatement was caused by fraud rather than error?

    37. Yes, according to the PCAOB Although any financial statement audit entails some risk that the auditor will not detect a material misstatement even when the audit has been conducted in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB [i.e. SAS 99],the risk of nondetection is likely to be higher for misstatements caused by fraud than for misstatements caused by error, since fraud usually involves deliberate concealment and may involve collusion with third parties. The auditor should, therefore, assess risks and apply procedures directed specifically to the detection of a material, fraudulent misstatement of the financial statements.[PCAOB Release 2007-001.]

    38. Here’s what the current standard (SAS 99) requires If the auditor believes that the misstatement is or may be the result of fraud, and either has determined that the effect could be material to the financial statements or has been unable to evaluate whether the effect is material, the auditor should: • Attempt to obtain additional evidential matter to determine whether material fraud has occurred or is likely to have occurred, and, if so, its effect on the financial statements and the auditor’s report thereon. • Consider the implications for other aspects of the audit. • Discuss the matter and the approach for further investigation with an appropriate level of management that is at least one level above those involved, and with senior management and the audit committee. • If appropriate, suggest that the client consult with legal counsel.

    39. Case Study: Performance Audit of Port of Seattle Construction management

    40. Major Audit Findings • POS Construction Management Records are Incomplete and Disorganized. • POS Fails to Enforce Basic Contract Requirements, Resulting in Delays, Extra Costs, and an Inability to Defend Against Claims. • POS Construction Management is Vulnerable to Fraud, Waste, and Abuse.

    41. Major Audit Findings • POS Construction Management Records are Incomplete and Disorganized. • POS Fails to Enforce Basic Contract Requirements, Resulting in Delays, Extra Costs, and an Inability to Defend Against Claims. • POS Construction Management is Vulnerable to Fraud, Waste, and Abuse. Details of this finding included 46 specific situations indicative of fraud

    42. Port of Seattle Response • “As to the issue of fraud, it is important to note that no instance of fraud was found …” • “… the Port has zero tolerance for fraud should it ever be found.” • “This performance audit found no fraud.” • “The Port notes that the Performance Auditor did not find actual cases of fraud during his investigation.” • “… the Port believes that it is not vulnerable to fraud to the degree suggested by the Performance Auditor …”

    43. Official Reaction to the Audit January 7, 2008 Feds open criminal inquiry into port January 7, 2008 Justice Department to investigate Port State audit slams port's waste Report: $97.2 million down the drain January 8, 2008 Possible fraud at Port focus of criminal probe

    44. Port Commission Investigation

    45. Port Commission Investigation

    46. Port of Seattle Performance Audit Daewoo v United States Even when evidence of fraud is overwhelming, those responsible will deny the facts, attack the auditor, and demand that auditors provide “proof” of fraud.

    47. Maybe auditors find more fraud than we realize … • The only difference between an error and fraud is intent • Intent is very difficult to prove • Auditors find lots of “errors” • Maybe some of them are really fraud

    48. Case Study: Daewoo v United States of America

    49. Daewoo v United States • Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd., was awarded an $88 million contract to build a 2-lane highway around Babeldaop Island, Republic of Palau • Daewoo encountered weather-related delays • The road was supposed to have been completed in 2001 • The road was finally completed in the fall of 2007 • Daewoo submitted a $64 million claim to the Army Corps of engineers

    50. Daewoo v United States