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Anti-Fraud Collaboration Announces Self-Study Ethics Program

The Anti-Fraud Collaboration (“the Collaboration”), a cooperative effort of various financial reporting organizations, recently unveiled its online program for corporate ethics. Intended for accountants, external and internal auditors, and other financial reporting professionals, the self-study program features individual courses based on the Collaboration’s successful webcast series. Each course is led by an expert panel providing various perspectives on the subject at hand. The courses include the following: Building a Fraud Resistant Organization Deterring Financial Fraud: What Else Can Be Done? How Corporate Culture Can Breed Fraud If Left Unchecked How to Improve Your Whistleblower Program and Address Impediments to Reporting. Read More.

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Luis Aguilar Lashes out at SEC-Issued Fines in Affiliated Computer Services Case

After the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued penalties in a case regarding alleged financial reporting fraud, Luis Aguilar criticized the agency last week for being too lenient in its settlement order. Per the case, former chief executive officer Lynn Blodgett and ex-chief financial officer (CFO) Kevin Kyser of Affiliated Computer Services (“ACS”) were accused of organizing an equipment manufacturer to redirect through the company’s pre-existing orders that were previously received from one of its customers. As a result, the ACS’ reselling of transactions gave the illusion of strong revenues during fiscal year 2009. While Blodgett and Kyser settled with. Read More.

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Whistleblower Receives $300,000 Payment from the SEC

After a public company failed to take action when one of its employees internally reported potential fraud, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“the Commission”; “SEC”) awarded over $300,000 to the whistleblower for notifying the agency of the wrongdoing. Announced on Friday, the Commission said it was notified of the fraud attempt when the employee’s concerns went ignored after 120 days from the initial report. Given authority to pay out awards for securities law violations by the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC keeps the identity and information of whistleblowers confidential. However, while the whistleblower is an audit and compliance professional, the agency. Read More.

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ERC President Testifies for False Claims Act

In front of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, Ethics Resource Center’s (“ERC”; “the Center”) Patricia Harned shared her thoughts on potential amendments to the False Claims Act. During testimony , the Center’s president told Congress that certification of private sector ethics and compliance programs are beneficial in protecting taxpayers from fraud by government contractors. She further stressed that the programs should give equal focus to both ethics and compliance, which lessens the need for enforcement caused by False Claims Act violations. Referencing the ERC’s research, Harned also noted that companies with strong ethics and compliance programs take. Read More.

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Standing Advisory Group’s Task Force Shelved

At a Standing Advisory Group (“SAG”) meeting last month, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) Chairman James Doty announced that the Board will no longer pursue creating a task force for identifying accounting fraud. Responding to a question concerning such efforts, Doty remarked that the PCAOB will tackle fraud through a series of outreach efforts. In this approach, Doty believes the issues can be addressed through private discussions in group settings. Originating in November 2012, the task force idea gained traction after SAG members believed it would help improve auditing practices and provide recommendations to the PCAOB. The PCAOB’s staff. Read More.

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Financial Reporting and Audit Task Force Struggles in First Year

With July marking its first anniversary, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Financial Reporting and Audit Task Force is reflecting on the past year’s accomplishments. Unfortunately, the group has little to celebrate. To this point, task force investigations have not led SEC lawyers to charge anyone for fraud. Despite the slow start, SEC officials have discovered companies with faulty financial reporting controls and fragile application of accounting standards in areas that are usually sources of fraud like revenue recognition and expense recording. At a June 11th question-and-answer session in Washington, D.C., SEC Enforcement Division head Andrew Ceresney also acknowledged. Read More.

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