Investing in Art: How About Some Melted Clocks?

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There has been recent momentum in art market investments, despite the recession. The art market is scouring the world for undervalued works by major artists and museums are seeking new material for blockbuster shows.  Amid this, artistic works by Dalí and others are getting longer looks. Interestingly, few artists could reap more from a late-period… Read more »

Saving Money through Social Media

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The recession has bred a new type of coupon: the group coupon. In recent months, several Web sites have launched nationwide giving customers discounts on restaurant meals, sporting events, spa treatments, golf outings — pretty much any expenditure that many people give up during economic downturns. The catch is that the coupon only applies if… Read more »

Chelsea Gets Married

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Chelsea Clinton and investment banker boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky married on July 31 in a highly secretive affair that cost approximately $3 million. To avoid the media, the event was held on a posh private estate 90 miles north of Manhattan. Questions: 1. What was one of the least expensive items at the wedding? 2. What… Read more »

Accounting Firms and Social Media

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If accounting has the Big 4, then social media has the Big 3: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Still, many accounting firms and businesses consider LinkedIn as their sole source of social media because the site helps form relationships that often result in more business and turn into referral sources. But what are the benefits and… Read more »

Mortgage Fairs

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Given the last year’s trend, is there an end in sight to new record-low interest rates? For example, on July 22, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, which provides a snapshot of national average mortgage rates, reported a national average rate of 4.56% with 0.7 points on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. At the same time… Read more »

Bank of America: It Depends On How You Define Materiality

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Bank of America incorrectly classified as much as $10.7 billion in short-term lending and repurchase deals for mortgage securities as sales. This claim surfaced in a May 13 letter to the SEC where the banking corporation alleges that the transactions were immaterial and that it would be beefing up its internal accounting controls.  This letter… Read more »

Scrushy Back in the News

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a new review of the convictions in the government corruption case against former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and ex-HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. Questions: 1. What is the “honest services” fraud law? 2. What is a “quid pro quo” agreement? 3. A judge issued a $2.9 billion civil judgment… Read more »

Barry Minkow in the News

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Barry Minkow was the famed entrepreneur who started ZZZZ Best in the 1980’s, only to have it collapse in 1987 under the weight of a discovered Ponzi scheme.  Minkow was convicted of fraud, among other charges, and sentenced to 25 years in prison, but only served 7 years. Minkow now is head of the Fraud… Read more »

Small Discrepancies Grow Into a Giant Fraud

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Satyam Computer Services, a leading Indian outsourcing company that served more than a third of the Fortune 500 companies, was at the heart of a huge 2009 fraud perpetrated through the significant inflation of earnings and falsification of accounts and assets for a number of years.  Chairman, Ramalinga Raju, resigned  in January 2009 after revealing that… Read more »

Donated Inventory

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Over the next five years, Wal-Mart plans to donate about 1.1 billion pounds of food to food banks and provide $250 million to help them buy refrigerated trucks, improve storage and develop better logistics. The plan to contribute $2 billion in cash and food to the nation’s food banks is considered to be one of… Read more »