Posted by & filed under Accounting Principles, Advanced Accounting, All Articles, Auditing, Cost Accounting, Financial Accounting, Financial Reporting and Analysis, Financial Statement Analysis, Fraud Accounting, IFRS, Intermediate Accounting, International Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Uncategorized, Video Updates.

According to Joshua Bamfield, author of the 2010 Global Retail Theft Barometer report from the U.K.-based Center for Retail Research, U.S. retailers lost about $40 billion in stolen goods in 2010.  This is about 1.5% of the nation’s sales. Even though this sounds really bad, the losses are down by 6.8% from the prior year. Still, losses passed onto consumers added about $423 to the average American family’s shopping bill this year.

Questions:

1.  What are the most stolen goods?  Explain why you think these are targeted.

2.  Why do you think that employee thefts are greater than shoplifting thefts in the U.S.?

3.  According to the video, while employers have increased their prevention efforts by 12%, why doesn’t that result in a 12% reduction in losses?

4. What roles do accountants play in the prevention of retail theft? Explain.

Source:

Video. (2010) U.S. Families Lose $400 to Theft, October 19.

Kavilanz,  Parija, (2010). Thieves Will Cost You $423 At The Mall This Year. CNNMoney.com, October 19. (Retrievable online at http://money.cnn.com/2010/10/18/news/economy/store_theft_drain_on_your_wallet/index.htm)

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Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway and his business partner gave $15 million to a hedge-fund manager now accused of running a Ponzi scheme.  In court papers filed by Elway and Mitch Pierce the two claim that their investment was supposed to be kept in a separate account from Mueller’s Over Under Fund. Therefore, the Denver Broncos legend is seeking a declaratory judgment for the return of their money, ahead of other investors. Mueller Capital Management has just $9.5 million left to cover liabilities of $140 million.

Questions:

1.  What is a hedge fund?

2.  What accounting guidance for hedge accounting is available under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)?

3.   What accounting guidance for hedge accounting is available from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)?

4.  As one accountant said of this story: “It’s hard to feel sorry for rich people who play in games without rules (hedge funds).” Do you agree or disagree? Explain.

 

Source:

Staff. (2010) Hall of Famer Elway Seeks Mueller Money Now. FINAlternatives, October 19 (Retrievable online at http://www.finalternatives.com/node/14212).

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Federal regulators on Thursday, October 7,  brought securities fraud charges against more than a dozen penny-stock promoters — including Larry Wilcox, who played California Highway Patrol officer Jonathan “Jon” Baker on the hit TV show “CHiPs” in the late 1970s and early ’80s. The Securities and Exchange Commission said it caught the promoters in “various illicit kickback schemes to manipulate the volume and price of microcap stocks and illegally generate stock sales.”

Questions:

1.  What is another name for the type of scam that Larry is accused of perpetrating?

2. Briefly summarize the kickback scheme and tell why it is illegal.

3. What type of charges does Larry potentially face?

 

Source: SEC Staff. (2010) SEC Charges Penny Stock Promoters in Series of Kickback Schemes, SEC Press Release, October 7 (Retrievable online at http://sec.gov/news/press/2010/2010-187.htm)

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Bank of America, the nation’s largest bank by assets, is placing a moratorium on all foreclosure proceedings and sales across the United States, according CNBC and a report on The Wall Street Journal’s Web site. The postponement takes effect Saturday, October 9. JPMorgan and Ally’s GMAC Mortgage unit have delayed foreclosures in 23 states where courts have jurisdiction over home seizures.

 
Questions:
1. What is a “hydra?” Why does Dr. Henning say that the foreclosure mess is going to “become a hydra?” What ethical breaches are part of this story?
2. What is a defective title? Who will be sued for this and why?  What are the potential avenues of liability in this crisis?
3. The article mentions civil suits. Do you think there will be criminal court actions also? Is this fraud?
4. How do you think this story came to the media’s attention?

 

Source:

Fisk, M. C., and K. M. Howley. (2010) Why the Foreclosure Mess Could Last for Years. Businessweek, October 8 (Retrievable online at http://msnbc.msn.com/id/39562824/ns/business-real_estate)

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MGM Bankruptcy news is still coming in, but at the moment we know that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. said it has begun seeking its creditors’ approval on a prepackaged bankruptcy plan in which they will exchange more than $4 billion in debt for equity in a new company that has rights to the James Bond franchise and the upcoming two-part movie series “The Hobbit.” Creditors would hold 95.3 percent of the company after it exits from Chapter 11. Only approved holders of secured debt as of Oct. 4 will be allowed to vote.

Questions:

1. Why do you think that MGM chose bankruptcy over a sale?

2. What is secured debt?

3. According to the video, what were the strategic reasons that MGM has deteriorated over the years? What are some of the risks it has faced?

 

Source:

Staff. (2010). MGM Bankruptcy Details: $4 Billion in MGM Studio Bankruptcy Deal, ThirdAge.com, October 8 (Retrievable online at http://www.thirdage.com/news/mgm-bankruptcy-details-4-billion-mgm-studio-bankruptcy-deal_10-8-2010).

CNN Video (2010). What Caused MGM’s decline?, Oct. 8 ( Retrievable online at  http://www.cnn.com/video/)

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Why can’t everyone accept credit cards? Now there is no good reason because the Square Up system eliminates card reading equipment by providing cell phone users with an app that snaps into a headphone jack. The plug is free and you are spared the contracts, the minimums and the monthly fees. For each transaction, Square charges you 2.75 percent of the total, plus 15 cents. Alternatively, you can accept credit card payments without the card itself — over the phone, for example. You just need the card number, expiration date and security code, although these transactions cost you more (3.5 percent).

Questions:

1. Assume that you sold a surfboard on Craigs List to someone who paid you $100 and gave you a credit card. If you swipe the card, how much would you pay to Square for the use of their system?
2. Assume the same facts as in Question 1, except that you do not have the card to swipe, but enter the number, expiration date and security code. How much would you pay for Square to process the transaction?
3. Assume that you sold the surfboard from your small business. What journal entry would you make in Questions 1 & 2?
4. Why do you think that Square has restrictions on deposits over $1,000 for first time users?

Source:
Pogue, D. (2010). A Simple Swipe on a Phone, and You’re Paid, The New York Times, September 30 (Retrieved online at http://www.cnbc.com/id/39438067/)

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According to the Wall Street Journal, McDonald’s Corp. has warned federal regulators that it could drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of the U.S. health overhaul.  However, less than an hour after that release, ABC News  and Reuters reported that McDonald’s and the Obama administration said the claims of the  Wall Street Journal are false, regarding the dropping of its “mini-med” health insurance for hourly workers because of the new health care reform law.

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Question:

1.  Why do you think the stories are so different and why do you think there was such a quick response from McDonalds and the Obama administration?

2.  What is the medical loss ratio in the new legislation?

3. What effects do you think the new legislation will have on the financial statements of companies?

4.  What do you see as the costs and the benefits of this new legislation?

Sources:

 Adamy, J. (2010). McDonald’s May Drop Health Plan, Wall Street Journal, September 30 (Retrieved online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703431604575522413101063070.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsThird)

Arnall, D. and H. Khan. (2010). McDonald’s Fights Back Against Report It Will Drop Health Care Plan, ABC News, September 30 (Retrieved online at http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/HealthCare/mcdonalds-fights-back-report-drop-health-care-plan/story?id=11764596)

Reuters. (2010). McDonald’s Denies Its Cutting Health Insurance, MSNBC, September 30 (Retrievable online at http://www.cnbc.com/id/39435771)

WSJ Video. (2010). AM Report: McDonald’s May Drop Health Plan, September 30.  (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/public/page/0_0_WP_3001.html?currentPlayingLocation=37&currentlyPlayingCollection=The%20News%20Hub&currentlyPlayingVideoId={088AC31E-1087-428F-AD84-62AA9E6D5EA6})

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Fabrice Tourre, a controversial personality in the Goldman Sachs Group Inc transaction of 2007, asked a judge to throw out a U.S. regulator’s fraud lawsuit against him.  About two and a half months ago, the bank settled its part of the case for $550 million.

In his filing, Tourre asked that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission case be dismissed because the 2007 “Abacus” transaction, which involved collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) tied to subprime mortgages, took place outside the United States.

Questions:

1. What are collateralized debt obligations?

2. Where would CDOs appear in the financial statements of the bank that bought them?

3. Do you think he will prevail in his dismissal of the charges?

4.  How do you think the Goldman Sachs Group reported the $550 million settlement in its financial records?  

Source:

Stempel, J. (2010). Goldman’s Tourre says SEC suit should be dismissed, Reuters, September 30 (Retrieved online at http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE68T3L120100930?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FbusinessNews+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Business+News%29)

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In a recent ruling, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan held that a certified public accountant who hid his conviction for insider trading from his teachers at NYUs Stern School of Business wasn’t entitled to the MBA degree that he thought he earned. The former PricewaterhouseCoopers employee, Ayal Rosenthal, pleaded guilty in February 2007 to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud after he was accused of disclosing confidential information to his brother about a 2005 transaction between two public companies. This conviction came three months after he finished taking the necessary classes to earn his masters degree in business administration and he was sentenced to 60 days in prison. Once the faculty found out about his conviction, a committee voted to withhold the MBA from him and to alter his grade to F in his professional responsibility course, where he had been a teaching assistant. Subsequently, Rosenthal sued the Stern faculty in 2008.

Questions:

1. What constitutes insider trading? (Hint:  Look at the SEC news release http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2007/2007-17.htm)

2.  Do you think there was anything Rosenthal could have done differently to receive his MBA?

3. Do you agree with the judge’s ruling?

4.  Is Rosenthal still a CPA?

Sources:

SEC. (2007). SEC Charges Family-Run Hedge Fund With a $3.7 Million Insider Trading Scheme, February 8 (Retrievable online at http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2007/2007-17.htm)

Glovin, David (2010). Convicted Accountant Loses Legal Bid for MBA Degree, Bloomberg.com, September 13 (Retrievable online at http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=a.8EbO2qqNcQ)  

Stempel, J. (2010). No MBA for NYU student in insider trading scheme, Reuters, September 13 (Retrievable online at http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1319494020100913)

Posted by & filed under Accounting Principles, Advanced Accounting, All Articles, Auditing, Cost Accounting, Financial Accounting, Financial Reporting and Analysis, Financial Statement Analysis, Fraud Accounting, IFRS, Intermediate Accounting, International Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Uncategorized, Video Updates.

Danish toy brick maker Lego Juris A/S has failed in its bid to overturn a European trade mark decision canceling European trade mark protection for its standard 2 by 4 red Lego brick in a September 14 ruling of the European Court of Justice. Lego went to court after a Canadian firm had made blocks that were so like lego blocks that they even fit the real blocks made by Lego. The European judge decided that the design of the lego blocks is not protected by European trademarks and so anyone can make the blocks.  Struggling toy maker Mega Brands Inc. is the winner in this battle as it is attempting to restore the company’s financial health through the introduction of new products.

Questions:

1. Lego patented its design in 1958.  When did those patents expire?  How is a trademark different from a patent? How are they similar? 

2. Lego is the overall world leader in construction blocks for all ages, selling C$1.6 billion worth of the blocks each year, with half the sales located in Europe. It is estimated that MegaBlocks sells about $250 million worth of the plastic blocks annually, with about one-third being bought in Europe.  If you assume that these two companies make up the total market of blocks, what percentage does each control?

3.  What type of journal entries or financial disclosures would either company have in connection with this court decision?  

4.  Do you think the court was right in its decision?  Discuss.  Why or why not?

Source:

CNN Video. (2010). Lego loses big battle, September 15 (Retrievable online at http://www.cnn.com/video/)

Gordon, M. (2010). EU Court: Lego Red Brick Trademark Not Registrable, Wall Street Journal, September 14 (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100914-707120.html)