Big News at Amazon: Fulfillment Robots

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Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it agreed to buy Kiva Systems Inc for $775 million in cash, a deal that will bring more robotic technology to the e-commerce company’s giant network of warehouses. Questions: 1. What other companies use this kind of robot technology? 2. Discuss the trend of Amazon’s fulfillment costs and what they… Read more »

Crime of Grime OR Sign of the Times?

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Tide is flying off the shelves, according to the Associated Press. Unfortunately, retailers are not seeing the profits from this familiar laundry soap. Instead, Tide has become a hot commodity among thieves at supermarkets and drugstores in at least some parts of the country. While the maker of Tide, Procter & Gamble, has been baffled… Read more »

Traveling Electronically Naked

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When Kenneth G. Lieberthal travels to China, he leaves his cellphone and laptop at home.  As an expert at the Brookings Institute, he instead brings “loaner” devices, which he erases before he leaves the United States and then wipes clean the minute he returns. In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, never lets his phone… Read more »

Audit Irregularities

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According to a report released on Feb. 15 in San Francisco county, about 400 recent foreclosures were determined to involve either legal violations or suspicious documentation.  This recent report suggests how pervasive foreclosure irregularities may be across the nation. Questions: 1.  What is the acronym for the mortgage database that was started in 1995 to track… Read more »

Watch that Password!

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Zappos began emailing its 24 million customers Sunday, advising them that its site had been hacked, and some customers’ personal details and account information likely stolen. Despite Zappos’ data breach notification to consumers, the company hasn’t yet answered several key questions, such as detailing when the data breach occurred, the length of time for which… Read more »

How do you lose $1.2 Billion?

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Three of MF Global Holdings Ltd.’s top executives said they didn’t know what happened to as much as $1.2 billion in client funds that went missing in the days before the New York-based brokerage filed for bankruptcy. Jon S. Corzine, former chairman and chief executive officer of the broker testified in Congress that he didn’t… Read more »

The Volcker Rule

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Regulators released a proposal on Oct. 11 known as the Volcker Rule, which is aimed at overhauling how the banking industry carries out its trading activity. The proposal, spanning about 300 pages, includes provisions that scrutinize how banks collect revenue, award compensation and track their compliance with the Volcker Rule. According to financial industry lawyers and lobbyists these will challenge… Read more »

Expensive Snacks?

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By now you have probably heard that an audit of the Department of Justice by the Inspector General says that taxpayer money was wasted on overpriced food and drinks. At one conference, the DOJ spent $4200 on 250 muffins–that’s about $16 a muffin. But what did the report actually say? Considering the EOIR reported that… Read more »

Maybe he should have taken an accounting course?

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Former Director Tom Wheeler is on trial, charged with several counts of fraud, misconduct in office and conspiracy. Wheeler has pleaded not guilty to the charges.  His defense focuses on his lack of experience, being a bad student in college, and not taking an accounting or law class. Questions: 1.  Why was Mr. Wheeler charged… Read more »

Does Embezzlement Pay?

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Bradley Whitsell, chief accountant of SDN Communications in Sioux Falls, SD, pleaded guilty to mail fraud on Monday, August 22.  According to the U.S. Attorney’s office 46-year-old Whitsell used his various oversight positions to embezzle more than $392,000 over a 10 year period beginning in 2000. Whitsell could end up in prison for up to… Read more »