Articles Posted in Accounting Fraud

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White says that the agency will direct more resources toward going after financial fraud and accounting fraud. She was, however, clear to point out that this did not mean that a new accounting and financial fraud unit would be created, despite calls for one by some industry members. White spoke at the CFO Network 2013, where she also announced that the Commission was modifying its “neither admit, nor deny” settlement practice. This is an announcement that our stockbroker fraud law firm addresses in a different blog post.

The Commission is currently assessing its Enforcement Division’s specialized units, and this review is expected to result in certain size refinements and mandates, as well as the establishment of maybe one or more new units. Enforcement Division co-director George Canellos, however, said that the same reason why such a unit wasn’t set up three years ago when five specialized units (focusing on market abuse, asset management, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, public pensions, and municipal securities) were established still holds.

The SEC said then that nearly every regional office has attorneys and experienced accountants they believed are able to handle such cases. That said, the Commission will give over more resources to surveillance and become even more proactive about identifying where there are risks in accounting issues. This will include the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis’s development of an “Accounting Quality Model” that would let the SEC identify financial statement outliers. There also will be more partnering between the Enforcement Division’s Office of the Chief Accountant and the Division of Corporation Finance to come up with more accounting leads.

UBS AG will pay $217 million to settle an accounting fraud lawsuit filed by HealthSouth Corp. bondholders and shareholders. Under the settlements, bondholders will receive $100 million and shareholders will get $117 million. UBS is HealthSouth’s investment bank. Meantime, Ernst & Young LLP, the. health-care services provider’s accounting firm, had settled with shareholders for $109 million and will now settle with bondholders for $33.5 million.

The settlements are a result of litigation filed over a $2.7 billion fraud at HealthSouth. The accounting scheme occurred between 1996 and 2002. After the fraud was discovered in March 2003, nearly $6 billion in market value was lost when the company’s share price dropped. 15 executives pleaded guilty over their involvement in the scam.

By agreeing to settle, UBS & Earnst & Young are not admitting to or denying wrongdoing. UBS maintains that HealthSouth lied to UBS bankers numerous times. In 2008, UBS consented to pay $100 million to HealthSouth over claims the investment bank failed to discover the fraud.

Shareholders also settled the accounting fraud with HealthSouth in 2006 for $355 million and received another $20 million from UBS in an Alabama court case. Meantime, bondholders received $90 million in their settlement with HealthSouth and $5 million from UBS in state court case. Bondholders and shareholders will also receive compensation from a $2.88 billion judgment against Richard Scrushy. HealthSouth’s founder was acquitted of criminal charges related to the fraud but in 2006 was convicted over a different bribery case.

Related Web Resources:
UBS to Pay $217 Million to Settle HealthSouth Case, BusinessWeek, April 23, 2010
UBS, Ernst Settle HealthSouth Cases for $250.5 Million, ABC News, April 24, 2010 Continue reading