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Andrew Cuomo To File Fraud Charges Against Ernst & Young For Lehman Repo 105 Involvement

Tyler Durden's picture




 

It was only a matter of time: back in March, following revelations of the Lehman Repo 105 scam, we speculated that the days of Ernst & Young are numbered. Back then we said "we are confident that (again, with the assumption that we live in some
semblance of a sane/ration world), E&Y's Financial Services Office
is done...
and quite possibly the entire firm. Integrity is the number one
currency for an auditor, and just like Anderson, E&Y's just went out
in a puff of green-colored smoke." Today we learn that Andrew Cuomo is about to make E&Y's life a whole lot more difficult. Per the WSJ "State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is close to filing the case, which
would mark the first time a major accounting firm was targeted for its
role in the financial crisis." Too bad - E&Y was surely hoping that just like everything else in this corrupt country, out of sight would mean out of mind, and soon everyone would forget about the firm's involvement in the biggest bankruptcy in history. Better luck next time...

Per the WSJ:

The suit, led by Mr. Cuomo, New York's governor-elect, could come as early as this week. It is part of a broader investigation into whether some banks misled investors by removing debt from their balance sheets before they reported their financial results to mask their true levels of risk-taking, a person familiar with the case said. The state may seek to impose fines and other penalties.

Mr. Cuomo's office has sought documents and information from several firms, including Bank of America  Corp., which earlier this year disclosed six transactions that were wrongly classified. Jerry Dubrowski, a Bank of America spokesman, said the bank's practice is to cooperate with any inquiry from regulators.

It is possible that Ernst & Young will try to settle before any suit is filed. The firm declined to comment. A spokesman for the Lehman Brothers estate also declined to comment.

The transactions in question, known as "window dressing," involve repurchase agreements, or repos, a form of short-term borrowing that allows banks to take bigger trading risks. Some banks have systematically lowered their repo debt at the ends of fiscal quarters, making it appear they were less risk-burdened than they actually were most of the time.

And for those who wish to be reminded of just how far-reaching the E&Y involvment was, and who the key actors responsible for this gross and potentially criminal breach of duty were, below we recreate our March 14 post...

De[constructing/functing] Ernst & Young

Ultimately the biggest loser from the whole Repo 105 scandal may not be the perpetrators, i.e., Fuld, the firm's numerous CFOs, Tim Geithner and Mary Schapiro, but the alleged "fact-checkers" - auditors Ernst & Young. Just like Enron's Star Wars-based off balance sheet accounting gimmicks brought down Arthur Anderson, so "Repo 105" may likely be responsible for the downfall of E&Y. Although while in Enron's case, it was just the accounting that brought the firm down, in Lehman's case the confluence of numerous factors will render each individual one relatively less critical, potentially to the point of irrelevance. And while book cooking was just as big of an issue for Lehman as it was for Enron, the fact that the bank did pretty much every other borderline illegal thing possible, will take away focus from just the Repo 105 fiasco, or just the liquidity misrepresentations, or just the commercial real estate book mismarking, and so forth. So to facilitate a decision on E&Y culpability, we present a candid look at Ernst & Young's Financial Services Office, the company's presentation on Paragraph 10 of IAS 39 overseeing Repo agreements, E&Ys analysis of FAS 140 "Accounting for Financial Transfers and Repurchase Financial Transactions", the Examiner's conclusions on the firm's breach of conduct, the firm's soon to be dwindling banking client base, and last, and most certainly least, a snapshot of E&Y's Lehman co-lead partner, Hillary Hansen, against whose negligent actions, as part of the Lehman E&Y practice, the Examiner concludes "that sufficient evidence exists to support a colorable claim for malpractice."

Follows a presentation of E&Y's Financial Services Office.

In the United States, Ernst & Young LLP is the only public accounting firm with a separate business unit dedicated to the financial services marketplace. Created in 2000, the New York–based Financial Services Office today includes more than 3,300 professionals in more than 30 locations across the US, as well as in Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Cayman  Islands. Key offices throughout the US include Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, McLean, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Stamford. Our financial services professionals provide high-quality assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services, including operations, risk and technology, to our asset management, banking, capital markets and insurance clients.

In addition, Ernst & Young professionals in our financial services practices worldwide align with key global industry groups, including Ernst & Young’s Global Asset Management Center, Global Banking & Capital Markets Center and Global Insurance Center, which act as hubs for sharing industry-focused knowledge on current and emerging trends and  regulations in order to help our clients address key issues.

The group's key contacts are listed in the attached presentation. Note the name of Bill Schlich, one of the two E&Y people named by the Examiner as responsible for the negligence colorable claim against the firm in the Lehman case.

E&Y was quite aware of the concept of traditional Repos, as can be ascertained by the following company presentation:

 

 

Furthermore, E&Y was certainly quite aware of the nuances of SFAS 140, the accounting board's green light of what would, with Linklaters' blessing shortly, become known as Repo 105. In essence, SFAS 140 is what allowed the accounting of repos as true sales. Some complications, as E&Y itself notes, arising from SFAS, are that "in saome cases it may not be possible for attorneys to provide true sale opinions under U.S. bankruptcy law when the transactions are combined and integrated." The full E&Y SFAS 140-associated education session is presented below.

EY SFAS 140 Repo Alert

A brief tangent here, which goes toward disclosure. Surely the use of SFAS 140 in Lehman's operations should have merited some mention in the firm's public filings, which after all would need E&Y's blessing. Yes and no. As the examiner points out, Lehman did not follow through on full disclosure requirements:

In a few of its financial statements, Lehman stated that “The Company accounts for transfers of financial assets in accordance with SFAS 140” and followed this statement with a summary of SFAS 140’s three criteria for recognizing the transfer of financial assets as sales (LBHI 10?Q, filed July 15, 2002), at p. 8; see also id. at p. 42 (discussing SFAS 140 in the context of securitizations and special purpose entities). In these instances where Lehman made the general disclosure regarding SFAS 140: (1) the SFAS 140 disclosure was listed under “Consolidation Accounting Policies” along with a disclosure regarding Special Purpose Entities or was part of a “Securitization activities” disclosure; (2) Lehman did not state that it treated some repo transactions as sales under SFAS 140; and (3) the financial statement contained other disclosure(s) stating that Lehman treats repo transactions as secured financings (i.e., not as sales) and/or regarding securities owned and pledged as collateral (as described above) (LBHI 10?Q (filed July 15, 2002), at pp. 8, 14; LBHI 10?Q (filed Oct. 15, 2002), at pp. 9?10, 17; LBHI 2002 10?K, at pp. 69, 71, 91; LBHI 10?Q (filed Oct. 15, 2003), at pp. 10?11, 12?13, 20; Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Quarterly Report as of Feb. 28, 2007 (Form 10?Q) (filed on Apr. 9, 2007), at pp. 11?12 (“LBHI 10?Q (filed Apr. 9, 2007)”); LBHI 10?Q (filed July 10, 2007), at pp. 11?12; LBHI 10?Q (filed Oct. 10, 2007), at pp. 11?12).

Back to E&Y - where things get really bleak for Ernst & Young is the following disclosure of a whistleblower arising from Lehman's soon to be ashes, and E&Y's treatment of his brand new information.

On May 16, 2008, Matthew Lee, then?Senior Vice President in the Finance Division responsible for Lehman’s Global Balance Sheet and Legal Entity Accounting, sent a letter to certain members of Lehman’s senior management identifying possible violations of Lehman’s Ethics Code related to accounting/balance sheet issues. Lehman involved Ernst & Young in its investigation of the concerns raised in Lee’s May 16, 2008 letter.

Subsequently, less than a month later, on June 12, 2008, Ernst & Young – Schlich and Hillary Hansen – interviewed Lee. Hansen’s notes of the interview reveal that Lee made certain statements to Ernst & Young about Lehman’s Repo 105 practice, including, most notably, the volume of Repo 105 activity that Lehman engaged in at quarter?end (May 31, 2008). Hansen’s notes specifically recount Lee’s allegation that Lehman moved $50 billion of inventory off its balance sheet at quarter?end through Repo 105 transactions and that these assets returned to the balance sheet approximately a week later.

To wit:

Hansen’s notes indicate that Lehman’s “Rates [and] Liquid Markets” businesses engaged in “Repo 105/Repo 108 [to] reduce[] assets by 50B [by] moving off B/S [i.e., balance sheet] in Europe & back in 5 days later.” Hillary Hansen, Ernst & Young, Handwritten Notes (June 12, 2008), at p. 1 [EY?LE?LBHIKEYPERS 5826869]. This is consistent with the Examiner’s conclusions that at quarter?end in second quarter 2008, Lehman reduced its balance sheet by slightly more than $50 billion through Repo 105 transactions.

Amusingly, while yesterday we discussed the interorganizational scapegoating, today we arrive at the intra-version. Bill Schlich, the partner named above, is quick to make thing Hansen's fault.

When interviewed by the Examiner, Schlich did not recall Lee saying anything about Repo 105 transactions during that interview, although he did not dispute the authenticity of Hansen’s notes from the Lee interview. In spite of Hansen’s notes, Schlich maintained that Ernst & Young did not know that Lehman engaged in the following Repo 105 activity during the listed time periods: $49.1 billion at first quarter 2008 (Feb. 29, 2008); and $50.38 billion at second quarter 2008 (May 31, 2008).

Now Hillary Hansen, unwilling to be thrown under the bus without some token defense, also comes out with a scapegoating excuse. Left with little recourse, she blames incompetence.

During the Examiner’s interview of Hansen, Hansen recalled that while Ernst & Young questioned Lee about his May 16, 2008 letter, Lee “rattled off” a list of additional issues and concerns he held, one of which was Lehman’s use of Repo 105 transactions. Ernst & Young had no further conversations with Lee about Repo 105 transactions. Prior to her interview of Lee in June 2008, Hansen had heard the term Repo 105 “thrown around” but she did not know its meaning; according to Hansen, Schlich described Repo 105 transactions to her shortly after they met with Lee.

It is good to know that a head auditor on a top 5 investment bank was unfamiliar with its business practices, and the implications of SFAS 140, even though the firm, as presented above, was edumacating its partners about such things.

We are not sure, however, who Schlich and Hansen will be able to scapegoat this on. Full summary of key events follows:

On June 13, 2008 – the day after Lee informed Ernst & Young of the $50 billion in Repo 105 transactions that Lehman undertook at the end of the second quarter 2008 – Ernst & Young spoke to Lehman’s Audit Committee but did not inform the committee of Lee’s allegation, even though the Chairman of the Audit Committee had clearly stated that he wanted every allegation made by Lee – whether in Lee’s May 16 letter or during the course of the investigation – to be investigated. Ernst & Young met with the Audit Committee on July 8, 2008, to review the second quarter financial  statements and again did not mention Lee’s allegations regarding Repo 105. On July 22, 2008, Ernst & Young was also present when Beth Rudofker, Head of Corporate Audit, gave a presentation to the Audit Committee on the results of the investigation into Lee’s allegations.

 

Ernst & Young did not disclose to the Audit Committee – either during the meetings or in private executive sessions after – that Lee made an allegation related to Repo 105 transactions being used to move assets off Lehman’s balance sheet at quarter-end. Cruikshank told the Examiner that he would have expected to be told about Lee’s Repo 105 allegations. Similarly, Sir Gent told the Examiner that the alleged volume of Lehman’s Repo 105 transactions mandated disclosure to the Audit Committee as well as further investigation...Ernst & Young did not follow?up on either Lee’s allegations regarding Lehman’s Repo 105 activity or Reilly’s claim that he had no knowledge of Lehman’s alleged $50 billion Repo 105 usage figure. Ernst & Young signed a Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm for Lehman’s second quarter 2008 Form 10?Q on July 10, 2008, less than four weeks after Schlich and Hansen interviewed Lee.

Not to beat a dead horse, but E&Y was at fault: as the Examiner points out:

Disclosure of the agreement to repurchase component of Repo 105 transactions was required in the MD&A. Lehman’s repurchase of the securities was a known event that was reasonably likely to occur and would have had a material effect on the company’s financial condition or results of operations. Lehman’s disclosure in the Liquidity and Capital Resources section should have included a discussion of what was known with respect to the timing and/or amounts of the cash flow created by the repayment of the Repo 105 cash borrowing in the first seven to ten days after quarter-end, specifically: (1) the availability of cash as a result of the repayment of the Repo 105 cash borrowing; (2) the ability to borrow more capital because of a reduction in debt rating or deterioration in leverage ratio due to the repayment of the Repo 105 cash borrowing; (3) the effect of the repayment of the Repo 105 cash borrowing on the cost of capital/credit rating; and (4) the economic substance and business purpose of the Repo 105 arrangements.

Indeed, there was a "duty to report":

SEC Rule 12b?20 requires that all filings contain such additional information necessary to make the information contained in the filing not misleading. Moreover, “Once defendants choose to speak about their company, they undertake a duty to ‘speak truthfully and to make such additional disclosures as…necessary to avoid rendering the statements misleading.’”

And here is why the plaintiff bar is really hung over today. The lawsuits are coming:

An investor reviewing Lehman’s 2007 Form 10?K and two 2008 Forms 10?Q would not have been able to discern that Lehman was engaged in Repo 105 transactions. Indeed, Lehman made no disclosures in its Statement of Income, Statement of Financial Condition, Statement of Cash Flows, or MD&A sections (including its section on liquidity) from which an investor could infer that Lehman treated a certain volume of repo transactions as sales under SFAS 140, thereby decreasing its net assets and its net leverage ratio...In addition, even a sophisticated reader of Lehman’s financial statements would not have been able to ascertain from Lehman’s 2007 Form 10?K or its first and second quarter 2008 Forms 10?Q the amount of Lehman’s Repo 105 usage, nor even ascertain the fact that Lehman was engaged in these transactions, by attempting to quantify the amount of liquid securities temporarily removed from the balance sheet, as reported in Lehman’s public financial statements.

We sure hope that Fuld, O'Meara, Callan, Lowitt and all of E&Y are promtly depositing money in their legal representation singking fund:

The Examiner finds that sufficient evidence exists to support the finding of colorable claims against Richard Fuld, Christopher O’Meara, Erin Callan, and Ian Lowitt in connection with their actions in causing or allowing Lehman to file periodic reports that did not disclose Lehman’s use of Repo 105 transactions and against Ernst & Young for its failure to meet professional standards in connection with that lack of disclosure... While there were credible facts and arguments presented by each that may form the basis for a successful defense, the Examiner concluded that these possible defenses do not change the now final conclusion that there is sufficient evidence to support a finding that claims of breach of fiduciary duty exist against Fuld, O’Meara, Callan, and Lowitt and a colorable claim of professional malpractice exists against Ernst & Young.

And focusing again purely on E&Y:

The Examiner concludes that sufficient evidence exists to support colorable claims against Ernst & Young LLP (“Ernst & Young”) for professional malpractice arising from Ernst & Young’s failure to follow professional standards of care with respect to communications with Lehman’s Audit Committee, investigation of a whistleblower claim, and audits and reviews of Lehman’s public filings.

This surely can not be good news to E&Ys current batch of existing banking clients, which are US Bancorp, SunTrust, CapitalOne, Regions Financial, KeyCorp, Comerica, Cullen/Frost Bankers, and Zions Bancorp, among the largest ones. In fact, we anticipate that the termination letters are already in the mail.

Meet Hillary Hansen.

The weakest link in the above presentation is surely E&Y partner, and co-head of the Lehman account, Hillary Hansen. For all of you who would like to get a glimpse of this presumably tireless workhorse which was supposed to be working 24/7 figuring out what the hell was going on with Lehman's books, you may be in for a disappointment. In this Fora TV presentation on the topic of "Women's Networks Help Level the Playing Field" from January, 2009, we get a glimpse into Ms. Hansen's busy lifestyle "I am a woman raising three small children, I commute from far away, I work home two days, usually I am not in on Fridays (laughter), I telecommute and often times I get asked how I fit it all together." Oh yes, Ms. Hansen we are confident you will be getting that question and many others very soon. What we found hilarious is Ms. Hansen's sentiment vis-a-vis her audit client Lehman Brothers. Fast forward to 17:15, where Hansen discloses that "We audit Lehman Brothers, UNFORTUNATELY." Once again prophetic. However in the wrong direction. Something tells us that Lehman's shareholders, despite knowing how great of a woman networker and a terrific partially-stay at home mom M.s Hansen may be, coupled with just how horrendous of an auditor, the lawsuits that are sure to follow will focus on the latter.

Full link of Hansen's brief and uninspired monologue after the jump.

With all this information, we are confident that (again, with the assumption that we live in some semblance of a sane/ration world), E&Y's Financial Services Office is done (even despite such ironically apropos warnings on the firm's website as "Top six liquidity risk management challenges for global banks "), and quite possibly the entire firm. Integrity is the number one currency for an auditor, and just like Anderson, E&Y's just went out in a puff of green-colored smoke. Then again, with America's population broadly distracted by the healthcare debate, by the phantasmagorical market, and by mass scapegoating campaigns in which nobody seems intent on getting to the bottom of the responsibility chain, we will be very much unsurprised if nothing ends up happening, and the well-greased machine of endless corruption keeps chugging along as per usual.

And here, due to popular demand, is E&Y's Global Code Of Conduct.

 

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Mon, 12/20/2010 - 10:36 | 818464 eigenvalue
eigenvalue's picture

All the Big 4 accounting firms are equally corrupt, not simply EY. 

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:01 | 818502 Popo
Popo's picture

This is a complete non-story.  What, are we supposed to believe that someone is going to jail?  

Whatever... There is no consequence for breaking the law.   Ergo, there is no law.

But please continue to pay your taxes.  

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:04 | 818509 GrouchoNotKarl
GrouchoNotKarl's picture

How the fuck does New York City function? Is it one big cess pool of corruption? Or is it incompetency?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:42 | 818566 Popo
Popo's picture

The former. Enabled by the latter.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:46 | 818574 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

Yes

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:37 | 818555 unununium
unununium's picture

The banksters hate every one of these people.  That is your first clue they are on to something.

  - Andrew Cuomo

  - Ron Paul

  - Alan Grayson

  - Marci Kaptur

  - Elliot Spitzer

  - Steven Rattner could clean up Wall St

  - Mark Pittman (RIP)

  - Matt Taibbi

 

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:39 | 818559 unununium
unununium's picture

 - Elizabeth Warren

 - Julian Assange

help me out here...

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:48 | 818576 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

Tyler Durden

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:55 | 818593 velobabe
velobabe's picture

WilliamBanzai the 7th!

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 12:57 | 818687 Calculated_Risk
Calculated_Risk's picture

Anyone "earning" less than $10 million/yr.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 10:37 | 818466 Sig Sauer
Sig Sauer's picture

i guess its deja vu all over again for all the Andersen people, who mostly moved en mas to E&Y.  

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 12:28 | 818630 Logans_Run
Logans_Run's picture

Yeah, considering that I am former Andersen (left just before the ship went down), I was thinking the same thing. How interesting!

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 10:38 | 818470 eskin1
eskin1's picture

Soo..... do we e-mail bomb those partners? 

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 10:56 | 818494 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

This question strikes me as rhetorical.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 10:39 | 818471 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Does NY state have legal recourse to the guillotine?  If not, I would suggest they adopt it soon.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:49 | 818577 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

too humane.  gibbet.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 10:44 | 818479 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

And so there were three?

Con-solidation, thy name is tyranny!

ORI
http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 10:43 | 818480 Mitchman
Mitchman's picture

They'll settle with a slap on the wrist fine and go on from there.  As usual.

Integrity.  What's that?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 10:55 | 818492 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

Civil civil civil.

Nothing but a little fine with no admission in the perverted halls of US justuce for sale.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:03 | 818507 Popo
Popo's picture

The lesson, in case anyone has missed it:  Cheating works.  Breaking the law works.  Everyone should be doing it.  

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:13 | 818519 Cursive
Cursive's picture

Word. In USSA.20xx, if you ain't cheatin, you ain't winnin. We lost the Republic decades ago.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:20 | 818531 Hansel
Hansel's picture

Yup.  People who want to attempt to lead some kind of moral life are s.o.l.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:50 | 818582 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

My wife absolutely hates it when I say "I don't want our children to be the last moral people on the planet, they will be horribly taken advantage of..."

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:19 | 818526 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

Everyone IS doing it -- the problem is that it is your friends, neighbors and family, which translates into complacency and the rule of law becomes meaningless headlines.

"AMERICA - FUCK YEAH!"

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:17 | 818942 adissidentishere
adissidentishere's picture

durka durka

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 10:57 | 818495 Haywood Jablowme
Haywood Jablowme's picture

So when's KPMG going on the hit list?  Another fine day on fantasy island...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwaEydIpS0E

 

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 10:57 | 818497 doomandbloom
doomandbloom's picture

CNBC is running a slide show on 'Old professions make a comeback'...these include farmer, buther, shoemaker, barber..etc...

http://www.cnbc.com/id/40705778/

 

Unfortunately i am skilled in neither...wonder what I will do if the Financial services sector goes down....

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:50 | 818584 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

wonder what I will do if the Financial services sector goes down....

Make something useful?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:56 | 818594 unununium
unununium's picture

Replay what happened at the end of the Roman Empire as the West transitioned to the Dark Ages, including inflationary collapse in the A.D years which led to a drastic reduction in long-distance commerce due to reduced levels of trust in transactions and travel safety.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 12:30 | 818631 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Whoredom is going to be a real comeback kid, too.

Thank The Ben Bernank, The Tim Geithner, The Congress & The Barack Obama, with their 'making 0.01% of the country wealthier' campaign with government bailouts/backstops/guarantees, and subjecting everyone else with no lifeline to the government teat to austerity, bitches.

*When I refer to whoredom above, I mean 'old school' whoredom, as in sex. Whoredom of the Crony-Capitalism style has already made a massive comeback.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 10:58 | 818499 Cursive
Cursive's picture

FYI, "Andersen" not "Anderson". Just remember it rhymes with "sin" not "son". 10 to 1 odds that Hilary Hansen screwed her way to the top. That's the path for most female partners.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:19 | 818525 velobabe
velobabe's picture

i guess she didn't make any of them wear condoms, cause she has three small children†

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:04 | 818506 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

Bill SHLICK - why oh why couldn't his parents name him Richard?????

 

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:08 | 818515 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:10 | 818517 virgilcaine
virgilcaine's picture

How many Lehman's are still out their.. Hundreds?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:12 | 818520 Jake3463
Jake3463's picture

Wake me up when they are criminal and Pricewaterhouse the Goldman Sachs of accounting is facing charges.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:24 | 818535 vas deferens
vas deferens's picture

Maybe Andrew Cuomo has some balls?  Give the new guy a chance.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:46 | 818545 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

Bullshit, if he had balls (he's a complacent pussy like the rest) he would be going after living companies (where the crooks are), not distracted trying to expose the dead one's.

He's a fraud for the masses too.  Doing anything for the sake of not being seen doing nothing - just like the rest of the "illegal" system of incompetence and rewarded failure.

The last thing enforcement wants to do is get in front of the problems - its political.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 12:02 | 818551 Futurist
Futurist's picture

Ernst & Young not them AGAIN! These were the auditors of Equitable Life in the UK in the 1990s. These 'auditors' did not seem to be able to spot that the mutual insurer Equitable Life was insolvent. (Note even the UK treasury and the FSA knew that!) They were allowed to carry on trading until the year 2000 when the GAR issue blew up. (GAR Guaranteed anuity Rate). Equitable Life wrote pension policies with a Guaranteed Annuity of around 12/13%. As rates fell this threatened to sink the insurer so they tried to cover it up. Even by buying dodgy re-insurance (which didn't pay out). If you thought all this crony capitalism is a recent thing you are wrong. As a note over Equitable, Ernst and Young managed to carry on as usual and even graduate to repo 105. It would not surprise me to see them with a £5 fine and trading into the next millenium. You can find the Equitable background here: http://www.emag.org.uk/.

As a note after avoiding compensation to the policyholders and pensioners who have lost a significant portion of their pensions (50% for example). The UK parliament found (after avoiding it for 10 years) 'regulatory failure' and compensation is to be paid. In the grand tradition of 'fairness and transparency' to normal working people the independently proposed compensation (£4.2billion) will be reduced because of these difficult financial times by 85%! Yes that is only 15p paid in any £1.00. No so much a haircut as a scalping. After all one has to shovel £850 billion of public money into those deserving banks, they might fail...

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:37 | 818554 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

No one from Wall Street/Banks/Finance goes to jail - ever - period - no matter what - in modern day Amerika.

Jails are rationed for 19 year olds caught with a dime bag of pot or someone who stole an article of clothing at Target.

The Anthony Mozilos, Dick Fulds, Richard Grassleys, Lloyd Blankfeins. etc., et al. and so on ad infinitum - these people, whose actions adversely and severly impact hundreds of millions (arguably billions), just pay a small % of their ill h gotten gains, and they are free to keep on keepin' on.

And they have every judge and politician and alleged prosecuting attorney in the country over for dinner and swag on a regular basis.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:52 | 818589 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

Absolutely correct

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:42 | 818556 Cdad
Cdad's picture

Tyler,

Sometimes I think you enjoy doing things like this.  I think you are smiling right now...knowing how painful it is for me to listen to the Women's Network conference thingy.  And I don't even know what I am doing listening to it anymore because so much of the stuff is such high grade gobbledeegoo that I don't even think my brain synapses are working anymore...which sucks because right now $9 burritos (which might actually be $11 if you include the Norvartis products you need in the cost calculation after you eat one ) are reversing hard, as are stocks priced for dot com breaking down entirely [these things also being known as LEADERSHIP STOCKS]...while certain micro cap energy companies are like becoming all cool again suddenly...and things are coming up roses right now even though my mother never promised me a rose garden.  And now I cannot even think or trade or buy to cover or anything because of gobbledeegoo.

 

But anyway, I do think E&Y should be very concerned about its employees being so engaged in stuff like "process" and "momentum" and "telecommuting" and "pot smoking [oddly enough]" and "staying home on Fridays", being unfortunate to have Lehman accounting to do at an accounting firm, and thinking about how crappy everything is because of the suffering that comes from the "X" chromosome, suffering which I DO NOT DOUBT AT ALL, btw. 

 

So I would really like to ask you, personally, not to put another article like this on ZH EVER AGAIN.  I think I would rather live with permanently fraudulent accounting everywhere...well, because that is how all the quarterly reports from the TBTB banks were just a couple of weeks ago, anyway [drawing down loan loss reserves to "beat by a penny" only to then sell bonds to...eh hem...build up loan loss reserves one day after the report ;)  ]  No one got all bent out of shape about that whole thing.  So why pick on these gals?

 

As usual, just my thoughts on the matter albeit from my desk today instead of under a big pile of coats in my closet.

 

Additional:

Sure is ironic how the DOW is lookin' so sweet...on account of BAC...you know, considering Saturday's headlines.  LOL...what an IRONIC market.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:59 | 818598 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

+1000

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 11:58 | 818596 TexDenim
TexDenim's picture

So what is sonny boy running for now?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 12:01 | 818600 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

I wonder which piece of crap bank will win this year's "Entrepreneur of the Year" Award. [/rhetorical]

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 12:12 | 818612 daveM
daveM's picture

This post is great news..... Hopefully Mr Cuomo has a lot more of these actions to initiate.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 12:21 | 818623 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

Do you want fries with that?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 12:38 | 818656 Logans_Run
Logans_Run's picture

TD, you infer an interesting point. I am a 30 year veteran of two Big 4 public accounting firms, a niche strategy firm and an international HR consultancy. All I see is the pussification of these firms for the benefit of the women. I started in public accounting back in the 70s when you had to work your ass off in order to make partner. Somewhere along the line we started worrying about the women and allowing them to have their careers and their children and on and on. It has meant the devolution of these firms considering that preference is given to the women and now many times, a more qualified, harder working young man walks because he doesn't want to put up with the pussification.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 12:48 | 818672 JayQuePublic
JayQuePublic's picture

+1000.....from a harder working not-so-young-anymore man who walked because he didn't want to put up with the pussification of Price Waterhouse

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:46 | 818835 Rainman
Rainman's picture

Agree. But I feel even sorrier for the Marines after the DADT fiasco. How would you like to be stuck in a battlefield foxhole with Richard Simmons ??

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 14:40 | 819019 Logans_Run
Logans_Run's picture

Time for a little "Code Red"

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 21:39 | 819941 unununium
unununium's picture

Don't I know you from somewhere?  Aren't you one of the Enron traders that wanted old ladies in California to burn in wildfires, to turn your energy positions into winners?

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 12:40 | 818662 M.B. Drapier
M.B. Drapier's picture

I can't miss this opportunity to mention E&Y's role in helping to fireball Anglo Irish Bank, and thus the Republic of Ireland, and thus (to a large extent) the Eurozone.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:20 | 818753 Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

This post and article is stupid. Andersen was brought down by a criminal conviction because of destruction of documents and computer files (obstruction of justice). Ernst is only charged with a civil violation. The repo 105 happens to fall in that grey area, so although it seems "funny", there's plenty of accounting stuff that's "funny" but not criminal, even though it perhaps should be.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 13:32 | 818785 SmittyinLA
SmittyinLA's picture

Mr Ex worked for E&Y back in the late 90s, it was a cesspool then, everybody was screwing everybody cheating on their spouses, they had a big party every year & the big whigs brought both their wives and company mistresses, very creepy & disturbing.

I remember thinking at the time "these people are hired for their integrity and write the tax code", the best word I can use to describe them is "sleazoids", "vermin" was too generous.

I would have figured they'd have gone splat much sooner, funny how the "big 7" keeps getting smaller.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 16:44 | 819370 fallst
fallst's picture

We are truly in the end game of something.

Arthur Anderson, Ernst and Young. What happened?

The rating agencies. The banks.

It's over. Any semblance of integrity, honesty, gone.

They must know something we don't. 2012?

 

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 18:58 | 819633 Jake3463
Jake3463's picture

Baby Boomer happened.   The elite of the Baby Boomers were such greedy entitled fucktards that they killed the system that made them elite.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 23:28 | 820107 fallst
fallst's picture

Most of these guys are older than baby boomers.

Obvious Y Gen comment.

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 21:00 | 819890 dlweld
dlweld's picture

Seems a good sentencing guideline would be that fines are not an option for financial crimes - has to be jail time. So often we see fines just treated as a cost of doing business - often paid for with a fraction of the fraud derived money.

Tue, 12/21/2010 - 14:42 | 821613 waterdog
waterdog's picture

"Integrity is the number one currency for an auditor, "

 

A key component of audit integrity is the consistency of the audit process. The audit procedures must be applied to each audit target equally and in full.

A case in point is the Madoff ponzi scheme. Not once, during the entire period Madoff reported purchasing investment assets with other peoples' money, did any auditor verify with the reported seller of any investment asset to Madoff, that a sale did occur.  This audit procedure was applied by these same auditors to other audits and was not limited to Madoff's investment activity. An auditor's protection against the accusation of biased procedures and reporting is to be able to prove the procedures and reporting was applied to all audits.

My understanding is that Repo 105 is an accounting principle that was or still is allowed under GAAS and endorsed by the IRS.

Repo 105 as a criminal tool is new. GAAP are written after the fact. Auditors make up procedures while waiting on GAAP.

There are people about to attend court that have no understanding of accounting. Throw in audit procedures and, well. A simple rule to go by is, never go to court against an auditor because I can assure you, the auditor knows more than you do and, the auditor knows things you did not know auditor knew and, you wish he had not brought up during the trial. Rule 2 is, do not hold a deposition in person with and auditor.  You will never get past- I don't understand the question. Provide a written list of questions as a deposition.  

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