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Feds Investigate Accounting Practices at Under Armour

Sources say struggling company may have manipulated sales figures

(Newser) - Under Armour Inc. is being investigated by federal authorities over its accounting practices. The athletic gear company said Sunday that it has been cooperating with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice on their investigations for two years, the AP reports. The company said it firmly believes... More »

Disabled Job Seekers Face Steep Discrimination

Employers much less interested in applicants who noted disability in cover letter

(Newser) - Last year, only 17.1% of the disabled population in the US was employed, in stark contrast to the 64.6% for the non-disabled, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics . A new study out of Rutgers and Syracuse University may point to the hidden bias that explains this. Researchers sent... More »

BofA Just Showed How Easy It Is to Lose $4B

Is bank too big to keep track of its assets?

(Newser) - Bank of America canceled a planned share buyback program today, after realizing that it had made a tiny little accounting error—and by "tiny little," we mean "$4 billion." "The market's reaction, with about $10 billion of BofA's market value wiped out, was... More »

Pentagon's Cooked Books Hide Lost Billions

Reuters finds $8.5T in spending has never been audited

(Newser) - A Reuters investigation looks deep inside one of the biggest and most complex works of military fiction of all time: the Pentagon's books. Defense Department sources say it is routine to use phony numbers—"plugs"—to make the numbers of defense agencies match those from the Treasury... More »

Obama Just Legalized Fraud

Matt Taibbi on why the JOBS Act 'couldn't suck worse'

(Newser) - Did you enjoy the dot-com bubble? Well, expect a replay on an even bigger scale, because last week President Obama signed a bill that, according to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone , "will very nearly legalize fraud in the stock market." The JOBS Act is ostensibly designed to make... More »

Whoops! Germany Finds $79B in Math Screwup

'Bad bank' entered a sum twice

(Newser) - Good news/bad news time, Germany. The bad news: Your accountants might be incompetent. The good news: Hey, you’ve got $79 billion less debt than you thought! An accounting screwup at FMS Wertmanagement—the so-called “bad bank” set up to handle all the toxic assets from mortgage lender Hype... More »

GE 2010 Profits: $14.2B GE Tax Bill: $0

In fact, it earned a tax benefit of $3.2B

(Newser) - General Electric is America’s biggest firm, but it’s not paying a dime in US taxes this year—instead, it has claimed a $3.2 billion tax benefit, the New York Times reports. Though it made a $14.2 billion profit in 2010, $5.1 billion of which was... More »

Execs Busted for 'Office Babe' Email

PricewaterhouseCoopers men aimed to rank 'top10'

(Newser) - Accounting behemoth PricewaterhouseCoopers is roiling in controversy after a group of executives distributed a photo-heavy email ranking the top babelicious workers in the Dublin office. "We are taking this matter extremely seriously and are launching a full investigation," said a company spokesman of the email, distributed among 17... More »

Goldman Helped Greece Hide Catastrophic Debt

Bank concocted deal with phony exchange rate

(Newser) - Greece's budget problems were allowed to grow to their current monstrous size with the help of a Goldman Sachs deal worthy of an Oscar for creative accounting. Greek government officials—no strangers to number-juggling themselves—used the US bank to concoct a derivatives deal that allowed the country to circumvent... More »

Atlanta May Elect 1st White Mayor in 36 Years

Frontrunner Mary Norwood vows to fix the city's accounting mess

(Newser) - A simple focus on accounting is poised to radically—read: racially—change the politics of Atlanta. In a majority-black city that hasn’t had a white mayor in 36 years, a Caucasian city councilwoman from a tony neighborhood has a commanding lead in the polls. Mary Norwood has promised to... More »

Wall Street Cleverly Carves Up Bad Assets

So cleverly, in fact, that regulators are getting worried

(Newser) - Wall Street’s financial magicians have come up with a way to transform toxic assets into shiny new ones. In popular new deals called “re-remics,” a sour mortgage-backed security is split in two, one containing all the good mortgages, the other all the bad, the Wall Street Journal... More »

Accounting Firm Faces $2B in Lawsuits in Madoff Scam

PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada slapped with 7 lawsuits

(Newser) - The Canadian branch of the world’s largest accounting firm is facing seven lawsuits for up to $2 billion on behalf of investors who fell victim to Bernard Madoff, the Telegraph reports. PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada was the auditor of a feeder fund, Fairfield Sentry, that directed cash to the Ponzi schemer.... More »

Ex-AIG Honcho Settles New SEC Case for $15M

(Newser) - The SEC today simultaneously announced a complaint against former AIG chief Hank Greenberg and the resolution of the matter—a $15 million payment to settle the suit, the New York Times reports. Greenberg and a former AIG CFO were accused of “numerous improper accounting transactions” between 2000 and 2005... More »

Palin's Figures on Ethics Complaints Don't Add Up

Report has lawyer costing $30K per hour

(Newser) - A spreadsheet from Sarah Palin's office detailing spending on ethics complaints and lawsuits is riddled with discrepancies, the Anchorage Daily News reports. The administrative director of Palin's office says accidental double-counting added $26,849 to the $1.9 million total. She plans to make inquiries about other parts of the... More »

3 Million US Job Openings Isn't a Good Thing

Figure shows troubling disconnect between employers, workers

(Newser) - Even with the unemployment rate shattering records, 3 million jobs nationwide remain unfilled. But the growing mismatch between employers and workers tarnishes that silver lining, Peter Coy argues in BusinessWeek. Untrained job-seekers often don’t have necessary skills to work in growing sectors like health care and accounting, and employers... More »

Citi Swings to Surprise $1.6B Profit—1st in 18 Months

(Newser) - Citigroup posted its first profitable quarter in 18 months today, thanks in no small part to $45 billion in bailout funds and changes to accounting rules, Bloomberg reports. The company posted a $1.6 billion profit, up from a $5.1 billion loss last year. The company reported a loss... More »

Obama Blasts 'Casual Dishonesty' of Bush Budgets

(Newser) - At a White House “fiscal responsibility summit” today, President Obama opened fire on what he called the Bush administration’s “casual dishonesty” about the federal budget, Politico reports. “Contrary to the prevailing wisdom in Washington these past few years,” Obama said, “we cannot simply spend... More »

Accountants May Be Liable in Madoff Fraud

Experts say feeder funds obviously skimped on scrutiny

(Newser) - The many accounting firms that missed Bernie Madoff’s massive scam could be in for a world of legal hurt, experts tell the Wall Street Journal. Madoff’s company was audited by a firm that had just one accountant, and one ex-SEC accountant finds it hard to believe that feeder-fund... More »

Pelosi's PAC Paid Husband's Firm $99K for Work

Transaction legal, but would have been banned by bill Dem Speaker supported

(Newser) - Nancy Pelosi paid her husband’s company $99,000 through her political action committee during the past 9 years, the Washington Times reports. Payments to Paul Pelosi’s Financial Leasing Services are routine fees for accounting and office-space rent payments, but would have been illegal under a bill Pelosi supported... More »

SEC Relaxes 'Fire Sale' Assets Rule

Aims to ease pressure by freeing assets from free-market value

(Newser) - The SEC is relaxing enforcement of a controversial rule in a bid to ease pressure on banks during the financial crisis, the New York Times reports. Current accounting rules require companies to value assets at a fluctuating fair market price. In the current financial chaos, values are rapidly heading south,... More »

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