In Episode 449 of the FCPA Compliance Report, I spoke with Tom Fox to discuss the current status of the KPMG defendants and what their conduct means for the audit profession going forward.
A judge denied PwC’s motion for summary judgement. The case goes to trial in October. Mauro Botta brought an action in district court in California against PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP alleging that PwC wrongfully terminated him in retaliation for a whistleblower complaint he made to the Securities and Exchange Commission about PwC’s auditing practices. There’s been a lot written about the case, which is ongoing.
The timeline of who told whom what and when, this time around for KPMG, is a bit more complicated than David Middendorf described in his testimony in the criminal case against him for allegedly conspiring to steal PCAOB inspection data.
KPMG partner Thomas Whittle broke ranks on October 29 and pleaded guilty to all five criminal charges. He is now cooperating with prosecutors. Do you have more information about this case? Leave a comment here, one I can leave unposted, if you wish to communicate confidentially or DM me on Twitter @retheauditors for Signal encrypted confidential messaging instructions.
Looks like the Theranos investors decided that audits are worthless, even if the cost is some “immaterial to them” fraud losses.
“Innovation demands risk-taking… which, in turn, entails redefining failure, stripping away its power to inhibit.” Chairman and CEO of KPMG Lynne Doughtie
On February 28 the US Justice Department fined Deloitte & Touche LLP $149.5 million for alleged fraud against the government related to its role as the independent outside auditor of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. Also: The damages phase of the FDIC v. PwC case regarding Colonial Bank is set to begin in Washington DC on March 20.
Why did they do it? The WSJ walks around the question but KPMG may face big fines and, I think, its partners and the PCAOB professional could face criminal charges.
The TBW v. PwC trial gave the public quite a few interesting disclosures about the audit industry and PwC, including some some pointing to how the firms’ finances, in this case PwC, work.
Here’s a brief look at the TBW Plan Trustee v. PwC trial, what led to it and what’s next.
The PCAOB will vote on final rule based on its proposal on Tuesday Dec 15. If audit partner names were published in the audit report, or anywhere, the public, audit committees, investors and journalists could stop lousy auditors in their tracks. Melissa Koeppel of Grant Thornton is the best case yet for making audit partner names and their engagement history, disciplinary history, and litigation history public.
Auditor opinions on ICFR are not only not being done well, they are not producing warnings for investors and regulators that a material error and restatement is likely. Worse than that, when auditors get them wrong they whitewash their mistakes.