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Ethical Paper - Bill Services

In: Business and Management

Submitted By lovedeepb
Words 3424
Pages 14
Ethical Issues – Bill Services

There are many ethical issues going on with Bill that will affect his business and our firm

legally and financially. Here are some of the issues:

1) He is planning on filing for divorce. His wife, Rotunda is a large and violent woman

who has spent every penny Bill has made over the years. She has a moustache, missing a

few front teeth and generally not a nice person.

Ethical issues:

Bill and Rotunda’s marriage seemed to change after the birth of their last child.

Rotunda’s personality changed and she even put on extra weight. Rotunda continued to spend

every penny of her husband’s hard earned money. Ethically, he has every right to want to

file for divorce. Bill using the fact that she has a moustache and missing teeth are not a factor

here. The mention of Rotunda being violent could be an issue as the divorce proceedings are

under way.

Choosing to divorce a person should be based on something that isn’t going quite right.

You do not need to have a specific reason at all to request a divorce, but most states do have the

option of using one of the grounds for divorce as your reason. Having one of these reasons can

help your case, but if the two of you are not happy, then a no fault divorce would be the way to

go. You are both on level ground and can go your separate ways without your record being

tarnished.

Choosing to get a divorce is not always an easy decision for either party. Sometimes there

is a very good reason to get the divorce and other times, the two people have just grown apart

and no longer wish to be together.

Whatever the reason, the couple can expect to state such reasons at some point along the

process. There are really two types of divorces, which are no fault divorces and fault divorces.

Legal issues:

Bill is filing for divorce because of behaviorally and physical changes in his wife

Rotunda but Bill is not doing anything illegal here.

Financial issues:

Bill is planning to file for divorce and divorce can have dreadful effect on his business

particularly through the cost of final settlement. If there is no prenuptial agreement, the assets of

the spouses are generally split into two. If the business is worth a lot of money the primary

spouse (Bill) may not be able to buy out the other partner. It might require sale of some or all of

business to finance it. Bill Services will be valued during divorce proceeding and it may result

into an audit

2) To compensate for a horrible home life, Bill began to run around and made many

friends at the local bars. In fact, he began to tell you that he now has 3 mistresses, none of

which know about each other.

Ethical issues:

Bill is running around with 3 mistresses and has not yet filed for divorce. He is

being unfaithful and committing adultery. Ethically, it is wrong to have mistresses

when you are still married. One of the main reasons couples file for divorce is because one or

both parties are cheating. This situation gives Rotunda ammunition in court when the divorce

proceedings take place.

Financial issues:

Bill is cheating on his wife with three mistresses. He is committing adultery, that’s why

there are more chances that his wife will get the custody of their children. He will end up paying

child support and alimony. The actual financial effect of the divorce will depend on alimony and

child support court orders. If one or more spouses disagree with the divorce terms then the legal

fees will increase by a large amount.

3) As Bill wants to build up a nest egg to prepare for the divorce, he put his honeys on the

books and paid them each $100,000 as a ghost employee. None of these woman worked as

Bill set them up in apartments far from each other. Bill had their tax returns done for

them and signed their names and mailed the returns in. The girls had no idea about the tax

returns or the ghost employment.

Ethical issues:

As the owner of the company, Bill can take money out for whatever purpose he wants. If

he wants to give money to his girlfriends, it is okay. The only issue is that the money should

come out of the company’s profits and not capital. He is taking from the business and in essence

cheating the government. Ethically, we would immediately stop doing business with this client

based on this information alone. Due to the fact that we now have knowledge of his ill doings,

as a firm it would be our responsibility to report it.

The simple act of paying salaries to these different women brings up the following ethical

dilemmas for Bill and his company:

• Overstating expenses
• Decreasing company equity by $300,000
• Trying to hide money from divorce lawyers
• Committing adultery
• Paying salaries to non-existing employees

Bill will also have issues with the IRS by having fake employees on his payroll. Bill is

not paying any taxes on the money that he is paying his girlfriends. Bill is engaging in dishonest

practices. Also, providing misleading financial information to Rotunda’s divorce lawyer is

unethical, because Bill is trying to hide money.

Legal issues:
Bill is pretending to pay three employees who happen to be his girlfriends $100,000. This activity is illegal. Embezzlement is defined as the “Fraudulent taking of personal property by someone to whom it was entrusted. Embezzlement can occur regardless of whether the defendant keeps the personal property or transfers it to a third party.” (Embezzlement, 2010) “In general the embezzlement penalties associated with embezzlement charges and fraud will depend on the type of trust that was assumed or understood as well as the total amount embezzled.” Each state also has the right to determine their own specific penalties for embezzlement. Embezzlement penalties for the state of New Jersey are probation, jail time, fines, community service and restitution. (Embezzlement:Penalties, n.d.) There is also a chance that Bill will have charges brought against him by the IRS for tax evasion. He has fake employees on his payroll and is removing money out of his company illegally. He is not paying any taxes on the $100,000 he is supposedly paying his three girlfriends who are not really his employees. Charges could also be brought against him for falsifying tax records and signing their names.

Financial issues: Bill has made $300,000 of payments to himself from company funds in the names of

his mistresses. He has also completed false tax returns for the non-employees and forged

the signatures. He has overstated his expenses by $300,000 and has committed tax fraud.

This will result in “criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment, as well as civil

penalties”

4) Bill also told you he had several million dollars sitting in a bank in the Cayman Islands. Ethical issues:

Bill is trying to hide his assets from his wife during his divorce which is both unethical

and illegal. During the divorce proceedings, both parties are obligated to disclose their financial

statues in order to make sure that each gets the settlement that they deserve. By Bill hiding

money in an offshore account, he is not presenting accurate financial records. Hiding money in

an offshore account is grossly understating his companies’ actual income.

Legal issues:
Bill confessed to that he has several million dollars sitting in a bank in the Cayman
Islands that his wife knows nothing about. Bill is in clear violation of the Generally Accepted
Accounting Principles (GAPP) reporting standards. By hiding his money in an offshore account,
Bill is understating his companies’ actual income. GAPP standards are followed so that there is a consistent method to accurately report financial statements. Skimming money out of his company, hiding money in an offshore account and not reporting income all violate GAAP standards. It is illegal to hide your assets from your spouse during a divorce. Both parties are obligated to disclose their financial assets in order for there to be fairness in the settlement. By hiding money in the offshore account Bill is not presenting accurate financial records. The total value of his assets will be understated and his wife will not have a fair settlement. Bill could face serious repercussions for his actions if he is caught hiding his assets during his divorce battle.
He could be charged with perjury. “Perjury is a serious criminal offense in which an individual lies or makes verifiably false statements while under oath.” (Lependorf & Silverstein Attorneys at Law, 2010). Perjury penalties for the state of New Jersey are 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $200,000 for first degree offenses. Second degree: 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $150,000. Third degree: 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000. Fourth degree: up to
18 months in prison, and a fine up to $10,000. (Soucy, 2010)
Bill is also committing tax evasion by not paying his taxes on the millions of dollars that he has hidden in a bank account in the Cayman Islands. “Tax evasion is illegally avoiding paying taxes, failing to report, or reporting inaccurately. The most common one is failing to report cash income. The government imposes strict and serious penalties for tax evasion.” The Internal
Revenue Service (IRS) oversees the regulation of taxes. It also prosecutes any person or entity that avoids payment of taxes due, and can assess penalties. There are three crimes with which an individual may be charged: Tax evasion: This is a felony and a conviction can carry a prison sentence of up to five years and/or fines up to $100,000. Filing a false return: The government does not have to prove the taxpayer intended to evade tax laws, just that the taxpayer filed a false return. This is a felony and can result in a prison sentence of up to three years and/or fines up to
$100,000. Failing to file a tax return: This is a misdemeanor and can result in a maximum prison sentence of one year and/or fines totaling up to $25,000 for each year for which no return was filed. (Tax Evasion Penalties, 2010)

Financial issues: The several million dollars in the Cayman Islands bank account may partially contain

retained earnings from the business. The amounts should still be part of the business

earning interest. If the amounts were properly recorded as retained earnings, it would

have earned interest income that should be part of the income statement. This will result

in an understatement of earnings and non-payment of income taxes that are due.
5) Bill is in the hazardous waste removal business. He bragged that he had illegal workers doing the nastiest work. He worked them 80 hours a week and paid them $5.00 per hour cash wages.
Ethical issues:

Bill has bragged that he has hired illegal workers to do the “nastiest of work” and he

pays them less than minimum wage. As well as being illegal it is unethical. These

workers are from countries with poverty and high unemployment rates. They accept low

paying jobs in the US to provide for them and to make a better life for their families.

Also, minimum wage is designed to allow a worker, if they work 40 hours a week, to be

able to live above the poverty line. Bill is not making this possible for his workers

Legal issues: There are civil and criminal penalties for hiring illegal aliens. The client has violated the
Section 274A Immigration and Nationality Act which makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly hire someone who is not authorized to work in the United States. This violation is punishable by fines and/or imprisonment. (Unlawful Employment, n.d.) All employers are required to complete and retain an I-9 form for all employees, citizens and non-citizens. The purpose of the I-9 form is to document that each new employee hired after November 6, 1986, is authorized to work in the United States. (Form I-9, n.d.) Paying your employees in cash is also known as the “underground economy” and it hurts government and private businesses. It directly affects government’s ability to fund public services such as public safety, education, and human services. (Under-the-Table, n.d.) It is an attempt to evade paying income and employment taxes. Federal law requires employment tax withholding and payment to be made by employers.
Employment taxes include Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment. The IRS can file a tax lien against the property of the owner for non-compliance. Fines and imprisonment can also occur.
In reference to Bill paying the illegal workers $5.00 an hour, which is also illegal. As of
July 24, 2009, the Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. The Fair Labor Standards Act
(FLSA) of 1938 states that employers have to pay their employees a minimum wage as mandated by the government. Those employers that do not adhere to the law are subject to fines and will also have to pay back wages to the employees. In reference to the workers working 80 hours a week, Federal laws pertaining to work hours are enforced by the Wage and Hour Division. For covered, nonexempt employees, the FLSA requires overtime pay to be at least one and one-half times an employee’s regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek. (Work hours,
n.d.)

Financial Issue:

He has hired illegal employees and is paying them cash for 80 hours a week at $5.00

per hour. This is in violation of Department of labor minimum wage of $7.25 per hour

and overtime regulations of paying employees time and a half for any hours over 40. This

issue will result in payment of back wages and federal and state payroll taxes.

All of these payments will include interest and penalties along with an audit by the department

of labor.
6) Upon reviewing the general ledger, you did not see any payments for toxic waste dump fees, however, there was 4 million in toxic waste revenues.
Ethical issue: Upon reviewing the general ledger, It looks like that Bill is illegally dumping the waste in an unauthorized place which is unethical because it can create many environmental problems.
According to N.C. Dept of Environment and Natural Resources Illegal dumps can contaminate surface and ground water. Depending on location, dumps can keep water from draining which may lead to flooding. Illegal dumps can also pose a fire risk, disrupt wildlife habitats, and present physical hazards to human health.
Legal Issue: The client is illegally dumping the hazardous material used in his business. Illegal dumping of any materials not in a designated waste site is punishable by jail, fines, probation and/or community service as mandated by federal and state laws. The matching principle under
GAAP is violated. The client doesn’t record any expense of hazardous waste cleaning materials and the removal of these materials.
Financial Issue: The financial statements show $4m in Toxic waste cleanup revenue. Based on industry

practice, this always results in some disposal expense. Using the latest statements from

Waste Management Inc, the disposal expense should be 12.5% of the revenue. Therefore

the income statement has exposure of up to $500,000 of missing expenses.
7) Bill told you he had some “special customers” who paid with dead presidents. He said last year, he approximated he received $300,000 in dead president payment. He used some of it to pay his cash workers, the balance he kept.
Ethical issue: Bill is receiving money from individuals whom he refers to as his “special customers”.

This income is not being reported as income on his taxes. He also states that he uses this

money to pay his illegal workers. If he is paying his workers cash, the money is not being

reported to the IRS by Bill or his workers. Which is considered tax evasion, the IRS.

(IRS.gov) “Both employer and employee hold the responsibility for collecting and

remitting withholding taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).”

Legal issue:

According to IRS all income is taxable and in this case Bill is not reporting this income

on his taxes. Therefore he is committed fraud by hiding cash income. As stated in the article by

Ariene M. Hibschweiler (2009) that a CPA firm is their primary tax advisor which means “the

accountant’s assessment of a potential fraud case usually represents the first professional analysis

of the taxpayer’s situations, including potential for criminal prosecution” (Hibschweiler, 2009).

As accountants of Bill services we should bear in mind that scope of fraud investigation might

extend to our firm. For this reason it is extremely important for us to consider our situation when

handling fraud client.

Financial issue:

As Bill mentioned that he is receiving dead presidents from his special customers. Last

year he received $300,000 in cash which he didn’t report, that means he is understating his

revenues. Also according to IRS form 8300 each person engaged in a business who, in course of

doing business receives payment in the form of cash $10000.00 of more must file form 8300. A

minimum penalty is $25000.00 may be imposed if a person intentionally disregard of cash

reporting requirements. There might be criminal prosecution depending upon the audit finding.

But if there are criminal charges there may be imprisonment of up to 5 years and fines up to

$500,000 for corporations.

8) He knows Rotunda’s attorney will require an audited financial statement. He offered

you $500,000 to do the audit and not ask any questions.

Ethical issue:

Bill realizes that in the divorce proceedings, his wife’s attorney will be asking for an

audited financial statement. He has asked us to prepare the statement that would not

disclose some of his illegal activities. It is unethical for him to ask this of us. An audited

statement is the highest quality financial statement. These statements prepared in

accordance with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Once signed we

are certifying that all of the information is correct.

Legal issue: What the client is proposing to the accountant is bribery. A bribe is defined as
“something, such as money or a favor, offered or given to a person in a position of trust to influence that person’s views or conduct.” (The Free Dictionary, n.d.) The penalties vary from state to state but it does involve prison time based on the amount of the gift or cash received. In the vent that the client is audited, he will not be able to show where the $500,000 payment went to. This will create problems with the IRS. This crime also has a penalty of imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.
Financial issue:

Bill is offering us $500,000 bribery in return of Audited financial statements without the

audit testing that is required to issue a qualified opinion. This can put our firm in a lot trouble if

we are caught the Board of Accounting would issue fines and revoke license to practice. Once

the license is revoking our business will be shut down and we will lose all our future revenues.

Also assuming concept of financial statement privity (www.AICPA.org) readers of the financials

relying on them would hold accountant liable for untold damage. In this case Bill’s wife Rotunda

can file a case against us for issuing the audited financial statements without audit testing

because net worth for Bill services may be understated. Also the $500,000 bribe would be

dwarfed by civil and criminal sanctions and fines. Our firm can end up paying millions in

restitution beyond what we received as well as jail time.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the fraudulent account should be rejected. The client is unethical and

wants to bring everyone down with him. The CPA should advise the client to come clean and

revise his financial statements. The purpose of GAAP is that is serves as a guideline for

accountants to conducts themselves in an honest, professional manner and to do what the law

mandates.

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