Homework 6

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Week 6 Homework Questions

  1. Jill Trent, an ambitious 22 year old, started a new business called XYZ after she graduated from North Carolina State University.  XYZ initially was a business failure because Jill ignored day-to-day operations and cost controls.  One year later, Jill was heavily in debt.  Despite her debt, Jill decided to open another location of XYZ.  She was confident that XYZ would bring her financial success.  However, as her expenses increased, Jill could not meet her debts.  She turned to insurance fraud to save her business.  She would stage a break-in at a XYZ location and then claim a loss.  In addition, she reported fictitious equipment to secure loans; falsified work order contracts to secure loans; stole money orders for cash; and added zeros to customers’ bills who paid with credit cards.  Jill was living the “good life,” with an expensive house and a new sports car. 

Two years later, Jill decided to make XYZ a public corporation.  She falsified financial statements to improve the reported financial position of XYZ greatly.  In order to avoid the SEC’s scrutiny of her financial statements, she merged XYZ with ABC, an inactive New Jersey firm, and acquired ABC’s publicly owned shares in exchange for stock in the newly formed corporation.  The firm became known as ABC, and the XYZ name was dropped.

Jill personally received 79 percent of the shares.  She was now worth $24 million on paper.  Jill was continually raising money from new investors to pay off debts.  A few months later, ABC’s stock was selling for $21 a share, and the company’s book value was $310 million.  Jill was worth $190 million on paper. 

Jill became a “hot figure” through various television appearances and developed a reputation as an entrepreneurial genius.  However, her reputation changed after an investigative report was published in a major newspaper.  The report chronicled some of her early credit card frauds.  Within two weeks, ABC’s stock plummeted from $21 to $5.

After an investigation, Jill was charged with insurance, bank, stock, and mail fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion, and ABC’s shares were selling for just pennies.  A company once supposedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars dropped in value to only $48,000

From the case, identify:

    1. The pressures, opportunities, and rationalizations that led Jill to commit her frauds.  Include one example in each category and explain why you included each example. 

Hint:  I want you to focus on the definitions of each of the three categories; find one clear example of something from that category: and explain how the example you selected might increase the risk of fraud in this case.  Be specific to the information in the case and don’t just give me a generic example.  There are several different frauds that Jill perpetrated in this case.  Just give me one example in each category regardless of which fraud the example applies to.  That is, three total examples and not three examples for each fraud. 

    1. Describe three signs that could signal a possible fraud.  Be sure to explain why each sign might indicate fraud to covering the possible fraud involved. 

Hint:  Be sure you are specific to information about this case and clear about how the sign might be a signal of fraud by discussing the type of fraud that might be involved.  Also, there are several different frauds covered in the case.  Just give me three signs total and not three signs for each possible fraudulent activity. 

    1. Describe and explain three controls or actions that could have either detected or prevented Jill’s fraudulent behavior.  Since we haven’t covered control in depth yet, don’t worry about the precise definition of a control and just try to identify actions that could have been taken and by whom that might have prevented and detected Jill’s fraudulent activities. 

Hint:  I appreciate that we haven’t covered controls in any depth yet, but you should be able to suggest actions that either third parties or the firm itself could have taken to prevent or detect Jill’s fraudulent activities.  I just want three examples total and not three for each fraud.  Be sure you explain how your suggestion control or action would have either prevented or detected one of the frauds Jill perpetrated. 

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