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  • Jim Costa

Jim’s Daily Rant. Infamous Audit Frauds.

When I was taking a class on the fine art of Auditing as an Accounting major, I felt I wasn’t learning fast enough. Just exactly what is an auditor up against, trying to prove and to whom. I was learning little baby steps but what was out on the big rough seas?

As usual, I found myself leaving the library with another book. It was a case study of several audit frauds that screwed the auditors. One got so screwed, that as one of the eight biggest auditing companies in the U. S., it bankrupted the national organization.

They were auditing a major pharmaceutical supplier. The audit team didn’t wish to take the dull trip out in the Arizona desert to admire the huge storage warehouse there. So they just tested a percentage of the inventory records. It turned out that the huge warehouse was just a mailbox on the side of a gravel road in the middle of nowhere. The warehouse never existed except on paper.


I remembered that book while my wife and I were discussing the fall of Fani Willis, the Fulton County, Ga. District Attorney, to probably never be able to practice law again. One minute she was riding high on millions from the dark money train, to now cascading down to oblivion.

It seems that when people get that high above the law and consequences they seem to loose their minds, perhaps from the ego distortion. They may not know who they really are anymore.

We both know a local attorney who made it to the pinnacle of his career at an early age; a real go getter. We noticed he was continually violating certain rules he knew he was above. What didn’t make sense to me was why, as he had nothing to gain that he already didn't have. I guess it was just the thrill of the kill. It finally all came out and destroyed him. I myself live in a world where every decision has to pass the Risk / Gain test. If the risk is too great you had best leave it alone.


The most appropriate story I carried all these years from that book occurred around 1920 out West, perhaps California way. He was a respectable Bank Vault Teller. He was THE “Bank Auditor”. He verified every penny that came in and went out of that vault. He maintained a perfect inventory on it’s shelves. He controlled that vault. The only way he could make more money was to purchase and wear a gun and be the vault security guard as well.

His only problem was he couldn’t afford a firearm – kids you know. So he began borrowing from the inventory just for a short time that ran into many years. When he was in way over his head it happened, he heard the owner/President was going to accept an offer to buy. This meant an outside auditor would have to come in and count the vault!

His only escape was to have an attorney deliver a new offer, 20% higher than the first, from an undisclosed buyer who would remain unknown. The offer was to pay out in cash only and must close within 24 hours. That was the only offer terms, no need for an audit.

The President took the cash and walked. Attorney delivered notice that a current employee was now the new President, to take written instructions periodically. You guessed it, the Vault Teller had stolen enough money that now he had to stay on as Vault Teller to embezzle most of the remaining money to steal the entire bank, if you can wrap your head around that?!

He manged to keep the dummy President dumb all while trying to juggle what little money remained. He did it for almost two years undetected. The heist wasn’t discovered until he lost his mind living in two worlds at once, and had to be placed in a mental institution.

Doesn’t this remind you of the Elite now trying to buy the entire world with stolen money while making the Vault look full the entire time? I wonder how they will end up?

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