Like all professions, accountants have a few bad apples in their ranks. Everyone makes mistakes now and then and when a CPA makes an error, it’s called Accounting Malpractice. Sometimes the errors involve a missed deadline. Sometimes professionals fail to keep up with changes in the law (after all, there are only 73,608 pages of IRS regulations according to government experts, although even they are not sure.) Unfortunately, sometimes accountants steal from their own clients and kids.
According to IRS releases, the Service’s Office of Professional Responsibility disbarred CPA David Christensen last month after he was convicted of stealing money from his daughter’s trust fund. Christensen argued that he should be allowed to continue preparing tax returns since his theft conviction was a family matter stemming from his “father – daughter” relationship. Fortunately, the judge disagreed. He said, “Respondent’s conduct in handling his daughter’s money from the trust was criminal, egregious, and reflected extremely poor judgment.”
OPR’s Director Karen Hwakins’ said, “OPR strives to protect the integrity of the tax system from unscrupulous and incompetent practitioners regardless of how those traits become known.”
Where did the money go? AccountingToday reports that Christensen money from his daughter’s trust account and placed in his brokerage account. A few years later and much of the money was gone.
Rarely do bad accountants or lawyers get prosecuted criminally. This case is an important reminder, however. Although Christensen was only sentenced to a couple dozen hours on a work crew, an administrative law judge subsequently took away his livelihood.
Accounting malpractice is a serious problem. Although most cases don’t involve outright theft, bad advice can be just as devastating to the victim.
If you lost money to a dishonest or incompetent accountant or financial professional, it is possible to recover your hard earned money. Accounting malpractice cases are generally handled on a contingent fee basis meaning no legal fees are due unless there is a recovery.
Mahany & Ertl is a national boutique law firm that concentrates in tax and fraud cases. Our experienced fraud lawyers both defend accountants and sue accountants for accounting malpractice claims. If you believe that your accountant stole from you, failed to adequately disclose his or her financial stake in a transaction or if you believe you received bad professional advice, you may have a claim for accounting malpractice.
For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct). All inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept in strict confidence. Have questions? Call us without obligation or use the search engine feature of our Due Diligence blog. We have hundreds of helpful articles.
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Post by Brian Mahany, Esq.