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Sam Antar is a convicted felon and a former CPA. As the CFO of Crazy Eddie, Mr. Antar helped mastermind one of the largest securities frauds uncovered during the 1980s. Today, Sam Antar is a forensic accountant. His primary work focuses on identifying and investigating public companies engaged... More
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  • Overstock.com's Financial Reporting and CEO Patrick Byrne are Both Insane! 0 comments
    Nov 27, 2009 8:11 PM | about stocks: OSTK

    Question: Can anyone identify any reporting period since Overstock.com's inception where its initial financial reports were in compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or other SEC disclosure rules?

    Answer: No initial Overstock.com financial report for any reporting period (nada, not one) ever complied with GAAP or other SEC disclosure rules.

    To borrow a phrase from the old Crazy Eddie commercials, "It's insaaaane!"

    Below are the latest developments on Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK)

    My blog:

    11/26/09: Open Letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission Part 4: Patrick Byrne Ignores Real Issues As He Vilifies Grant Thornton
     

    What really matters is that during the course of assisting Overstock.com in answering questions from the SEC Division of Corporation Finance, Grant Thornton came upon additional information that appropriately led them to recommend the restatement of 2009 financial reports, which in turn meant the restatement of 2008 reports (See SAS 1 AU 560 and AU 561).

    Even if Grant Thornton previously knew about the 2008 overpayment to a fulfillment partner and the reporting of the 2009 recovery of that overpayment as income in 2009, they are allowed to change their minds. Grant Thornton responsibly and appropriately recommended to Overstock.com that the company must restate its financial reports after obtaining new information during the course of the SEC Division of Corporation Finance probe of the company's financial disclosures. Grant Thornton valiantly did not give into pressure from its client Overstock.com and should be commended for not backing down from Byrne's bullying.
     

    What other bloggers are saying:

    Gary Weiss Blog - Under Siege, Patrick Byrne Celebrates Black Friday at Little Big Horn

    Today is the biggest retailing day of the year, Black Friday, and my favorite Internet retailer, Overstock.com's increasingly beleaguered, SEC-investigated, auditor-denouncing and, above all, incurably wacky CEO Patrick Byrne, is celebrating the day at Overstock's new headquarters: Little Big Horn.
     

    Byrne is trying to obscure the main issue, which is that independent auditors have a duty to do the right thing. That's, uh, why they're called "independent" auditors.

    Floyd Norris (New York Times) - You Lie! No, You Lie!

    Mr Byrne says Grant Thornton “told us it was comfortable with our past accounting practices” after going over the previous auditor’s work papers, and that when reviewing the first two quarterly reports it did not “question or object to our accounting for the overpayment recovery.”

    That is not the same as saying the firm actually understood the details of the accounting.

    Caleb Newquist (Going Concern) -Patrick Byrne: Noooo, Grant Thornton, You're Lying

    Oh yeah, did we mention they’re still looking for an auditor? Shockingly, there are still no takers.

    The final numbers from our poll show that KPMG is the winner of auditor most likely to be fired next by Overstock.com. We’re still waiting to hear who’s actually entertaining the idea of sabotaging their own firm with this little treat of a company. Stay tuned.

    Tracy Coenen (Fraud Files) -Grant Thornton to SEC: Overstock.com is Lying

    I would say it’s likely that this situation was used by Overstock to mask a number of accounting problems… with management throwing in everything and the kitchen sink, netting it all out, and using one fairly general explanation for all of it (rather than being forced to explain why one company’s accounting system can have so many errors).

    Now we’ve got a situation in which Overstock.com executives were concealing information from their auditors and lying about what their auditors knew and did not know. That escalates it to a whole new level. When management is lying and actively concealing, you can’t just dismiss the situation as “immaterial” because the dollar amounts are low.

    Posted by Sam E. Antar

    Disclosure:

    I am a convicted felon and a former CPA. As the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie, I helped Eddie Antar and other members of his family mastermind one of the largest securities frauds uncovered during the 1980's. If it weren't for the efforts of the FBI, SEC, Postal Inspector's Office, and class action plaintiff's lawyers who investigated, prosecuted, and sued me, I would still be the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie today.

    I do not own Overstock.com securities short or long. My research on Overstock.com and in particular its lying CEO Patrick Byrne is a freebie for securities regulators and the public in order to help me get into heaven, though I doubt that I will ever get there anyway. I will probably end up joining corporate miscreants such as Patrick Byrne in hell. In any case, exposing corporate crooks is a lot of fun for a forcibly "retired" crook like me and analyzing Overstock.com's financial reporting is a forensic accountant's wet dream.

    I have never received any compensation from either Grant Thornton or KPMG.

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    Stocks: OSTK
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