Blog Archives: 2015

Forensic Super-Geek Powers – ACTIVATE!

Benford’s Law and Forensic Data Analysis

This is somewhat of an indulgent post, but I have always been fascinated about the consistency of a forensic accounting investigative concept known as Benford’s Law.

Named after Frank Benford, an American electrical engineer and physicist, it is a phenomenological law about the frequency distribution of leading digits in many (but not all) real-life sets of numerical data. Also known as the First-Digit Law, Benford’s Law states that, in a naturally occurring set of numbers, the leading digit will appear in a very predictable distribution. More specifically, the leading digit is most likely to be a 1 and then the likelihood decreases as you move to 2 and then to 3 and so on,

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Three Common Myths About Saving Money

With recent news articles about the Euro, downturns in the Chinese stock market and potential inflation, many clients are nervous about their portfolios. Now is a great time to take an objective look at some common myths about saving money.

Myth #1 – Cash is safe

Reality check:  Money market, savings accounts, T-bills, and cash under the mattress are all considered cash equivalents. These are great vehicles for short-term investments or emergency accounts but they are not the best vehicles for long-term investments. Why? It’s because inflation is working against you, and you may have negative returns after taxes and inflation. Also,

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New Washington State Budget Includes Tax Increases on Royalties, Wholesalers, Internet Sellers and Late Filers

But There Are Some Winners, Too

By now you’ve probably read or heard about the brinksmanship leading up to the enactment of the State of Washington’s operating budget for the 2015 – 2017 biennium. The $38.2 billion budget was passed by the legislature in the wee hours of the morning of June 30, and signed into law by Governor Inslee that night, narrowly avoiding the state government shutdown that would have otherwise resulted.

Among the headline features of the new budget are tuition reductions of 15 – 20% at the state’s public universities and increased funding for K-12 education, which will allow for reduced class sizes in grades K-3 and expanded full-day kindergarten.

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Wire fraud and other schemes – a different kettle of phish

As I have chronicled many times, fraud is a dynamic and evolving issue for every business and industry. This Treasury & Risk.com article on mitigating risk from wire fraud serves as a nice vocabulary lesson on some of the innovative methods fraudsters are using to gain access to your system from the outside.

Occupational (internal) fraud should still be a major concern for all businesses. However, more and more external fraudsters are realizing that, if they increase their at-bats, they will inevitably get more hits. Gone are the days of believing that because you’re a small or medium-sized business you are not a target for cyber-attacks.

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Is Your Debit/Credit Card Safe?

This week’s blog post is courtesy of CN alum John Steinhoff, who now serves as vice president of consulting at Ascendent Advisory Group.

One recent weekend, I was relaxing with my morning coffee, reading the newspaper when the phone rang. My credit card company called and asked about some recent “suspicious” activity on my credit card. Being a certified fraud examiner and avid reader of anything fraud related, I’m aware of many credit card scams, so I was very cautious of this call. After a 5-minute discussion and many questions, I realized this was the real thing. Sure enough, someone used my credit card to purchase $200 at a tobacco shop in Pennsylvania.

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