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Ramp It Up on Safety

Early one Saturday morning, an aircraft mechanic was taxiing an aircraft when an airport vehicle runs into the aircraft. The mechanic was not wearing his seatbelt. He was thrown across the pedestal, his body pushed the thrust levers up to near take off power, and the force pushed the truck over 300 yards down the taxiway ending in an almost fatal accident.
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A Tax Avoidance Approach to Disgorgement Generates a Win for the SEC

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has been awarded a substantial win in its civil enforcement action against Samuel Wyly and Donald R. Miller, Jr. as the Independent Executor of the Will and Estate of Charles J. Wyly Jr. (the “Wylys”).

California Law Would Require "Destroy" Function in Cell Phones

A proposed California law would force Cellular Providers to have the ability to remotely destroy stolen cell phones. Once destroyed, the cell phone would be useless.

Sample Employee Termination Checklist

In today's technology world, almost every company uses computers. Here's a sample of an Employee Termination Checklist.

Sample Cell Phone Use While Driving Policy

Here is a sample Cell Phone Use While Driving policy.

Firm Clean Desk Policy

In today's technology world, almost every company uses computers, but there's still plenty of papers to sift through on your desk. Here's a sample of a Clean Desk policy which can be used in your organization.

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Announces 2015 Premium Rate Increases on the Heels of Two Multiemployer Plan Bailouts

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has published updated premium rates for 2015 on its website, and per person rates in single-employer and multiemployer plans are scheduled to go up for next year. These rate hikes come amid action recently taken by the PBGC to financially assist two multiemployer plans facing insolvency.

Sample Computer and Email Usage Policy

In today's technology world, almost every company uses computers. Here is a sample Computer and Email Usage Policy.

Collection of Electronic Evidence in Truck Accidents can be Key to Developing Your Case

Black Boxes on trucks including EDR, ECM, ECU, allow help determine what was happening with the vehicle during the time prior to the crash. Some of these devices can store years worth of data, others just store the condition of the Tractor during a recent event such as “Hard Stop” or crash.

Motorola and Bristol-Myers Squibb the Latest to Turn Over Pension Obligations to Prudential

In an effort to reduce the volatility and risk associated with defined benefit pension plans, Motorola Solutions and Bristol-Myers Squibb have announced they will transfer significant pension assets and liabilities to The Prudential Insurance Company of America. Following an industry trend, the firms expect to better manage ongoing accounting cost variations associated with pension plan maintenance while ensuring long-term financial security to their retirees.

Why Deleted Data Might be Okay

The first spoliation case of its kind is almost a decade old…. But there are still lessons to be learned from it. The case is known as the "Arista Records, Inc. v. Sakfield Holding Co" case. While this case may not mean much to some, it is a well-known case in the digital forensics world because it brings up an interesting point: What happens when the data you are looking for is gone?

Appeals Court Says Missing Information Doesn’t Prevent Business Valuation

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
A recent Appeals Court decision addressed what level of evidence is required to demonstrate business value in a divorce proceeding. In Hugh v. Hugh, 2014, the wife in a divorce proceeding filed a cross-appeal on a number of issues, including the trial court’s failure to value her husband’s business (“E-Tech”).

Personal Privacy and Google Glass

There’s been a lot of hype in the media of Google’s (based in Mountain View, CA) new toy, Google Glass. A wearable computer that is controlled primarily by voice and eye movement, this rather distracting piece of eyewear has been touted as the new hot item that everyone wants.

You Secured Your Computer and Your Phone, What About Your Car?

With new cars having extra features such as assisted parking and crash avoidance, they require more computers to control them. It is estimated that the average new car can have upwards of 50 microprocessors (computer brains) in it, that control everything from how much you brake to your air conditioning.

Bat Control Contracts

Regrettably, the wildlife control field undergoes minimal regulatory oversight from government. This means that customers must adopt a buyer-beware attitude as government has not provided even minimal standards to regulate the industry. This lack of industry oversight means that customers have to "trust" that the wildlife control operator is actually following industry practices. Unfortunately, too often wildlife control operators are not.

Theft of Intellectual Property is on the Rise

According to a recent survey, about 56% of employees admit to stealing Intellectual Property (IP) from their company when they are fired.

Death and Digital Assets

It is inevitable, one day you will die. Modern science may someday cure this flaw in the human body, but for now we know that at some point, we will cease to be alive. This brings about a flurry of various costs and fees (dying can be expensive) and your possessions will be given to your next of kin. But what happens to your digital possessions?

In Corporate Mergers, Retirement Plan Considerations Should be Front-and-Center

When an employer merges with another company, one of many repercussions in the transaction will be the impact on the design and management of qualified retirement plans.

Ransomware Attempts to Extort Money

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have recently received complaints regarding a ransomware campaign using the name of the DHS to extort money from unsuspecting victims.

Fire Department Mergers, Annexations and Consolidations

Fire department mergers, consolidation and annexations can be described in one word: complicated. But it's not impossible.

Independence and Preparation are the Keys to Success

Selecting the right Expert Witness and litigation consultant can be highly instrumental in the outcome of a case and I have summarized a few key points that should be addressed before any expert is retained. Improve the probability of a positive outcome by adding the right expert to your team.

Social Engineering: How You are the Hacker’s Greatest Tool, and What You Can do to Prevent It

Let’s define the term “Social Engineering”. Simply put, it is the art of manipulating people into doing something, like divulging confidential information or performing actions that would expose information, and making them feel good about doing it, i.e they “solved” a problem or helped someone, etc. This allows the hacker to obtain information in a non-threatening manner.

Researcher Demos Spy Phone

Since the dawn of the modern smart phone it has been apparent that they can be used to spy on someone. Reviewing cell phone GPS information can track the user’s movements. In addition, if you want to know who calls have been place to or received from a review of the phone’s call logs stores this information.

Pension Reporting: The Differences between a 10-K and Form 5500

Institutional investors, retirees, corporate stockholders, and regulators all have a need to closely monitor pension fund performance. There are two leading sources of publicly disclosed information for public company pensions, the Form 10-K and the Form 5500. This article reviews both data sources and compares the information found in each.

Facebook Exposes Personal Data

Facebook recently released a statement detailing how over 6 million of its 1.1 billion users had their personal information unduly exposed. The cause? A minor error in the software of one of its largest archives. This error inadvertently allowed unauthorized users to view confidential contact data (such as email addresses and phone numbers) without any need for a password.

Traveling? Treat Your Laptop like Cash!

In today’s society, traveling with a laptop seems like an everyday occurrence, whether for “mobile office” or just personal use. There are some things you should be aware of when traveling with your laptop. Since it is portable and portable items can be easily lost or stolen. Here are a few tips to help avoid heartache and an employer’s wrath.

Ninth Circuit Overturns Daubert Exclusion, Noting Trial Court Is a Gatekeeper, Not a Fact Finder

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
In a recent case involving the City of Pomona (“Pomona”) v. SQM North America Corporation (“SQM”), Pomona alleged that SQM’s importation of sodium nitrate for fertilizer caused a perchlorate contamination in the city.

IRS Issues Final Regulations for Material Advisors, Accountants, Attorneys and Insurance Agents

If you sold, advised on or had anything to do with a listed transaction you will be fined by the IRS. For those that bought listed transactions like, 419 welfare benefit plans or 412i plans, you have been or will also be fined.

How to Keep Anyone From Snooping Around Your Cloud

In recent years government has increased its requests for access to Cloud data. Storage-As-A-Service providers such as Google Drive, Dropbox, iDrive, Microsoft Skydrive, Apple iCloud and others are receiving numerous requests to view what has been stored by various individuals and companies. In addition to the government, there are instances of the storage company’s employees exposing or taking data for their own or others use.

Captive Insurance Plans, Want to Get Audited?

The insurance industry have been conjuring ways to make life insurance premiums tax deductible. Over the years we have seen many schemes that have failed IRS scrutiny. Welfare benefit plans set up under I.R.C. section 419, 412(e) plans and Producer Owned Reinsurance Companies (PORCs) are all common examples.

How to have Safer Passwords: Rules 1-3

As part of our forensics practice, we sometimes have to break or “crack” passwords. Password cracking is much more difficult and can, perhaps, foil hackers when a few simple rules are followed. Here are some tips to help keep our client's data safe:

Law Firm's Trust Account Hacked! Six Figures Taken!!!

A Toronto area law firm is missing six figures from their trust account. After being hit over the holidays by a virus which gave hackers remote backdoor access to the firm’s bookkeeper’s computer. The virus, known as the Trojan Banker Virus, was designed to capture keystrokes, which can include bank passwords, as they are typed.

"Group Captives" Insurance Scam

Just a few years ago, captive insurance companies were a hot news item in the arcane world of abusive tax shelters. Sleazy promoters were signing up small businesses in droves. If you created a cell captive as a property and casualty loss management tool, it’s probably legitimate. If you “bought” an off the shelf captive from a promoter who promised tax savings, there is a good chance you own an abusive tax shelter.

Do You Have a Potential Abusive Tax Avoidance Transaction

People think that accountants and tax lawyers lead boring lives. Perhaps that may be true for some, but there is plenty of action these days with the IRS and their Employment Plans tax group. Recently, the IRS identified an “emerging issue” that it calls a potential Abusive Tax Avoidance Transaction. If you are a small business with an employment benefit plan, those words are never good to hear.

Ten Steps to Android Smartphone Security

Smartphones continue to grow in popularity and are now as powerful and functional as many computers. As mobile cybersecurity continues to grow, it is important to protect your smartphone just like you protect your computer. Mobile security tips can help you reduce the risk of exposure to mobile security threats.

Ten Steps to Smartphone Security for iPhone

Smartphones continue to grow in popularity and are now as powerful and functional as many computers. As mobile cybersecurity continues to grow, it is important to protect your smartphone just like you protect your computer. Mobile security tips can help you reduce the risk of exposure to mobile security threats.

PBGC Issues Dire Forecast on Growing Deficit of Multi-Employer Plans and Suspects Its Own Solvency is at Risk

The state of the country’s multi-employer pension plans (MEP) is at a crucial tipping point, with the pension benefits of more than 10 percent of MEP participants in peril. That was the grim warning recently issued by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) as a result of findings in its annual FY 2013 Projections Report (formerly known as the “Exposure Report”).

Seven Deadly Sins of Fire Service Leadership

There are many things fire leadership does right but there are times the department simply goes sideways due to some glaring leadership errors either incidental or intentional on the part of the Fire Chief and the remainder of the departments leadership team responsible for the direction, management and leadership of the fire service organization.

Does Your Brokerage Firm Have Cyber Insurance? 10 Questions You Should Ask Your Broker

You have a right to know if your brokerage firm is serious about focusing their time and money on security measures, because the problem is only becoming greater each day. Here is a list of tough questions that you should ask your brokerage firm about their cyber security. If they don't have a good answer, maybe it is time to look for a new broker, because who cares more about your money than you? Nobody!

PBGC Changes Multi-Employer Plan Regulations to Ease Burdens on Plans and Sponsors

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) recently announced amendments to existing regulations placed on multi-employer plans.

FBAR OVDI Cause Americans Problems Over IRS Reporting Requirements

Aggressive enforcement of tax rules for American expatriates and their families has prompted some middle-income earners to renounce their U.S. citizenship rather than risk sizable taxes and penalties. WSJ's Liam Pleven reports on Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero.

The True Cost of Lowering Audit Fees Is Increased Restatement Risk

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
In association with general cost cutting measures over recent years, many companies have pressured their vendors to reduce fees. This downward pressure has extended to the accounting firms hired to provide independent audit opinions, resulting in a significant drop in audit fees. According to Audit Analytics, audit fees in 2012 were $472 per $1 million of revenue, the lowest amount since 2004. The question is whether audit quality has been sacrificed in order to achieve these reductions.

State and Local Government Fiscal Sustainability and the “Trend Gap”

State and local governments could face several negative consequences—including tax increases, public service reductions and credit rating downgrades—unless a “trend gap” based on socioeconomic and other fundamental factors is closed, according to a recent paper published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston titled “Walking a Tightrope: Are U.S. State and Local Governments on a Fiscally Sustainable Path?”

How Hartford Life and Other Insurance Companies Tricked their Agents and Got People in Trouble with the IRS

Agents from Hartford and other insurance companies were shown ways to sell large life insurance policies. This “Welfare Benefit Trust 419 plan or 412i plan should be shown to their profitable small business owners as a cure for paying too much taxes.

Ten Steps to Smartphone Security for BlackBerry

Smartphones continue to grow in popularity and are now as powerful and functional as many computers. As mobile cybersecurity continues to grow, it is important to protect your smartphone just like you protect your computer. Mobile security tips can help you reduce the risk of exposure to mobile security threats.

Growth in Multiple Employer Plans Depends on Regulatory Conflict Resolution

Although multiple employer pension plans (MEPP) have been around for decades, many employers have left them largely untapped. Diverse viewpoints between the IRS and Department of Labor (DOL), both of which have regulatory control over these plans, have created a divide. Many—especially small and midsize businesses—are discouraged because of greater costs compared to larger companies, in addition to feeling a general lack of guidance and confusion in administering MEPPs.

New Path for Accelerated Damages Discovery Requires Immediate Expert Assistance

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
The Eastern District of Texas is well known for its intense patent activity and already provides early disclosure of infringement and invalidity contentions to facilitate faster resolution of these cases. The Court has now taken similar action by providing an option for accelerated damage discovery, including requiring a two week turnaround between defendant’s production of potentially infringing sales data and plaintiff’s good faith estimate of damages.

How to Find a GPS Tracker in Your Car… if You Can

There have been some interesting stories about how GPS tracking systems needed to “see the sky”. And there have been plenty of idiots who have simply placed the tracker on the roof of the car. In that case finding the tracker is simple. In more sophisticated and therefore challenging locating exercises, it can take several hours for mechanics to find the device, especially when they are mounted behind the dashboard.

U.S. Charges Eight in Hacking Scheme

Last week, the United States District Court of New Jersey filled charges against eight people, who allegedly hacked into many big name banks and stole upwards of $15,000,000.

Landscape Contracting Practices Resulting in Trip and Fall Litigation: Part 1-Irrigation

Landscape architects and contractors have distinct roles in the development of a successful landscape project. The design by the architect create a template that a landscape contractor adheres to in bidding and constructing the project. Landscape plans include specifications that dictate correct installation of products and materials. If a field construction worker deviates from a particular specification, their action may create a hazard that could result in an accident.


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