“And then I said, ‘It’s accrual world!'”
Earlier this year, we discussed a tradecrafty story out of The Wall Street Journal of a BDO auditor who “casually wandered around the accounting firm’s New York offices, striking up conversations with colleagues.” Little did anyone know, the auditor recorded those conversations for the Federal Bureau of Investigation with “a tiny recording device disguised as an ordinary Starbucks gift card” about AmTrust Financial Services, an audit client....MORE
You see, AmTrust’s accounting practices have come under scrutiny of many interested parties besides the FBI, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, Harry Markopolos’s merry band of fraud-busters, and a slew of short-sellers. This scrutiny has put lots of pressure on the company. AmTrust announced a big restatement back in April, and its stock has been trading near its 52-week low ever since.
And now a new story from the Journal reports that some “mysterious strangers” have been popping around AmTrust’s most notable critics. One of these involved an analyst at research firm at GeoInvesting, and his suspicions grew for a very obvious reason:
Chris Irons, an analyst at research firm GeoInvesting LLC, which has published several reports critical of AmTrust’s accounting practices, said he was contacted in July by a woman who identified herself as a London-based consultant to a European software multimillionaire seeking contributors to a new investment website. He agreed to meet at a Philadelphia-area restaurant....