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Ernst & Young Auditors Got "Too Close To Clients On A Personal Level," If Ya Know What The SEC Means WINK WINK

It means doing the hibbidy-dibbidy (and attending football games).
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No good? (Getty Images)

No good? (Getty Images)

Being an accountant is a soulless, lonely enterprise in which only numbers love you back, so you'll have to excuse Greg Bednar if he accepted some invites to attend some sporting events with a client and said client's family and perhaps during the course of those games started mentally inserting himself into their Christmas card.

Please also excuse Pamela Hartford if maybe, in the course of auditing a client's company, she also audited his pants.

Ernst & Young agreed to pay $9.3 million to settle claims by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that two former partners in the audit division had personal relationships with clients, violating rules to keep those Ernst & Young employees objective and impartial. One of the partners, Pamela Hartford, maintained a romantic relationship with Robert Brehl, the ex-chief accountant of Ventas Inc., when the company was being audited, according to the order from the regulator Monday. In a separate case, Greg Bednar, another former partner, became too close to another client, traveling with that company’s chief financial officer and family to sporting events including professional football games, hockey matches and the Masters golf tournament, the SEC said.

Ernst & Young settles charges that two auditors got 'too close' to clients: SEC [Reuters]
Ernst & Young Pays $9 Million for Inappropriate Client Relations [Bloomberg]


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If you had asked us two years or two months or two days ago if we thought that there would be a time in the near future when Securities and Exchange employees would not be getting reprimanded for watching porn on their work-issued computers, we would have said absolutely not. No judgment, but in our professional opinion, people do not go from, among other things: * Receiving "over 16,000 access denials for Internet websites classified by the Commission's Internet filter as either "Sex" or "Pornography" in a one-month period" * Accessing "Internet pornography and downloading pornographic images to his SEC computer during work hours so frequently that, on some days, he spent eight hours accessing Internet pornography...downloading so much pornography to his government computer that he exhausted the available space on the computer hard drive and downloaded pornography to CDs or DVDs that he accumulated in boxes in his office." *,,, and living a porn-free existence at l'office. Did we think they'd take baby steps toward that goal sure? But when you've tried to log on to your websites of choice, on average, 533 times a day, assuming weekends were worked, baby steps means getting yourself to a place where you can do a solid two hours of work each week without hitting up So you can imagine (and probably share in) our surprise to hear that, according to a probe by Interim Inspector General Jon Rymer re: "misuses of government resources," the worst offenses one office was charged with claiming they needed iPads to do their jobs when really they just wanted to watch movies on them at home and going to hacker conferences without encrypting the data on their computers. Granted, it doesn't look so great that the group that was running around with computers that didn't even have anti-virus programs on their computers was the one that "is responsible for ensuring exchanges are following a series of voluntary guidelines...concerning computer audits, security, and capacity" but still, no ladyboyjuice while on the job-- that's huge. In a 43-page investigative report that probed the misuse of government resources, SEC Interim Inspector General Jon Rymer discovered that an office within the SEC's Trading and Markets division spent over $1 million on unnecessary technology. The report also found that the staffers failed to protect their computers and devices from hackers, even as they were urging exchanges and clearing agencies to do just that. Although no breaches occurred, the staffers left sensitive stock exchange data exposed to potential cyber attacks because they failed to encrypt the devices or even install basic virus protection programs...On Friday Reuters reviewed a copy of the full report, which details an even broader array of problems, from misleading the SEC about the office's need to buy Apple Inc products, to cases in which staffers took iPads and laptops home and used them primarily for pursuits such as personal banking, surfing the Web and downloading music and movies. The report says the staff may have brought the unprotected laptops to a Black Hat convention where hacking experts discuss the latest trends. They also used them to tap into public wireless networks and brought the devices along with them during exchange inspections...The report also found that some people who worked in the office had little or no experience with exchange technical matters. SEC staffers used govn't computers for personal use - report [Reuters] Earlier: SEC Supervisor Surfed Tranny Porn To Cope With Stress Of The Job; SEC Official Who Surfed Tranny Porn To Deal With Stress Of The Job– Not Alone!;