December 29, 2011
HELENA, Mont. – With the New Year and tax season just around the corner, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen has reached out to certified public accountants across the state by providing a copy of the new documentary, Gold Diggers: Investment Fraud in the Treasure State, and a handout highlighting ten common warning signs of securities fraud to more than 1,600 certified public accountants.
"When authorities finally sent Al Capone to prison, it was thanks to the detailed work of accountants," said Lindeen. "When it comes to financial schemes and fraud, you can bet an accountant will be the first to notice when the numbers don't add up. This year, I've resolved to ensure tax preparers are aware of the resources my office can provide their clients. Together, we can catch fraud earlier and make Montana a hard place for fraudsters and con-artists to run their scams."
As the state's chief regulator of securities, Lindeen investigates and prosecutes cases of investment fraud. Her office recently released a Montana-made documentary, Gold Diggers: Investment Fraud in the Treasure State, which demonstrates the function of CSI by featuring two high-profile cases of recent securities fraud in Helena and Bozeman. In one of the cases highlighted in the film, a victim's accountant spotted key warning signs of fraud while preparing her taxes. The victim didn't understand her accountant's concerns, however, and wasn't aware the Commissioner's office could help get to the bottom of the suspicious transactions.
Building off that experience, Lindeen's office distributed the documentary and warning signs handout to help tax preparers explain the common red flags and show how the Commissioner's office can help their clients.
"When we collaborate with the Securities Commissioner if we suspect fraud, we are not only helping our clients, but protecting fellow Montanans," said David Sather, President of the Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants. "It is our obligation as trusted financial professionals."
Clips from Gold Diggers and the fraud warning signs handout are available on the Commissioner's website, www.csi.mt.gov. To report suspected securities fraud or request a free copy of the documentary, call the Commissioner's office at 800-332-6148.