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Financial Statement Fraud Casebook: Baking the Ledgers and Cooking the Books by Joseph T. Wells

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Chapter 15

Net Capital Requirements

Kevin G. Breard

Gertie was someone her contemporaries would have called “a tough old bat.” My path crossed hers when she was a septuagenarian bookkeeper with white, thinning hair that resembled a threadbare gym towel. I was an outside CPA auditor in my early 40s.

In her office, next to the comptroller's adding machine, was a flattering college graduation picture of her in a black gown and mortarboard hat, with that cocked head and turn of the shoulders that only looks natural to a photographer. Gertie had graduated with a degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting — an education unique for her time. Not many women were strolling on college campuses, let alone majoring in a “man's field” like accounting. In those days, if you poked your head into an intermediate accounting class, it would have resembled an Alpha Beta Pi fraternal gathering.

However, Gertie was self-assured and probably knew she was smarter than most of her male counterparts. When she graduated, she entered a world full of suits and quickly established her own work “uniform” of off-white blouses and Montgomery Ward knee-length navy skirts.

Gertie's first job out of college was working for C. W. Surebet Securities. After a few years, she married the owner's son, Clyde II, a World War II Navy veteran. He had seen dark days on the battlefield and in the market. The salty old sea dog was overweight with a badly pock-marked face and a balding head. Over the years, ...

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