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Gross Mendelsohn Blog

A resource to help business owners, nonprofit executives and high net worth families preserve wealth, grow and thrive.

Richard Wolf

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Construction & Real Estate  |  Forensics & Litigation Support  |  High Net Worth Families  |  Manufacturing & Distribution  |  Service Businesses

A Texas-Sized Fraud: Bookkeeper Embezzles $29M from Texas Family

Barbara Chalmers, 74, pleaded guilty in December 2022 to an embezzlement scheme of at least $29 million over the past decade. Ms. Chalmers was the bookkeeper for a charitable foundation and multiple companies run by the family of Jim Collins, a prominent Dallas businessman and former congressman. The family operates Collins American Capital Corp., International Family Investors LTD and the James M. Collins Foundation. Let’s look at how she did it and the red flags that were missed along the way.

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Business Valuation  |  Forensics & Litigation Support

How to Spot a Rigged Business Valuation

There are many instances when a business valuation report is needed in litigation. During a divorce, if one or both spouses own a business, it may be necessary for the business to be valued for asset distribution purposes. Each party may hire their own business valuation analyst to value the business, and each analyst may come back with very different conclusions as to the value of the business. While differences in value can often be the result of two analysts having justifiable differences of opinion, there sometimes can be something else going on. While most credentialed valuation analysts have high ethical standards, there are some unscrupulous “experts” who will purposefully “rig” their valuation report in order to achieve a desired result in favor of their client. So, how can you spot one of these “rigged” valuation reports?

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Forensics & Litigation Support

5 Ways Attorneys Can Get Better Outcomes When Working with a Forensic Accountant

When I tell people that I’m a forensic accountant, they sometimes think of Christian Wolff, Ben Affleck’s character in the movie The Accountant. While it’s true that a forensic accountant can use their skills to investigate a company for potential embezzlement, the majority of cases they help attorneys with are far less glamorous.

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Business Valuation  |  High Net Worth Families

Estate Planning Lessons from a Rock Star

When rock star Prince died on April 21, 2016, he didn’t have a will in place. This rather shocking scenario resulted in one of the most complicated probate hearings ever seen in Minnesota, Prince’s home state. Business owners and high net worth families alike can learn from Prince’s mistake by having a proper estate plan in place to minimize tax liability.

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Business Valuation

Treatment of Non-Operating Assets and Liabilities In Business Valuation: Quick Guide for Attorneys

A reliable valuation is critical in many different contexts, including private sales, divorce, litigation and estate planning — just to name a few. A frequent challenge in valuing privately-owned businesses involves the treatment of non-operating assets and non-operating liabilities. Attorneys will benefit from having a basic understanding of these nuances of valuation, as they can have a significant impact on the conclusion of value. Let’s look at how the treatment of non-operating assets and non-operating liabilities can impact the value of a company.

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High Net Worth Families  |  Service Businesses

King of Pop’s Estate Prevails Against IRS

The U.S. Tax Court recently issued a 271-page opinion, ending the long-running litigation between the Estate of Michael Jackson and the Internal Revenue Service. The court’s ruling was a major win for Jackson’s estate and the decision has the potential to impact future valuation cases.

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