Grant Thornton Pays $8.5 Million to Company After Millions Stolen

A headphone maker has collected $8.5 million in a settlement with Chicago-based Grant Thornton (FY12 net revenue of $1.2 billion), which audited the company’s books while a finance executive was stealing millions of dollars over a 12-year period.

The payment, made July 3, settles a lawsuit filed in Cook County, Ill., by Koss Corp., alleging that the firm was negligent for failing to detect that Sujata “Sue” Sachdeva, the former vice president of finance, had stolen about $34 million, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

“I don’t think it is possible to look at the size of the settlement and conclude that Grant Thornton didn’t see some risk if this case came to trial,” said Jeremy Levinson, a Milwaukee attorney who is not involved in the case, the newspaper said.

Grant Thornton charged Koss nearly $700,000 for work it performed from 2004 to 2009. The company fired the firm after Sachdeva’s December 2009 arrest. She is serving an 11-year federal prison sentence.

Tracy Coenen, a Milwaukee forensic accountant, told the newspaper that Koss management should bear the bulk of the responsibility. “Upper management was at least negligent in not properly overseeing what she was doing and for not having proper internal controls.”