Disney whistleblower Sandra Kuba, a former Disney accountant who alleges the company inflated its annual revenue by billions for several years in a row and reported them to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has fallen on hard times since being let go in 2017.
According to the writeup for a recent GoFundMe campaign set up for Kuba, her husband committed suicide earlier in the year in part due to the stress of the situation, and this has left her to raise an autistic child by herself.
Sandra Kuba, a former senior financial analyst at the Walt Disney Company is a whistleblower who discovered anomalies in Disney software equipment that allowed Disney to receive approximately three billion dollars in false revenue. She blew the whistle internally at the company, clear to the top, but to no avail.
She contacted the SEC, and was subsequently fired in September of 2017. The stress and strain of subsequent actions taken against Kuba after her termination, resulted in the suicide of her husband of thirty years, Robert Kuba who died on March 9, 2020.
Kuba is currently living with her son who is autistic, and continuing the battle against a corporate giant. The funds will allow Kuba and her son to pay household expenses and legal fees.
The allegations of fraud against Disney made headlines last year, and it was MarketWatch that first broke the story.
From their original article…
Kuba’s whistleblower filings, which have been reviewed by MarketWatch, outline several ways employees allegedly boosted revenue, including recording fictitious revenue for complimentary golf rounds or for free guest promotions. Another alleged action Kuba described in her SEC filing involved recording revenue for $500 gift cards at their face value even when guests paid a discounted rate of $395.
Kuba has also alleged that employees sometimes recorded revenue twice for gift cards, both when guests bought the gift card and when it was used at a resort. Sometimes, revenue was recorded even though a gift card was given to a guest for free following a customer complaint, for instance, according to the whistleblower’s allegations.
Kuba’s filing alleges that flaws in the accounting software made the manipulation difficult to trace, though the consequences could be significant. In just one financial year, 2008-09, Disney’s annual revenue could have been overstated by as much as $6 billion, Kuba’s whistleblower filing alleges. The parks-and-resorts business segment reported total revenue of $10.6 billion in 2009, according to its annual report filed with the SEC.
Over a year later, and there has seemingly been no movement on any SEC investigation of Disney. However, Kuba did say she believed that the SEC is looking into her claims behind the scenes.
Even if there was, it’s unlikely that the press would hear about it since Disney reportedly doesn’t disclose its SEC probes.
Disney has fallen on hard times amid the pandemic, and some allegations from years ago are probably not top of mind right now. The company has laid off over 32,000 workers to cut costs, and yet Disney CFO Christine McCarthy is on track to receive an $11 million bonus.
Go figure that math out.
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