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

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Chapter 6

The Perfect Family Business

Alejandro Morales

The end of World War II marked the beginning of a rebirth of economic activity in several parts of the world. Europe and the United States particularly benefited from the so-called postwar economy, which created a vast number of enterprises that formed the cornerstone of economic development in many countries.

In Latin America the phenomenon was similarly strong. After the first wave of factories and basic industries, the 1950s and 1960s were advantageous for entrepreneurs with a shortage of funds but plenty of determination to forge new economic relationships. Huge markets opened in postwar Europe, the United States and later Asia that generated a continuous demand for raw materials and semifinished goods as the economies compensated for the restrictions on consumption created by war.

Many enterprises were born, grew and consolidated in this environment of a seemingly endless demand for new goods, as the inhabitants of these new post-conflict economies were anxious to possess new cars, domestic appliances and the future gadgets that technology was about to invent for them.

Advantage Enterprises was in its first and second generations of directors and officers, the founders and their sons — who had stronger academic preparation than their predecessors to manage the businesses. An estimated 50 percent of the companies that made up the Advantage conglomerate were owned entirely by a single family and managed by the heirs of ...

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