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

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Chapter 11

This Might Sound Familiar . . .

James M. Brown

“As you go forward in life you will be confronted with questions every day that test your morals. The questions will get tougher, and the consequences will become more severe. Think carefully, and for your sake, do the right thing, not the easy thing.”

— L. Dennis Kozlowski (Commencement address at St. Anselm College, Manchester, N.H., May 2002)

Four men entered a business situation, each motivated by money, power or simply a firm belief that he was just doing his job. One decade later they parted ways, their professional and personal lives dramatically altered. During that time they raised families and profited handsomely from their business arrangement, but in the end each man was accused of financial malfeasance. One paid a $100,000 civil penalty for his role, but otherwise walked away acquitted. Another was prohibited from practicing as an accountant by the SEC. The other two collectively paid restitution and fines in excess of $200 million, were barred from serving as officers or directors of a public company and were sentenced to prison terms of 8 1/3 to 25 years. When their stories were ultimately revealed, the world's view of the financial markets and the professionals involved in those markets was changed forever. A fifth player, with a peripheral role, was forced to pay $20 million in restitution and more than $2 million in fines and was permanently barred from acting as an officer or director of a publicly held ...

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