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Details of 10 High-Profile Accounting Scandals

Wells Fargo CEO Blames Employees for Fake Accounts Scandal

"Publicly held companies, whether they make turbines or tiramisu, are programmed to maximize efficiency and increase sales every quarter - no matter what. Inevitably this leads to cutting corners." - Daniel Gross

"The current accounting standards give those preparing financial statements great latitude and the tremendous use of judgement in coming up with numbers. That latitude and judgement can be used very handily to misrepresent the information provided to investors." - Lynn Turner, former chief accountant Securities and Exchange Commission 09/17/07

1974 to 1976 Albert John Dunlap engineers a massive accounting fraud at Nitec, a paper-mill company in Niagara Falls, New York.

1996 "Chainsaw Al" Dunlap is hired to resurrect Sunbeam. "Chainsaw Al" arranges a "massive financial fraud" eventually he had to pay a $500,000 SEC civil fine and was barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company.

Kenneth Lee Lay replaced Richard Kinder as head of Enron. Kenneth Lee Lay is convicted in May 2006 of conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud and making false statements.

2004 Martin Grass, CEO of Rite Aid Corp. is sentenced to 8 years in prison for his role in a massive accounting fraud at the drugstore chain his father co-founded. Five other executives were also found guilty.

2005 Adelphia CEO John J. Rigas is convicted of bank, wire and securities fraud and is sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. Timothy J. Rigas and Michael J. Rigas, his sons, as well as Peter Venetis, his son-in-law, and Michael Mulcahey are also charged. They concealed $2.3 billion in liabilities from corporate investors and the three Rigases had taken $3.1 billion in loans that were not recorded on the books.

Scott D. Sullivan, an American Certified Public Accountant and the former CFO, Treasurer, and Secretary of WorldCom, engineered WorldCom's $11-billion accounting fraud. Scott Sullivan is sentenced to five years in prison and agrees to testify against WorldCom Incorporated CEO Bernard J. Ebbers who received 25 years for his role in the $l1-billion accounting fraud and subsequent $180 billion dollar loss to investors.


L. Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco International Ltd. received a sentence of eight and one-third to 25 years in prison for misappropriation of Tyco's corporate funds, grand larceny for $150 million in unauthorized bonuses and fraud against the company shareholders for an amount of more than $400 million.

HealthSouth CEO Richard M. Scrushy is formely charged with fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, and making false statements in a $2.7 billion accounting fraud. After 21 days of deliberation, he is acquitted.

"I sat in that courtroom for six months, and I did everything possible to advocate for his cause. Scrushy promised me a lot more than what I got." - Audrey Lewis

Audrey Lewis received $10,000 from Richard M. Scrushy through the Lewis Group, a public relations firm, and another $1,000 to help buy a computer.

2006 Enron Corporation CEO Jeffrey K. Skilling is sentenced to 24 years and 4 months in prison for conspiracy, insider trading, making false statements to auditors and securities fraud.

Sanjay Kumar Chairman and CEO of Computer Associates International is sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $8 million after pleading guilty to leading a $2.2 billion accounting fraud at the software company.

2007 Richard M. Scrushy is later found guilty of bribery, conspiracy and mail fraud in a conspiracy trial with co-defendent Alabama Govenor Don Siegelman in a different case.

Richard M. Scrushy settles other charges with the SEC over the $2.7 billion accounting fraud and agrees to pay the SEC $81 million before settling into his new trade as a television preacher in Birmingham, Alabama.

Walter A. Forbes, CEO of CUC International which merged with HFC Incorporated to form Cendant, is convicted of securities fraud and two counts of making false statements. Walter A. Forbes is sentenced to 12 years 7 months and must pay $3.275 billion in restitution.

Joseph Nacchio, CEO of Qwest Communications International Inc., is sentenced to 6 years in prison for insider trading based on knowledge of improper accounting practices. The stock of Qwest Communications International Inc. plunges from $60 per share to $2 per share when accounting irregularities came to light. Joseph Nacchio claims his conviction was based on his company's refusal to cooperate with NSA requests to spy on its customers. His version of events matches reporting by USA Today in 2006, in which the paper noted that Qwest was the lone holdout from the government's warrantless surveillance operations and that defiance "might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government." Nacchio is barred from using any evidence of potential retaliation in his defense, given that the material was considered classified, and his judge refused requests to allow the evidence in trial. Reports from the Washington Post on evidence that has been made public on his case since that time seem consistent with the CEO's claims.

Private bank Rothschild fined in 1MDB case

Baron David de Rothschild’s Bank Fined Over US Tax Dodging


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