Thursday, August 13, 2009

HealthSouth fraud: The rest of the story

The former CFO, Aaron Beam, of HealthSouth spoke at the recent conference of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He tells a pretty good story. You can watch seven short (2-5 minute) video clips of his speech at this link. I've heard the links won't be there for long so check them out before they get removed. Here are a few highlights:
  • Clip 1--Watch out for that charismatic personality: After first meeting Richard Scrushy, "I had never met anyone like Richard Scrushy...I told my wife, I said today I've met the most brilliant businessman I'm ever going to meet or possibly the biggest con artist I'll ever meet."
  • Clip 2--Pressure on the CFO to fudge the numbers: "You're holding this company back with your conservative accounting!"
  • Clip 3--Fraud is Fun and the Slope is Slippery: "I was a rock star...people knew me...I was worth several million dollars." "I didn't think of it as fraud...lowering the bad debts was okay." "I did not have the moral fiber to stand up to Richard...he was really a scary guy."
  • Clip 4--More slippery slope and the moral fiber of a fraudster: "You've done it once, you got blood on your hands so you do it again." Richard (Scrushy) had told (us) "If we ever get caught, I'm going to deny everything." Six years after Beam retires, the fraud comes to light.
  • Clip 5--The Challenge of Teaching Accounting to a Jury: "They literally were going to sleep."
  • Clip 6--Maybe fraud isn't so much fun: Hear about the grilling the CFO had when he was on trial and Scrushy's attorney called him a liar and asked him about an extramarital affair he had.
  • Clip 7--Don't do it!: Beam emotionally states: "I embarrassed my family." "There's only one answer: don't do have to say no!"

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