The 10 worst corporate accounting scandals of all time

Greed and misdeeds are major corporate themes defining the last 15 years ─ many notorious accounting scandals happened during that time. Following is a chronological look back at some of the worst offenders.

Here is a recap of the worst accounting scandals in the last 15 years.

Waste Management (1998)

  • reported $1.7 billion in fake earnings

Enron (2001)

  • shareholders lost $74 billion
  • thousands of employees and investors lost their retirement accounts
  • many employees lost their jobs

WorldCom (2002)

  • inflated assets by as much as $11 billion
  • 30,000 lost jobs
  • $180 billion in losses for investors

Tyco (2002)

  • CEO and CFO stole $150 million and inflated company income by $500 million

HealthSouth (2003)

  • earnings numbers were allegedly inflated $1.4 billion to meet stockholder expectations

Freddie Mac (2003)

  • $5 billion in earnings were misstated

American International Group (AIG) (2005)

  • alleged massive accounting fraud to the tune of $3.9 billion was alleged, along with
    • bid-rigging
    • stock price manipulation

Lehman Brothers (2008)

  • hid over $50 billion in loans disguised as sales

Bernie Madoff (2008)

  • tricked investors out of $64.8 billion
  • largest Ponzi scheme in history

Satyam (2009)

  • falsely boosted revenue by $1.5 billion

 

This report is featured on the accounting-degree.org website.

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