How Corporate Crooks Fleeced American Shareholders
(and How Congress Failed to Stop Them)
by Greg Farrell
Just months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, American investors came under attack. Two of the nation's biggest corporations, Enron and WorldCom, admitted that they had overstated their earnings by billions of dollars. As those two titans collapsed into bankruptcy, shareholders were stuck with almost $200 billion in losses.
Accounting scams were also exposed at Adelphia and HealthSouth. Tyco's board of directors eventually realized that its earnings needed to be restated, even as its top two executives were charged with larceny.
The people and organizations responsible for protecting investors—Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the big Wall Street banks that lent billions to these fraudulent enterprises—fell down on their jobs. Worse, Congress actually wrote laws that provided incentives for executives to cheat their own investors.
Throughout the 1990s Congress systematically starved the SEC to the point where the securities cops could barely do their jobs.
America Robbed Blind exposes the root causes of the accounting scandals that wiped out $500 billion worth of investments in U.S. stocks. It explains how a series of seemingly minor Congressional actions--from a law penalizing corporations for paying salaries in excess of $1 million to a Senate vote to scuttle a rule calling for the expensing of stock options--created the conditions that led to the accounting abuses that eroded investor confidence among the 95 million Americans who own stocks.
One of the reasons that ethically challenged corporations were able to fool investors for so long is that most Americans don't have the time to sift through mountains of corporate filings or detailed financial reports laden with accounting jargon and legalese. In simple, explanatory prose, America Robbed Blind makes it easy to understand the fraud that occurred in recent years and proposes several reforms to ensure that these abuses never occur again.
Posted by Lemonade stand owner on 20th Nov 2013
Mr. Farrell provides a captivating succinct recap of the recent high profile white color crimes that shook the American investment community and more importantly our economy over the last five years. Every case details the shortfalls in the system that fostered these very costly criminal and immoral acts and concludes with solutions and standards to prevent history from repeating itself. It is a "must read" because it interprets these so called sophisticated accounting fraud cases into basic terminology for any level of investor to understand. The author has a great understanding for the true victims of these costly crimes, every citizen and our economy, not just a small enclave of very rich corporate barons.
Posted by R. Williams on 20th Nov 2013
As a deep investigative reporter for USA Today, Greg shares the untold stories behind Enron, Tyco and Worldcom, as well as the truth behind the Martha Stewart scandal. Were you aware that the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission tried desperately to warn Congress of what was coming 13 months before the Enron debacle? Greg Farell's America Robbed Blind is an eye-opener that could easily be made into a movie. Hardcover.
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